Funambulist: Six Apps to Help You Survive

  • This blog entry was written by Janet Adams MA, Special Projects Coordinator for Continuing Education at FPU.

Pronunciation: /fjuːˈnambjʊlɪst/

Origin:  Late 18th century: from French funambule or Latin funambulus (from funis ‘rope’ + ambulare ‘to walk’) + -ist

Despite the wall-to-wall training on the Common Core these last few months, teachers are sharing their own personal ideas and knowledge through social media outlets such as Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, and more.  I was reading a Twitter post and stopped to read this unusual word.  What does the word funambulist mean?  Look at the origin –  notice the words “rope” and “walk”.  Are you a funambulist?  Teachers may feel like they are walking a tightrope this school year.  Implementing the Common Core and preparing the classroom for a new sea of faces is taxing.  Is your tight rope becoming longer and narrower?  Don’t lose your balance.  Here are six apps to help you jump off the school year with energy and enthusiasm.

Nearpod: FREE

NearpodNearpod enables teachers to use their iPads to manage content. It combines presentation, engagement and real-time assessment tools.  Teacher iPad app allows sharing content and managing the flow of the lecture.  Students use the Nearpod Student app to receive curricular content, participate in activities and submit responses.

Benefits – Create interactive classes with ease, share content in real time, engage students with multimedia content, control students’ devices by seeing all student activity in real-time.  Use with online/blended classes.

Aurasma:  FREE

AurasmaAre you planning a Back to School night.  See and interact with your audience in a whole new way.  Thanks to Aurasma, every image, object and even place can have its own Aura.  Auras can be as simple as a video and a link to a web page or as complex as a lifelike 3D animation.  Use the Aurasma app to unlock Auras and share the experience with parents and students.  You can experiment and use the simple tools within the app to create and share your own Auras.  Check out this teacher’s example of using augmented reality with @aurasma – A Complete How to Guide!


Doodle Buddy: FREE and My Story: $1.99

Doodle BuddyThese two apps have been favorites.  Use Doodle Buddy and My Story to have the students tell the story with their own images and then insert them into a digital book and add the text to the story.  Connect with a friend to draw together over the Internet.


Popplet lite:  FREE

PoppletPopplet is a platform for your ideas.  With Popplet a teacher or student can capture ideas and sort them visually in realtime.  For example, use Popplet to brainstorm all the areas they would need to research if they were going to investigate lions.  This would include habitat, environment, what they ate, how they lived and what is their social structure.

Puppet Pals HD:  $2.99

Puppet PalsSTAR IN YOUR OWN CARTOON in this creative, award-winning app!

Kids and adults alike love the simplicity of puppeteering and voicing characters while creating movies to share.  For instance, you could use Puppet Pals with the presenter’s image and one of the student’s drawings as puppets to reenact the story of his encounter with a lion from the research created with Popplet.  Puppet Pals allows students to create unique shows with animation and audio in real time.