Thursday, July 29, 2010

The iPad so far, so good.

It's interesting to hear the response to the iPad from people outside the field of education, as in the CEO of a large financial institution who hasn't touch his computer since he got his hands on an iPad, for work, over a month ago.

Personally I found the switch from laptop to iPad an easy adjustment to make.  Yes, it helps to know a few of the tricks and tips but that's true of any computer.  You'll see some of those tips listed in previous posts.  What I like best about it is the portability, combined with long battery life.  I envision students finding it to be a perfect tool as they use it for:

- reference
- multiple elegantly displayed news sources
- a wide range of science and math applications
- many options for reading books and viewing videos
- productivity tools like Dropbox, SoundPaper, Audiotorium, Dragon Dictation, Instapaper
- blogging
- interacting on educational and social networks
- taking notes in classes and meetings using voice recording apps and typing
- sharing resources and collaborating

Perhaps the next generation of students will avoid chronic back problems brought on by lugging pounds/kilos of textbooks around in their backpacks.  Teachers may engage students more easily by having them create their own online 'textbooks' of resources including videos and databases.  And think of the possibilities for differentiated learning when every student is able to quickly find resources at their own reading levels.

I think the iPad can play a key role in the classroom, a classroom where the teacher works to ignite a passion for learning in students and acts as a guide and mentor in moving them along a learning continuum.  One example of a teacher who embraces this kind of classroom environment is Shelly Blake-Plock.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Flipboard: Your personalized, social magazine - iPad44

Playing with Flipboard, a personalized magazine for the iPad, this morning and it is one impressive app. Be sure to watch the introductory video and you can read more about it here:
Flipboard: Your personalized, social magazine - iPad44

It seems to be an overnight success as I started trying to log in to my Twitter account using Flipboard about 5 a.m. this morning and it took over an hour. Does it need it's own version of Fail Whale?

It was well worth the wait. Tweets with links automatically display the link content, no more clicking on links. You can favorite, retweet or share by email as well as replying to the tweet from within Flipboard. Flipboard displays a good chunk of the tweeted site and there's a button to click should you wish to see the complete page. The 'close' button takes you right back into Flipboard. Very slick!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Doctor Loopy's House of Fun

A tweet today led me to this Glogster done by Doug Valentine for his school library. He also writes a blog at Doctor Loopy's House of Fun.

And can be found on Twitter @Doctorloopy
I love inspiring librarians who have so much to offer and share!

Monday, July 19, 2010

BlogPress PS

Interestingly you cannot go back and edit once you have posted from BlogPress.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad.

Another iPad app

This is a trial using BlogPress on the iPad. It's configured to work with Blogger, MSN Live Spaces, WordPress, Movable Type, TypePad, Live Journal, Drupal and Joomla. When using BlogPress it will be helpful to have some HTML coding knowledge.

Part of the team.
Posting images is as simple as downloading them from the web to your iPad and then selecting using the camera icon. You can save the post as a draft or post directly to a blog.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Summer Project

One of my summer projects is mentoring a pilot group of teachers exploring the potential of the iPad. It's fun to watch the excitement generated by using a mobile device but the bonus will be if they begin to see new ways of accessing information and modelling learning with their students.
In preparation I've been combing my PLN for mobile learning resources and ideas. Here are a few good ones:

Apptivities - learning activities using apps on mobile devices compiled by an ADE Summer Institute group.
Hottest Apps - another ADE Institute list

@bryanhughes has set up a great introductory page with basic information, links to tutorials and guides and a list of 'starter' apps. for the group to use.

A couple of my own favourite free apps are SoundHound (for identifying music) and Open Culture (mobile access to educational audio and video collections) and this list of free reference apps.

For Socials teachers:
Seadragon - high resolution imagery
Louvre - art works, museum tour
France 24 - International news
HistoryMaps - historical maps

And for the 'Wow' factor, these two videos that demonstrate master artists using the iPad:

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain (For more quotations on risk-taking check out the Awesome Sardine)

Photo credit: Lesley Edwards

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Saying good-bye. Saying hello.

The end of the school year always brings changes and new adventures.  This year is a particularly significant one for me.  Yesterday I handed back the keys to the library I had managed for the past 12 1/2 years.  But while I will enjoy the pension checks rolling in I'm not quite ready to call myself retired.

I haven't finished learning and exploring, sharing and collaborating.  While I'm not about to take up hang gliding or learn a foreign language I find the world of social media in education intriguing.  My intention is to continue writing here as I learn new things or have worthwhile information to pass on.  The summer may see a bit of a hiatus.  I'm not sure if the focus of the blog will change a little, or expand to include new adventures.  Hands up if you really want to hear about my upcoming trip to South Korea.

I have been blessed and overwhelmed by the number of greetings, good wishes and celebrations that helped me see out my final month of working for the school district.  Everyone should have that experience!  Thank you all.

I wish you a restorative, adventurous summer.  I'll be back.
Let me know if you need a consultant.  :)

Photo used under a creative commons license from bryanh