iPad: helpful tool for faculty


iPad: helpful tool for faculty

Originally uploaded by seanmckay

I’m grading this morning and the iPad continues to wow me in being a part of a mobile toolkit for working with my class. First off, I appreciate the ease with which I’m able to navigate 15 weeks of course material on the iPad. Scrolling with a wheel or magic mouse gets tedious with the number of screenfulls on my course homepage. The iPad, however, provides an efficient scrolling solution. Swiping through the pages is a much quicker process.

The iPad proves to be a portable and handy 2nd screen while I’m grading student work. I was able to view and bring up student work on the iPad while editing my feedback using my MacBook Pro. The iPad’s screen is excellent for reading and eliminates the need to switch between multiple windows or tabs on my laptop.

Quick, instant on browsing access is a serious strength for the iPad. The only wait time that I’ve experienced is when I first bring the iPad into a new wifi network as it takes a few moments for it to connect to the access point.

Finally, the iPad’s email application is incredible. The screen it completely utilized for email — no general operating system user interface bits and pieces are visible…just email. Furthermore, an iPad with an Exchange connection to Google Apps for GFU (including Gmail, which is coming this summer) means I have my email, my calendar, and the university address book available.

All in all, I have not missed Adobe Flash. The only site that I have encountered a problem with is Flickr’s Flash based slideshow.

That’s all for now. I will continue to share as I gain more experience.

Blog Assignment

Your assignment is to create a blog. Decide upon a plan for using a blog in your classroom and setup a basic scaffolding for your blog there. Share with the rest of us, using your blog, what your vision and plan for a blog for class would be. Some of you might decide to create a blog that is not focused on your classroom, but on other topics of interest to educators. I’m happy to be flexible with the exact focus. My primary objective is that you have an opportunity to setup a new blog that is professionally oriented around topics such as teaching, learning, your classroom, educational technology, school administration, etc.

Once you have setup your blog, please share the link to it in our Blog Discussion Forum in FoxTALE.

If you have any questions about the assignment, please use the Blog Discussion Forum.

First impressions of Google Wave

First look at Google Wave
First look at Google Wave

I received my Google Wave invitation last night and promptly setup my account. Here are my first impressions:

  • At first glance, I love the interface. It’s very clean and easy on the eyes.
  • Waves seem to be a mashup of wiki pages, blog postings, IM messages, and emails all rolled into one interface. Right now I have no one to Wave with (I have sent out a few invitations though…). I’m looking forward to seeing how tracking multiple waves works — will it be difficult to keep track of all of the data.
  • One very impressive feature is that you can go offline with Google Wave and then reconnect to sync your waves back up to the server. Finally, I have a cross-platform Groove-like solution that I asked for back in 2005.
  • Now I just need the invites that I sent out to be delivered so I can work with someone else…
  • This would be a brilliant way for our professors and students to work together on collaborative writing projects. In our M.Ed. program, when writing one’s action research project, you have critical colleagues who work with you to critique and edit your drafts in an iterative approach to building your thesis project.
  • I wonder what security is like. My connection to wave.google.com is over an https connection. As extensions are developed, it will be important to review them to ensure that connections to the extension provider are made over an https connection. Additionally, if authentication for third party services is shared (Twitter, WordPress, Evernote, etc), how will users make sure that their account credentials are not passed over a cleartext connection?

That’s all for now. I’ll post more once I have someone to Wave with…

Desktop or local wiki solutions

I’m thinking about offline or local wiki solutions that can run in a lab or on a classroom computer. Next week, we’ll be discussing web-based solutions that can work in the classroom and I’m hoping to put together a list of solutions that will work even in a classroom with only one computer.

So far, I have the following solutions:

  • Swiki (http://wiki.squeak.org/swiki/)–the first wiki I ever deployed. It has served us well for many years and can run on just about any old computer (Mac OS 9, Mac OS X, Windows 2000-Vista).
  • Tiddlywiki (http://www.tiddlywiki.com)–a new favorite. This gem can be run from your local hard drive or uploaded to a server and served up over HTTP.
  • MoinMoin desktop edition–This is a Python based wiki that is quite functional. I have not had a chance to use it much though.

What are you using for a standalone wiki engine?

Spotlight search on iPhone 3.0

So, the next killer tool in iPhone 3.0 is the ability to search globally on the entire device. I coincidentally needed to find an email from someone on my iPhone last night. Usually, when I need to any searching for an email, I’ll fire up my computer and pull up either Outlook or Gmail (depending on the account) and search there. This time, I entered their name in the global search tool from the home screen on the iPhone and was amazed by both the results that it gave and the incredible speed at which it found items on the device. Not only did it find all of my recent emails associate with this person, it found all calendar events, contacts, and notes that had their name. Very impressive!

Spotlight search results for "it"
Spotlight search results for "it"