Category Archives: Tech Talk

iOS Tip: Alternatives to iOS Stock Apps for iPhone & iPad

hero_frontApple’s core iOS apps are good enough for what they are intended for but there are much better apps out there that can improve your iPhone or iPad experience. A lot of them are free and the others are worth the price tag. Here I will offer a list and short review of each.

Weather

Image-1-1Yahoo! Weather – A gorgeous and elegant app with much more info such as hourly and five day forecast, radar map, wind & pressure, precipitation, sunrise & sundown times, and moon info all with beautiful background pics from Flickr – Free for iPhone

Calendar

0Calendars by Readdle – A free alternative for both the iPhone and iPad. I love that you can swipe between each month instead of hitting left or right arrow buttons. Also, instead of seeing colored dots where you have appointments you can actually read them in the month-view calendar. Much better especially when you want to quickly glance at what you have going on. – Free for iPhone and iPad.

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Reading By Example

Before You Start Blogging…

  • Read other administrators’ posts. Go to badgeradmins.wikispaces.com for a comprehensive list of recommended blogs. Emulate their style and structure when developing your own voice.
  • Determine your purpose for blogging. Do you want to communicate with families? Reflect on your own practices? Connect with colleagues? All of the above?
  • Think about what you want to say and/or jot down your ideas on paper first. Doing this prior to writing a post helps organize your thinking.
  • Connect with educators on Twitter to build your professional learning network. You will want feedback on your posts. This social media tool is a great way to share your writing with others.
  • Write, type, then blog. At least initially, write your post on a word processor and copy/paste your writing into your blog.
  • Choose your tool. Determine which blog service you want to use. I prefer WordPress. Google Blogger is also popular.

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Reading By Example

My team of elementary principals has agreed to purchase iPads. If we expect teachers to use technology with the purpose of improving pedagogy and learning, we need to model it. The fact that I discovered through Twitter that there is an iPad 4 only emphasizes our need to be connected learners. Without this knowledge, iPad 3s would be getting shipped to us as I write.

One of the first steps we are taking is deciding what apps to have preloaded on our devices. Here are a few that I am recommending to my technology director, Phil Bickelhaupt (@WRtechdirector). Many of these may be familiar to you, and I suppose there is a reason for that.

Free

  • Evernote – Excellent way to record and document gatherings (not “meetings”). Just this week, I held an impromptu staff gathering about some decisions made in our leadership team. Because of the short notice, not…

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Reading By Example

In a recent post in Education Week, Justin Reich (@bjfr) strongly encourages teachers who have iPads in their classrooms to make their teaching visible. He recognizes that schools are quickly adopting this tool for instruction, but is concerned that teachers are not sharing what they are doing with others through social media. Justin goes on to say that in order to develop a vision of how iPads can be effectively used in schools, we need to see how other teachers are augmenting their instruction and then discuss these strategies.

I couldn’t agree more. Even though I love my iPad, I have been somewhat hesitant to just throw them in classrooms and see what happens. (I recently wrote a post about my experience piloting these devices last year.) We are somewhere in the middle on technology integration; our school is not 1:1, but all teachers have an iPad and…

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Movie Review: Catfish

I would like to take the time to review a documentary I find valuable in today’s technologically adolescent world. With a big push for 21st century skills in education today it is relevant to approach social media and it’s benefits as well as it’s dangers. This film is educational in both.

First shown at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival this intriguing documentary, Catfish, shows a real-life virtual relationship in the making. (Real-life virtual relationship – oxymoron?) What I find important about this movie is that it explores today’s common technologies and how simple and exciting it has become to make new friends and pursuing relationships. Facebook, Craigslist, Match.com – all too easy and is becoming much more common. On the flip-side, however, it also shows the misuse of these technologies and that is where things get interesting…

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Very interesting read on iPads being used in schools

Hooked On Innovation

School has started for most of us around the country.  Alarm clocks are set, bleary-eyed kids stumble their way to class, and iPads are being handed out.  Just a typical day here at Eanes and many districts across the country.  As the amount of 1:1 schools and districts continue to grow with many different devices, but specifically the Apple iPad, I thought it might be good to reflect and share the laundry list of items we’ve prepared in getting ready for our roll-outs.  (all high school students, 8th graders, and 2 grade levels at the elementary schools are 1:1 this year) I’ve already written about 10 things NOT to do in a 1:1 here (the list is growing in year 2) but  what about things we SHOULD do?

I’ve broken down the check list into three main categories -Administrative, Instructional, and Technical.  There are parts of each that intermingle, but…

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How to upgrade your RAM on a MacBook or MacBook Pro

I would like to step away from iPad talk just to explain how simple it is to upgrade the RAM on your MacBook or MacBook Pro. If your MacBook is running slow but you’re just not ready to replace it upgrading the RAM is a very easy and very cheap option. Even if you don’t consider yourself tech savvy or if you’ve never seen the inside of the computer this process is very simple to do. Most people would be nervous doing this just because the idea of opening a computer seems very scary. Rest assured, however, it is easy as putting legos together.

In this example I will be upgrading my RAM from 2 GB to 4 GB…

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