Category Archives: Student App Reviews

Blogilates

Name of Application: Blogilates

Cost: free

Pros: features targeted pilates exercises for the whole body in a fun and engaging atmosphere

Cons: the workouts are marketed largely toward females rather than males, also a few videos might not be appropriate for students to use directly due to language

Description: I have been following the pilates workout videos created by award-winning fitness instructor Cassie Ho for years and they never get easier! These short, targeted video clips are my go-to for staying in shape outside of dance class. I love how you can choose videos based on how much time you have and what part of the body you want to focus on, such as your abs, arms, back, or glutes. Doing these videos is like having your own virtual trainer. Cassie is extremely positive and energetic. She does a great job at motivating you to get through the toughest of workouts with her. Cross-training is very important for dancers, especially as students become more advanced in their technique. Pilates is a powerful exercise for injury prevention as well as rehabilitation. These exercises can help you and your students develop a stronger and more stable core, increased flexibility and muscular strength, improved posture, restored balance throughout the body, and stronger connection to the breath.

Conclusion/Commentary: I would recommend this app for dance teachers to try on their own so that they can learn effective pilates exercises that will help them and their students become stronger dancers. While most of the videos are appropriate, teachers should always make sure to review them before showing any to their class. I have tried other pilates videos on Youtube and most of them are quite boring. Blogilates does a great job at keeping you engaged while giving you an outstanding workout!

 Number of Stars: * * * * *

Dance Maker by 92Y

Name of Application: Dance Maker by 92Y

Cost: free

Pros: features activities and resources for dance teachers, helps you to connect to the DEL community

Cons: I still cannot figure out how to download it! It does not show up in the Apple or Google app store for me.

Description: This app seems like a valuable tool for the dance educator. It is neatly divided into three sections: movement sentences, the idea machine, and resources. The “movement sentence” generator is a tool to help create choreography, typically with younger students. You can choose from pre-selected themes such as animals, earth, or outer space. You are then presented with relevant action words that you can put together in any order you like. Apply elements from Laban Movement Analysis and you have a dance! The “idea machine” provides inspiration for choreography while “resources” assists with lesson plans and tips for any grade level.

Conclusion/Commentary: This app is something I have wanted to try for a long time. I don’t think I would use it all the time in my classroom, but it seems like a fun way to help kids discover interesting ideas for choreography. It also is a way for teachers to connect dance to technology. Hopefully I can figure out how to get it soon!

Number of Stars: * * * * *

Insight Timer

Name of Application: Insight Timer

 Cost: free

 Pros: over 7,487 free guided meditations, relaxing music tracks, talks, and courses

 Cons: none

 Description: This app will keep you sane on the craziest of teaching days! I love how many different types of meditations there are on here. You can choose what you would like to focus on, such as recovery and healing, stress and anxiety, happiness, or creativity and performance. There are even ones made for kids and teens that you can use with your class! If you prefer to meditate in silence you can set a timer and choose what type of sound you would like to hear when it’s complete. I love how you can choose meditations based on how much time you have, whether it’s only one minute or over an hour. When you’re not meditating, there are discussion boards that you can join to talk about mindfulness or just read beautiful quotes by Rumi.

 Conclusion/Commentary: This is the greatest gift you can give yourself. Whether you choose to meditate on the train, before bed, or during your prep period, there is no way you can go wrong with this app. Teachers are the busiest people and need to take time for self-care!

 Number of Stars: * * * * *

Vimeo

Name of application: Vimeo
Cost: Tiered; basic is free, premium memberships available.

Pros: Able to follow desired dance and video artists and populate your wall with content that is relevant to your interests. Able to upload original content and tailor video privacy. Able to download certain videos for offline viewing.

Cons: Weekly upload limits for free members.

Uses: Vimeo can be a great classroom tool on a number of levels. First, it’s a wonderful resource for examples of different artists’ filmed dance work. Many videos are even available for offline viewing, negating the risks of spotty school Wi Fi. Additionally, choreographers and filmmakers can upload their own original content to share, publicly or not–though free members take note; the amount of data you can upload in a given week is strict. I found it was worth the “plus” membership.

Conclusion/conversation: Vimeo is a fantastic tools for choreographers and filmmakers of all ages to share their work, and for aficionados to see new and different dance works for the camera.

Number of stars: ***** (5)

Duolingo

Name of application: Duolingo
Cost: free

Pros: Teaches basic vocabulary and language structure through responsive games. Uses phone mic and speaker to facilitate speaking and listening skills. Incentivizes learning with point system for in-game purchases. Fun owl mascot, “Duo”, provides positive reinforcement as you progress.

Cons: No app is truly a complete language learning experience. Practice sentences may not be the most useful for classroom teachers–for example, “The horse drinks milk.”

Use: I am using Duolingo to practice basic Spanish skills, as 90% of my students speak Spanish as a home language. While my dance department is not technically part of my school’s dual-language program, I teach students from that program. I find that even the minimal Spanish skills I have help me in the classroom–not that I’m attempting to teach in Spanish (yet), but that when a student struggles to express an idea in English, I can help her translanguage more readily.

Conclusion/commentary: We know that practice is the best way to learn language, but Duolingo has helped me build my Spanish grammar and vocabulary to the point where practice becomes useful.

Number of stars: ***** (5)

Videoshop

Name of application: Videoshop
Cost: Free

Pros: Intuitive interface. Does what one would expect a video editing software to do.

Cons: Ad banner at the bottom of the screen.

Uses: In lieu of Quik, I will try Videoshop as a way to edit footage in-camera. If I can make it sing, I will have my students download it so that we can do dance-for-camera choreograpy projects.

Conclusion/commentary: After my frustration with Quik, I’m happy to find an in-camera video editor that gets the job done!

Number of stars: ***** (5)

Common Core

Name of application: Common Core by Mastery Connect
Cost: Free

Pros: Standards at your fingertips.

Cons: Does not include Core Arts Standards.

Use: Quick lookup of common core standards in ELA, math, history/social studies, and science/tech. Includes resources on how to read and apply the standards.

Conclusion/commentary: An easy way to access Common Core standards when planning interdisciplinary lessons.

Number of stars: ***** (5)