Home > tech gadgets > A few of my favorite things….(part 2)

A few of my favorite things….(part 2)

Gadgets, gadgets and more gadgets. Sometimes I am accused of having too many. (can there be too many?!) But again sometimes the proper gadget (tool) can enhance teaching and learning. So I will continue to outline some of my favorites.

Entourage Edge
My latest gadget has helped me go “green”. It is the Entourage Edge. It is a two screen tablet. On one side is an Android touch device and on the other an e-reader. It was designed with the student in mind. Although I have not used it in the classroom, I take it to every meeting and that is all I take. No paper, note pad, or pen needed. I can put the pdfs on it that always accompany a good meeting. These pdfs can be virtually marked and highlighted on the Edge. And I can take notes on the virtual note pad. Those notes can be converted to pdf and sent out after the meeting if I wish (in hand written form which I actually like). All my committee and project notes are in one place along with the agendas, minutes, etc.

You can also purchase books and textbooks from the store as well as download apps (app list is growing all the time). This device improves nearly monthly and I have high hopes for it. I can’t see why every student and faculty member would not want one of these. I have to say that I could have gotten an Ipad instead but this just matched the way I work much better.

Document Camera
Another device that I use in the classroom is this document camera by Avermedia. This device is small and portable. I can put it away when not in use and easily set it up when I need it. I love to have students work on problems or worksheets in class then take their work and show it to the rest of the class. I can also take a still of what is under the camera and save it. I can even make videos with sound with this device. The price is very reasonable too. It marks the end of the overhead projector as far as I am concerned.

document camera

Cameras

I find it essential to have a couple of different cameras for the classroom. These days there are a large array of affordable models. I have a still camera to take pictures of equipment or classroom activities (as in this post). It is the Canon Powershot  Elph which is the 2nd Powershot I have had and I like them very much. I have two movie cameras. I started with the original Flip mino camera which is so handy to take a quick video. This camera was used for this video.

I then discovered the Kodak Zi 8 that is an HD video camera and has an external mic port. That is really nice for doing demos and YouTube videos. In this video I do a demo of some lab equipment and it is in HD. If you teach a lab course or similar course, you might consider making a video the students view prior to lab day. It can include the set up and view of equipment as well as safety warnings. It can save a lot of time come lab day. You could have a quick quiz (use clickers!) before the lab starts to be sure they watched the video.

This semester I am hoping to turn some students loose with Flip video cameras and see what they can do. I am thinking of having them teach a short lesson for the other students. I will let you know how that turns out! We have Flips on reserve in our library but many students have video cameras on their phones.


camera pic

Now you might be asking yourself…self…how did she take this picture of all her cameras? Well, I did it with my Motorola Droid smart phone which is another of my very favorite things. I often use it now to take a quick picture or video as it is such a good camera. I will be doing a blog post on the Droid at some point but if you are in the market for a smart phone that does it all…choose an Android phone and I love the Droid. The number of free apps you can get is astonishing. The very least thing it does is make phone calls.

So leave a comment about some of your favorite gadgets. I would love to see what other folks are using for teaching and learning! More to come!

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  1. Shawn Beattie
    October 4, 2010 at 6:09 pm

    Great post Janet…thanks for sharing!

  2. Moira
    October 7, 2010 at 10:02 am

    Really interesting gadgets, Janet! With the Entourage Edge, I’m wondering (aside from the two-sided screen) what the advantages are over the Ipad. I have to admit, I don’t see a lot of people in meetings actually using their Ipads for note-taking or looking at documents during meetings, although people definitely use laptops to do so. Is the virtual note pad just better than what the Ipad has (which I’m assuming is its Notes application that requires the use of the keypad, and the keypad makes note-taking difficult to do quickly)?

    • October 7, 2010 at 10:21 am

      I myself have never had success typing notes for a meeting. The Edge allows me to write notes in my own handwriting. I do believe there are apps for the Ipad that allow that function but I have not seen anyone take advantage of that. The E-reader on the Edge also allows for notes and highlighting on pdf documents. This is handy if you are given an article or agenda for a meeting. I am not sure the Ipad has that function. I too see lots of Ipads at meetings but rarely see them used.

  3. Ellenmarie
    October 8, 2010 at 12:56 am

    This is my observation about my own iPad use. in fact I’m sitting here right now in my San Diego hotel room working with my iPad. I guess I’ll eventually get better at using this keyboard, but I need to learn how to get functional writing on it. Do like the idea of taking notes on PDFs. Seems like there would be apps to do this. I think I need an iPad support group!

  4. October 18, 2010 at 3:50 am

    I noticed on your physics demo that it seems to only have sound on my left speaker, and a hiss on the right (laptop)- were you using an external mic?

    d.i.

    • October 18, 2010 at 10:06 am

      I was using an external mic. I had to change the format of the original video if I recall as well. I did not notice a hiss. I will have to listen again. Thanks!

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