Thursday, April 21, 2016

Unique Tablet Cases for Educators

I received a note from Cooper Cases recently asking me to review some of their products. After looking through their Web site, I picked items to review I felt were unique and would be useful for educators and administrators.

I requested items that would fit my iPad Pro 9.7" (which is the same size as the iPad Air 2), but many of these products are available in sizes to fit other tablets, too.


Cooper K2000 Universal Bluetooth Keyboard Dock for Tablets and Phones




Having a keyboard that will work with any device with Bluetooth is a great addition to an educator's technology bag! The Cooper K2000 Universal Bluetooth Keyboard will work with any tablet from 5" to 12". For those of us with multiple  phones and tablets, this sturdy full-size keyboard includes a metal support for sturdiness and the ability to place the device in landscape or portrait mode at two angles. It charges via a micro-USB port and weighs only 8.2 oz.


Cooper Foldertab Executive Portfolio





The Cooper Foldertab Portfolio Case is available for various manufacturers' 7-10" tablets. I received the Cooper Foldertab Portfolio Case for the iPad Air 2 to use with my iPad Pro 9.7. I love how professional I feel when I waltz into a meeting carrying this portfolio. It houses the iPad in a sturdy tablet tray, and includes room for paper, business cards or credit cards, a slip pocket inside the front and back covers, and has a loop for a pen, stylus, or the Apple Pencil. The iPad holder can be easily removed from the notebook to use on its own, too. The magnetic closure tab keeps your device safe. The Portfolio material is "pleather".

Cooper Magic Carry II Pro Universal Travel Portfolio Case










For the times when paper is not needed, the Cooper Magic Carry II Universal Travel Portfolio Case is another great choice. It is available in two sizes to fit 7-8" or 9-10.1" tablets. The tablet is held in place by four sturdy corner holders. The Cooper Magic Carry II Portfolio also allows the tablet to be set at three different angles for viewing. The best features of this case include a shoulder strap that allows the device to be carried in portrait or landscape mode and the inclusion of an elastic hand strap when the cover is folder back to hold your tablet securely while using it. There is even a strap on the back of the case to hold it on the back of a car headrest for viewing. This truly is a "magic" universal case-- it has a shoulder strap for easy carrying, a hand strap for secure usage, the ability to view the tablet at three separate angles, and can attach to a car headrest for movie-watching in the back seat!

Cooper Voda Universal Waterproof Tablet Sleeve





The Cooper Voda Universal Waterproof Tablet Sleeve fits the iPad and other 9-10.1" tablets. This unique sleeve has an innovative sealing method with rotating dial locks at the top. It can keep your tablet dry in up to 10 meters of water! The touchscreen on the tablet is usable through the clear front, and, for the iPad, the camera is usable on the back. The rear also includes a carabiner connection and an adjustable shoulder/waist strap for carrying the tablet in the waterproof sleeve.


Cooper Envelope Universal Business Sleeve





The Cooper Envelope Universal Business Sleeve is available for the iPad Mini, the iPad, the iPad Air/2, the iPad Pro 9.7"/12.9", and any other 7-13" tablets. What drew me to this item was the gold color that was available in addition to the black version. It matches my iPad Pro perfectly! The soft interior keeps my tablet safe, and the availability of two pockets on the front and a zipper pocket on the back, allows me to carry slim items such as cables, papers, and small headphones. The magnetic closing flap also doubles as a stylus holder. This minimalist sleeve is great for protecting your tablet in your business bag or backpack.

If you are looking for some unique cases to house your tablet, take a look at these offerings by
Cooper Cases and follow them on Twitter (@coopercases) to find out about new cases they are offering!
 


Friday, April 08, 2016

Financial Literacy for All

April is Financial Literacy Month. Financial literacy is one of the literacies our students need to succeed. Financial and economic literacy are about understanding the importance of making appropriate economic choices on a personal level, as well as understanding the connection that personal, business, and governmental decisions have on individuals, society, and the economy. How can you ensure students master the financial literacy skill-set?



The PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Charitable Foundation offers a online comprehensive financial literacy program designed for students in grades 3-12. The content of the program is aligned with the Council for Economic Educators standards.

Students engage with financial literacy concepts through innovative self-paced modules featuring custom videos, animations, and interactive activities. The curriculum is called Earn Your Future Digital Lab




The modules are broken up into three levels-- Beginner, Intermediate, and Advance. Each set of modules include items of interest to students at their level. (The beginner level for grades 3-5 will not be launched until fall of 2016.)

Here is a screenshot of the modules for the Intermediate Level.


Intermediate level financial literacy modules

I logged in as a student and picked intermediate module three, "Can I Afford a Phone?" The module can be completed all in one sitting, or students can go back to a section later to finish it.

I completed the module using a laptop computer, but then went back and tested it with an iPad. Everything seemed to function perfectly on the tablet. Of course, since the site is Web-based, it should work fine with Chromebook and the Surface, too.

The module started off with a video of a clever texting session between a teenager and their parent. During the texting session, the parent gives the responsibility to their teenager to do the research for the best phone and also to figure out the costs of affording a new phone.





The module continues with sound advice on how the student might proceed and offers a commonsense plan on how the teenager might approach the problem. 





This is followed up with a quiz about spending and budgets to gauge what the student already knows. After answering each question, the student is provided with additional information if they answer incorrectly but also with clarifying information if they answer correctly.




The next component of the module is very engaging. Students pick an avatar to "become" the teenager who wants the cell phone. This is followed up with a checklist of tasks to research the phone purchase (with a pop-up for each item) and time is left for reflection by the student and a short two-question quiz.



The module then moves into teaching the budgeting process so students can apply the process to the teenager's research. The students can utilize the included calculator tool to determine if the teenager can successfully create a budget that allows him to purchase the new smartphone. There is a computation piece included with some simple math problems and a review of income vs. fixed expenses vs. variable expenses. 

There is a fun final activity that allows the students to build a balanced budget for the teenager. The interesting part is, as the student eliminates unnecessary expenses, there are pop-ups with unexpected expenses or income, like a library fine or income from babysitting. This component truly simulates what this is like in real-life and teaches the students the difference between wanting something and being able to afford it.



There is a wrap-up of the module with a nice overview of the processes taught and including some extension tips for dealing with budgeting throughout their lives for purchasing a home, saving for retirement, etc.


The final component of the module is the post-test, which includes several types of summative assessments. The post test should only take about ten minutes, and, at the completion, the student earns a badge to show the module is completed.





The Advanced modules, intended for high school students, also include real-life videos starring teenagers. This makes the modules even more engaging for the students.



After the student has completed the modules, the site also provides additional resources to build-upon the skills practiced in the program including planning for college, home buying, risk management and insurance, planning and money management, and more.



SET-UP PROCESS


To give students access to the site, the teacher or home school parent creates a teacher account on the site.

Once logged-in, the teacher creates a default password for all of the student accounts. When a default password is set, students will be asked to create a personal password on their first login.

Student names can be entered manually or uploaded via a CSV file.


The teacher then creates a class and picks students to add to the class.



Teachers then provides students with the the URL to the PwC Charitable Foundation Earn Your Future Digital Lab site, their username and the default password. Students can log-in to the site and work on the modules.

One suggestion, to make sure students stay on task and complete the modules they pick to complete is to have the student print out their "badges" page which will show the completed modules.

SUMMARY

The PwC Charitable Foundation Earn Your Future program is brand new and additional features are planned for the near future. These include handbooks and module planning tools for the teacher and the ability to provide feedback to students via embedded assessment tools.

If you want to engage your students in learning more about personal finances, whether in April or throughout the year, the PwC Charitable Foundation curriculum, Earn Your Future, is a wonderful way to engage students and help them practice and learn useful, life-long skills!



This is a sponsored post on behalf of We Are Teachers and the PwC Charitable Foundation
I received compensation for this post, however all opinions stated are my own.