Wednesday, May 21, 2014
I tried out YALSA's Teen Book Finder app. I really like it! My students are always asking me if I have any good books - maybe now I will have them find the ones they are interested in and I will get for my library! It was a little confusing to have the app tell me the book was at the Ridgedale Library, when it is really in many libraries in the Hennepin County System. It also seemed odd to take me to World Cat instead of linking me directly to my library when I click on the library name. But it was nice to have it show me so many places where I could find the book. It will be fun to share this with my students - especially those with 1:1 iPads next year! They are going to bombard me with suggestions! (I hope...finally...I keep asking....)
I tried out Dragon Dictation. I like the speech to text (and I'm sure my 4th graders typing their research papers today would have liked using it as well). For the basic notes I tried to speak, it did well except for my daughter's name (since I did not allow it access to my contacts - color me suspicious). I did send her a text with my created note - that was very nice. I noticed on my iPhone that I could only create one note at a time (I could continue adding to it), while on the iPad it keeps a list. I would like to be able to save the notes on my phone since that is more portable and more often on my person. I will definitely share this app with the teachers who will have 1:1 iPads next year.
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
OK, Flipboard is totally my new favorite thing. Better than Pinterest (from which I had to go cold turkey) because there are news articles that will make me feel smarter!! And it might actually get me back into reading the news and articles I want to read because I can save them for later when I have more time...yeah, right. So, I do like the feature of creating my own magazines and being able to share them with people. I think this could be especially helpful in PLCs or other teams to share information and research. I found it a little bit difficult to search for very specific blogs or articles, but I did eventually find them. I currently have an iPad mini and this was a great size to view and read the articles. I found it fairly easy to read in this online format, perhaps because of the magazine feel of it. I think it could be good for older students to find and "archive" articles to share in class on current event type topics. I am not sure how I would use it with my elementary students, but I would like to give it a try as we move toward 1:1 and BYOD. I did see there was a comment feature, but I wasn't sure if it was attached to the blog or Flipboard. Maybe students could read an article and leave comments in reaction to the article or a teacher prompt.
I use many of these things, but I thought Google would be the most likely for me to use professionally, so I thought I'd see if there was anything new. I was crazy excited about Google Goggles...the Google Guys with the cute accents helped a bit. I needed to download the app - I have every other Google app on my phone/iPad save this one. I use Chrome so I haven't really needed it. Anyway, when I opened the app, I could not find a camera option in the search. Major bummer. If this becomes more widely available, I can see my students using it all the time! We are moving toward a 1:1 iPad environment and I am so excited for the learning students can do once we train them to use it "educationally" and not just to play games. Students are so curious! I am so curious! Any time I don't know an answer or want to know more, I ask Google. I have a teacher right now who has his student's ask Siri anytime he doesn't know something they are asking about. I am still envisioning some kind of school learning environment that operates like Tumblr. I mentioned this to a principal on a school visit recently and he said - why not actually use Tumblr? Maybe...or maybe a blog or a Google Doc to track their learning. I did just find another app for iPhone (apparently not iPad) called CamFind that people are raving about in April 2014. It seems pretty robust. I tried scanning a QR code, a random picture hanging in my library and a book cover and it found information on all three. I am excited to use it more!
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Ok, that was fun! I learned lots of new things, although my discoveries were repeatedly met with refrains of "you didn't know that???" from my 17 5/6 yo daughter. :) Anyway, I don't even know if I remember all the changes I just made to my iPhone, but here is what I do remember: 1. The compass can become a level. My DR table is not totally level, but the nearby countertop is. :) 2. There are additional keyboards - my faves are emoji and Russian. 3. I cannot take panoramic pics with the regular camera app on my iPad mini, but I can take panoramic shots starting from either left or right on my iPhone 5c. 4. You can lead Siri to correct pronunciation, but you can't always make an old dog learn new tricks. Siri (mine has been changed to "US male") cannot pronounce my daughter's name (first or last) correctly, even after correcting the pronunciation. Therefore it continues to not recognize her name or her relationship to me for texting and calling using Siri. (I think he's just jealous.) 5. You can see the calendar in week mode by changing to landscape orientation. 6. You can add a photo to an email by touching and holding the screen in the body of the email. 7. You can ask Siri to find images. 8. You can ask Siri to check on recent Twitter posts. 9. You can see recent Twitter posts in Safari by clicking on the @ in the bookmarks, reading list, "shared links" section under the book icon. 10. You can turn off background app refresh under Settings.
I am excited to begin another session of 23 Things - Mobile! I am always excited to have new tools in my belt to share with the right teacher for the right task. The students are always ready to try new things, and I like being able to share these tools with them as well. My PTO purchased iPad minis for every teacher to start playing with and learning how to use. They may be pulled back into sets to use with small groups of students or for collaboration projects. I want to take the time to explore some of the best mobile tools and think strategically about how to use them with elementary students. I can't wait to get started...so here I go!