Tag Archives: technology

Video on the iPad and iPhone

22 Jun

Film, and a technology, has only been around for about one hundred years, it is still relatively young.  Conversely, story telling, has been around for thousands of years and been the backbone of society and culture throughout that time.  Film takes story telling to another level and gives people a medium to share their interests, ideas and passions.  I recently had a chance to do a lot of work on my iPad as well as my iPhone to record and process video on a mobile platform.  My goal is to find what I can use personally and what I can teach my students to make them better story tellers using film.

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My Next Scavenger Hunt

20 Jun
QR for my website

Try this with your camera, it's a great way to find my blog.

I love QR images on so many levels.  The are around us, some subtly some not so subtly, on bust stops, billboards, website, produce and even on some of the packages you receive in the mail from the postal service or UPS.  Founded back in the 1990’s by the Japanese Auto Industry, these images are being used by marketing companies for gorilla marketing campaigns to gain the attention of a tech savvy crowds.

I recently purchased some produce and on the inside of the label was a QR image to scan an enter a contest to see if I won the sweepstakes.  I was recently at a wine tasting  in Lodi where the winery was using QR images to download tasting notes.  I could scan the image and I was taken to a website with notes, pricing and ordering information.  I can then save the info in my scans and access this data any time I want.  “What was the wine I liked again, I will look at my phone.”  Jimmy Fallon used an image on his Late Show during one of his comedy bits that took you to a link of the video he was making. This technology will start to pop up more and more and in many different ways, so how can I use this in education?

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iPad Day 2

15 Jun

Day 2 of the iPad and a bit more to share. We spent some time going over Keynote and a bit on Garageband, both are apps I am very familiar with in their desktop format. I will talk a bit more about what was covered, what I found and what I think will work. Keep in mind, most – though not all of the apps – I will talk about are free. I’m trying to keep the educator in mind and we don’t always have money to purchase new apps. So … Continue reading

iPad App Awareness

14 Jun

I recently had a great opportunity to participate in an iPad institute at the San Joaquin County Office of Education. Moving past the basic commands like zooming in on text, copy and paste, or adding and removing apps, it is the sharing of apps and their use that I find the most helpful. I’ve been on iPad for about two years, but I am amazed at what I can continue to learn with a little insight. So, with good intentions, here is the beginning of my list of favorite iPad apps.

1. iBooks: In the beginning I did not like this app at all, I was all about the Kindle. However, over time, I found that iBooks had features that Kindle and other apps did not. Most books we read in English can be found online as PDF’s or in iBooks as free downloads, for example, The Scarlet Letter. On the iPad or in an iTouch, kids can highlight and annotate text directly in iBooks. I can assign a chapter in class, have kids annotate where they have questions, make connections or analyze a plot point or character interaction. Then, either at the end of class or the next day, I can choose a device at random and place it under my document camera. As a class, we can view the notes, offer feedback and see what other comments students may have made or could have made. Lastly, check out the CK-12 Foundation, they have many free textbooks for download in iBooks.

2. Qwiki: whatever you want to learn in your area or someplace you are traveling, there is Qwiki. A great app to learn about a region or just to see what is going on in your area. You could also research an area that has to do with a book or subject you are currently studying. The app offers video and text and is highly engaging.

3. Flipboard: this app allows you to interact with news sources and social media sites online just like they are a magazine. Flipboard is a news aggregator that goes out on the web and pulls information via an RSS feed and brings the information to you. Not sure what an RSS feed is or how it works, don’t worry, just think of the publications you like to read like O Magazine, Ted Talks, CNN and such. You just tell Flipboard you like those information sources and it brings you the information for free. You can also tell Flipboard to access your social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. As an assignment, give your students a current event assignment to research or have them compare news stories from different media outlets like Huffington Post or Fox News.

4. Inkling: Many text books companies are going digital, and Inkling is helping to make that possible. The App is free, and many of the text books that are offered have free chapters for you to use and experiment with in your classroom prior to purchasing.

5. Shakespeare in Bits Romeo and Juliet: a great app for teaching about the Bard (the lite version is free). This app is great in that it offers definitions in the text, video and audio for student involvement. Students can also access character bios or a character relationship chart to see how the different characters in the play are related.

6. iTunes U: There are literally thousands of podcasts from various colleges and universities across the globe. There are also great resources from high school teachers in just about any subject you are looking for. Find some podcasts you like or have your students go out and search for podcasts they feel will enhance the learning experience for the specific subject you are working on in class. What a great way to get the kids thinking critically about the subject matter and and making connections to different media. Also, check the podcasts carefully as many come with downloadable written content as supplements to the audio/video podcast. don’t forget about the Khan Academy, thousands of videos on multiple subjects to for kids to access, practice and learn at their own rate.

7. Skype: a great tool to connect with classes, students or professionals anywhere in the globe. Check out education.Skype.com for a list of classes looking to have a conversation. This is a great way to practice language with native speakers or learn about other cultures. If calling a school in another country is too much, why not Skype with a class across the hall or another school in town for some great collaboration.

8. Dragon Dictation: a great app to practice speaking. Dictation software has come a long way the last few years and continues to improve. Dragon is great in that students can record what they say and have it transcribed directly on the iPad or iTouch. This is great practice for language learners or anyone preparing to do a presentation or speech.

9. Evernote: By far one of my favorite apps for note taking. You can organize notes by unit and create notebooks, great for research as students collect sources, and you can add pictures, links screen shots, video and audio right in the note. Notes and notebooks are easily shared between parties. Since Evernote is stored on the cloud, wherever you have wireless access and you have the Evernote app/software installed, your notes will be there. For more on Evernote, you can check out my previous post here https://soberandsaucy.wordpress.com/2011/03/29/my-top-10-uses-with-evernote/

10. Evernote Peek: fairly new and a great companion to Evernote, Evernote Peek is a flash card tool for the iPad. It takes advantage of your magnetic cover, so you can see the clue, but you have to figure out the answer. The title of your note in Evernote is the clue, the subject area is your answer. So, in Evernote, create a notebook for whatever you want to study: anatomy vocab, math formulas, literary characters … anything worth memorizing.

11. Dropbox: One of the best way to store large files on the cloud rather than your iPad. Memory is at a premium, so store those files on your Dropbox account and not your iPad. Dropbox is also a great way to share files with others: handouts, videos, pictures, or anything else.

12. Library of Congress: what a great way to give kids an opportunities to evaluate and research using primary source documents. This app offers high resolution examples of many historical documents not usually accessible to the public.

These are the few of the apps I have been playing with over the last few days. I have many more to review and share and I’m excited to see what I can do with them. If you have any apps you like to use please feel free to share. I will be adding more over the next few days and beyond.

My Experiment with Free International Calling

13 Jun

In two weeks I depart with a group of students and a fellow teacher to Australia.  This will be my first trip to the continent down under, so my excitement builds as my departure date approaches.  I have one conundrum, as I will be in another country, I need a way to communicate with my family and friends at home.  Obviously, social media will an easy hit, and wifi is readily available.  However, I would like to be able to see my wife and one year old daughter a few times during my nearly three weeks away from my family. So, I’m going to experiment with Skype and Google Voice to see if I can place phone calls and connect with my family from half a world away.

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Cruise Control

21 May

I’m a cruise control driver.  With a forty-five minute drive, I like to get on the freeway, set my speed and go.  It’s a these time my mind tends to wander, I can prepare for the day on the way to work or reflect on my day as I drive home.  It’s a great time for me to decompress, relax, or get ready for what lies ahead.  However, I’m often impeded as I have to share the road with many other drivers.  The most frustrating, the drivers in the passing lane who are not passing anyone.  Remember, I’m using my cruise control, so I’m not speeding up or slowing down, slamming on brakes or randomly accelerating.  So, when I begin to come up on a car that does not yield, and I’m forced to slow down, or in some cases go around, I get a little frustrated as I have to engage my brake.  I feel the same way about education.  When I get in my room I can teach some amazing things and am able to go a long way to motivate and inspire my students.  Unfortunately, bureaucracy and outdated policy are often my roadblocks on the passing lane to properly prepare my students for the world beyond high school.

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The Tech Savvy Generation

18 Apr

I recently did a lesson on research projects with my Junior AP English class, Language and Composition.  With AP, the school perception that these are the cream of the crop intelligent students who know all their is to know about reading, writing or anything else.  At the end of the presentation, I had up a QR image (Quick Read) which the kids could scan with their phone and it would take them to a website at Cornell University that has video and link on how to conduct research.  I remember thinking, as I planned this project, how hip am I to use this technology where kids can use their phones to access additional information by scanning my whiteboard.  As the moment approached, my giddyness almost uncontrollable, I had one student out of twenty-nine who took out her phone and knew what I was doing.  Next class, zero.  So, out of sixty students, with my brilliant interactive scheme, pretty much all of my students had no idea about the technology i was using.  Conclusion, I need to teach kids the tech skills they will need to compete, learn, share and collaborate in this world.

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iPad 2 or Laptop?

11 Apr

The debate is thick as to the type of niche that iPad fits in the technology world.  I love my laptop, I love my desktop at work, and I love my iPad.  So, which device is the correct one for a majority of my personal use? That all depends on what I will use the device for, and iPad keeps blurring that line every day. Continue reading

The Next Big Thing

7 Apr

Just a few days ago I heard my daughter banging her hair brush on a metal bowl on our kitchen island.  After a bit I was annoyed, so when I looked down to see what she was doing and tell her to stop I noticed she had stopped hitting the bowl and slowly started hitting the island – which is made of wood – instead.  Then she started hitting the bowl again, then up to the glass casserole dishes, then back to the island and back to the bowl.  She looked up to me smiling as if to say, “look what I figured out.” For me it was amazing as I got to see a real life education lab right in front of me; my daughter, testing out a theory, finding a solution and feeling proud of her discovery.  Continue reading