Friday, November 30, 2012

Sour grapes...not really





I am a Google Certified Teacher, an Adobe Education Leader, and a DEN STAR and GURU. I earned each of these distinctions by helping others, providing continuing support in the areas of expertise that I have, and I feel like a very valued member of each community. Two of the three require formal reporting of activities and re-application to continue to be a member. The goals of all three are clear and I know what I have to do in order to stay a part of those communities -- support other members of the community and all educators who request help and support.

I have been thinking about assessment lately. When we assess students, we always give them feedback. We let them know what they were successful with and things that could have been improved upon. Many times, this feedback goes hand-in-hand with a rubric the student had access to before the assessment.

I have applied to be an Apple Distinguished Educator twice and a Sony Education Ambassador once. I feel I have something to offer to both groups and I would also love to learn from the other stellar educators who are part of these communities.

I have been turned down all three times. I spent a lot of time studying what each community was all about and worked hard on the applications and products that had to be created. I didn't make the cut because there were others who did a better job than I did and/or were more qualified. That's fine and that's the way it should be. 

But how am I going to learn to grow to better meet the needs of what the communities expect without any feedback? I assume there were rubrics for judging and that there were educators who were members of the community who were judges. What about giving all the applicants their summary scoring sheet including how they were scored? 

I encourage all organizations who are creating educator support groups to include the scoring rubric being used in addition to the overview of the program and the expectations for becoming a member before the applications are submitted. And then provide both the winners and losers with a detailed score. I want to become a better educator. Share your organization's vision of what that looks and feels like with me, please, so I can continue to grow!

No sour grapes...really!




Thursday, November 22, 2012

Samsung Chromebook: First impressions

Last week, I purchased the new Samsung Chromebook. I had been hearing lots of good things happening in schools that have Chromebooks, and, as a Google Certified Teacher, I decided to learn more about them.

There are two new Chromebooks available right now-- the Samsung for $249 and the Acer C7 for $199.  Here are the simple specs on each--


Samsung
11.6" matte screen
2 GB RAM
16 GB SSD
Samsung Exynos 5 Dual 1.7 GHz processor
1 USB 2.0 port, 1 USB 3.0 port, HDMI port, SD card slot
Bluetooth
2.4 lbs.
6.5 hours of battery life


Acer
11.6" glossy screen (1366x768)
2 GB RAM
320 GB SATA hard drive
Intel Celeron 1.1 GHz processor
Ethernet 10/100 port, VGA port, 3 USB ports, HDMI port, SD card slot
Wireless a/b/g/n
3.05 lbs.
3.5 hours of battery life

I waffled back and forth before deciding which machine to buy. Originally I was enticed by the VGA-out on the Acer for presenting and the Ethernet port to hook it up to a network, but the 3.5 hour battery life and extra weight of the Acer made me change my mind. However, I believe, in a school setting, the Acer Chromebook would make a good teacher machine. Since it would probably be plugged in, the teacher could take advantage of the larger hard drive, the Ethernet port, and the VGA-out for presenting and not worry about battery life.

I decided on the Samsung and was not disappointed! It is decently speedy and has a great keyboard and trackpad. (One kind of weird thing on the Samsung is the letters on the keys are in lower case!) I went to Best Buy to see the Acer and the Samsung side-by-side, and the glossy screen on the Acer popped and seemed to be more readable. The matte finish and not-so-bright screen on the Samsung took a little getting used to, but it seems to be  usable even when the sunlight is shining right on the screen and there are no reflections like those on the glossy screen.

Of course, it is not about the hardware but about the move to computing in the cloud. The Chrome OS brought over all my settings from my Chrome browser on my computers, so I had all my "stuff" right away! I then took the time and went through the Chrome Web Store and installed other apps and extensions for things I knew I would need, like an image editor, a Twitter tool, and and FTP client. There are tons of applications and utilities  available that can be run right in the browser! The camera on the Chromebook even allows you to record directly into YouTube!

There is a cool Remote Desktop plug-in, which allows you to control your home computer (or any remote computer) from the Chromebook. You have to install software on the other computer for it to work, but it works great!

With each Chromebook purchased (at least right now) you get upgraded to 100 GB of Google Drive storage. Getting used to using Google Drive for file storage, and not just Google Apps, is a different way of thinking for me.  You can save and access files off an SD card in the slot, too, but using online storage is so much easier!

When I am not in a wireless environment, I can still work on various Google apps, like Google Docs, using an off-line version of these apps. When I get back into WiFi, the items sync with my Google Drive.

I have not yet been able to print. One needs to use Google's Cloud Print to do so, and, although I can see my printers, they are grayed out. I am assuming it is something in my networked printer set-ups and not the Chrome OS itself.

With the cost going down on these devices, I am starting to get questions about the benefits of Chromebooks over netbooks and tablets for the classroom.  At much the same price point as a netbook, you really get a better experience on a Chromebook, in my opinion.  The browser becomes transparent to the user and everything works smoothly.  The 10" tablets are appreciably more money than the Chromebook, although some of the 7" tablets are less or just a bit more in price, so, if you are comparing apples and oranges, the smaller tablets and the Chromebooks are similar in price.

The battery life of the Samsung is a big plus, too. It can last an entire school day without recharging. Of course, most of the tablets can, too. And there are many apps on a tablet that are not dependent on Internet access, so tablets come out ahead in that respect. But, the "real" keyboard on the Chromebook is seen as a useful thing in some user's eyes.

One point that really is evident about the Chromebook is the ability of multiple users to use the same machine without any worries of getting to someone else's data, or special set-ups, or any worries at all! Shared netbooks and tablets do require some finagling at times if there are multiple users. If a school is supporting a 1:1 initiative, then this point does not make a big difference in decison-making. But for the many schools that go with the "cart o' devices" model, the use of a Chromebook takes all the worry and work out of sharing.

I love the iPad and do iPad training in schools all over the country. And, when asked, encourage schools to do a 1:1 pilot when starting out with iPads or Android tablets. The experimentation and testing goes easily when each device is only used by one student. (I know there are second party products that make the shared tablets doable, too, but, for schools that do not have the tech support infrastructure, it can be problematic at times.)

Is the Chromebook as cool as an iPad? No. The touch interface and the wonderful apps for the iPad that making you "feel as one" with the device cannot be beat. But, for schools considering an alternative, give the Chromebook a try in a pilot project You will definitely be pleasantly surprised!

Thoughts? Things you want to share? Leave me a comment!






Thursday, November 01, 2012

Transformation

I took advantage of the iStopMotion app for iPad and the iStopMotion Remote Camera to create two versions of this video for two different purposes. One has already been submitted and the second does not have to be submitted since I am unable to participate in the required week-long institute.

I wanted to share the stop-motion videos with you. More about the process later!

TRANSFORMATION

Transformation is defined as a thorough and dramatic change.

Is education thoroughly transformed from the industrial model? Not yet, but there are some very exciting things being implemented into teaching and learning.

From lectures to flipping, STEM to STEAM, desktop to mobile, text to infographics, consuming to publishing, labs to BYOD, group teaching to personalized learning,  and networks to peer-to-peer, technology is becoming the conduit for it all.

Transformation of the traditional, teacher-centered or even the student-centered classroom, to one in which all members of the educational community have a part in planning, implementing, and creating, is becoming the norm. Collaboration is the way educators now work—from their PLN on Twitter to the global projects they and their class participate in.

Are we there yet? Not quite. Education systems, infrastructure, funds, and the “old” ways of doing things are still getting in the way at times.  But, with the number of successful practices and hard data coming out to support these transformations’ positive impact on student learning, education seems to be ready to forge ahead with these and other, yet undiscovered, innovative practices.

I wanted to showcase, in a unique way, the transformation that can occur with the use of mobile technologies in the classroom. I hope you enjoy it!



iOS version


Android version 












It was a steep learning curve to get the apps to drop into the respective tablets. I finally found the solution by using motion paths in PowerPoint, setting timings, and using Camtasia to record the single slide with all the motion paths. I simply took a screenshot from the video of the tablet before it entered the backpack and put that into PowerPoint. I then created one and two motion paths and just kept replacing the images. The all were stacked on top of one another. Here is what that looked like in the Android version of the movie. (Update 3/14/13: I re-did the apps for the iPad version using icons instead of screen shots. I realize now that I could have used FLY IN from upper right and left and FLY OUT to bottom right and left. PowerPoint would have allowed me to put the time between the two animations in order to pause the icon.)

Set-up of motion paths in PPT for Android movie



I was able to get the apps to drop "into" the tablet by creating a layer at the front of the slide that included half of the tablet. The image was at the back, and the items fell down in-between them.

Thoughts? Comments?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Wipad iPad Wireless Projector

I was sent the Wipad Pro (http://gowipad.com) to demo and it is a cool device! The receiver plugs into an HDMI port on a projector or monitor (or to a VGA connection via a VGA/HDMI converter box accessory offered by Wipad). The snap-on back for the iPad 2 or new iPad with its  attached transmitter plugs into an Apple HDMI dongle and the 30-pin port on the iPad. The transmitter recharges via an included USB cable.

Wipad Pro: snap-on back, transmitter, and receiver


The iPad is projected in HD and the sound winds up coming out of the TV or projector. You are not tethered to the projection device so you can roam around the room. So what makes this different than simply mirroring with the Apple TV? One big thing that is useful for many schools.

With an Apple TV, the iPad and the Apple TV need to be on the same network, whether the Apple TV is being used wired or wirelessly. The Wipad does not use the network to connect and does not impact the network traffic! It uses a wireless technology that does not interfere with any other devices. So, when you are streaming that Discovery Education video from the iPad to the projection device, you are not utilizing the network bandwidth. The IT crews will love this device! And, in addition, there is no lag at all, with video, audio, or apps. I even powered up SlingPlayer, which loads the cable connection at my home to my iPad, projected it via the Wipad, and it was perfect on the TV!  (In addition, the Internet connection on your iPad still works, something that does not occur if you have to set up some type of ad-hoc network between your iPad and a computer.)

For school use, IT departments will be happy and for those of you that cannot wirelessly project via an AppleTV at school, this is a good solution. For those of you who present in hotels or in rooms with no WiFi, this device can be used to present since you do not need a network. You can roam with up to 100 feet away as long as you have line of sight to the receiver.  If your school or organization purchases several Wipads, the receiver can store the identifier of up to eight transmitters. This is helpful if the receivers stay plugged into projectors or televisions in various rooms and the iPads move around.

Set-up of projection. Projected image is perfectly clear. The photo is not!


There are a couple of things I need to mention. The Wipad does work great. You simply pair the transmitter with the receiver and the projected iPad immediately shows up. You can wirelessly project from up to 100 feet away. The snap-on back did not fully snap-on to my new iPad since I had a skin on the back of my device. If your iPad does not have a skin, there should not be a problem. The transmitter that attaches to the back of the snap-on back does add a little weight (6 oz.) to the iPad, but nothing that would preclude carrying it around the classroom or presentation venue.

The price of the Wipad Pro is advertised at $399 on their site. Educators can receive a discount of 25%. There are volume price breaks for the purchase of 50 or more, but things can be negotiated on a case by case basis. You can read more about it, see the specs, and the features on the Wipad site.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Point 2 View to Evernote!

I have been using the IPEVO Point 2 View and the Ziggi USB document cameras for the past couple of years. Their ease of use for projecting 3-D objects, snapping images, and recording videos has made them a staple in many classrooms. The Point 2 View software for the desktop will soon be updated to include sending the captured images directly to Evernote!

I have long demoed Evernote to teachers and students. The ability to both upload and access the Evernote notes from all types of devices makes it the perfect curation tool for students. I, myself, have only just begun using Evernote to its full potential and on a regular basis.

When IPEVO sent me a beta version of their new software with the Evernote integration, I was very excited to try it. It works like a charm! Here are the images of the process of snapping an image and sending it to Evernote from the IPEVO desktop software.


Choosing the IPEVO image and the notebook in Evernote to send it to.

IPEVO to Evernote success!

The note and image as viewed in Evernote
With more and more classrooms having IPEVO doc cams and students using Evernote software, the integration of Evernote into the P2V software is sure to be a hit!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

More Gadget Reviews


I have a couple of other items I wanted to review for you...


Tego Case for iPad2 and the new iPad

The Tego case for iPad is another protective case for the device that schools should put on the consideration list. The iPad is easy to get in to the case and it has extra reinforced corners to avoid damage to the device. 

Tego site: http://www.yourtego.com



The Tego case is made of a very lightweight material but is thoughtfully designed to bothprotect the iPad and allow easy access to ports, buttons, and speakers. 

In addition, the material has an anti-bacterial property to keep the germs at bay. In schools, where the iPad gets used by multiple students, this is a great feature to have!

The retail price of the Tego case is $38.99.









Kingston Wi-Drive


This is a cool little accessory for your mobile devices. I purchased the 32GB version ($89.99) but it also comes in 16GB and 64GB. The Wi-Drive is about the same size and shape as the Apple iPod Touch but it weighs a lot less in your gadget bag!


The Wi-Drive attaches to your computer via a USB cable so you can first move files, movies, photos, and music to it. (It also charges via the computer USB port or with the included AC adapter.)


You have to dis-attach the Wi-Drive from the computer to use it. Once you turn it on, the Wi-Drive creates an ad-hoc network with the SSID of Wi-Drive. You must then install the Wi-Drive app for iOS or Android onto your mobile devices.

Wi-Drive network on iPad
On your  mobile devices, simply visit the network settings and join the Wi-Drive network. Up to three devices can view or play the files on the Wi-Drive at one time. They can all access different files and even start the videos at different times. (Imagine loading it up with 32GB of movies for a long trip!)








DRM movie playing in iPad browser



For moving DRM movies from iTunes, if you sync your iPad with your computer's iTunes account, you simply drag the movie to the Wi-Drive, and access the movies through the Web browser on the mobile device via the static IP of the Wi-Drive. Purchased items may only be played via the Wi-Drive on mobile devices that have the same Apple ID as the computer's iTunes account.






File system and file on the Wi-Drive
The Wi-Drive acts as external storage and is accessible even when you do not have WiFi available. And, for non-DRM items, any three mobile devices can connect to the Wi-Drive and view or play the files. The Wi-Drive is an interesting concept, and I will be spending more time thinking of creative ways to use it!







Side note: We have an MicroCell (cell phone service booster) in our house so, on the iPhones, we had to put them in airplane mode and then turn just the WiFi back on in order for them to see the Wi-Drive. No problem with the iPad, since it does not use the MicroCell.


Have any gadgets you would like to share? Just post about them in the comments!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Cool stuff from Higher Ground

Those of you that follow this blog know that I have been a long-time fan of the Higher Ground products. Two new ones that have caught my eye lately are the PROTEx iPad protective case and the Profile computer/iPad case.


PROTEx

I saw the PROTEx iPad case demonstrated at ISTE12 with a Higher Ground rep throwing his iPad, safely encased in the PROTEx, to the carpet and watching it bounce! He did it over and over and everything was fine with the iPad. I have not tried it with mine, but the shock absorption capability certainly lives up to my expectations! (It fits both the iPad 2 and the new iPad.)

My favorite components of the PROTEx, in addition to knowing my iPad will be safe from harm if I drop it, are the iPad speaker redirect channels and the elastic strap on the back that allows you to securely hold the iPad when standing, presenting, or moving about a classroom.  

Speaker channel on Protex

The iPad speaker channel, built into the PROTEx, redirects the sound from the speakers which are on the back of the iPad to come clearly (and loudly) out the front of the iPad! 

This photo shows the design of the channel when the iPad is not in the PROTEx. You can see the front openings for the speaker sound at the bottom of the photo.








Elastic strap on Protex




The elastic strap on the rear of the PROTEx allows you to easily hold the iPad in either landscape or portrait mode. The elastic is stretchy and secure, and it comfortable on your hand.

The PROTEx itself is just a little thicker than the iPad and weighs very little. It fits very securely on the iPad, too. I would recommend the PROTEx for anyone that carries an iPad around, works in windy situations (like the Weather Channel meteorologists and storm chaers!), and students who could feel confident that their iPad would be protected if dropped since the PROTEx protects!





Profile

MacBook Air and iPad in Profile

I am always in search of the perfect case for my iPad and 11.6" MacBook Air. These are the two devices I carry around most. The best part about the Profile is that both the 11.6" MacBook Air AND the iPad fit nicely in the case!

The laptop pocket zips up and has both memory foam protection and a plushy soft interior.

If you were not carrying a tablet, the front pocket could easily hold a spiral notebook or book.


The Profile is a vertical case, another feature that I look for in a case. The front flap is magnetic, which makes it super easy to open and close. 

The inside has two pen holders, a phone pocket, four business card/credit card slots, and a clear ID pocket.  There is a small zippered compartment for your power supplies or smaller items.  The back of the Profile has a slip pocket for papers or a manila folder. 

The Profile is solid and keeps it shape nicely due to the padding and construction. I know my devices are protected in this case.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask!



 

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Retiring the Guide for Educators

August 7, 2012

To all my educator colleagues:

As you all know, I retired in June of 2011 from my school district job as Director of Technology. I retired to spend more time learning new things to support you as you embed technology into teaching and learning in a meaningful way. I now have the time to visit districts and help with their technology-related initiatives, teach online graduate courses for the Wilkes/Discovery Masters program and the instructional technology certificate program at Arcadia University, and host several Webinar series. Also, with this retirement, I have had the time to develop and enhance some online information sources for you.


1995 site
Since the time I started Kathy Schrock's Guide for Educators in June of 1995, a lot has changed. Web 2.0, social networking, and social bookmarking have allowed every educator to share their favorite sites with others. The search engines have become much more sophisticated and easier to use. And educators have become much more savvy with both finding and creating materials to use in the classroom. So, it is with mixed emotions that I inform you Kathy Schrock's Guide for Educators is also going to be retired.                                    
However, I am not retiring from providing you with great resources and ideas to support teaching and learning! I will still be an active participant in the Discovery Education community with my new blog, Kathy Schrock's Katch of the Month. The URL is http://denblogs.com/schrock and make sure to bookmark, Tweet, Like, Google+, and Pin it!  The first post will deal with organizational tools, apps, and resources to help you manage your virtual life. Please visit  "Kathy's Schrock's Katch" often, add me to your RSS aggregator, and contribute to the conversation on the blog!



Guide to Everything

I have moved all the support information for my conference and workshop presentations over to Kathy Schrock's Guide to Everything, located here, http://schrockguide.net, to help you as you think about the practical and pedagogical uses of technology. The evaluation pages, bulletin board pages, and readability pages have been ported over from Kathy Schrock's Guide for Educators, so you will still have access to some of my most popular information. In addition, Kathy Schrock's Guide to Everything includes tons of resources on current educational topics such as authentic learning, Bloom's Digital Taxonomy, iPads, Twitter, infographics, and many more.

I will continue to maintain this personal blog, Kathy Schrock's Kaffeeklatsch, where I post gadget reviews and information as well as my other thoughts. You can also follow me on Twitter at @kathyschrock where I share all kinds of quick tips and ideas.




I want to thank all of you for your use of Kathy Schrock's Guide for Educators over the years and all the kind notes you shared with me when you found that perfect resource. I realize it is the place where many of you first started your online journey, back in the days of the "information superhighway", and I know you will remember it fondly!

I hope to hear from you via the new sites I am now creating. Feel free to continue to email me at kathy@kathyschrock.net whenever you need help!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Cool DIY project (or not)!

VGA to 30-pin and USB connection 1

 One of my problems, when considering presenting from the iPad is the ability to keep it charged and hook it up at the same time to the VGA connection present on most data projectors. Both the sync/charge cable and the VGA dongle for the iPad need to use the same 30-pin connector port on the base of the iPad.

Apple HDMI Dongle
Apple offers the HDMI dongle for the iPad that includes a pass-through for the sync/charge cable. I guess this is for watching multiple movies while the iPad is attached to your television via the HDMI port and being able to keep the device charged for the movies.

I know you can mirror your iPad using an Apple TV attached to your television, and you will soon be able to mirror your desktop the same way.

But, in most classrooms and presentation arenas, the data projector does not have an HDMI port, but has a VGA port. I started looking for a VGA dongle for the iPad that provided both VGA out and also allowed the iPad to be powered at the same time.

After extensive searching, I almost gave up, until I came across these DIY (do-it-yourself) project instructions. However, instead of attempting this myself, I decided to purchase one from the creator of the instruction set. He had already modified several and the reviews were outstanding.Well, I received it today and it works perfectly! I was able to project via VGA and keep the iPad charging!

The idea is simple-- the creator opens up the VGA dongle and solders a USB cable in, so you can charge the iPad via the USB cable and the power brick, as well as attach to a projector via the VGA port on the dongle. The iPad will project and stay charged.

Here are two photos of the completed project from two different angles.


VGA to 30-pin and USB connection2
If you are interested in finding out more, please send me an email and I will give you the contact information for the creator.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Mirroring the iPad with your own network

So, as I have been on the road a lot this past year, airports, hotels, and coffee shops have become some of my favorite places to get work done. Recently, I have been working on iPad workshops and wanted to record the iPad screen by using the Reflection app for Mac. 

When the iPad and laptop are on the same wireless network, and you launch Reflection on the laptop, the laptop becomes an AirPlay device for the iPad. On the iPad, you double tap the home button, swipe right, chose the AirPlay icon, pick your laptop from the list, and choose to mirror the iPad screen.

The iPad shows up on the computer screen as in the image below, and, through the app, you can record everything you do on the iPad and save it as a movie file for demo and/or training.

iPad mirrored to the desktop using Reflection

However, when trying to do this same thing in a hotel, an airport, or a coffee shop, I could not get the AirPlay icon to show up on the iPad. I could not get the two devices to see one another. Well, of COURSE I couldn't! Why would you want any other device on a public WiFi network to see your laptop or iPad? The networks are designed to keep your stuff secure (even from yourself!)

Since I have a few iPad workshops coming up, I wanted to make sure, if the network I was going to be using prohibited me from seeing another device, I had a solution that would work. I actually wound up with two solutions!

FIRST SOLUTION


The first was to create an ad-hoc or computer-to-computer network between the Mac desktop/laptop and the iPad. It is easy! 
  • Simply go up to the WiFi symbol on the taskbar on the desktop or laptop.
  • Pick "Create Network" and you get the "Create a computer-to-computer" network box. 
  • Give it a name, pick either channel 1, 2, or 11, and secure it with a password if you want to. 
  • On the iPad, go to Settings:Wi-Fi and pick the ad-hoc network from the list to connect to it.







AirPlay choices on the iPad


Start up the Reflection app on the desktop/laptop, double tap the home button on the iPad, swipe right, chose the AirPlay icon, pick your desktop/laptop from the list, and choose to mirror the iPad screen and you are in business!




 You will not be able to use the Internet on the computer when the computer-to-computer network is on, so, when you are done, don't forget to go to the WiFi icon on the desktop and choose to "Disconnect from . This will close your computer-to-computer network.








Since the Reflection app is only available for the Mac, there is another alternative for Windows and Mac called AirServer. The documentation states it will work over an ad-hoc network, too, so follow the directions for creating the Mac ad-hoc network above and find out how to create one in Windows 7 here.


SECOND SOLUTION


While searching for an answer to my question, I also came across a reference on how to create an ad-hoc network using the new CloudFTP device, which also does many other things, too.


I remembered that I already owned a Zuni Connect Wireless Travel Router and USB Charger which was intended to create a secure personal network in a WiFi or wired environment. I figured if the CloudFTP device could create an ad-hoc network between two devices, perhaps the Zuni Connect could, too. I simply powered it up, attached the desktop/laptop to the ZuniConnect network, and used that personal network it created to create the ad-hoc network with my laptop/desktop. I was able to connect the iPad via AirPlay on that private network and mirror it to the desktop/laptop. (I am going test this in another environment than my home to make sure it really does work!)


So, I have two solutions to utilize if the network I am using will not let my two devices see each other over a computer-to-computer network! Have you come up with some additional solutions?

Friday, June 01, 2012

iPad Apps Review 1: FreeSpeech & Draw on Slides

I decided to combine two short iPad app reviews in one blog post.

FreeSpeech

The first review is the release of my son's no-cost (and no ads!) AAC app, FreeSpeech, which was created to support those with communication disorders. The goal was to provide an app that would be easy to use, scalable, and encompass new features. The team has been developing the app for over a year and formed a non-profit, GiveSpeech, to help keep the app free. They are working hard on enhancements all of the time!

The app includes a series of symbol libraries upon download, and the ability for the user to add their own icons. However, the coolest features are the community and collaboration aspects. Users can upload and share icons they create or photograph and also download those from others from within the application iteself. This allows for an never-ending shared library of all kinds of new icons! I just visited the community area and downloaded a set of photos called "Trip to the Farm" uploaded by another user. I can see the community growing and perhaps including a discussion board to include requests for images needed and users volunteering to create those icons for others.

I used the Reflection app to create a short video to showcase FreeSpeech. This is only a brief overview of how it works. (The voice sounds a lot clearer in real life than it does in the video, promise!)



Download FreeSpeech for yourself and try it out!  There are also instructional videos located here, but FreeSpeech is so easy you probably won't need them!

Take some photos in your area of things that others might not have in their region or town and take the time to upload them to the FreeSpeech community area. I am going to add some regional Cape Cod items like lighthouses, windmills, and cranberry bog to the community soon.

Draw on Slides

In the video above, I took a screenshot of the last screen of FreeSpeech and added an image to my photo library. I then used an app called Draw on Slides to mark it up. You can see that there are different colors and thicknesses of lines to chose from as well as the ability to place an arrow on the line if you wish. This marked up image can be saved as a new image to the Photo Library, sent to Facebook, or emailed. Draw on Slides is a useful app to mark something up in front of students or share an instructional image with others.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The interlocking of cognitive processes

Yesterday on Twitter, Dr. James Norwood (@JRNorwood) posted a short tweet entitled "Flipping Bloom's Taxonomy". The intriguing title led me to click to the link that led to his Teaching in the Middle blog post about a blog post he had read on Shelley Wright's blog, Powerful Learning Practice.

The gist of the blog post was Shelley's idea to start with the creating cognitive process and "flip" the pyramid so it looks something like the image below.. She states, "Here’s what I propose. In the 21st century, we flip Bloom’s taxonomy. Rather than starting with knowledge, we start with creating, and eventually discern the knowledge that we need from it."

http://plpnetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/bloom_pyramid-2.png

 I do not think I agree. I do promote the use of problem, project, inquiry, and/or challenge based learning models  to allow students to take control of their learning. However,  I truly believe students need to have at least some knowledge-base in a topic before they can analyze, evaluate, or create something with the content at hand. In addition, during the acquisition and creation of new knowledge, learners move up and down the cognitive levels as they need to.

Shelley states that she (and many others) were taught that "Blooms becomes a “step pyramid” that one must arduously try to climb with your learners." I am glad my professors at Rutgers College of Education did not teach it this way! I am a big fan of the pedagogical model and thinking about the different levels has always allowed me to plan activities at any (or all) of the levels at any point in the teaching and learning process. I never thought of Bloom's Taxonomy as a series of steps to the top.


However, I do agree with Shelly that the pyramid shape, with the little tip left for creating, may confuse some educators into thinking only some students are capable of getting to that level or creativity is a small component of the cognitive skills process.


I gave it some thought, and developed a different graphic to represent the taxonomy based on how I utilize it. Take a look at the image below and let me know what you think!





References:
Norwood,  James. 17 May 2012.  "Flipping Bloom's Taxonomy". Blog post. Teaching in the Middle,
Wright, Shelley.  15 May 2012. "Flipping Bloom's Taxonomy". Blog post. Powerful Learning Practice.

Friday, April 27, 2012

I love my Twitter PLN!

Today I created a video with the very fun app for the iPad (and iPhone and iPod Touch) called SockPuppets. I had a special reason for using it and purchased extra time to make my video longer than the 30 seconds that they allow.

The output options in SockPuppets are to share to Facebook or YouTube. I needed to get the video up to YouTube, so I thought I was all set. However, I got an error message whenever I tried to send the video to YouTube. I figured I could solve it with a little research.
  • I did some searching, and could not come up with any posts of others having troubles. 
  • I then went to the app creator's Web site and looked in the Knowledge Base and FAQ's.Nothing there.
  • I did a chat session with tech support at the company's site, and was told I probably needed to set a setting in YouTube that would allow uploads from third party apps.
  • I looked through YouTube and found no such setting.
  • I then put in a request to the YouTube team for help.
  • I posted my first note to Twitter asking someone to try to do the same thing so I could see if it was just me. Of course, I am retired, and everyone else was actually teaching, so I did not get any responses.
  • I tried it on the iPhone with the same resulting error message.
  • I decided to share the video it to Facebook, which worked well, and then used the new version 2.1 of Camtasia for the Mac to record the video from Facebook. I then moved the resulting screencast to YouTube.
  • I posted another tweet asking for help and got lots of responses. Some of my PLN members even took the time to download the app, create a video, and try the upload. Below are the responses I received. The results were mixed, and I could still not figure out the problem.
Twitter answers to my ask for help



Jen Legatt (@192TIS) was a new user of SockPuppets, so, when she told me it worked for her, I asked if she used a Gmail address when the app asked for log in information to YouTube. You can see from the above conversation that she told me she had used only her USERNAME, not the full Gmail address. Doh!

I went back and looked at the sign-in screen in SockPuppets and it did just say enter your YouTube username and password, not your Gmail address and password. Geesh! Once I put in only my username for YouTube, not the entire Gmail address, it worked like a charm!



I spent most of the day figuring out how to make this work and searching and asking. And it was one little follow-up question to one of the great educators that were helping me out that provided the answer! I love my Twitter PLN!



Wednesday, April 25, 2012

More cool stuff from BoxWave!

Derek Gillette, a Marketing Coordinator at BoxWave, sent along two new tech items for my review. Thanks, Derek!


BoxWave Nero Leather Smart Nuovo iPad Case

The first is the Nero Leather Smart Nuovo iPad Case, created for the 3rd generation iPad. (I see there is also a red version, which I am craving, and a cool white one to match those of you that have the white iPad!) This leather case is available for $39.99, with free shipping, on their site right now. The regular price is $59.95.


This case was definitely created for the newest iPad. I have a couple of other tight-fitting, snap-on cases that were made for the iPad 2, and the new iPad does not snap in perfectly to those cases since it is a tad thicker.  The new iPad snaps firmly into  the Smart Nuovo case's back. I also have a skin on the back of my iPad and it still fit in tightly and firmly.


Inside of BoxWave's Smart Nuovo iPad Case


Smart Nuovo iPad Case with closure and cutouts
The case has all the cutouts needed for the sync cable, headphone jack, microphone, camera, access to the top and side buttons, and has a nice grill across the speaker area which keeps that area safe from scratches.

The Smart Nuovo case is called "smart" since the cover is a smart cover that turns the iPad's display off when it is closed and turns the display on when you open it. I use one of Apple's Smart Covers, but, with this case, there is no need to! This case truly protects the front and back of the iPad while adding very little size and "heftiness" to the iPad.



Smart Nuovo iPad Case in "stand" mode

The Smart Nuovo iPad Case closes with a leather flap, and the same leather flap is used when you fold back the cover and use the case as a stand. (I am not a big stand user, since I hate getting the inside lining that protects the screen dirty by propping it on a table.) However, for those of you that are not worried about that, the stand puts the iPad at the correct angle for viewing and typing on an external keyboard.







BoxWave Universal EverTouch Capacitive Stylus

Woven fiber tip
The second item Derek sent along was the Universal EverTouch Capacitive Stylus. As one who owns various styli, I was interested to see that the stylus tip of the EverTouch stylus was made of a woven fiber rather than the other types of rubber or felt-like tips on the styli I already owned. The cost online right now is $12.95, with volume purchasing available. The regular cost is $24.95. It comes in orange, blue, black, red, and silver.  The Evertouch Stylus body is aluminum and very light. 


 It also comes with three different types of lanyards. There is a lanyard to attach it to your keychain or neck lanyard, there is  a lanyard that allows you to plug it into the headphone jack on your device so you always know where it is, and the unique lanyard was one with the same headphone jack but it had a coil that allowed you to use it while it was plugged into the headphone jack. 

The third lanyard was the most handy and gives you the least chance of losing the lanyard. It worked best while holding the iPad in landscape mode.

Addendum: I got so caught up in the cool tip and lanyard I forgot to mention the stylus' performance! It worked easily and without fail for selecting, drawing, typing, and writing.


If you or your school is interested in educational/volume licensing, drop Derek Gillette a line!