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Posts from the ‘handhelds’ Category

Google Maps updates mobile app. It’s a sign your world is changing

A few days ago, Google updated its mobile Map app. Probably not a huge thing for you and your kids. But it is a reminder that our world is changing. In some instances, rather quickly. More and more of what we see, use, consume, share, and teach is moving to mobile devices.

When was the last time you pulled over to the side of the road and pulled out that massive print road atlas? Some of you, probably never. I still have one in my trunk cause . . . trust me, there are lots of places in western Kansas where your cell signal goes to die.

Three days ago, my senior in high school freaked out because I asked her to call a neighbor on their landline. She wasn’t even sure if they had a landline. They did. But no one answered. The neighbor texted minutes later to ask what she needed.

I still read the Sunday edition of the Wichita newspaper. I would read it every day if they actually delivered it every day. But they don’t. Because they’re printing fewer actual papers and publishing more online. So like most of North America, I get my news digitally. My favs? Flipboard, Zite, and the digital NY Times.

Documents live in the cloud. Not on paper. Google Drive, Dropbox, Storehouse, and my latest fav, Adobe Voice, store and share work virtually.

Historical documents are archived and digitized. Artifacts are mapped in 3D, shared via the web, and printed out on the other end using 3D printers.

Books and articles are created, saved, shared, and read on mobile devices. (Check out the latest iBook on Ancient Egypt. Perfect for you 6th grade teachers.)

So while the Google Maps update does have some cool features (scroll down for a overview) take the update as a sign. Read more

Everyslide = SlideShare+Socrative

Disclaimer right from the get go. I haven’t played with EverySlide a lot. So  . . . head over, try it yourself, and let me know what you think. But based on the amount of time that I’ve had to mess with it, EverySlide seems like a handy tool to have hanging off your tool belt.

At its most basic level, EverySlide is a web-based tool that lets you share your presentation slides with whomever you want. So it’s a lot like SlideShare or Issuu. Upload your slides, share a link, people can view the slides anywhere/anytime.

But there is a difference.

EverySlide also has a little bit of Socrative or Kahoot embedded in it. It’s designed to be a live presentation tool so that whenever you’re talking, your participants follow along on their own devices. You can still project your slides but the idea is that you control the flow of the preso from your device. Kids do have the option to go back and review slides you’ve already covered but they can’t go forward.

And here’s the kicker.

Read more

Graphite: Find the best apps, games, and sites

The digital landscape that you and your kids have to navigate has exploded. Mobile technology, apps, instant access, digital content. The stuff is everywhere. And all of the stuff is changing how we do school.

But sometimes it feels like there is just too much. Sometimes it’s easier to just throw up our hands and try to ignore everything out there. How do we sort through all of it? We need unbiased and relevant information that can help us find the best of what we’re looking for.

And now there’s help. Read more

What tech makes the cut?

I’m sitting in the Wichita airport, waiting on a delayed flight to Houston. With the rain pouring down, I start looking for things to do. Read the paper. Watch a little video. Catch up on email. Clean out my backpack.

I usually try and make some decisions about what to put into the backpack before I leave. I ran out out of time before this trip. And I’m realizing now why it’s a good idea to re-pack after every trip. I got some stuff in there I really don’t need this time.

It’s always difficult trying to decide what to take on a trip and what to leave behind. I really, really hate carrying too much stuff. Seriously. Hate it. But I also worry about all of those times when I needed some little tech gadget on a trip and I had left it behind.

So. What to pack? Read more

Tip of the Week: Less Paper/More Comprehension with Readability and PrintFriendly

We’re spending more time online, reading and researching with our students. We often need to print out these online resources for use as handouts or review materials. One of the problems with online research is that if you or your students print out a news article, a blog post, or just about anything on the web, the print job ends up being multiple pages that include ads and other things you don’t need.

And as more districts move to mobile devices such as iPads, the rules change even more. I often work with teachers and students who are struggling with how best to access and use online materials as learning tools. How can we use online resources such as primary source documents without using paper?

But wasting paper and time aren’t the only concerns. Ed tech folks often talk about the powerful impact that appropriate use of technology can have on learning, especially with online tools. The assumption is that web use by kids increases brain wiring—that being online makes students smarter. But we need to be careful with those sorts of assumptions.

A 2010 Wired article by Nicholas Carr does a great job of documenting what happens in our brains when we’re online. And it’s not always good. Carr discusses a wide range of research claiming that hyperlinks, especially those that live inside text, cause comprehension problems.

  • “People who read linear text comprehend more, remember more, and learn more than those who read text peppered with links.”
  • “It takes hypertext readers longer to read documents and they were seven times more likely to say they found it confusing.”
  • “Comprehension declines as the number of links increase—whether or not people clicked on them.”

So while online resources are powerful tools for learning, they can waste paper, be awkward to use in a mobile environment, and decrease understanding if not used appropriately. What to do? Read more

Tip of the Week: 5 Ways to Screw Up an iPad Deployment

I spent a lot of time over the last few weeks working with a ton of teachers. Great conversations. Lots of learning. And not just a little frustration on the part of the teachers.

Much of the frustration centered on their iPads.

Getting work from kids is too hard.

There’s too much I have to keep track of in terms of classroom management.

We can’t get the apps we need.

The tech people won’t open up the ports on the server so the iPads can talk with each other, printers and projection devices.

I get it. It’s not easy.

But I think many people, especially admin types, do expect it to be easy. They expect the iPad to revolutionize the educational world. Kids will love them. Teachers will love them. Test scores will go up. Behavior problems will go down.

You can almost see some assistant superintendent in his office, gleefully rubbing his hands together in anticipation:

This is the silver bullet we’ve all been waiting for.

Here’s a secret. iPads are not the silver bullet. Hardware and software won’t change education. Teachers and quality teaching will.

But . . .

Read more