This was the first Appy Hour I tried. I got the idea from another library doing a general appy hour. This was originally an adult program there, but I tweaked it for my job because, well I am not in the adult department, it is the perfect opportunity to show teachers new apps they can use for themselves or in the classroom. I wanted to have it at a local coffee shop to support local businesses and to make the event informal, unlike the CPDU workshops I lead. I picked Julie’s Coffee on Milwaukee Avenue in Lake Villa, just under a mile from our library. It’s super hippy and artsy, they even host art classes there and sell bohemian looking clothes and artwork. My favorite part is their quiche! It was to be more fun, like a happy hour, it’s at the same time period and you can drink…. coffee. Some places offer Appy Hour at bars and restaurants too.

I didn’t make this a class you had to register for, so I wasn’t sure who was coming. Our library usually has better attendance with registered programs, but I didn’t want to put a limit on it and I wanted there to be no pressure. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough pressure and I only got 3 people. But, it was the first time I did it, and the community does not quite know what it is yet. Hopefully, I can repeat these and word will spread. Another word to the wise, even if a place has wifi, they might not have enough bandwidth to support a program. Our internet connection was in and out, so sadly, our next Appy Hour will probably be at Starbucks. #sorrylocalbusinesses

So the first 2/3 of the program I introduce 5 apps and show them the basics of how to use each app. For this session, I chose Google Drawing, Scratch 2.0/Scratch Jr., Biodigital Human, Tinkercad, and myHomework.

Tinkercad I picked Google Drawing over other graphic organizer making programs like Lucid Chart,, Creately, Edraw, or Cacoo because those programs either only let you make about 3 pictures before charging you money, wouldn’t let you export any pictures, or were too hard to figure out how to use. Google Drawing is easy to use, it almost looks like Microsoft Publisher, and it saves automatically to the students Google Drive so they can never say they lost their work and they can collaborate with their classmates. Teachers can draw up graphic organizers and print them as worksheets, or students can make their own. Google Drawing is also not limited to graphic organizers like the other apps. You can make regular drawings and presentations on it. It’s like Microsoft Paint on steroids.

I am obsessed with Scratch, and just did a program on it with the 4th-6th graders. (I will do another post on this on its own and link to here)

Biodigital Human was a teacher request and can be really cool, but has a steep learning curve. And there is genetalia on it, if you click on that system, so if you have little immature ones, you might want to just project yourself using this onto the screen instead of letting them play with it. BH can get super detailed, you can add notes, simulations, tests, and conditions to your sample human as well as dissect it. This is mostly for teachers of middle school and up. You can also login to your account through your Google student account.

Tinkercad is the cheapest, easiest to use, and cleanest design out there for a 3D autocad design app. Make 3D objects and print them on a 3D printer. If your school or library doesn’t have one, Tinkercad can automatically send it through their program by quoting you a price for the printing compound and them mail it to your door. You can also get 3D files printed and mailed to you through Shapeways. And Tinkerplay (previously Modio) lets you design 3D action figures from scratch. The greatest thing about Tinkercad is that you can download other people’s files from the community page and print them or modify them into your own creation. One of the middle schools in Glen Ellyn uses their 3D printer in unique ways during art. (I will do a separate post on this and link to here)