Thursday, July 30, 2015

H&R Block Budget Challenge: Get ready!

I truly believe financial literacy is one of important literacies our students should attain before they graduate high school. I have blogged about ideas to enhance this across the curriculum and consider it one of the thirteen essential literacies. 

Students are often taught, in a social studies class or a economics class, about the impact the decisions made by businesses and government have (and have had) on society and the economic climate. Students study capitalism, the Great Depression, War Bonds, government bail-outs of corporations, manufacturing, and other related events..

However, the area that is often overlooked is the personal finance component of financial literacy. Sometimes, how to develop a budget is taught in a math class when learning about spreadsheets. And I remember working in pairs in my high school health class while we developed a budget for a wedding. But there is not often a systemic curriculum for real-life applications of personal finance, especially in this digital age. Learning how to balance a checkbook is great, but what about online banking and investing? Planning for retirement? Paying taxes?


H&R Block provides a wonderful contest each year. the H&R Budget Challenge, that both helps students learn and practice personal financial literacy, as well as offers their teachers and themselves a chance to win grants and scholarships! 



The H&R Block Budget Challenge is a free online contest with the goal to teach students strong budgeting skills and fiscal discipline. The contest encourages students to learn personal finance in a fun, engaging way while competing against other classrooms and students for $3 million in classroom grants and student scholarships! These awards include 60 chances for classroom grants up to $5000, 132 chances of student scholarships of $20,000, and a grand prize student scholarship of $100,000.





The Budget Challenge is a teen financial literacy program in the form of an online game that simulates real life financial and personal money planning of budgets, retirement, taxes, and more. The Budget Challenge is open to students 14 years of age or over in grades 9-12. There are multiple start dates for the competition (first one starting September 10 and last one over April 21) so it would be easy to fit into your curriculum when you see fit. Answers to all your questions about the Budget Challenge may be found here: http://www.hrblockdollarsandsense.com/

Students will all need a personal email account, teachers are required to inform student parents/guardians about the program and prizes. and also subscribe to the educator mailing list for the contest.

There is both an iOS and and Android app available to help students keep track of their progress in the H & R Block Budget Challenge and students can also access the information through the Web site when using a computer or Chromebook.

Budget Challenge App screenshots



GET READY FOR THE BUDGET CHALLENGE

I know if I was signing my class up to participate in the H&R Block Budget Challenge, I would want to have them prepared with some background information.

There are online materials and sets of state standards to help teachers develop lessons and units dealing with personal finance into and across the curriculum. I have included resources in the my blog post, but I especially like the Council for Economic Education's set of standards for financial literacy which cover skills for grades 4, 8, 9 and 12.


  • Earning income
  • Buying goods and services
  • Using credit
  • Saving
  • Financial investing
  • Protecting and insuring
The Mint.org site also offers tips and tricks especially for teens in the areas of earning, saving, spending, owing, tracking, giving, investing, and safeguarding.

There are also apps and interactive online sites that can get your students ready for the H&R Block Budget Challenge!

Lesson plans created by teachers for previous years of the H&R Budget Challenge can be found at the We Are Teachers site. These will give you some ideas of the types of lessons that can be designed.

Thrive and Shine is a app that teaches teens and young adults about personal finance. It is available for the iOS and Android platforms as well as a Web app. The site includes a curriculum and ideas for teachers, too.

Thrive and Shine screenshot


Unleash the Loot! is an iPad app that is intended for grades 5-8, but would be fun for the high school students to play, too. It can help them realize the basics of personal literacy such as setting goals, budgeting, earning money, saving and spending, and giving to charity.

Unleash the Loot! screenshot


The Mint.org online site includes interactive scenarios for kids and teens to work through to learn about personal financial literacy. Here are some of the activities for teens.

The Practical Money Skills for Life site by Visa includes some short interactive games to help students budget. One is called "Road Trip for Savings" and you have to collect money by doing "chores" as you drive across the US. I never was able to get anywhere, running out of money for gas and insurance, but students would probably do just fine!


There are other games on the site including two well-created sports games, Financial Soccer and Financial Football (also available for iOS), that have students answering questions in order to advance up the field to score. For iOS and Android, there is a Plan'it Prom app for both iOS and Android to help students and parents budget for the prom!

I hope you sign up for the H&R Block Budget Challenge and encourage your students to participate!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Android Apps for the understanding level of Bloom's

This is a re-posting of a blog post of August 5, 2013, which originally appeared on the now-defunct Sony Education Ambassadors site.
On July 7, 2015, I provided an overview of Bloom's Revised Taxonomy and include a set of Android apps and Web sites that could be used to support teaching and learning at the remembering level. If you did not read that first installment, please take a moment to do so...the introduction to the series can be found there.

UNDERSTANDING LEVEL


The next cognitive level of Bloom's Revised Taxonomy is the understanding level. The understanding level involves explaining and constructing meaning using various methods. Activities involving this skill level include....


Diane Darrow, in an Edutopia article, outlines the questions you need to ask when looking for and identifying apps to use to support this level of Bloom's. 


ANDROID APPS AND WEB SITES FOR THE UNDERSTANDING LEVEL

Describing: Lensoo Create

Lensoo Create is a screencasting program for the Android platform. A screencasting program allows a student to describe a process by including a real-time voice-over while drawing on the "screen" or when marking up an image. For no-cost, Lensoo Create allows up to 15 minutes of recording time, import of custom background images, and PDF file imports.

For a $4.99 in-app purchase, you can get up to 30 minutes of recording time, the custom background and PDF import, additional shapes to use, and real time video capture right in the app. If you subscribe to Lensoo Create for $1.99 per month you get all of these features plus unlimited watermarked HD downloads.

Lensoo Create




Classifying: Big Fat Canvas

Big Fat Canvas is a useful drawing tool, and, with the ability to change colors and widths of the drawing tools, student could use the app for classification of items, a skill at the understanding level. The completed drawings can be sent via email, or to Dropbox, Picasa, and Evernote. For older students, the Picasso app might be a good choice, too.

Big Fat Canvas


Picasso




Summarizing: Dual Screen Browser

The Dual Screen Browser allows the student to view two Web pages side-by-side on the screen. If one of the windows is an open Google Doc while the other window is the content that needs to be read, students can take notes and summarize while reading the other page.

Dual Screen Browser


Explaining:  Video Edit +

Video Edit+ allows the student to use images or video from their gallery or shoot video right on the tablet. Students can import audio or record it then record it directly to explain a process, a book, a science lab, a physical education activity, etc.

Video Edit+


Interpreting: Slide Show Creator

When students need to interpret something, such as this lesson about famous movie lines, they can use a slide show creator to include images from the Web or taken with the camera. The finish slide show lives on their site and also can also be emailed or uploaded to YouTube. The feature to add text to a slide is planned.

Slide Show Creator


Compare/Contrast:  Mobile Decision Maker


One way students can demonstrate understanding is to create a T-chart with compare/contrast or pro/con explanations included. Mobile Decision Maker allows students to create these charts on the tablet. Each entry can be weighted to help students make a final decision based on weighting.

Compare/Contrast


FOLLOW UP

These are just some apps to get you started! The Google Play Store offers a ton of other apps that can be used at this level (or sometimes at all the Bloom's levels!) You can find more suggestions on my Bloomin' Apps page-- look for the chart for Android apps!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Publisher Plus for Mac

One of the things I have missed since moving to the Mac a few years ago is Microsoft Publisher. I loved that program and even co-wrote a book about it! It was a simple-to-use full-featured desktop publisher. I know that Apple's Pages for Mac does allow some of the desktop-publishing features such as text boxes and images that can easily be moved around on a page you are creating, but it does not seem like a good substitute for me. I love Canva online for making graphics, but I needed a program that ran on my local computer.

I have been looking for a desktop publisher for the Mac that includes lots of templates but also allows me to start from scratch. Pearl Mountain's Publisher Plus for Mac (or via the app store) seems to meet my requirements for a desktop publishing suite! They include over 170 easily-editable templates for brochures, flyers, newsletters. catalogs, posters, magazine covers, menus, invitations, cards, letter, envelopes, resumes, business cards, certificates, and disc case covers. The interface is clean and easy to navigate as you can see below.


Once you pick a type of publication in Publisher Plus to work on, the templates are totally customizable. When you chose an image or component, you are presented with the common Mac menu of options in the right-hand pane. You can also change the paper size, margins, the color of the background, and even hand-draw vector-based images with the mouse on the publication if you want to.


There are basic image libraries included in Publisher Plus, but Creative Commons icons and images are so plentiful on the Web nowadays, you can easily find your own to import. And, of course, you can use your own images and photographs.


The publication file can be shared and saved in all the common formats we need to use. You can save as a JPEG, PDF, PNG, TIFF, BMP, and PSD file. You can email, message, AirDrop, and send to Facebook and Flickr for publication. Unfinished publications can also be saved out a a Publisher Plus file format (.ppl) that allow editing by others with Publisher Plus for Mac. Here is a link to the FAQ's for Publisher Plus for Mac if you have other specific needs.

You can download a fully-functioning trial version of Publisher Plus for Mac here. The full version is $39.90 from their site ($19.99 from the Mac app store) and includes additional no-cost templates in each of the categories and no watermarks on the exported projects. I am hoping, as more educators try out this program, there will be an educational template category for common classroom and school publications or educational templates to edit in each of the template categories. Or maybe, we could create our own shared file area online of .PPL files so anyone using Publisher Plus for Mac could download and edit them.

I think my search for a simple-to-use and full-featured desktop publishing program is over now that I have found Publisher Plus for Mac!



Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Android apps for the remembering level of Bloom's

This is a re-posting of a blog post of July 12, 2013, which originally appeared on the now-defunct Sony Education Ambassadors site.

If you were an education major in college, you are probably very familiar with Bloom's Taxonomy. In the image below, on the left, is the original Bloom’s Taxonomy, developed in the late 1950’s by Benjamin Bloom. On the right, is the Revised Blooms Taxonomy, published in 2000 by Anderson, a student of Bloom’s, and Krathwhol. The names of the levels were turned into action verbs since Anderson and Krathwhol felt that action verbs implied engagement and re-arranged them a bit.
I want to point out is there is still a ton of instructional materials on the Web mapped to the original taxonomy and I encourage you to search for those "older" terms, also, for some good ideas.
The image below includes both the original and revised taxonomies as well as the mapping of the levels to make it more clear when identifying resources to support them.



However, when I think about Bloom's Taxonomy, I do not think of it as a triangle. The triangle image seems to indicate learners start at the bottom and move upwards. I feel that we use each level of the cognitive processes over and over as we begin to acquire new knowledge on a topic. My view of Bloom's Revised Taxonomy looks like the version below, The Cogs of the Cognitive Processes, with all of the levels inter-related and dependent on one another.



REMEMBERING LEVEL


The first cognitive level of Bloom's Revised Taxonomy is the remembering level. The remembering level involves finding information, storing it somehow and then recalling it. Activities involving this skill level include...





Diane Darrow, in an Edutopia article, outlines the questions 
you need to ask when looking for and identifying apps to use to support this level of Bloom's.



ANDROID APPS AND SITES FOR THE REMEMBERING LEVEL



Information searching: Diigo
Diigo is an online bookmarking tool that allows students to gather information, tag it, and annotate it. With the Diigo Power Note app, they can add text notes, bookmarks, cached pages, pictures, text messages to their Diigo library as well as access information already in the library.



Retrieve information: Evernote
Evernote is a must-have app that allows students to gather assets dealing with a topic.  It runs on all devices and operating systems and allows the user to take notes, capture photos, create to-do lists, record voice reminders and search of all these. It is an organizational tool each student should have!


One tool that I have started using is Pocket, which downloads the items you add to it. This is a great way for students to have a hard copy of what they have found.  They can view the collection visually or in a list. They can also easily get back to the original site.


Remembering terms, ideas and facts can be accomplished with a concept map. Simple Mind Free lets students easily create a mind map, concept map, or flow chart. Students can use Simple Mind Free for all types of things, such as brainstorming new ideas, illustrating concepts, making lists and outlines, planning presentations, creating organizational charts, and more! There is even a desktop version available for Mac and Windows.










One way for students to remember is to label a diagram or image or illustrate a concept.
Skitch lets students--
- Annotate: Add arrows, shapes and text to existing images
- Create: Draw something new
- Edit: Reposition, recolor and remove annotations at will
- Share: Send sketches and annotations to Twitter, email or Evernote


Timelining: TimelineJS
http://timeline.verite.co/

Timelining is another activity based at the remembering level. TimelineJS is not an app but a Web site. It works best through the Dolphin Browser..  A student visits the TimelineJS site, downloads a Google Spreadsheet template to his/her Google Drive, edits the sample content with timeline information, and publishes it. The student then goes back to the site, enters the published URL of the Spreadsheet, and receives the embed code that can be put into a Google Site, a Weebly page, or blog. This timeline can include video, too!

These are just some apps to get you started! The Google Play Store offers a ton of other apps that can be used at this level (or sometimes at all the Bloom's levels!) You can find more suggestions on my Bloomin' Apps page-- look for the chart for Android apps!


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A trio of reviews

Three companies have sent me items to review and reviews of them follow.  It is always fun to try out new technology gear!

MagBack for iPad

I am always on the lookout for ways to mount my devices in the car and around the house. MagBack for iPad is one neat solution! MagBack for iPad bills itself as the "world's thinnest iPad mount". The MagBack kit consists of two magnetic MagSticks, that can be mounted anywhere, and two MagBack Pads that mount to the back of the iPad. The MagBack is available for all models of the iPad Mini, iPad 2/3/4 non-Retina, and iPad Air 1 and 2, and comes in a variety of colors. The cost of the MagBack is $39 and you can also buy 3 sets of extra MagSticks for $19 to use to mount the iPad to additional places around the house or in your car.

The MagSticks can be mounted on a wall, your car dashboard, your cookbook stand, or the wall behind your desk. They are a shiny silver and are 4.5" x .5", so are unobtrusive even when mounted to your car dashboard. The MagStick can be mounted on wood, a painted wall, fabric, leather, glass, or aluminum (and I am assuming the "pleather" on my car dashboard!)

There is a template included in the package to ensure you get the MagBack Pads aligned correctly on the back of the iPad. These MagBack Pads also provide a nice gripping surface when you are carrying your iPad. The Apple iPad Smart Cover does not interfere with the MagBack Pads (and vice versa), since the MagBack Pads mount on the short sides of the iPad. 




MagBack Pads and MagSticks

MagBack Pads mounted on the iPads


Here is a another review of the MagBack for iPad that includes additional screenshots and a video demonstrating the process for installation.

MagBack is also accepting pre-orders for its MagBack for iPhone. In this model, the "Pads" are built right into the phone case and there is only one MagStick needed.

Headset by ThinkWrite

ThinkWrite was formed in 2013, and designs low-cost mobile device accessories to support the education market.

They sent me their headset (headphone and microphone combo) to review. This low-cost headset sells for $19.99 and volume discounts are available.

ThinkWrite specifically made a headset to meet the needs of schools. It is very durable and is made from special plastic that allows the headset to be bent (as kids are likely to try) without breaking! The headset is constructed with a "pleather" material that is easy to clean and provides padding and adjustments to fit any child's head. Take a look at how indestructible they are!


The inclusion of a mounted microphone that sits close to the student's mouth makes these very useful for students recording narratives and podcasts since the classroom noise level is kept to a minimum. And there is an in-line volume control to easily allow students to moderate the sound on something they are listening to.


Teachers are always on the look-out for low-cost technology solutions for their classrooms, and I think these ThinkWrite Headsets are a winner!


Reflector 2 by AirSquirrels

I have been a proponent of the Reflector app since the day it was introduced (when it was called Reflection). The Reflector app turns your Windows or Mac computer into an AirPlay device, allowing one or more devices to mirror their screens to your computer via WiFi or Bluetooth. If your computer is hooked up to a video projector, of course, the teacher and students can share their findings, work, or questions with the rest of the class. And it makes it easy for a teacher to roam about the classroom and clear up misconceptions by mirroring their device screen to the "big" screen.

One of my favorite features of the Reflector 1 app is the ability to record the activity on the screen of the mirrored iOS device while it is mirrored to the computer. As one who creates lots of instructional videos, I use this feature daily. Even the sound comes over to the computer so it is included in the movie I produce. In a classroom, the ability to easily record an iOS device screen is invaluable when a teacher needs to record an on-going lesson for an absent student, for parents, or by wanting the ability to record a student's work for their digital portfolio.

However, Reflector 2 ($14.99 per single license with volume licenses available) has bumped up the capabilities of the software! Devices running various operating systems can now mirror to the same computer! And whether the device is an iOS device, an Android device, or a Chromebook, the mirrored screen can be recorded! This is a wonderful addition for BYOD/T environments where students may have a mix of iOS devices, Android devices, and Chromebooks in the same classroom.

Reflector 2 also allows the teacher to emphasize a certain device on the computer screen when multiple devices are mirrored, as well as hiding connected devices. In addition, the teacher can show a device full-screen to eliminate all other distractions for the viewer

Reflector Director is an iPad app ($6.99) that allows the teacher to handle the emphasizing, hiding, and previewing of mirrored device screens on the computer from the iPad, rather than having to sit at the computer to do so.

There are a few additional programs that AirSquirrels makes that also may be helpful in a classroom. The Reflector for Android app allows iOS devices to mirror to the screen of an Android device (it does not enable Android mirroring.)

Reflector for Amazon Fire TV and TV Stick ($6.99) allows one to mirror a Mac computer, Windows computer or Chromebook (in conjunction with AirParrot 2) to a Fire TV or Fire TV Stick as well as mirror any iOS device to your TV that has an Amazon Fire TV Stick.

With all of these features, Reflector 2 meets the needs of teachers and students no matter what device they are using or need to share!



Sunday, May 31, 2015

IMHO

This post originally appeared on my Discovery Education Network blog, Kathy's Schrock Katch of the Month, on July 1, 2013 and is re-printed with permission from Discovery Education.


IMHO or Why give constructive criticism?

I recently had a brutally honest day. I was asked to review a new book coming out and write a blurb for the back cover. The title was something I was interested in, so I agreed. As I read along in a chapter about change, I came across the line. “Everyone knows that teachers, especially, are resistant to change.” Hold on! This book was written for educators– why dis' them in the text? And who is “everyone” and why are teachers more resistant to change than anyone in a different profession? I re-wrote the sentence to be less insulting.

As I read on in the technology sections, the exemplar lessons were pretty much the lowest level of technology use. The assessments were used to inform instruction but did not gauge student acquisition of content knowledge at all.

So, as I found things that I felt could be made better and more meaningful to the proposed audience, I jotted them down and included additional ideas, quotes, and links to resources. I sent them along to the editor with a note stating I did not feel comfortable offering a blurb for the book because I did not believe in many of the tenets that were put forth. It was probably too late to do anything about the content, because the book looked like it was in its final form, but I felt compelled to do it.

The same day, I was sent a lesson planning white paper that was released by a company. It was already on the Web. However, there were no author credentials on the pages and, since it was pedagogical in nature, I wanted to know that someone who was (or had been) a K-12 educator had written the piece. It was also a bit “preachy”, so I reworked one of the paragraphs to something a bit different, without changing the content. I sent my thoughts along to them.

I guess the point is, in education, where others sometimes tell us things we don’t agree with or we feel would never work in a regular classroom setting,  it is up to us to give constructive feedback when you see something that you don’t like or don’t agree with.

The important thing is to provide something other than simply writing “that sentence seems to put down the whole teaching profession”. Re-write the content so it will not be demeaning to teachers and will  make the teachers take more notice and continue reading the book or article. Provide links to resources that are, in your opinion, more appropriate   than the samples that are provided in the article, book chapter, Tweet, or GOOGLE+ post.

This goes for educational trends, too. Although it sometimes seems, IMHO,  educators jump on lots of bandwagons for new pedagogical models, I don’t always initially agree with the idea or the implementations of the new idea. I read about it, look at successful practices, and then comment, constructively (I hope!) about it. For instance, I passionately disagreed with this blog post about turning Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy on its head.  In this case, I publicly disagreed in the comment area, but oftentimes I may just write to the blogger directly and offer some alternatives for her/him to think about.

Following are some links about constructive feedback and criticism. Most are not directly related to education or even the online realm, but you should garner some good ideas. As with anything you are passionate about, you need to wait a few minutes before posting a bit of constructive feedback to someone else. Passion in print comes across differently than passion in person, so you have to plan your responses carefully. Write a draft, look it over, take a walk, and then push the send button.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jamesyu/3764549/






We need to encourage constructive discourse in our profession. I also feel we should to step back and think about all aspects of a plan or trend before becoming enamored with the idea just because everyone else is. Maybe parts of the new concept are useful to help students acquire both the 21st century skills and the content knowledge they need. But, perhaps other parts of the new idea won’t work in your situation and you have already discovered alternative methods that work well. You need to share those alternative ideas with the rest of us!

Don’t be afraid to constructively criticize and don’t be afraid to be criticized, which you might be. If you are passionate about something or think something is not quite right about an aspect of education, write the company, the blogger, the Tweeter, the President, and let them know. Sometimes people just don’t know what they don’t know!

Do you have any specific thoughts on ways to give online constructive criticism/feedback? There are not a lot of good ideas out there…please share via Twitter (@kathyschrock), Google+, or email me at kathy@kathyschrock.net!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Using Windows with the Mac ecosystem


Many educators have to use both Windows and Mac platforms. Sometimes they have Windows laptops at school and a Macbook at home. They sometimes have iPads in the classroom and sometimes have Chromebooks. I have recently found out that it is possible to use both major platforms and keep your life in balance!

I received an HP EliteBook Folio 1020 Ultrabook laptop to review. I had just sold my 11" Macbook Air and did not have a personal laptop to use, so the EliteBook came at the right time!

My desktop is an iMac and I use and iPad and iPhone, so I decided to see if I could still keep up-to-date and work on my items in the Apple ecosystem using the HP EliteBook Folio 1020 Ultrabook.


THE MACHINE

The HP EliteBook Folio 1020 Ultrabook

The HP EliteBook Folio 1020 Ultrabook is a very well-crafted, thin, light laptop with tons of up-to-date features! With the SSD drive, it turns on and shuts down quickly, opens installed programs quickly, and completes intensive tasks, like rendering, just great!










The machine I received has these specs:
  • Windows 8.1 Pro
  • Intel Core M processor: 1.2 GHz up to 2.9GHz with Intel Turbo Boost
  • Integrated Intel HD graphics 5300
  • 12.5" diagonal LED-backlit touch screen (2560x1440)
  • Backlit keyboard
  • 8 GB RAM
  • 512GB SATA SSD
  • Intel® Dual Band Wireless-AC 7265 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
  • 2 USB 3.0 ports
  • HDMI port
  • MicroSD card slot
  • Glass Forcepad touchpad
  • Headphone/mic jack
  • Webcam 720 HD
  • Fingerprint sensor
  • NFC
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Docking connector
  • Size: 12.2" x 8.26" x .6"
  • Weight:  2.66 lbs.
VGA/Ethernet adapter
One accessory I received with the HP EliteBook Folio 1020 Ultrabook was a smartly-designed dual Ethernet/VGA dongle that attached to the docking port. It was nice to have both of those connections in one adapter! As a presenter, I make use of Ethernet at the presentation table (to avoid the wireless that the participants use) and most projectors in venues are still VGA, so this is the perfect combination.




The full datasheet with all the options may be found here.

There were some features that were new to me. I love the built-in fingerprint scanner to log-in to the machine, the touchscreen for using Windows 8.1 in the way it was meant to be used, and the glass Forcepad touchpad. It took a little getting used to a "no click" touchpad, but, once I did, it really makes things faster and easier! The EliteBook Folio 1020 also has a quiet, backlit keyboard with just the right amount of travel to let you know you have hit a key. The speaker is top-loaded over the keyboard and, for conferencing, there are HP tools built-in that can minimize the background noise if you do not have a headset.

MY USAGE

I used the machine exclusively for a week, and, as I stated before, I wanted to see if I could keep up with the products I currently use on the iMac, iPhone, and iPad Air by using the HP EliteBook Folio 1020 Ultrabook.

In schools, it is becoming less and less important to think about the hardware. The emphasis is on "Can I get done what I need to get done?" With many schools still running Windows enterprise networks, Windows-based machines are still very prevalent in the educational settings. But, with both major players (Microsoft and Apple) realizing that it is important to allow users "choice", I am able to use this cool new laptop and get my work done easily!

  • I installed Firefox, Chrome, and Safari for Windows so I had access to all my browsers, plug-ins, and extensions.
  • I have Office 365 for the Mac and was able to install the Windows version on the HP EliteBook Folio 1020 Ultrabook, so I have access to the Windows suite of tools (and love the fact I have Publisher back on the Windows side!)  
  • My favorite organization and curation tool is OneNote and I use it on all of my Mac and iOS devices. Of course, it is a Microsoft program so it was easy to sync it to my notebooks.
  • I opened Outlook to begin the process of setting up my email, and imagine my surprise when it took me through the icloud.com set-up effortlessly! It brought over my folders and sub-folders and I was in business!
  • I am using iCloud.com and the iWork Beta to work on my Pages, Keynote, and Numbers documents on the HP EliteBook Folio 1020 Ultrabook . As you can see from the images below, I can even present basic Keynote documents via the cloud. (Embedded videos don't seem to work, so I will just put them online and link to them within the slideshow itself.)
  • I installed iTunes for Windows for my Apple music library
  • I purchased Reflector for Windows for mirroring my iPad to the
    HP EliteBook Folio 1020 Ultrabook for presenting my iPad workshops.
  • I am a Creative Cloud user, so was able to download my Adobe apps to the EliteBook Folio 1020 and use them.

HP EliteBook Folio 1020 worked with my external DVD drive

Logged into iCloud with the HP EliteBook Folio 1020


Working on my Keynote presentation via iWork Beta
Full-screen presenting with iWork Beta and VGA adapter



Many of the other tools that I use are Web-based, such as the ones listed on this page. Online tools are often used in the education sector because, if the school does not have a 1-to-1 initiative, or teachers and students cannot bring devices home, with online tools they still have access to the tools they need.
 

CONCLUSION


I am convinced educators can stop talking about being a Windows or Mac "shop" now. With new feature-rich laptops like the HP EliteBook Folio 1020 Ultrabook or the new 12" MacBook, and with the software and tools accessible from either platform, I think school districts now can make a choice based on their needs, rather than the hardware dictating what can and cannot be done!