It has been a really exciting journey these past four years of homeschooling, and this semester has started out with another new and exciting development to our learning. As my friend, Heather, has been doing her masters work in instructional design, we have jumped on board with using digital technology in our homeschool experience. I’m not a tech savvy mama by any means, but I have been so encouraged by Heather’s work that (even as technologically deficient as I am) I got excited about learning how to use more multi-media in our homeschool.
Everyone knows we are well into the Information Age, and our kids will need to be proficient in their ability to use technology. So, we have decided to incorporate technology through the Moodle platform and use of iPad apps in learning. We hope to show some different ways to do that on this site.
One app that Heather recommended for use in the Biology class she is teaching is called iThoughts. This is a mind mapping app that helps the students to organize their notes into mind maps. In the picture I have posted, Heather is leading the kids in understanding how to organize their Biology notes through mind mapping. Though iThoughts is a paid app, there are many free apps that will also do the trick. They may not have as many features, but for the purpose of getting started in using mind mapping, there are a few that work well. My 8th grade daughter, Esther uses SimpleMind. SimpleMind also has upgrade options that allow you to add photos to your mind maps. Be sure to read the reviews for whatever mind mapping app you decide to use (we tried a few that crashed easily and lost our work) and get started on mind mapping!
Also, on this trip to the library, while we were hanging out in the computer lab, I was able to work with the kids in explaining how to navigate the Moodle platform for my course in Ancient History, so that we can continue to do our homeschool work together even when we are not meeting in person. This is a really useful tool for kids who may grow up to have many online courses to navigate. Not only is it useful for the kids, but as teachers it provides an organized way to grade and test students without piles of paperwork.
I hope to share more later about how we incorporate free Adobe Mobile apps and other useful apps into our homeschool life, as well as using Google drive and Google calendar to further organize our homeschool life. We are really so blessed to have all this technology at our fingertips, and yet I know from experience that it can be overwhelming to know how to maximize learning with it. We want our kids to reap the benefits and minimize the distractions that keep them from learning well. It’s a big challenge for sure.