Last week, I got a new toy… um, I mean, vital piece of equipment. An iPhone. More specifically, the iPhone 4 for Verizon. I spent that day personalizing it and finding as many free (or nearly-free) apps that could be of use.
First, I got a calendar that color-coded and would show me my schedule for both the day and the week: miCal, “the missing calendar”. So far, it’s been incredibly useful, easy to use, and nice on the eyes. It was totally worth the $1.99 to be able to see my whole week with color.
Next, I got something to log miles driven to, from, and between students. It took a lot of reading-up on apps before I found the one for me. Trip Cubby was a little expensive, but it does a lot. It saves frequent trips for ease of input, links trips to contacts, categorizes trips, I don’t have to input all data, I can put in miles or the odometer reading, and new trips start with the odometer reading from the previous trip. It’s easy and fast and I find myself actually willing to take the time to do it. Plus, it shows the sum of the “reimbursement,” which adds up fast at 50¢ per mile when over 80% of my students are in the Bethesda/Silver Spring/Potomac area, over 20 miles away.
I also found a 99¢ graphing calculator that looks a lot like the TI-83+, the graphing calculator most students and schools use. It’s called the RK-83 Scientific Graphing Calculator. It’s certainly a great alternative in case I have an emergency need for a graphing calculator, a last-minute student and I’m for some reason without my pink TI-84+ SI, or it runs out of batteries.
There’s a really cool free app called Graphbook that shows beautiful recolor-able mathematical pictures of fractals, such as the Julia set, topological items, such as a trefoil knots and shells, and other 2D and 3D graphical items.
I also picked up the free app Genius Scan, which turns pictures of documents into scans in .jpg or .pdf format. It even corrects for perspective. This will be very useful for student work and worksheets on the go, as well as borrowing the occasional recipe from a friend.
But I also have to look like a professional math geek. The right wallpapers (background) and ringtones will go a long way towards that. The free Retina Wallpapers HD app had a wonderful filter that helped me find a chalkboard-type background for the home screen and a blue-and-yellow Mandelbrot set (fractal) for the lock screen.
The free Ringtone Maker app let me take up to 30 seconds of my favorite mathy songs from online downloads of Sesame Street and Maththeatre. Most of my notification tones for e-mail, Facebook, and texts are marimba-type sounds. They’re professional, with warm tones, yet they’re staccato and have a range of sounds, and I was a percussionist once-upon-a-time. But, right now, my ringtone is the end of Maththeatre‘s “L’Hopital,” from their extremely enjoyable debut album “Calculus: The Musical!” and is to the tune of Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart”:
“Once upon a time I had trouble with math,
but now they all think that I am smart.
There’s nothing I can’t do,
I have Calculus in the heart.
“Once upon a time I was crying all night
but now I do my math in the dark.
There’s nothing I can say,
I have Calculus in the heart.”
I have to say, I love Matheatre!
Because of the size and the amount of space I’m using for audiobooks, I’m not using either the Kindle or iBooks app yet, but I have downloaded the Kindle app. We’ll see what happens over time. I also download the free apps for Amazon.com (to look up books), Audible.com (to download audio books), Facebook (to stay in contact with friends and family while staying up on some students’ lives, in case something might affect their mood for learning), and WeightWatchers (for the “well-rounded” tutor on the go).
Tags: graph, graphing calculator, iPhone, math geekery, phone, smartphone, software, technology