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A Day in the Life of My Ipad

January 10, 2012 3 comments

I have been debating what to put in my first post of the year. I have started 2 other posts but I have settled on this one. I thought I would take you through a day in the life of my iPad. I myself am surprised at how much I use it. I know many of my colleagues have an iPad but I never see them with it. I just don’t get it. I can’t live without mine. The iPad combined with a Kensington blue tooth keyboard is all I need.  I will warn you that I might have taken some writer’s license and combined a couple of days. But you will get the idea. While I use the iPad, I have an android phone and Windows 7 computers. I manage to have them all get along quit nicely.

Ipad in with bluetooth keyboard

7:00 am
Time to get to up. While I eat my cereal and watch the Today show, I  do a quick run through my e-mail on my iPad  to primarily delete spam. I also answer any pressing student or faculty issues.  I  take a quick turn on Words with Friends as well.

8:30 am
On the way to work I use AudioMemos to record my thoughts on an upcoming meeting. The app only records when I am talking and I can set it to ignore ambient noise. Later I can listen to my ideas and type them up in an outline.

10:10 am
Time for my class. I use TeacherPal to take attendance in my class. I can just click on their pictures and record if they are present, absent or late. I then bring up my text book  in CourseSmart so I have it to refer to for problems. I use the classroom computer for the Eno Board to record classroom notes.

11:15 am
Just got a pdf that I am supposed to print out, fill in, sign, and snail mail back. (seriously?)  I print it out, fill it in and use DocScan HD on my iPad to take a picture of it which is essentially scanning it, and I e-mail it back to the sender. I do not leave my chair.

12:30 pm
Off to a meeting. I use Drop Box to pull up the agenda that was sent to me earlier. I use Evernote to take meeting notes. When I am done, a couple clicks and I e-mail the notes to the entire group. I also look at some e-mail during the meeting and answer a couple of people with technical issues. I  look up something on the Internet that the group had a question about.

2:00 pm
At another meeting. This time I use my iPad to audio record the entire meeting. After the meeting, I send the recording  off to another person to post on the group’s website.

3:30 pm
A student sent me a question about a physics problem they were having trouble with. I use Explain Everything to record my voice and write out some hints for the solution. I can send that back to the student with a couple clicks. It appears to them as a short movie.

4:30 pm
Off to the YMCA for my workout. I use the web based workout input web site to put in my workout. During the cardio portion of my workout, I watch full episodes of DIY shows from their app.

6:00 pm
Home  and planning a tile job for the kitchen. I take some measurements but I don’t want to put them on some scrap piece of paper that I might lose. So I use Skitch on the iPad and write out my calculations. I then save that to Evernote. Now it is available on my Ipad, and phone when I go to the tile store.

7:30 pm
Time to catch up on the information of the day. I start with Flipbook on the iPad. I can quickly look over my Facebook, Twitter, Google Reader and other feeds I like to follow. It is displayed in a nice magazine type format. Then I go to Zite. Zite allows me to input topics and areas of interest and chooses articles for me to read in a newspaper like format. If I like an article, it learns what I like and gives me more of the same. In both of these apps, I can easily e-mail or retweet any of the articles I want  to my colleagues and friends.

10:00 pm
Off to bed…after another turn on Words with Friends. Better charge up  the iPad for another busy day tomorrow!

What great apps and ways do you use your Ipad? Leave suggestions in the comments!

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Getting Your Message Out

November 4, 2011 Leave a comment

If you are a teacher, blogger, or anyone who wants to broadcast some information, I have some options for you to do this. Now I hate the term “lecture” so I will avoid it but sometimes you want to impart some information that you have to some other folks. Here are some options that you can consider.

One new option that has the Internet all abuzz is Knovio. It is still in Beta but I think has a ton of promise. You can upload your well designed PowerPoints and then either sync audio or video with it and you are done. They also seem very open to new suggestions and continue to develop it.

Slideshare has been around for awhile. You can just have slides or include audio. The good ones don’t have lots of bullets but use images and well placed words to make their point. It is helpful to look at popular ones to get an idea of good presentations.

Just a simple video cast can also be effective. Sit in front of your webcam or tablet camera and talk to “your people”. Don’t make it too long but it can be a personal touch for an intro to a module or a nice summary at the end of a topic. Be sure you have adequate lighting and a nice background but it does not have to be too formal. Casual and warm is sometimes better. Consider your audience and what they respond to better.

If you want more functionality with your presentations than  you all  probably know I would go with Articulate Presenter. Then you get the opportunity for attachments, notes, quizzes, web objects, etc. You can really make it a full presentation experience. But sometimes you just want something quick so that is why I present some of the alternatives.

Finally you could just screen capture your Powerpoint or document and while you talk through the document, website, or presentation. Screenr, Jing, or Screencast-o-matic can all be options for this. My favorite is Screenr.

What do you use to impart information to others online? Leave suggestions in the comments!

The Future of Reference?

February 1, 2011 Leave a comment

This is a guest post by my good friend and colleague Andrea Han who is currently the Instructional Technologies Analyst, Faculty of Science, University of British Columbia. Thanks, Andrea!

Do you want a Qwiki? It seems many people do, as late this January the start-up company rose to number #1 on Google trends “Hot Searches” list. A recent $8M in funding from Eduardo Saverin (Facebook’s reclusive co-founder), Jawed Karim (YouTube co-founder) and Pradeep Sindhu (Juniper Networks co-founder) buoyed attention for the small start-up company that only just released their public alpha.

What does this mean for us as educators? Many of us have watched with excitement as the Internet transitioned from a primarily text-based tool to a truly interactive experience capable of supporting rich media applications. Even in its early stages, educators were excited by the prospects of the Internet to dramatically transform information access. Over time, we’ve observed how the increased capabilities of the Internet have excited and engaged students, turning them from media consumers into media creators.  We’ve been hearing for years that the future of reference will be interactive and will include integrated images, audio, and video. Yet the 3.5 million content pages on Wikipedia, the 6th most trafficked web site in the US, remain predominantly text.

Enter Qwiki , a highly multimedia reference tool with over 3 million reference items. Each item includes an audio description with transcript and an impressive, interactive display of images. Some topics also include interactive maps and custom graphics. These “qwikis” (so named for their short duration) are created on the fly with no human interaction – even the audio track is computer generated. Qwikis can easily be shared with social networks or embedded and links are provided to Wikipedia, Google, fotobucket and YouTube for more detailed information on the topic.

However, once you get beyond the slick appearance of Qwiki, the  lack of depth and personal significance make some Qwiki topics feel like a dictionary for children. For example, the entry for food begins with “Food is any substance or materials eaten or drunk to provide nutritional support for the body and/or for pleasure.” And ends a few sentences later with “There are many different types of equipment used for cooking.” Qwiki sacrifices useful detail for brevity.

Maybe you noticed a similarity between the number of content pages on Wikipedia and the number of reference items in Qwiki? That’s because the public alpha of Qwiki uses Wikipedia  content pages to form reference item audio tracks. You know that brief abstract you see at the top of each Wikipedia entry? That, with a few edits, is what you’ll hear in Qwiki. The detailed information contained in the actual Wikipedia entry is rarely integrated. Wonder where the images come from? The maps? The videos? Remember the sites Qwiki directs you to for more information? You’ll find those resources there.

Qwiki is getting a lot of attention lately, and rightly so. The company has developed a tool that can locate information, compile various media formats and present the product in an new and innovative way. Beyond this, Qwiki leaves a lot to be desired.

Perhaps Qwiki can learn a lesson from Wikipedia (rather than just extracting data its data). Educators have only just begun to view Wikipedia as an acceptable pedagogical tool. Thanks to the work of innovative educators like Michael Wesch, we are beginning to understand the power of the creative aspects of Wikipedia encouraging students to create or update entries instead of just referencing them. This allows students the opportunity to engage in the world outside the classroom, adding their voices to the ongoing dialogue within our disciplines. As more subject matter experts became engaged with Wikipedia, the community grew to over 143,000 active users with an eye for detail and accuracy. Many entries are extensive and regularly updated, making them (in some cases) one of the best resource for information despite their lack of multimedia elements.

In its current state, I see Qwiki as a tool behind it’s time – one designed to focus on multimedia and not user created content. That said, I find the format of Qwiki one of the most interesting developments I’ve seen in quite a while. Other than Prezi there are few presentation tools that allow students to effectively and easily create multimedia enhanced projects. I’d like to see Qwiki give us an interface to create our own qwikis and to improve the existing content.  If Qwiki will do this, they can fill the need for a tool to aggregate and share multimedia in meaningful way. Who knows, with their novel interface, they maybe even be able to overtake Wikipedia.

In honor of Valentines, here is the Qwiki for LOVE.

Categories: general tip, reference

Be Careful What You Ask For….

September 21, 2010 1 comment

I have entered the blog world to offer up my tech teaching and learning knowledge. I also plan on having some guest bloggers. I hope that perhaps a few find these posts useful. They are designed to not take up a huge part of your busy day. I will be also adding some links to my favorite tools etc. by category. You can also check out my Delicious site to see all of my finds. I don’t necessarily use all of these. I just have them handy if someone else could use them.

That brings my to my first useful tip. Technology tools, programs, devices, and applications are just that….tools. Choosing the correct tool, depends on what you are trying to accomplish or build.

which tool?The choices can be overwhelming until you narrow down exactly what you want your students (or yourself) to do. And what works for some may not work for you. I have been looking for a To Do list that would keep me on task better. You would think that Outlook would do the trick. But it never has. So I finally tried ToDoist. It has worked pretty well for me so far. There are many apps and programs for keeping To Do lists but this is the one that works best for how I function. So figure out what it is you want to do with technology before you start looking through the many tools that are out there.

have a plan

I will try to give good uses for the tools and tips I provide so you can be sure to select the right tool for the job.

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