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Posts tagged ‘mobile devices’

Digital Learning: You’re starting to make me cranky

It’s been a fun couple of months since the holiday break. I’ve had the chance to spend time with a variety of folks doing all sorts of cool stuff. A group of us have been struggling to write questions for the social studies state assessment pilot due out this spring. (Spoiler alert: more on that later this week.)

I’ve spent time with teachers discussing social studies best practices that are aligned to the state’s recently adopted state standards. And I’ve had the opportunity to work with lots of teachers as we shared ideas and discussed ways to integrate technology into instruction.

It’s all part of what is perhaps the best job in the world. I mean, who wouldn’t enjoy themselves spending time with dedicated, amazing people who literally are changing the world?

But . . . Read more

Control your iPads with Guided Access

More and more schools are integrating iPads into classrooms. And while there are tons of apps designed for social studies teachers that encourage quality teaching and learning, new tools always create unexpected consequences. One of the things that I constantly hear from teachers is that their students are easily distracted while using iPads.

It’s easy to say that it’s simply a matter of designing engaging lessons to keep kids on task. But we all realize that the iPad, and all of its bells and whistles, can be hard to resist. You might have one or two students who are always off-task no matter what is assigned. So teachers keep asking

Is there some sort of management tool that I can use to keep that one kid where he belongs?

And the answer is Read more

How not to celebrate Digital Learning Day

It’s Digital Learning Day.


Isn’t celebrating Digital Learning Day a bit like observing Black History Month?

I mean, shouldn’t we be teaching teaching black history (and women’s history and Latino history and Asian American history and dead white guy history and Native American history and . . . well, history history) all year long? I  can certainly understand the sentiment – for far too long, it was just Dead White Guy History.

Black History Month was a way to encourage teachers and kids to learn more about a part of who we are that was often pushed to the margins. The hope was that these critical pieces of US history would be incorporated throughout the instructional year. The problem? Too many social studies teachers still use February to have kids memorize random black history facts and call it good.

I get the same sense about Digital Learning Day. Not that there is anything wrong with the idea of a Digital Learning Day – the folks over there seem very concerned about best practice and argue that digital tools should be embedded into instruction as part of everyday practice.

But . . .

Read more

The SAMR model of tech integration and mobile apps

Back in the early days of my informal tech integration training, I heard Alan November share his thoughts on how schools could begin the process of embedding technology into instruction.

At that time, he talked about three different levels of integration that seem to make sense to me:

  • automate
  • informate
  • innovate

The goal was to move from using technology to complete tasks we’ve always done to using technology for tasks that have never before been done. From using a computer grading program to speed up the scoring of multiple choice tests to using a mobile app to create an interactive and collaborative e-book.

November suggested that we need to move beyond thinking about the tool and think more about the task. Decide first what we want to accomplish and then select the tool:

No one who ever bought a drill wanted a drill. They wanted a hole.
Perry Marshall

It’s the end result that matters, not the tool.

Read more

History Geek Week Day Four: iPads and the social studies classroom

Just so you know. Best NCSS conference in a long time. It’s been a great week – meeting new people, learning new things, talking about new ideas.

And the Sandra Day O’Connor & Gerda Weissman Klein panel / US naturalization ceremony on Saturday was simply amazing. That session made the trip.

So good luck, Tom Daccord of EdTechTeacher / Teaching History with Technology fame. You’ve got big shoes to fill early on a Sunday morning on the last day of the conference.

Though I’m not really that worried. Tom’s stuff is pretty amazing and this morning’s session is on iPads. So this is probably the best place to finish off what has already been a great four days.

Here’s the problem that Tom sees in education today: Read more

Reflection gets even sweeter & now has competition

Several months back I wrote about a sweet little piece of software that let you mirror / airplay your iPad (or iPhone) to your computer. Called Reflection, the software let you mirror your iPad screen via an HDMI or VGA projector.

Rather than spending $100 on an Apple TV that many district tech admins hate because it doesn’t play nice with their servers, you could spend $20 and get basically the same mirroring effect.

Well, it just got sweeter.

One of the problems with earlier versions of Reflection was that it was Mac friendly only. In fact, it only worked on Lion. But . . . wait for it.

It now also works on Windows XP or better and any Apple system 10.6.8 or better.


You can download a free trial and check it out. But I’m pretty sure you’ll like it. It’s drop dead simple to use. Make sure that your computer and iPad are on the same wireless network. Slide your iPad’s multi-task bar all the way to the left and tap the Airplay button. Select your computer from the list and turn on the Mirroring button.

You can password protect access in the software’s preferences to keep the kid in the back of the class from hijacking your presentation.

There is a “full screen” option that will simply put the frame on a grey background instead of your desktop. This allows Reflection to function as a full-screen app in OS X rather than having the iPad’s screen fill the Mac’s entire display. You can also select different resolutions and frames.

But wait! There’s more.

There is another option. AirServer, a very similar type of software, recently came out and offers exactly the same sort of service. Airplay via a wireless network directly to your computer, allowing you to mirror your mobile device over a projector.

So. Comparisons.

AirServer is cheaper by a dollar – 14.99 to 15.99. But if you’re downloading to a PC, AirServer drops to $7.99. Plus AirServer offers a better selection of educational prices. AirServer seems a bit more stable and seems to play nicer with a wider range of apps. But Reflection seems to do better at not falling behind when trying to mirror graphic intense apps. Both tools give you the freedom to roam around the classroom untethered and to let your kids connect to the projector quickly and easily. (I especially like how you can now use your iPad or iPhone as a very powerful document camera!)

But I’m going with AirServer because it fills my screen completely. It just looks better. But you’ll want to test drive each of them yourself. At $15 bucks, you really can’t go wrong either way.


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