5 Reasons to use ePub with your students

Reason 1 – It’s easier than you think

chinatown epub

Sometimes when new tech initiatives come along, you put off using them because you think they will be too complicated and/or will only make sense to the real tech geeks. I confess to feeling this way about ePub at first, but having had a good old play with them alongside my colleague Wendy Liao, I now think they are easy to create and offer great potential for learning in the classroom. There are a few tricks to know before getting started (see below), but once you know what they are, it’s pretty much smooth sailing from there. Anyone who can make a Pages document, can make an ePub.

Reason 2 – Instant authorship

I know that I’m not the only educator looking for innovative ways to share student work with the wider community. By having students create ePubs, they can share their work with anyone who has a iPod/iPad. Our students can become published authors in a few clicks. This has great potential for all curriculum areas.

Reason 3 – Maximize offline time

Chinatown epub 2

When on a field trip, luxuries like WiFi are not usually available. Students can make notes/observations on a teacher-created ePub while offline, and email the notes to the teacher (or themselves) for later use when they return to a WiFi environment.

Reason 4 – Access multiple literacies

IMG_0008

Images, audio and video can be incorporated into ePubs. This means students can access pre-selected material to support learning using multiple literacies. In the example I refer to below, Wendy embedded audio files of the correct pronunciation of some of the images/vocab she wanted the students to understand (see photo, left).

This format also allows students to show their understanding in a variety of forms, which can be embedded in an ePub. They are not limited to word processing.

Reason 5 – Portability

One of the best things about an ePub is that they are read on devices that are inherently mobile – iPods/iPads. You can read them any time, anywhere, without the need for a wifi connection.

Case Study: ePub for Chinatown Visit

IMG_0005

Chinese teacher Wendy Liao created an ePub for her Grade 6 students to work with when they visited Chinatown during the lead up to Chinese New Year. Here is the link if you would like to try it out for yourself.

Students downloaded it at school (with wifi access), then made notes as they went along (by highlighting a passage, clicking note, then typing their response). When they returned to school, they emailed their group’s notes to Wendy, and she had each group’s feedback instantly.

Trick 1

If you are running Pages 09, then you can turn any word processing document into an ePub. That’s the first trick – it has to be a word processing document to make an ePub.

Trick 2

To make your ePub more visually interesting, use styles & formatting. Click View – Show Styles Drawer while in Pages to enable formats that ePub recognize.

Trick 3

Make use of the master template of ePub Best Practices provided by Apple instead. This way, you can copy and paste the formatting, which will allow you to work within a proven document – much easier than starting from scratch. This Apple Support page has excellent information when and how to use ePub.

I would love to know how you are using them in your schools, so feel free to share your ideas!

Film Scoring with Public Domain Videos

P1030458Our fabulous music teacher Maggie Hess has been brave enough to start working on a really neat project with me – composing film scores for Public Domain Videos.

Today, Maggie is wearing a button on her shirt which says, “Do one thing every day that scares you” (Eleanor Roosevelt), which sums up how she’s feeling as we embark on this project!

Firstly, she asked the students to go to http://pdcomedy.com/ to choose a video that they wanted to create the background music for. She recommended the cartoons and the silent movies on the site as the best for our purposes.

Students downloaded a video of their choice, then added them to Acid Music Studio 7.
(This is the composition programme we have on the lab PC computers, however you could do exactly the same thing in GarageBand with a Mac.)

From there, they decide on loops and sound effects which will complement their film.

The kids are absolutely loving it. I hope to have some samples to share with you when they are finished.

P1030460

5 Top Tools for Tech & Travel

I am currently in Shepparton, Victoria, eagerly awaiting the start of the Slide2Learn conference tomorrow morning.

During my trip, I have been thinking about how much I rely on technology for my travel plans, and how much of a challenge it would be for me to go somewhere without it.

Here is a list of the technology I used to get from my door to the hotel in Shepparton.

1. My trusty iPhone – this is fast becoming my most crucial piece of technology. I seldom go anywhere without it. It is so much more than just a phone, with apps like these:

tripit
I used the fabulous (and free) Tripit to input all my travel arrangements – from flights, to rental cars and hotel confirmations. I didn’t print the majority of these documents. Generally speaking, I just held up the phone to show the relevant information. Easy as pie.

dropbox

Dropbox stored my passport details, entrance tickets to the conference, and other information that is essential to have close at hand, no matter where you are.

pocket first aid
Pocket First Aid & CPR
has my medical insurance details, should any tragic circumstances ensue (I have my fingers crossed they won’t!), as well as first aid information that might help in an emergency.

Angry Birds & Sudoku – my current diversions, are entertainment in my pocket.

IMG_0443

hipstaHipstamatic helps me create moody, artistic photographs that I can share with friends and family (reaching a level of sophistication well beyond the realms of my normal creativity!) – the photo to the right was taken using Hipstamatic, and is the view from the Olivehouse Restaurant, where I had a delicious lunch today.

Just Light Flashlight – my torch in the night

xe
XE Currency
– calculating exchange rates at the touch of a button is always a useful tool when overseas.

Facebook & Tweetdeck for keeping in touch with friends and family, near and far.

2. GPS – Without which, I would have quite literally, been lost. Traveling in an unfamiliar location is tricky at the best of times, and using the sat-nav to get to my destination took all of the worry out of my drive from Melbourne to Shepparton.

3. My iPod Touch – by no means a superfluous piece of technology when one already has an iPhone! I consider myself pretty handy with technology these days, yet for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out how to make the radio in my rental car go. I needed to make sure I didn’t run out of battery on my phone, and a 2 hour trip goes by ever-so-slowly without a little music to sing to… cue the iPod Touch! It sat happily on the dash, belting out my Glee favourites as we moseyed along the Victorian countryside.

4. My (aging) Macbook Pro – Although I realise this is beginning to sound like an advertisement for all things Apple, it was not my intention! The fact of the matter is they make good products! What the Macbook Pro lacks in portability, it makes up for in ease of use – particularly for blogging on the go. It is always quick and easy to connect to wireless networks too.

skype5. Skype – It would be remiss of me not to mention Skype as a travel tool, as I use it so frequently. I said goodnight to my kids tonight, saw the artwork my daughter had made, chatted to my husband, and made my son laugh. All for free (internet connection notwithstanding).

Technology I made use of at Changi Airport included a DIY immigration, where your thumb is scanned and matched against records in your Green Card. At the Melbourne end, NZ and Australian passport holders could use a fast track service in which you scan your passport (provided it has a microchip in it) and beat the queues at immigration. Thumbs up to these 2 leading airports!

Of course Bump is going to be useful tomorrow – especially at a conference about mobile learning!

I am sure I have forgotten some crucial tools here. What are your tech travel must-haves? I am keen to expand my repertoire…!

Attempting Animation

Comfort ZoneEvery now and then I think it’s character building to step outside your comfort zone and try something you wouldn’t normally try. That’s what I kept telling myself – repeatedly – having made the decision to take on Stop-Motion Animation.

Luckily for me, people who have far more patience than I were on hand to help.

For starters, @beckcollect gave me some great ideas on how to begin, and kindly shared the Animation Stage plans he used, together with some student examples.

I found a partner-in-crime in Margot (@togramann, our wonderful Art teacher), who was also willing to have a go at this in a combined project. Finally, we found (read: strongly convinced) the Grade 5 team to let us use their students as our figurative crash-test-dummies.

Grade 5 were doing a unit on inquiry called Voices, with the following enduring  understanding (Central Idea in PYP-speak) as its focus:

Through the Arts we tell our stories of who we are: our beliefs, our values and our experiences of life.

Background (Medium)Our idea was to animate Aboriginal Dreamtime stories using Stop-Motion Animation, which we had hoped to narrate (however think we’ll just add title slides with the main story elements instead).

In Art, the students painted the backgrounds and foregrounds for the project and created the characters of their story out of plasticine.

In the ICT Lab, we had a practice run by learning to animate a sketched character and adding music to the background, to prepare for our final project, which will be animating the characters across the background and foregrounds they have constructed in Art.

Here is an example of our first-try animations, made by Al.

P1000062 (Medium)Thankfully our estates staff helped build the Animation Stages using recycled materials. They were fantastic! We ordered new digital still cameras (we went with this model) and adjustable lamps (we tried these ones, but they were a bit tricky to use).

We are now in the final stages of the project, and I have high hopes that some of the kids will be finished in time to enter their movie into the inaugural Singapore International Schools Film Festival.

Stay tuned…

Comfort zone image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/434pics/ / CC BY 2.0

Techxperts – saving the world, one screencast at a time

This term, Louise and I have started an after school activity for Grade 4 and 5 students called Techxperts. Here’s how we marketed it to the students:

Do you love using computers and other bits of technology? Are you a bit of a Tech Wizard? Do you know how to use programmes such as Photo Story, Adobe Premiere Elements, Scratch or Google Earth? Do you like to help others?

If so, then the UWC Techxperts need YOU!

Survey students and teachers to see where they need support (and learn to create and use Google Forms in the process).

Create screencasts which show people how to use the programmes we have at school.

Create help sheets to solve common troubleshooting problems.

UWC Techxperts: Saving the world, one screencast at a time.

Student-created products (to-date) include:

  • A series of  screencasts on how to use Diigo
  • A how-to poster for the lab on what to do if you come across a ‘locked’ computer
  • A screencast on how to use PhotoStory (from go to woah!)
  • A how-to poster for the lab on how to log-in to Jing
  • A poster showing the 4 different things to check if your headphones aren’t working

We have been using Jing as our screencast tool of choice. The kids find it really easy to use and were absolutely stoked to try making screencasts and annotated screen captures.

The posters are up in the computer lab, and it has been fabulous to have student-generated products to direct students to with those common troubleshooting problems.

When introducing PhotoStory to Grade 2 students (who had never used it before), it was fantastic to have a screencast which outlined exactly how to get started, from a student’s point of view. I have created screencasts myself previously, but I think it’s nice for them to be made by kids, for kids.

Here are the screencasts which show how to Bookmark & Highlight a page using Diigo, by Jean-Luc.

Do you love using computers and other bits of technology? Are you a bit of a Tech Wizard? Do you know how to use programmes such as Photo Story, Adobe Premiere Elements, Scratch or Google Earth? Do you like to help others?

If so, then the UWC Techxperts need YOU!

Survey students and teachers to see where they need support (and learn to create and use Google Forms in the process).

Create screencasts which show people how to use the programmes we have at school.

Create help sheets to solve common troubleshooting problems.

UWC Techxperts: Saving the world, one screencast at a time.

Cross-posted at U Tech Tips

Techxperts – saving the world, one screencast at a time

This term, Louise and I have started an after school activity for Grade 4 and 5 students called Techxperts. Here’s how we marketed it to the students:

Do you love using computers and other bits of technology? Are you a bit of a Tech Wizard? Do you know how to use programmes such as Photo Story, Adobe Premiere Elements, Scratch or Google Earth? Do you like to help others?

If so, then the UWC Techxperts need YOU!

Survey students and teachers to see where they need support (and learn to create and use Google Forms in the process).

Create screencasts which show people how to use the programmes we have at school.

Create help sheets to solve common troubleshooting problems.

UWC Techxperts: Saving the world, one screencast at a time.

Student-created products (to-date) include:

  • A series of  screencasts on how to use Diigo
  • A how-to poster for the lab on what to do if you come across a ‘locked’ computer
  • A screencast on how to use PhotoStory (from go to woah!)
  • A how-to poster for the lab on how to log-in to Jing
  • A poster showing the 4 different things to check if your headphones aren’t working

We have been using Jing as our screencast tool of choice. The kids find it really easy to use and were absolutely stoked to try making screencasts and annotated screen captures.

The posters are up in the computer lab, and it has been fabulous to have student-generated products to direct students to with those common troubleshooting problems.

When introducing PhotoStory to Grade 2 students (who had never used it before), it was fantastic to have a screencast which outlined exactly how to get started, from a student’s point of view. I have created screencasts myself previously, but I think it’s nice for them to be made by kids, for kids.

Here are the screencasts which show how to Bookmark & Highlight a page using Diigo, by Jean-Luc.

Do you love using computers and other bits of technology? Are you a bit of a Tech Wizard? Do you know how to use programmes such as Photo Story, Adobe Premiere Elements, Scratch or Google Earth? Do you like to help others?

If so, then the UWC Techxperts need YOU!

Survey students and teachers to see where they need support (and learn to create and use Google Forms in the process).

Create screencasts which show people how to use the programmes we have at school.

Create help sheets to solve common troubleshooting problems.

UWC Techxperts: Saving the world, one screencast at a time.

Cross-posted at U Tech Tips

Spicing up Parts of Speech

Nicole_WordleIn Grade 1, students have been completing a unit on poetry, and learning about parts of speech. Let’s face it: parts of speech are not the most engaging and exciting topic of study for kids, so finding a way to make it enjoyable was high on our list of priorities.

We found the perfect vehicle for spicing it up – Wordle!

The Grade 1 teachers talked about -ing words in class (verbs), so students came to the lab with a sound understanding of the topic. We decided to make -ing poems so the students could demonstrate their understanding of -ing verbs, and present their understanding in a visually appealing way.

Rachel_wordleWe initially used Microsoft Word to type the poems up, because it meant we had a back-up plan in case we needed to change the spelling or formatting of our Wordles. I asked the students to type the title -ing poem three times (to make it larger on the final wordle), and their name three times as well (so we could easily identify the finished Wordles). Following that, the students typed in as many different -ing words as they could.

We thought a minimum of 15 words would make a reasonably good-looking Wordle, but challenged the students to come up with as many as possible. This provided teachers a lot of useful information, including:

  • Who understood the task;
  • Identifying any misconceptions students held
  • The level of vocabulary students were typing;
  • Students’ spelling abilities;
  • Which students have sound keyboard knowledge, and which students don’t;

Nikhil_wordleWe then moved on to introduce/reinforce some important technological operations and concepts in the process of making our Wordles, including:

  • Ctrl + A = highlight all
  • Ctrl + C = copy
  • Ctrl + V = paste
  • Capitalisation methods – Shift + letter, or Caps Lock on and Caps Lock Off
  • Awareness of the spell check function in Microsoft Word

We used Jing to capture the finished Wordles, and they are now being displayed in the class.

Games – What exactly are kids learning?

[Cross-posted at U Tech Tips]

Games and the value of game-based learning has been a hot topic for me lately, so I was thrilled to come across Tom Chatfield’s article, Why playing in the virtual world has an awful lot to teach children in the Guardian on the 10th January 2010 (hat tip to @paulmaglione for the link). Tom argues that there is more to games than meets the eye.

For perhaps the most remarkable thing about modern video games is the degree to which they offer not a sullen and silent unreality, but a realm that’s thick with difficulties, obligations, judgments and allegiances. If we are to understand the 21st century and the generation who will inherit it, it’s crucial that we learn to describe the dynamics of this gaming life: a place that’s not so much about escaping the commitments and interactions that make friendships “real” as about a sophisticated set of satisfactions with their own increasingly urgent reality and challenges.

Super Mario BrosKatie Salen, professor of design and technology at Parsons The New School for Design argues that traditionally, games have not been seen as challenging realities, but rather as time-wasting activities:

There is a long history of understanding games as sort of leisure activities, as a kind of waste of time. And that when we see kids playing games that maybe our first reaction is to say, “Oh well they’re just playing, they’re just kind of wasting time.” There isn’t a sense of even sitting down with the child and asking them… “What’s going on in your head right now?” Because if you sit down and talk to a game player about what they’re doing, an incredible narrative will come out of their mouth about the complex problem they’re working on. A set of specialist vocabulary will spew out of their mouth…
[see the full video here]

From my reading on the subject, there are a number of key learning areas that games help players develop. Here are a few of the main ones.

Games Develop Literacy SkillsMoshi_passable

Many people underestimate the amount of literacy involved in game-playing. Instructions and other comments on the website require reasonably sophisticated levels of reading. James Paul Gee, an Arizona State University professor and leading figure in the field of games in education, argues, “Some people even say that games are killing reading and writing – far from it! They’re actually engaging kids with reading and writing more than ever.” [See the full video here]

By way of example, in Moshi Monsters – a game students at my school have been playing with gusto – your monster tells you how he/she is feeling, with quite a wide vocabulary. My monster has been elated, effervescent, marginal, and sunny lately, but the other day he was just passable. One of our K2 classes created their own monster, and play it as a class first thing in the morning. What a great way to discuss and develop new vocabulary!

In the context of Moshi Monsters, the “specialist vocabulary” that Katie Salen speaks of, includes Moshlings and Rox – both of which I am extremely confident all players would be able to explain clearly.

mystMessage boards are also popular with students as a way of communicating with others. On my message board, students have asked me how to get a particular Moshling, commented on my room and so on. It is great to see the dialogue that it generates, and the buzz in the ICT lab is electric, to say the least!

Tim Rylands, often credited as one of the forerunners of  gaming in education,  brought the computer game Myst into his classroom to develop literacy skills, with great success – he won a Becta ICT in Practice Award for his work in 2005. Since then, projects have been developed by schools and learning institutions around the world, including Learning & Teaching Scotland, who use games such as Guitar Hero and Myst to  stimulate creative and descriptive writing. They have been receiving positive feedback from teachers and students alike.

Games Develop Creativity

Scratch_001Gee states in his video for Edutopia, “Kids want to produce, they don’t just want to consume.” This is certainly true of the Playstation 3 hit, Little Big Planet, which has user generate content as a major part of the game.

At my school, the Grade 2-5’s are devouring Scratch, the MIT-developed computer programming software for kids. Scratch provides an extremely user-friendly platform where users can upload their own games, or download and make changes/improvements to other people’s games and upload them again for the community to try. One of our Grade 5 students contributed a game which he has translated into 3 languages – Chinese, Dutch and English! The code behind this game (and others that the students in my class produce) is extremely sophisticated, and more often than not, beyond my comprehension!

Games Develop Critical Thinking Skills

Samorost_1Players need to use critical thinking skills when playing games. Problem solving and decision making skills, together with logical thinking, sequencing and strategy-making are all reinforced. James Paul Gee argues that playing a game is like a continuous stream of assessment. If you fail to work out what steps need to be taken, and in which order, you will not progress further in the game. Games such as Samorost (and other games created by Amanita Design, including Samorost 2 and Machinarium) are fabulous for all the skills mentioned above. Kids love to play them together, and thrive on the challenge of coming up with possible solutions to rather daunting problems.

Zoombinis is a very popular computer game (and has been since its release in the mid ’90s), requiring complicated mathematical thinking skills. According to Amazon,

Zoombinis Logical Journey challenges children to employ such basic fundamentals of mathematical thinking as organizing information, reasoning of evidence, finding and making patterns, and systematic testing of hypotheses.

zoombinisWe loaded it on some computers in the lab, and had a games focus for our most recent Wired Wednesday professional development with staff, and it was funny how many teachers remembered it from 10 years ago when their kids played it. One teacher even asked to take it home, because it was that engaging! 

Gee, in an interview with Gamezone, argues:

…people are too hung up about learning “content” in the sense of facts. What we need people to learn is how to think deeply about complex systems (e.g., modern workplaces, the environment, international relations, social interactions, cultures, etc.) where everything interacts in complicated ways with everything else and bad decisions can make for disasters.

The thinking skills developed in gaming are transferable across a range of contexts, which will be of great benefit to our students in the workplaces of the future.

Gee explains in the same interview,

Good games stay inside, but at the outer edge of the player’s growing competence, feeling challenging, but “doable.” This creates a sense of pleasurable frustration.

It has also been described as ‘hard fun’. I’m sure many of us have been in the situation where a game has  been too easy or too hard. Those just-right games really hook us in to the point where our concept of time melts away – or as Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, Hungarian professor of Psychology famously refers to it – the state of flow. According to Wikipedia, flow is:

the mental state of operation in which the person is fully immersed in what he or she is doing by a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and success in the process of the activity.

Games are SocialMachinarium in the Lab 002 (Medium)

The old-fashioned notion of gamers in seclusion, having no human contact is a thing of the past. The majority of games today have a huge social component, including sophisticated discussion forums. Tom Chatfield again suggests:

Visit any website devoted to hosting player discussions of games like World of Warcraft, for instance, and you’ll find not hundreds but tens of thousands of comments flying between players who debate every aspect of the game, from weapon-hit percentages to mathematical analyses of the most efficient sequence in which to use a character’s abilities. It will range from the sublime to the ridiculous, and will be riddled with private codes, slang, trolls, flames, and everything else the internet so excels at delivering.

What you’ll find above all, though, is a love of discussion almost for its own sake; and an immensely broad and well-informed range of critical analyses. It’s not unknown for doctors of economics or maths to wade into the fray – and find themselves bested by other still more meticulous chains of gamer reasoning.

Participation in the social communities surrounding games, interacting with friends in multiplayer games, and contributing to discussion forums all help develop communication and collaboration skills. The ability to communication and collaborate with others is increasing in importance – take the ISTE Nets for example. Being able to establish a rapport with others, in a range of situations will help today’s students in future contexts.

Game-playing provides leadership and peer-learning opportunities for students. Games can level the playing field. Tom Chatfield notes that, “A virtual world is a tremendous leveller in terms of wealth, age, appearance, ethnicity and such like…” It means a child can be an expert, a student can be the most knowledgeable source of information.What a powerful concept for a student in a classroom – I have something of value to offer my peers and my teachers.

playstation_FlottenheimerAs Joseph Joubert, the French essayist famously said, “To teach is to learn twice.” In the context of the lab, the students I see playing games are a very supportive community, keen to help newcomers develop their understanding of the game. This fits in beautifully with  Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger’s Communities of Practice theory of learning, where,

“It is through the process of sharing information and experiences with the group that the members learn from each other, and have an opportunity to develop themselves personally and professionally.”

Face-to-face friendships develop through similar online  interests, and this is certainly evident in my ICT Lab.

James Paul Gee speaks of these communities of practice as “passion communities” constructed via social networking, where members are usually held to quite rigorous standards in their area of passion. To the novice, feedback is given, support is provided, but standards are not be lowered.

Rachel Williams for the Guardian, notes that according to a government-appointed expert,

Children spend so much time in front of the television and computer games, and so little time with adults that one child in six has difficulty learning to talk…

parent with kids & playstationIt is easy to put the blame squarely on the shoulders of the television and computer game industry, instead of focusing on the role parents and other adults have to play in a child’s language development. Rather than throw the baby out with the bathwater, this is a powerful opportunity for parents to involve themselves in the lives of their children, and play games together. The discussion arising from shared game-playing would surely help children develop those crucially important communication skills, and create a nice shared activity for parents and children.

In Summary

I truly believe gaming and game-based learning has a lot to offer our students. I hope this has provided an alternative perspective on gaming, and an insight into what our kids are learning through game-playing.

I would be interested in hearing how other educators have used gaming in their classrooms, and to what effect. Please share your expertise!

People to Watch

Tom Barrett‘s blog features a lot of great game-based learning information

James Paul Gee

Tim Rylandswebsite has writing samples and videos of work produced by students using Myst and other games.

Katie Salen

Further Reading

Background to Games Based Learning – Learning & Teaching Scotland

Using the Technology of Today, in the Classroom Today – the Education Arcade

Unlimited Learning – Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association

Photo Credits:

Mario – Nahuel31, Playstation – Flottenheimer, Parent & children with playstation – sean dreilinger, Myst image – ldrose,  Zoombinis image – matt.agnello, Images from games captured using Jing


Peace of Mind = $3.99

post-surgeryMy 2 year old son had an accident yesterday. He fell off his bike and split the bridge of his nose clean open. 8 stitches later, he is just fine, but as I’m sure you know, head wounds bleed pretty badly – so when my husband and our live-in nanny Raquel came in from the playground with Griffin covered in blood, there was a moment where time stood still.

I knew I had to keep everyone (including my four-year-old daughter) calm, and knew Griffin would need to go to A & E, but even so, I found myself dazed and forgetful. I went to the kitchen to get some ice, but once I got there, I forgot what it was I needed and had to retrace my steps. I couldn’t remember where I put the phone I was using only minutes earlier.

I guess I was in a bit of shock, which is probably understandable. My husband and Raquel had both done first aid training in the last 6 months, but they were equally dazed by the event. Luckily for us, we were able to get to a hospital quickly, and everything turned out fine, but it made me wonder – what if it were something more serious?

First aid & CPRThen, thanks to a tip off by @teachernz, I read this article, about a man trapped in the rubble of Haiti’s earthquake, who used information in an app called Pocket First Aid & CPR to help save his life. It seems to me, that $3.99 is a small price to pay for peace of mind, so I have downloaded the app (though if you want a free version, iFirst Aid Lite is another alternative).

Now I know that while my husband and I are at work, Raquel has access to our iPod Touch, which will have up-to-date information that will help ensure that even if she isn’t sure what to do in the event of an accident, she has a mobile device to get specific information and videos from, straight away. Pocket First Aid & CPR even has a space for medical profiles that you can fill in for each member of the family, with information such as blood type, allergies, birth date, insurance details and weight. How great is that?

Even in my dazed state, my iPhone was one item I did remember to bring with me to the emergency room, and it proved extremely handy. Griffin watched his favourite movie, Cars, which helped calm him down. When he was being stitched up, I was able to text message and/or email friends and family, to let them know what was going on.

So take my advice: keep your phones charged, and think about downloading a first aid app yourself!

Peace of Mind = $3.99

post-surgeryMy 2 year old son had an accident yesterday. He fell off his bike and split the bridge of his nose clean open. 8 stitches later, he is just fine, but as I’m sure you know, head wounds bleed pretty badly – so when my husband and our live-in nanny Raquel came in from the playground with Griffin covered in blood, there was a moment where time stood still.

I knew I had to keep everyone (including my four-year-old daughter) calm, and knew Griffin would need to go to A & E, but even so, I found myself dazed and forgetful. I went to the kitchen to get some ice, but once I got there, I forgot what it was I needed and had to retrace my steps. I couldn’t remember where I put the phone I was using only minutes earlier.

I guess I was in a bit of shock, which is probably understandable. My husband and Raquel had both done first aid training in the last 6 months, but they were equally dazed by the event. Luckily for us, we were able to get to a hospital quickly, and everything turned out fine, but it made me wonder – what if it were something more serious?

First aid & CPRThen, thanks to a tip off by @teachernz, I read this article, about a man trapped in the rubble of Haiti’s earthquake, who used information in an app called Pocket First Aid & CPR to help save his life. It seems to me, that $3.99 is a small price to pay for peace of mind, so I have downloaded the app (though if you want a free version, iFirst Aid Lite is another alternative).

Now I know that while my husband and I are at work, Raquel has access to our iPod Touch, which will have up-to-date information that will help ensure that even if she isn’t sure what to do in the event of an accident, she has a mobile device to get specific information and videos from, straight away. Pocket First Aid & CPR even has a space for medical profiles that you can fill in for each member of the family, with information such as blood type, allergies, birth date, insurance details and weight. How great is that?

Even in my dazed state, my iPhone was one item I did remember to bring with me to the emergency room, and it proved extremely handy. Griffin watched his favourite movie, Cars, which helped calm him down. When he was being stitched up, I was able to text message and/or email friends and family, to let them know what was going on.

So take my advice: keep your phones charged, and think about downloading a first aid app yourself!