Thursday, December 16, 2010

A student drawing on the iPad

One of our student iPad evaluators, Angelica, recently created this drawing using AutoDesk's Sketchbook Mobile Express. She is a talented young artist and I'm glad to see her experimenting with painting and drawing in a digital medium. Angelica doesn't have a ton of traditional painting and drawing tools at home, but with the iPad she has a nearly unlimited supply of art making tools.

She is in the process of putting together her AP Art portfolio, and I hope she considers submitting some of the work she creates on the iPad.

I continue to be less interested in the iPad as a tool for doing the typical things we do with laptop computers and analogue resources like textbooks. However, I'm becoming more and more interested in the iPad as a platform to amplify creativity through art and music making programs.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Can we justify the cost of the iPad?

When we last gathered in our user groups, I mentioned my concern for the impact of toxic waste resulting from our 21st century consumer model of mobile technology.  This story raises an entirely new concern.  As you will hear, more than a dozen employees of the Chinese company responsible for producing the iPad have committed suicide in recent months. 

With a feverish pitch we all rush to the newest, shiny thing.  Are we stopping long enough to consider the true cost to our humanity and to our planet?

by Ryanne Saddler

Monday, November 15, 2010

NYTimes article on hand held devices in classrooms.

Hand Held Devices Find a Place in College Classrooms

An interesting read for two reasons... While this article talks about using clicker devices made specifically for the classroom, it mentions that this can be done on the iphone/ipad. eclicker is one implementation. I didn't download this since it's $10 for the host software (it would be free for the student-side software) and I don't have students with ipads to test this out on, but interesting nonetheless.

Second reason I found this interesting is that it seems like some colleges are finally catching up with K-12 education in seeing the benefit of students being actively engaged in class (versus passively listening to a lecture). I know Arizona State has been doing this in their intro astronomy classes for years (I took a 4-day course for astronomy teachers a number of years back taught by ASU profs who did "group work" in a 150/200 student lecture class. While we don't have the challenge of teaching classes with 100 students, I could see this still having benefits for quick formative assessments and as a way to get quiet students actively participating (along with the game show novelty that shouldn't be underestimated).


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Just getting my feet wet

As someone who has never had an ipod or any MP3 player really, I broke my unfamiliarity with podcasts by downloading and listening to one.  I know, welcome to the 2000's, but this was a major milestone for me.  Emboldened by my emerging technical prowess (and the gift cards) I took to the web in search of amazing apps.  After getting lost a sea of sites like "the top 5 apps for history teachers", I settled on a trio of youtube videos featuring an elementary school teacher (which of course I can't find now to link).  Many of his chosen apps are geared to younger kids but I did learn about and download two voice recognition apps - Dragon and PaperDesk.  
-Margaret Lane

Student App Scout

Senior student and tech-wiz extraordinaire, Angelica Ortiz, is going to be doing some iPad app scouting, testing and evaluation for us over the next several months. She is a great student test user because she loves to explore and tinker with this stuff-within an hour of getting her iPad she had several apps installed.

If you see her around campus, ask her the question, "What have you learned on your iPad?" She'll also be doing periodic blog posts and videos here at our site.

Some of the apps that she likes right now include:
Draw free
Virtuoso piano
Mandala hang drum
iBooks (she has huck Finn and don quijote, two books she is currently reading in a couple of her classes).

-submitted by Matt Montagne

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

"The perfect two egg omelette" or, making a YouTube video on my iPhone.

After watching Tony Vincent's superb k12 online conference presentation, I was inspired to download and install the sonic pics app for iPhone. I had this crazy idea about creating an interactive multimedia library of food recipes with my advisory. As a way to "eat my own dogfood," I went ahead and created a YouTube video of the steps that I use to make my world famous two egg omelette (more craziness here of course). I am quite impressed with the ease of use and the quality of the media as it lives at YouTube.

Anyway, as it turns out, such a simple little app has value. I introduced this as an option to the juniors as they are preparing to engage in their profile projects-some students very well may decide to use iPod touch/iPhone and sonic pics to assemble and produce their learning object for this project.

Learn more about the sonic pics app for iPod touch/iPhone here. As far as a rating on the sonic pics app-I give it a 5/5 stars.

-submitted by Matt

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

faster than a speeding bullet

Yesterday I had my students pull out their laptops so they could give me some quick, written feedback on a new project we were experimenting with. As they sat around waiting for what felt like forever for their 'puters to boot up, I marveled at how, in contrast, my Ipad was ready for action at all times. I started to think about the video Nanci sent around of Eric Mazur (the physics prof) using technology in his big lecture classes, and found myself wondering if perhaps I should have my students keep their laptops open and available all period. Perhaps part of my daily greeting should include "saquen sus computadoras, por favor."

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, November 8, 2010

NaNoWriMo on an iPad

For the 6th year I am participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Writing an average of 1667 words per day to get to 50,000 in 30 days is a challenge. Technology should help with this challenge, not get in the way. I did some research into file transfers, different writing programs, and other options, and this is what I have come up with: Elements for iPad ($5) Drop box (free up to 2G storage limit), and text edit on my laptop.

Since the goal of this project is to write, write fast, not edit at all, and keep track of how many words I have written, the lack of editing ability in these programs is not important, the almost instant portability is. Elements saves everything on the iPad in dropbox. Those files are then automatically available to my laptop dropbox, or if I needed, any computer via the web. The only problem I have found so far is needing to save and close the file on the laptop before opening it on the ipad, or I might lose the new stuff. That happened once, now I am more careful. And once in a while I have had times when drop box for the iPad does not seem to update in real time, I have to open Drop Box first, to force the download. (And I can't get a word count in text edit on the laptop, but I can cut and paste into Word for a quick count, and maybe not checking my wordcount all the time is a good thing.)

Maybe I still don't have the settings right, so I am going to keep playing with it. This is not a solution for any serious editing, or for producing final versions, because of the limits of these basic editing programs. But for initial content creation, for this blog post, or anything, I can see getting addicted to this kind of connectivity.

I am also going to check out using MobleMe for similar work, once I have a few minutes to set it up. And after I finish my daily 1667 words!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad
Location:Menlo Park

Sunday, October 31, 2010

First Exposure

I traded my iPad for a 3G model last week so this weekend was my first real attempt at figuring some things out. Besides reading tons of reviews, here are some of the things I managed to do:
I downloaded and explored some free apps: Epicurous, NYT, Google, TED, The Weather Channel, iBooks, Amazon Kindle, Dragon, Tesla, a periodic table END PTE, and neu.Notes.
Here are some thoughts on some of these:
Epicurous: If you are not familiar with their website, it is an interactive cookbook and search engine. I really like the interface and it will make you a shopping list for each recipe. I am sure that I want to take my ipad shopping with me, but at least I can check off the items I do not need to buy off of the list. I can definitely take my iPad to the kitchen as Flaurie had done. I also like the way she transfered her recipes from her computer to her iPad.
Good recipes as well.
Kindle App.
I have not tested reading my Kindle books on the iPad in the sun yet, but in room light, it is a nice experience. I don't know yet if I will try to sell or give away my kindle. Traveling with both might be redundant.
Neu.Notes is a fun but limited (and free) doodling/notetaking app. I think that playing with this app made me realize that I do not agree with Steve Jobs that we were meant to write with our fingers and I will be exploring the purchase of a stylus. I read lots of reviews on these and I think I settled on one but need more input. Any advise?

I also downloaded Pages and tried it out. I am so far impressed, but will post more specific thoughts in another post

Cooking with my Ipad

I download a lot of recipes from the internet and have been working hard to limit the amount of printing I do. Sometimes I shlep the laptop into the kitchen area and
work right from the screen. This has not been too comfortable.

So I was thrilled to figure out the following process using my Ipad:
1. email myself a copy of a recipe (in Word) from my laptop
2. open the email on my Ipad
3. convert the Word doc to a Pages doc
4. use my keyboard stand to prop up the Ipad, just like the
plastic recipe holders I never got around to acquiring
5. my slow-cooker, barbecue short ribs are ready for dinner!

I was pleased to figure this out, because I had initially imagined having
to re-type recipes. The conversation from Word to Pages, was lovely.
Even the photo transferred well.

- flaurie s. imberman

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Surprised by Joy - By Ryanne Saddler

To be clear, I told myself that I signed up for the iPad User Group because I wanted to test drive a less expensive and more portable option than laptops for the sake of our students. The last thing that I want is more time in front of a computer screen in my life right now, so I wasn't sure how this would work out. Before I got my device, I decided to disable my Facebook page (reduce distractions) and determined that I would limit myself to WiFi and the 16G model. After all, I want to have the cheapest version to see just how well it can or cannot meet my, and my students' productivity needs. That is still a work in progress: TBD.

What I hadn't expected when I stared all of this was to be surprised by joy. (Yes, I am borrowing the phrase from C.S. Lewis.) A bit of context first: This summer, when I had the leisure of time for reflection, I made a list of activities that bring me deep joy. The list consisted almost entirely of simple pleasures. At the time, I was shocked and dismayed to realize that my daily routine over the past few years has included fewer and fewer of these activities.

The iPad has brought the joy of literature, music, new ideas, creativity, beauty, and more, back into my life. Thanks to the iPad's portability, I can comfortably commute to work once again, there by welcoming back yet another simple pleasure - walking.

By Ryanne Saddler

Sent from my iPad

Monday, October 25, 2010

Film Created on an iPhone

Below is a film short that was shot and edited entirely on an iPhone 4 (that is the story, at least).

I share this because because I think it represents the potential of mobile computing devices. Just a few years ago such capabilities were tied to the domain of expensive desktop and laptop is incredible to think of what is now possible on highly mobile devices like cell phones!

-submitted by Matt Montagne

Apple of My Eye from Michael Koerbel on Vimeo.

Posting from Blogpress

I downloaded the $2.99 blogging application, Blogpress, for my iPad over the weekend. It is a universal app, which means that it will run on both an iPad and an iPhone for the one time charge of $2.99. My aim is to try and write most, if not all, of my blog posts at this space from either my ipad or iPhone.

So far my impression of blogpress is positive-I give it three stars out of five. It is easy to insert images stored in the ipad's photos program (the image inserted in this post is a quick little sketch that I created on my iPad with art studio). Images may be resized in the post and left, centered justified with relative ease.

Adding labels to posts is done directly in the app as well - you'll see that I added the tags iPad, blogpress, and appreview to this post. The app allows you to select labels already used or you may add new ones. I like this serves as a tag dictionary of sorts, which can be quite useful when working in a group/community blog like this one.

One thing I like to do in blog posts is create hyperlinks to the ideas that I'm referencing. It isn't readily clear to me weather or not it is even possible to create hyperlinks in the app at this point. If it isn't possible, I might consider downgrading my review to two stars.

I can't give this app a ringing endorsement by any chance. At the end of the day it might be just as easy to post directly via the iPad/iPhone email application.

-posted by Matt Montagne

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Welcome to the Castilleja Mobile Learning Group Blog!

Welcome to our group blog for our mobile learning community. We intend to use this space to share reflections, software/hardware reviews, potential ideas surrounding mobile learning in the classroom, etc. Subscribe to our blog via email or RSS along the right hand side of the page. Thank you for reading and contributing to this space!

-submitted by Matt Montagne