Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A few quick thoughts on why I like the iPad

No, the iPad will not fix education. And, no, it is not the right device for all settings. But here are a few reasons why I think the iPad has already had a significant impact in schools.

1. I believe that the iPad is encouraging schools to fast track infrastructure projects involving wireless access and to increase bandwidth.

2. I have encountered more conversations about "going 1:1" and "bring your own device" in the past year than ever before.

3. The iPad can't truly be locked down. I think that this is pushing educators to look at "digital citizenship" more closely and to revise their AUP's from what you "can't" do to what you "should" do. It also encourages meaningful and authentic learning over "you need to learn this just because". If we can't answer the question, "Why do I need to learn this?" then our students will turn elsewhere. Honestly, why shouldn't they?

4. It's mobile. That's right folks. This thing can move to any part of the room, can leave the room, can "gasp!" even go outside. The 4 walls and a stage with tidy desks in a row is not working. Our learning spaces can and should be more dynamic. If the iPad helps, Fantastic!

For me, it's not about the apps, the swipes, or cool. It's about shifting our focus toward student centered learning. If the iPad is pushing our conversations and practice toward this goal then I'm excited.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

How to enable diigo bookmarking in Safari on the iPad

While I am no diigo guru, I have come to rely on the bookmarking and highlighting features it offers. I use the diigo browser extension for chrome to make saving websites and web highlights a snap. I recently learned how to enable similar features using the iPad's Safari browser and have create a brief tutorial showing how to set this up. The tutorial assumes that you have downloaded the diigo app for iPad and that you have created a diigo account.

For more information about diigo and its uses in education take a look at this resource.

Tech Tuesday Tip - Usernames and passwords #scced #ttdn

It's inevitable.You go to a professional development workshop, a colleague shares a cool website with you, or you've just downloaded a new app and you are asked to create a new account. You enter your username - taken! You enter a password - "12345" isn't secure, try again! What to do?

Image Attribution: Padlock by
Here are a couple of links to suggestions on managing your countless accounts that will hopefully help you to develop your own system. Remember, these are only suggestions. A truly secure account is unique to you. I also recommend having separate systems for your highly sensitive accounts such as financial, e-mail, or sites with confidential or privacy related content (student data, etc.)

Teaching Parents and Others About Passwords - By Richard Byrne

Creating Effective Passwords - By Steve Katz

Another recommendation from a colleague is to use KeePass is a free download that you install on a flashdrive for storing and securing all of your passwords. Having a secure and portable password locker is great idea for individuals on password overload.

Friday, April 13, 2012

So many Friday the 13th opportunities to learn, it's frightening!

My task list can wait. I've been virtually attending three different conferences all morning. You've got, Council for Exceptional Children 2012, and Breaking Tradion 2012. All three are rich with student centered resources and fantastic examples of Universally Designed instruction.  If you're on twitter check out these hashtags to follow the conversations surrounding these great confernces (#mobile2012, #cec2012 or follow @pammoran for updates on Breaking Traditions 2012)

Here are a couple video teasers I've picked up today to get you started. 

Choice in Action


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Using the iPad's zoom accessibilty feature to enhance screencasting apps like showme and educreations

Showing greater detail or handwriting text on iPad screencast apps such as educreations, showme, and screenchomp can be difficult. This tutorial shows you how to use the iPad's accessibility features to zoom in and out of your screencast canvas and provide greater levels of detail in your tutorials.