Tuesday, March 30, 2010

iPad Hype (and why I love it!)

Things are heating up in the iPad arena with the upcoming launch of the wireless version in stores on April 3! And, in addition to being available in the Apple store, Apple confirmed today that most Best Buy stores will carry them, too!

I ordered the 3G version, so will have to wait a few more weeks for mine, but will be living vicariously through all the unboxing videos and screenshots that should soon be flooding the tech blogs, YouTube, and Twitter.

Seton Hill University announced today all incoming freshmen will be getting an iPad. Apple is offering a 10-pack of the WiFi devices with AppleCare at a slight discount for schools. There are reports of some school districts ordering lots of them!

The capabilities and features of the iPad have been covered in depth by Macworld and MacLife as well as by anyone else who has had the chance to get their hands on one. However, the creative possibilities for this new device are just coming to light.

A few of my favorite ideas include this blog post about the use of the iPad for reading sheet music and Gizmodo's weekly Photoshop contest focused on "designing your dream iPad app". I love the design contests, since an iPad app programmer might see something that sparks the actual creation of one of these cool app ideas! And here are some videos of iPad apps that have been submitted to the App Store for approval. Very cool...

I hope those of you getting the WiFi version will post your comments here for all of us to share! 

Monday, March 15, 2010

VariQuest Cutout Maker

Our middle school was lucky enough to purchase a VariQuest Cutout Maker recently. The Cutout Maker is an electronic die-cut machine that allows easy creation of various sizes of graphics as well as the use of many types of paper from notebook paper to card stock. I liken it to a robot that can cut out anything for you while you watch!

I have been offering a series of workshops for teachers at all levels, and I wanted to share some of the photos I took during the workshops, the method I used to teach the workshop, and some creative ideas for use of the Cutout Maker from my teachers. Take a look at the video and at the links at the end, in case you are considering the purchase of one or need justification for including one in a grant to support teaching and learning!



PS Thanks to my teachers for their great ideas and permission to "star" in my video!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Adobe Acrobat Connect Pro Mobile for iPhone

I am an Adobe Education Leader and use Adobe Acrobat Connect Pro a lot to present, showcase it to other districts and schools, and to attend Adobe meetings.

Today I downloaded Adobe Acrobat Connect Pro Mobile for the iPhone and tried it out. It worked perfectly and is easy-to-use.

I opened a Connect meeting on the laptop, and then joined the meeting as another user via the iPhone. The interface on the iPhone is easy to use since you only have three choices-- watch the presentation, watch the presenter, or chat. The sound on the mobile app was good and only a tiny bit laggy. (I was using it over 3G). The video was tolerable and, since the presentation was clear, it was easy to follow along. The user can watch the presentation in any orientation and can set to view full-screen, too.

I would imagine, on the iPhone, if you were viewing a shared desktop in a Connect meeting, it might be rather tiny. However, I am guessing that there may soon be larger screen mobile devices that can take care of this problem!

Here are some screenshots from the iPhone.

Of course, the power of Adobe Acrobat Connect Pro on the desktop is the ability to allow the participants to present, put them in breakout rooms, share their desktops, and much more. This app is just a view-only app (with the ability to chat and join an audio-bridge if there is one set-up) but this app will allow users on-the-move to attend all types of great sessions! The next time I do an open Connect session, I will post the meeting URL to Twitter so some of you can try it out!

Here is a quickstart guide from Adobe with much more information.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Educators' Use of Twitter Survey

I recently came across some interesting data compiled by Emily Embury of C. Blohm & Associates from the results of a survey administered to the educators on the pre-registration list of COSN 2010.

Her pool of survey-takers were the people in the session, and I asked her for permission to send out the survey to my personal learning network to gather more data. She graciously agreed, so here it is!

Make sure to send the link to the survey page
(http://linkyy.com/twittersurvey) to others to complete the survey! We need info from Twitter and non-Twitter users alike!

Take the survey!

Saturday, March 06, 2010

NCTIES Conference

The NCTIES Conference was awesome, and I was able to spend some quality time with Leslie Fisher and Gail Lovely. We were such geeks as Leslie introduced us to Gowalla, which we now describe as a cross between geo-caching, FourSquare, and Where's George? You get to add new places, check-in, and pick-up, drop, and trade items at these spots. In addition, you can see the history of where the item you have picked up has been, hence the "Where's George" similarity.

Interestingly enough, although we were all at one dinner table, my iPhone GPS had my location as across the street, so I could not even check-in at the restaurant. Obviously the waitress got a big kick out of us learning and working while waiting for our food...we are so nerdy.

The sessions at the conference I attended were full of great information from the presenters, with excitement and good questions from the participants. I was able to meet some tech people I virtually knew, like Kevin Honeycutt and see many of the other very tech-savvy crew!

My session dealt with Twitter and was well-attended. Since the theme of the conference was safari and discovery, of course I dressed the part! The audience was primarily made up of those who could not figure out why they would ever want to use Twitter and those who were already heavy-duty tweeters. I tried not to overwhelm the "newbies" and I did get a bunch of new follower on Twitter the next day, so perhaps I did convince some of them!

I even had a giveway at the session. My VariQuest rep here in MA, Cheryl Rowe, contacted the reps from Presentation Systems South, Arlene and Randy Hobart, who had the board delivered to their booth. It was put together at the home office in MN and shipped to the Hobarts and all I had to do was carry it to my presentation! (Thanks to those in MN who put it together for me!)

It was a safari-themed wildlife adventure bulletin board made from their Cutout Maker, and the teacher who was able to bring it home was ecstatic!  (Our middle school just got the DesignCenter and the Cutout Maker and I am doing workshops on it for the next couple of weeks.)

I chose to attend some sessions containing tips, tricks and successful practices about the items we already use in the district-- Google Apps for Education, Google Wave, and Discovery Education Streaming (given by Hall Davidson). I learned tons of new stuff that I can use the next time I am doing professional development in the district. In addition, the very vibrant Ron Clark was the luncheon keynote and he absolutely got everyone jazzed!

The NCTIES conference wiki is filled with all types of links and information, so I suggest you check it out! In addition, all the links that were tweeted with the #ncties hashtag are linked from that wiki and are in delicious, all 569 of them!

Friday, March 05, 2010

This blog has a new address!

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