Thursday, June 9, 2011

Go into the woods with your iPad or iPhone!

This shows taking a picture with the iPad.
Put an average kid in the woods, and most probably couldn't tell you a maple tree from an oak tree, or from a tulip poplar.  They just don't go into the woods much these days, and their yards at their house or apartment complex often contain non-native species of trees and plants.  This where a new iPad app, Leaf Snap, can offer a perfect blend of technology and emerging forestry skills.   Essentially you pick a leaf, place it against a white background and then take a picture with your iPhone or iPad 2.  The picture uploads to Leaf Snap. Apparently,  facial recognition software has been adapted to recognize leaf shapes to let your iPad compare your leaf to similarly shaped leaves in the Leaf Snap database.  My girls had a lot of fun with this, and younger students can too!

The next photo is what the image looks like in the app once it's uploaded. Different choices of species are presented.  The person trying to identify the tree needs to choose the closest choice.
This is the next screen shot after the leaf has been idendified.  This shows flowers, seeds and bark of the same tree.
This is a nice feature which shows where the identified tree is located.
Sorry, Andorra, but ferns are not in the tree leaf app! 

Happy leafing!!!!  All kids could benefit from this. Not only does it teach tree identification, but parts of a tree are examined, and at the end, some map skills are learned!  I'll have to try it out with my speech kids next August!!   Teaching hands-on science to children with language delays provides content vocabulary and a knowledge base that they don't get from guided reading books. 

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