Monday, October 14, 2013

App Review: 30 Hands

I found another app a few months ago that has really helped transform learning in several classrooms already this year. It's called 30Hands, and it's offered at the great price of free. There are several things I look for when recommending apps. It needs to be applicable to a variety of ages and contents. The product needs to be easy to export. And it needs to be very easy for students (and teachers) to use. 30Hands delivers on all. Here's what you need to know.

Essentially, 30Hands is a way to create informational videos from your iPad. I describe it to teachers as "Photostory for the iPad". The app lets you create a video using still images, drawing on a whiteboard, and narration. I wrote about an app called PixnTell last year that has the same function. However, 30Hands doesn't have a limit to the number of images like PixnTell.

When you launch 30Hands, you are given the option to create an account or get started without one. This is another great feature because the need to have an account can be limiting for elementary students. So I always choose "skip this step" and jump right in. 

The first screen shows your list of projects. It's always nice to be able to save projects so you can revisit them down the road. Another benefit. Press the little "+" in the upper right corner and you can get started on a new project. Then you can add slides. 30Hands lets you take pictures from inside the app or import from your camera roll. Like other apps, pictures you take in the app are copied to the camera roll for use in other locations. Once you've added pictures, you can easily rearrange the order by drag and drop. Now you're ready to record.

This feature is what makes 30Hands great for schools. The app allows you to record narration on individual slides. That way, students don't have to worry about recording the entire narration at one time. Practice one slide, record, and move on. Perfect for elementary students. When you finish, simply publish the finished project to your camera roll for easy export. 

Although it's early in year, I've seen 30Hands used all over the district. Here's a short list of projects that teachers and students have used the app to accomplish:

  • Teacher created video about playground expectations
  • Tour of the classroom
  • Procedures for checking out a classroom book
  • Daily Five learning activities
I would consider 30Hands to be a must-have for teachers. It's easy enough for elementary students, but still functional for high schoolers too. Give it a try. 

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