Monthly Archives: May 2012

App Review: Dropbox – A Cloud Storage Service

If students are going to use iPads in the classroom then learning about cloud storage is an inevitability. That being said, most teachers are also going to need training on this topic. I would even recommend a professional development training just to get teachers familiar with it. By no means do I mean to imply that it is difficult to use – it is quite the opposite actually. A quick description of cloud storage is that you can upload your files (documents, pictures, etc.) to a server and be able to access them later through multiple devices such as a home computer, smartphone, iPad, laptop, or other computing devices. So if you’re typing a word document on your work computer, you can save it to your cloud storage (such as Dropbox) and you will be able to immediately access it from one of your other devices such as your come computer, iPad, or home computer. No longer will you need to keep emailing yourself your resume every time you make an edit. Here is a video that really breaks it down.

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No Calculator on the iPad?! Best Free Calculator Apps – Updated

I find it odd that the iPad, clearly one of the most revolutionary computing devices in the consumer market, does not even come with a calculator. The iPhone has a simple calculator when held normally but when held in landscape position stretches to reveal more buttons and becomes a scientific calculator. So clearly Apple understands the need for a calculator. Apple also clearly wants iPads to be used in the classroom so it’s mind-boggling that they left the calculator app out.

The iPhone Calculator:

Well, for whatever the reason, there really is no sense in trying to make sense of it all and if and when they ever do make one then it will be welcomed with open arms by everyone I’m sure but until then we’ll just have to sort through the calculator apps in the App Store. So here are my findings for the best free calculator apps. I stress free because there are good free calculator apps and school budgets need not waste money purchasing calculator apps when that money can go towards other more useful educational apps. I also am quick to disregard any apps that have ads in them so even though there are other free calculator apps that are great, possibly even better, when it comes to ads they can be so distracting and something as simple as that can lose the students’ focus on the task at hand so any apps mentioned here are also ad-free =)

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iOS Tip: How to Take Screenshots

Taking screenshots can be an effective tool for teachers for a number of reasons. Basically, whatever is on your screen can be captured and saved as a picture. For example, a social studies teacher can pull up google maps on the iPad and take a screenshot of a state or country to share with the class as a visual aid. Apple has made it very simple to take a screenshot on the iPad (as well as the iPhone for that matter).

All you have to do is press the home button and the power button at the same time. Done. The screen will flash white (to mimic the idea of a flash) and you can access your screenshot from the Photos app.

Here are some examples:

So there ya go! There are ways to crop, rotate, and edit images which I will cover soon.

-Mr. Mendo

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App Review: Nearpod – A Not So Good Presentation App for iPad

In my research for ways to integrate iPad use in my curriculum I stumbled upon an app called Nearpod. Similar to creating powerpoint slides a teacher can create a presentation to drive a lesson. The features a teacher can include in their presentation are

  • slides with text and pictures
  • polls to survey his or her class on the spot,
  • ask questions to which students can respond right away and the teacher can review instantly,
  • quizzes to assess student progress,
  • video
  • draw it to have students draw an image, submit to the teacher, and the teacher can select ones to share with the class.

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App Review: Quickoffice and DocsToGo – Replacing Microsoft Office on the iPad

Unfortunately, there is no official Microsoft Office – Word, PowerPoint, and Excel – for the iPad which is what most people, including students, use to write reports, make presentations, and collect data on desktop computers. Here I will discuss replacements for Microsoft Office if your class is using iPads and not desktop computers – Quickoffice Pro HD and Documents To Go.

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App Review: Paper by FiftyThree – A Drawing App for the iPad

A great app I found for drawing is called Paper by FiftyThree. It’s got a great user experience with personalized journal covers, great page-turning visuals, and just an overall fun drawing app.

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iOS Tip: Typing with a Stylus

As mentioned in my previous post about the split keyboard, my preferred method of typing on the iPad is to use a stylus. I find that no matter what position I’m in or how long I have to write for, I am most comfortable typing with a stylus. It doesn’t just stop there though as the stylus replaces your finger’s interaction with the iPad such as clicking on icons, browsing the internet, and are especially helpful with drawing apps such as Paper by FiftyThree. I find using the iPad with a stylus is a lot more comfortable but my point is that typing with a stylus is the most efficient and timely method in my opinion.

I’ve seen a number of different kinds at Best Buy and they range from $10 – $40. I haven’t tried all the different kinds but there really isn’t much to them as long as they are sensitive enough for the iPad anyone will do the trick.

-Mr. Mendo

Image

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