Saturday, January 8, 2011

Math Teacher Turns App Inventor

On December 13, 2010, as I was catching up with my PLN (Personal Learning Network) on Twitter, I noticed a tweet go by from one of my technology savvy colleagues, Tony Vincent, about a 5th grade teacher who had recently received approval from Apple for an iPod touch app he created. Myself, being a sixth grade teacher with an app currently in development, I instantly became interested, followed the link, and read all about it. After a few e-mail exchanges with this individual, I thought I'd introduce him to my readers.
Meet Chip Gann. Chip is a 5th grade math teacher in Willare, Missouri. This past year, the 5th grade math teachers at Chip's school made a decision: rather than adopt a new textbook series, they decided to keep their old textbooks and add technology. So, they purchased classroom sets of iPod touches. Chip found that he needed an app that would allow students to practice rounding whole numbers, but soon discovered that even though Apple's app store is teeming with apps, he could not find one to suit his needs. But rather than sit back and wait for someone else to come up with one, he tried his hand at app development. It took Chip about six weeks of learning, with some trial and error, but in the end, it paid off.
Rounding Whole Numbers gives students the opportunity to practice rounding whole numbers in a fun way. There are six levels that include rounding whole numbers to the nearest tens, hundreds, and thousands place. The goal is to round as many numbers correctly in under 30 seconds. High scores are saved and the user even has the opportunity to visit a short tutor section to learn how to round whole numbers. His second act, Rounding Decimals, was approved by Apple on December 17, 2010, so now, Chip has two math apps in the App Store.
As an aside, Twitter has really made my world a whole lot smaller, enriched my teaching, and this is just one example. Had it not been for Tony Vincent's tweet, and had I not been on Twitter, catching up on my tweets, I may never have found this really useful app and met this really innovative and insprieing olleague from Missouri. I am always motivated and encouraged by people, like Chip, who see a need and then take a proactive approach to see that it gets done.
Chip is also a certified eMINTS teacher in Willare, MO. The eMINTS project is a non-profit, independent business unit of the University of Missouri, created by educators, for educators and emphasizes the use of technology in the classroom to help support inquiry based learning.