The latest educational buzz-phrase is “Flipping the Classroom.” This means turning the traditional notion of class time being devoted to instruction while homework is for applying and practicing the concepts, on its head. As parents have discovered to their dismay, homework is where the main “learning” occurs, and the responsibility for guiding this learning is often theirs by default. They are frequently under prepared, tired after a long workday, and frustrated trying to understand new concepts so that they can help their children complete their homework. Unfortunately, kids often pick up on these negative emotions and associate them with learning. Flipping the classroom changes that paradigm, and new and evolving technology is the catalyst that makes it possible.
The case for flipping the classroom is gaining traction, with educators creating educational videos for students to view at home or after school. Class time can then be devoted to more engaging activities – discussions, analysis, hands-on activities, and experiments, and teachers are available to serve as resources, guides and facilitators to the learning process.
It is new technology that has made this shift possible. It is now relatively easy to create videos and post them online for students to view outside the classroom. However, many teachers are still reluctant to adopt these new education delivery methods, either because of lack of experience with the technology or having to constrain their lectures to a small video screen. The videos appear to be a dull repetition of a classroom lecture and may not engage the attention of their students, especially when they are outside the classroom.
They now have another option. New educational apps for the iPad offer teachers creative learning tools that can assist them to “flip the classroom” with ease. We at Sprout Labs offer a variety of iPad apps with innovative content to engage students on a variety of science topics, and presents different modes of learning (Read, See, Watch, Touch and Quiz) to support students no matter their learning style and preference. Apps on topics in Life Sciences, Earth Sciences, Physical Sciences and Chemistry are already available, with many other topics under development. In the Plants HD iPad app, students learn about the stages in the lifecycle of plants (seeds, flowers, fruits, pollination, germination, dispersal) through interactive activities such as reading along, pictures, interesting facts (did you know tomatoes, cucumbers and beans are really fruits not vegetables?) and a pop quiz structured like a video game with easy, intermediate, advanced levels and positive reinforcement through coin rewards. At the end, students will be able to move the various stages into the right sequence around the lifecycle. By creating a game-like environment, the app draws kids into leaning through play.
Several teachers and school districts have provided glowing reviews of the rich content, vibrant pictures and graphics, effective information flow, and related games. Most importantly, they report that their students have enjoyed using the app – and that’s the first step to engaged learning. And, these apps can be effective tools in flipping the classroom. Having delivered instruction to the students outside the classroom, class time can be put to more effective use in responding to students’ questions about the concepts, engaging in discussions, or practical hands-on applications such as growing a plant.
“Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another”
Introducing modern ways of learning and imparting interactive science lessons through mobile apps is one of our primary goals. When these goals materialize, we feel immensely proud and satisfied with the work we have been doing.
Recently a transitional kindergarten school teacher who teaches in a multicultural school located in the San Fernando Valley requested an iPad on Donorschoose.org to introduce our Ecosystems HD app (among select other apps) in their curriculum.
Read more here: http://www.donorschoose.org/project/stem-learning-in-the-kindergarten-classr/1027876/
We certainly hope this funding happens for the kids in Germain Elementary School.
Pepper Ridge elementary school in Boise, ID has also included this app as a part of their donorchoose request.
We are glad to see Pepper Ridge receive funding for this request.
It is our sincere hope that this app and other Sprout Labs apps will help forge better ways of learning science while laying a strong academic foundation.
We are filled with joy to see these young children use the iPad and learn using our Ecosystems HD app!
“The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination”
- Albert Einstein
Have you ever wondered if there is a better way to teach real science to your kids? You are not the only one; many parents find it challenging to explain concepts in physics and how they apply in real life. Explaining concepts related to Forces, Motion, Velocity, Fulcrum and Levers using traditional teaching methods can be quite an effort.
From textbooks to YouTube to iPad to educational websites like the Khan Academy, kids today, have access to a variety of learning tools. How can we effectively leverage these tools to foster better learning?
Kids dislike being passive listeners and are happier learning when they begin to grasp the real essence of the subject.
Science text books can leave your kids bored; and it is up to the teacher to bring the fun back into the subject. A topic like Forces, Motions, and Simple Machines, can be made fun with supporting photos and videos. What is needed, is a multimodal learning approach, that will allow the subject to be taught in many different ways.
We designed the Forces Motion HD app to bring the fun back into learning! Teaching based on play has been shown time and time again to enhance the learning process. Further, through the combination of curated multimedia content and a modular learning model, the app aims to motivate kids to develop a real interest in the subject.
Forces Motion HD is an app that will enhance your kid’s ability to see the connection between the fundamental concepts of physics and their practical applications
Varied modes of learning
Every child is unique, so each one of them needs to be taught differently. A kid that learns by reading, is different from another kid that learns by watching videos. Forces Motion HD offers young learners the freedom to choose their style of learning. The options include - “Read and Learn”, Touch and Learn”, “See and Learn” ,"Watch and Learn”, and finally “Quiz and Learn”.
The app further draws from real world examples to illustrate the concepts. For example: a kid will learn that it is hard pushing against a table without wheels due to the higher friction; if the table has wheels, the friction is reduced.
Deep rooted understanding of the basic fundamentals of science
Forces Motion HD will enable your child delve deeper into the world of physics. This app provides a unique platform to help the kid master the concepts, while having fun. Unlike traditional teaching methods that may have a one-size-fits-all approach to learning, the Forces Motion app lets the kids learn at their own pace, using content they like.
According to a popular science blog “In 2012, a shocking sixty nine percent of American high-school graduates failed to meet college-readiness benchmarks in science.” What can we do to get kids excited about science? Science apps like Forces Motion HD can certainly help! We welcome your comments and feedback.
Download the app here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/forces-motion-hd/id825460200?ls=1&mt=8
Live Butterfly Garden from Insect Lore is a perfect companion with our app - Butterfly HD to teach your kids in school or at home about butterflies and their life cycle.
With this kit you will be shipped caterpillars in a small container where they will grow for a few days. They will pupate within this container and your children can transfer them to the mesh that is also sent to you. Once the butterflies emerge, children will love feeding them with the feeding pipette sent to you.
Children can enjoy looking at the butterflies for a few days and then they can let them free in nature!
What a perfect way to learn the amazing life cycle of butterflies with Butterfly HD content and real world experience with this kit!
We recommend the science kit "Plant Science" from Thames and Cosmos to learn more about plants along with our app - Plants HD.
The kit teaches how plants germinate from seeds, how they grow, what they need to grow, what they produce, and how their roots, stems, and leaves work. It includes a 16-page color guidebook.
You can buy the kit from Amazon here.
Today our app - Ecosystems HD was featured on Huffington Post in the article -These Biology and Ecology Apps Will Really Put Some Life Into Your iPad.
Here is what they had to say about Ecosystems HD -
"This app is truly an interactive textbook, with lots of pictures, and easy to understand text that is accessible for all ages. Children can choose between six ecosystems to explore. They are presented with an encyclopedia-style entry that provides and overview of the ecosystem. They can swipe through fun facts and gallery images and take a pop quiz. The quizzes are leveled and make connections to Bloom's Taxonomy. There is even the option to watch handpicked YouTube videos that show off each ecosystem. Ecosystems HD is best for elementary school and middle school-aged students."
Wild bees and other insects twice as effective as honeybees in producing seeds and fruit on crops.
The decline of wild bees and other pollinators may be an even more alarming threat to crop yields than the loss of honeybees, a worldwide study suggests, revealing the irreplaceable contribution of wild insects to global food production. Scientists studied the pollination of more than 40 crops in 600 fields across every populated continent and found wild pollinators were twice as effective as honeybees in producing seeds and fruit on crops including oilseed rape, coffee, onions, almonds, tomatoes and strawberries. Furthermore, trucking in managed honeybee hives did not replace wild pollination when that was lost, but only added to the pollination that took place.
Read more here.
From SmartAppsforKids - "Most of the time when we talk about the three R's it's reading, writing and arithmetic we are referring to. When April and Earth Day roll around the three R's can only mean Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. There are a number of apps that celebrate our planet and give tips on how to reduce our carbon footprint. This list highlights some apps that introduce the concept of going green in ways even young children can understand."
Read more: http://www.smartappsforkids.com/2013/04/jills-kid-friendly-apps-for-earth-day-2013.html#ixzz2R1l6j9xb
Great radio conversation on KQED on a very important topic we cover in one of our apps - Recycle HD - the concept of Upcycling.
A decade ago, William McDonough co-wrote "Cradle to Cradle," a manifesto advocating the design of products with many lifecycles, such as bottles made solely from biodegradable materials. His new book "The Upcycle" expands on these ideas by applying design solutions to global environmental challenges like food scarcity, clean water and climate change. McDonough urges us to think beyond simply minimizing our impact and to envision a world in which everything we do actually improves the environment.
Listen to it here
We built the Water Cycle HD iPad app to educate kids about the complicated and delicate nature of the global water cycle. We all know that over 70% of the earth's surface is made of water but how much of it is really useful for humans and other living things? What are we doing to protect the future generations?
Every drop counts!
Here is a great resource from National Geographic to understand how you use water in your daily life. Find out your water footprint, then pledge to dry it out, joining others who have already committed to saving thousands of gallons.
The more we save, the more water we leave for healthy ecosystems and a sustainable future.