Explain Everything is a favorite iPad app. It's developed by MorrisCooke, a company devoted to supporting ingenuity. I've been working with the geniuses at MorrisCooke for a year on a big project. I'm not yet spilling the details about our mighty undertaking, but I do have a little teaser image for you...
I want you to come to Tucson, Arizona September 16-18 for Mobile Learning Experience 2013!
It's my pleasure to be on the team organizing Mobile Learning Experience 2013. It's the third year of this fantastic conference. If you'd like to get a feel for 2012's conference, then check out the Mobile 2012 Program and Mobile 2012 Speakers' Resource Wiki.Mobile educators from across the country are gathering for three days to share, collaborate, and explore the many facets of mobile learning. In addition to traditional breakout sessions, we have inspiring keynotes, fast-paced Ignite presentations, lots of networking opportunities, and a concluding game show. This year's topics include project-based learning, assistive technologies, Common Core State Standards, Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT), and the open content revolution. Those topics are in addition to basic sessions on the most compelling apps, device deployment, and training tips and hints.
While mobile learning isn't about a specific device, many sessions will have an iPad focus. Mobile Learning Experience 2013 will also address other devices like laptops, Chromebooks, and Android tablets.
Please consider presenting at Mobile 2013. The Call for Proposals is open and the submission deadline is June 27, 2013.
Hey, teacher! Got an iPad? Then you've got a toolbox that you can fill to help you be an even better teacher! Spend some time with this infographic to discover how your iPad can be your handy assistant. It's filled with apps and services that you'll wonder how you ever lived without.
It's all about verbs, that is, the things teachers can do with an iPad. Those actions include showing your screen on a projector, managing the classroom, assessing student work, interacting with students, accessing your files, making instructional media, and expanding professional learning. The infographic focuses mostly on free apps that you'll be able to put to use immediately. Those apps turn your iPad in a timer, interactive whiteboard, voice recorder, document camera, calendar, magazine, notebook, and much more.
So take a peek to see how iPad can help you capture learning artifacts, plan lessons, poll students, visualize concepts, share demonstrations, and much more.
Here's a very useful tip: Most of the app names and websites mentioned on the single-page PDF version of this document are hyperlinks. Go ahead, try clicking!
While infographics aren't really meant to be printed, here is a 6 page version for printing. Here is a very large 24 page version. You can cut off the margins and tape the pages together to make a poster.
There will be updates to this document. Please leave a comment with your suggestions for what to include in future versions.
Some educators have printed out the infographic and posted pictures on Twitter!
Interested in mobile learning? Want to hear what other educators are saying about new digital tools? Ready to discover the latest and greatest iPad apps for teaching and learning? If so, I've got two audio programs for you!
Mobile Reach Podcast is hosted by David Freeburg, Jennie Magiera, and Sue Gorman. Mobile Reach discusses innovative yet practical ways to leverage mobile devices in the classroom. From redefining assessment to bringing more opportunities for student creation, collaboration and agency, your hosts explore how mobile learning can truly transform teaching and learning. Links to apps and sites mentioned can be found on the Shownotes Archive.
Techlandia Podcast is hosted by Jon Samuelson and Alison Anderson. It's by teachers and for teachers. Jon and Alison share practical tips and interesting apps. The show always features the work of some Twitter users you might like to follow. Links to all of the resources mentioned can be found on the Official Techlandia Podcast Page.
Apple's widget is nice way to provide llink to apps, books or podcasts. I like that you can click the title to see more info, and you can click View to be taken right into iTunes or the App Store to download the app, book, or podcast.
The process of making a widget is fairly simple:
- Go to widgets.itunes.apple.com/builder.
- Select Widget Type (probably App List, Book List or Podcast Playlist).
- Fill in the widget's Title and Description
- Click Add/Edit List and search for the items you'd like to add.
- You can reorganize the list by dragging and dropping the items into the correct order.
- Click Done to see your widget.
- Change the background color to match your site (the default is white, so you most likely won't have to mess with this).
- Adjust the widget size. You cannot make it larger than 325x370.
- Copy the HTML-Encoded Output.
The final step is to get the code on your website. It might be tricky because you cannot just paste it into a page or post. You will have to tell the web editor you use that you're inserting code. That's done in a variety of ways depending on the platform you're using. There's usually a button or tool that allows you to insert or embed code or widgets. Or, you might switch from the Editor to Edit HTML or Source. Below are some instructions for different platforms:
- Google Sites (this does not seem to work with Apple's Widget Builder)
There are a few bumps in the road when using Widget Builder:
- You might need to know the author of the app, book, or podcast when you search because items often have similar names and icons are not displayed until after you select the item.
- When picking app, you cannot tell if you are choosing an iPhone or iPad app.
- Widgets are not saved under your account. So if you want to make changes, you have to start a whole new widget. Or, you can follow the instructions below.
Some of my widgets have many items in them. Instead of rebuilding the whole whole list again, I can add items to the code. Here's how:
- Go to the iTunes URL of the item you'd like to add.
- Copy the ID number from the URL. For example, Explain Everything's URL is itunes.apple.com/kz/app/explain-everything/id431493086?mt=8 so I copy 431493086.
- View the HTML code on your site. Paste the ID number into the group of other ID numbers. Make sure a comma is separating the ID numbers.
- Save your code and the new item is added. You can remove items from your widget by deleting their ID codes. You can also change the order by rearranging the ID codes.
Too see another app widget in action, check out Erin Klein's blog post. Not only does the post have a widget, but it also has a handy tip for finding apps using Google.
Of course, there are other ways to display apps visually. I've been pinning apps on Pinterest because I can choose a screenshot for each app. There's also Appolicious, List.ly, and Symbaloo for maintaining lists with icons.
The simplest way to see exactly what's on your Apple device's screen is buy Apple's VGA (Dock Connector or Lightning) or HDMI (Dock Connector or Lightning) adapters. Those adapters plug into the connector at the bottom of your device and send out a video signal to the projector or TV at the other end. There's no software to install–it just works when you plug it in. Those adapters sell for between $27 and $45. I want to tell you about iTools because it's a free mirroring solution.
iTools software from ThinkSky is a free download for Mac and PC that requires no special cable to mirror an Apple device's screen to a computer. iTools can use iPad's, iPhone's, or iPod touch's USB charge/sync cable to grab the connected device's screen and show it on your computer. If your computer is already connected to a projector, it's handy to have your device's screen appear on your computer, which will make it appear on the projector screen.
Unlike wireless mirroring solutions like Apple TV, AirServer, and Reflector, iTools requires the device to be tethered to a computer. But, that means you don't have to worry about your Wi-Fi network being compatible because the mirroring does not go through Wi-Fi.
iTools calls itself the "one-stop manager of your iPhone, iPad & iPod touch." The software can do much more than mirror your screen, so finding the mirroring option is somewhat hidden. On Mac, click Desktop under your device's name and then click the Record Screen tab. On a PC, click Desktop under your device's name and click the Live Desktop tab. For the best picture, click the full screen icon.
iTools has built-in screenshot and recording capabilities. You can make a photo or video of exactly what's happening on your device. iTools can include a voiceover using your computer's microphone. Unfortunately, your device's sound is not recorded directly through iTools. You could hold your device's speaker up to the microphone when recording if you need your device's audio output in a screencast.
Some observations and notes about iTools:
- You don't install an app on your device. The only software to install is on your Mac or PC.
- iTools is 100% freeware with no ads.
- iTools' mirroring is laggy. Scrolling, zooming, and fast screen movements do not mirror well. Just remember to slow down.
- iTools does not direct your device's sound through your computer. If sound is important, you can always connect speakers to your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch.
- Your device has no idea that it is being mirrored. So apps that will display something different on a second screen do not. That's an advantage when trying to demonstrate an app like PaperPort Notes that typically hides toolbars on a mirrored screen.
- Because you are connected with the charging/sync cable, your device charges as you mirror.
- If you want a longer cable for more mobility, pick up a USB extension cable. You can get one for cheap from Monoprice, and they come in all kinds of lengths.
- You cannot control your device through iTools or through an interactive whiteboard. Only the device's touchscreen works as input.
- The Mac version is in beta, and I suspect that there will be updates to the Windows version. Since it's a work in progress, iTools might crash, and it might take some tries to get your device to show up.
- ThinkSky, the company that makes iTools, is Chinese. Their website looks dubious, however, I've been running iTools for a few months and I feel the software is safe. It does not install adware, toolbars, or plugins.
- Surprisingly, iTools' mirroring works with older devices like iPod touch 3rd generation and iPhone 4.
- Thanks to Sam Parker who let me know about iTools through a comment on my post about Ways to Display Your iPad on a Projector Screen.
I've updated my comparison chart to include iTools – 6 Ways to Display Your iPad on a Projector Screen.
At the time of publishing this post, Bindle - PDF Maker, a universal app for iPad and iPhone, is free. Bindle's price is down from $1.99.
To use Bindle - PDF Maker, launch it and select up to 24 images, which can be from your Photo Library. Then Bindle - PDF Maker combines them into a multipage PDF file. You can share the PDF in a variety of ways.
While Bindle - PDF Maker's price drop got my attention, I was elated to see that it can fill a need. In my workshops, I guide teachers through model lessons. They often involve each learner creating a collage, comic, drawing, mind map, or annotated image. I collect each creation onto my iPad. Then, I bundle all of the creations into one file for easy distribution. I have used Scribble Press, which is no longer a free app. And it was not quick. In Scribble Press, I would have to create a new page and import and resize each image separately (often forgetting which image I last imported in the process).
In Bindle - PDF Maker, you can select all of your images at once. Each is placed on its own page. You can edit the order of the images. You'll probably make a cover page for your book in another app and make that your first page.
Before exporting, you can pan and zoom the image on each page. You can also add text headers and speech bubbles.
When you have everything just the way you want it, you'll click the Bind It button. Then you can email it or sent it to Dropbox. You can also call up all of the apps you have installed that can open PDFs, including iBooks, Evernote, QuickOffice, PaperPort Notes, Edmodo, and Explain Everything.
Using Scribble Press, I would be pressed for time to get a collaborative book bundled during a workshop. I'm excited to use Bindle - PDF Maker because it will take no time at all to put the book together. Of course, it will take time for learners to each create their contributions, but it the technical part of combining their work is a cinch with Bindle - PDF Maker. So even when the app goes back up in price, I still highly recommend it.
Below is a possible workflow for the scenario I describe.
Nowadays teachers and students have a variety of ways to show what they know and to express themselves. Take a look at some of the hottest online and mobile tools for showing, explaining, and retelling in my infographic, "Show What You Know Using Web & Mobile Apps." These web and iPad apps can turn students into teachers and teachers into super-teachers! Furthermore, most of the apps listed in the infographic are free of charge.
You can download the infographic as a PDF (3 MB) by clicking the image below. Web links and app names are hyperlinked within the PDF for one-click access to the apps and resources.
UPDATED February 2013:
- Replaced apps that are no longer available.
- Updated some app icons.
- Added sections for Slide Presentations and Posters.
- Added link to app picks on Pinterest.
I made a series of posters that I often hang around the room when I facilitate workshops. It's fun for participants to get up and scan them at break time. Each poster features a quote about education or technology. Part of the quote or its author is missing and has been replaced with a QR code.
You examine what's on the poster and guess to yourself what the QR code might say. After you have a guess, then scan to see the answer. My favorite scanning app is i-nigma, and you can get it for iOS and for Android.
You can see 20 of the quotes by clicking through the gallery below.
Touchscreen devices aren't supposed to require a stylus. But there are times when you might want to use one. You probably draw better with a stylus. Your handwriting is more legible with a stylus. You don't leave fingerprints with a stylus. Using a stylus doesn't block your view of the screen.
Because modern touchscreens are capacitive sensing, they take the conductivity of the human body as input. It doesn't matter how much pressure you apply. It's the electricity flowing through your fingers that cause a change in the screen's electrical field. That change is interpreted by the device as input.
That's why you can't use your touchscreen device while wearing gloves, and it's the reason why using a fingernail, pen, eraser, or non-capactive stylus doesn't work. The screen works when it comes in contact with flesh.
Capacitive styluses have a fat tip because the touchscreen requires a somewhat large contact area. That tip is connected to material that conducts the static electricity from your fingers to the screen.
You can walk into a Best Buy and spend $15 to $40 on a stylus. That seems like a lot of money for something that in all likelihood will be misplaced within a few weeks. To save money, you can buy a three pack of touchscreen styluses for under two dollars from Amazon. It can take a few weeks for these styluses to arrive, but the shipping is free of charge. For less than $5 you can get a three pack that are of slightly higher quality and have somewhat less mushy tips.
If you think you might lose your stylus, consider buying a case for your device that has a holder for it. Or, buy a stylus that stays attached to your device. You can buy styluses that stay tethered when inserted to the headphone jack. Amazon has a pack of eight for less than $10. There's even a colorful pack of 10 that are under $3 and shipped free. They are short, so they aren't as nice to write and draw with. Even shorter is the MicroStylus, which just might be the world's smallest stylus.
It might be fun for you or for students to make do-it-yourself styluses. CNET shows you how to make a stylus in two minutes using a Q-tip and foil. Make Use Of has instructions for constructing a styles from foam, wire, and an old pen. Students at Anastasis Academy made with own iPad styluses for less than 10 cents using a sponge and wire.
Make Magazine has a video on how to make a Do It Yourself Stylus using foam, a wire, and a pen.
For youngsters who are just learning to hold a pencil, the AppCrayon promotes a control grip. Its three-sided shape is designed by teachers. Having three sides means that it doesn't roll away when placed on a table. You can purchase AppCrayon at Target, Walgreens, and Bed Bath & Beyond for $9.99. Educators can get AppCrayon at a hefty discount by contacting the company.