Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

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Nine Things You Didn’t Know About Twitter

July 4, 2012
Maybe you use Twitter already but would like to learn a little bit more. Perhaps you know nothing about Twitter but would like to learn a little more in regard to what its all about. In either case, the following is a nice article about Twitter.

~ROB KOVI
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Using Images from the Web- Licensing

May 10, 2010

I just finished reading Tammy Worcester’s Tech Tip of the Week about licensed images from the web . She had 2 great resources for teachers and students that allow you to search by type of license. The first searches flickr pages and the other is a more general search. These are the next generation of image search tools that Google should take a note from. What a great way to keep students aware of copyright while image searching! Brilliant!

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iPad- forget talking about what it doesn’t do

May 9, 2010

I was sold on the iPad from the moment Steve Jobs unveiled it in January– to me it was the iPhone expanded. Every thing great that iPhone changed could be expanded to new areas where it just makes sense to have a larger screen.

While I weighed my decision to buy the iPad I listened a lot of naysayers with no shortage of reasons why I should pass. I wouldn’t buy one they’d say- no camera… no removable storage… no flash… it’s just a big ipod touch… can’t print with it… for the price you can buy a netbook… it doesn’t do anything new…

Well, silly me … I went ahead bought one anyway and I love it. My wife loves it too.

The naysayers are right. The iPad does not do anything I listed… not exactly, but for everything it can’t do there’s so much more. For some people these features are make or break, especially if we get nostalgic or stuck in the way we do things today.

I’ll concede on the camera. I can see, for example, what a great iChat or Skype tool it could be with a camera or that it’s always so much easier to snap a photo of something you want to remember than to make a note about it- but flash… yes, flash would certainly make better access to ‘current’ web content(only time can see the conclusion of this debate). This all aside, the most important thing is what the iPad does and will do.  It will change how we do things and how we interact with technology and despite those that claim that it’s not revolutionary or evolutionary, you’re wrong. The iPad will have a large impact and a long kill list.

One day we will be able to look back and see clearly how the iPad changed the game, just as 3.5 floppies or CD burning.  In a short time it’s completely changed where, when, and how I surf the web, access information, and think about technology. It’s been a creative inspiration for the way I think about what I do, what I will do and what others will do with technology in the future.

So what’s right about the iPad

The first thing is the Apple trinity. It only adds to the strong base of iPhone, iPod, and now iPad. As I reflect on the variety of other available products I’m not sure who can compete with this triple threat.

iWork apps for $10 each.  I love Keynote and it’s mobile app is outstanding. What an inspiration. I have visions of marketing execs and graphic designers sharing work with clients on a iPad, or a photographer or any other vendor at a wedding show, for example, passing potential clients examples of their work to be shown on that beautiful iPad screen. Everything it seems looks better on an iPad. These apps have the potential to shift the need for a new kind of ‘office’ suite.

Being an educator I have visions of books and textbooks on the iPad in full-color interactive glory. Textbook companies may be reluctant to give up selling bulky textbooks, as it is today you have to purchase hard copies of textbooks in order to receive the digital versions, but the demand is already there for digital textbooks. The first manufacturer that truly embraces the digital market will be king. The future is not in printed books. The iPad is the best option for digital texts.

In the classroom I would drop my laptop or net book in a second if there were apps that synced with our attendance and grading software. Connect this to a projector and along comes some great keynote material shared with my students. Put the device in the hands of the students with a few creative apps and you’ll locker full of books and n amazing student response system. Students can take notes and there would be no need for printed materials and documents. Teacher documents, memos, calendars and student work can all be sent to the iPad.

The last thing is the intangible feeling of satisfaction you get from using the device. Put this device in your hands and it somehow just feels right.  I’ve used plenty of laptops, net books, and none impress me like the iPad. Reading on a computer or a net book cannot compare to reading on an iPad and with the gorgeous screen combined with all the wonderful other things you can do with it blows away any ereader.

Apple has done it again.

~Rob Kovi

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Ding Dong is Ning Dead?

May 4, 2010

If you’re an educator using Ning, like me, you’re probably disappointed to hear the news that Ning has decided to end its free service. I first discovered and began sharing Ning with teachers in the 08-09 school and it took some time for me to sell it.  This year many teachers have incorporated Ning in their classrooms, just in time for the free service to end.

An ominous e-mail broke the news of “new and exciting changes” coming to Ning in July. Generally it’s a bargain, $2.95 per month or $19.95 for a year, but many teachers have already expressed their concern for having to pay to use Ning. I just wish there was a way they would consider making Ning free for educators…  but wait! What’s this? There’s more.

Good News!! After exploring Ning’s site I discovered that “A major educational company has offered to sponsor Ning Mini Networks for educators globally in primary and secondary education. More details to come soon!”

Could my wish really come true?

~Rob Kovi

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The state of slates in our classrooms

May 4, 2010

A new interest of mine to explore benefits of wireless slates versus interactive whiteboards in the classroom. With a bit of luck I’ve acquired three slates from different manufacturers and plan test them all in a variety of classroom settings. I will write more in later posts about the specifics of the products but for now, may the best slate win.

The three contenders are:

  • SMART Slate® – A blue tooth device that works in conjunction with the SMART Notebook®  software.
  • eInstruction INTERWRITE MOBI® – A RF device that works in conjunction with INTERWRITEWORKSPACE®  software.
  • Polyvision eno mini slate This a blue tooth device but unlike the other two devices there are no electronics in the slate.  All the electronics are in the pen. The mini slate makes use of an eno driver  RM Easiteach software.

For those new to ‘slates’, a wireless slate is a device that allows you interact with content on your computer from anywhere in the classroom.  Slates can be used in conjunction with an interactive white board or stand alone with a computer and projector. They provide all the pen tools and click features from a handheld tablet or slate. If you hover the pen it works like a mouse. If you touch the pen to the board it clicks or writes depending and depending on the tool selected a variety of other things.

The beauty of these tools is that the teacher can interact wirelessly with the content projected at the front of the classroom from any where in the room and the slate can easily be passed to students in the room so they can do the same. In addition, most slates cost about $400 and can easily be moved from room to room.

I have many things to explore but the first bit of trouble we have encountered is the small learning curve for using the slate. I seem to have picked it up quickly and after a few minutes of use had little difficulty writing neatly and drawing different shapes. Some others have taken a bit longer. They trouble is that nothing appears on the slate when you write so it takes a little practice to look at the screen and write on the board without seeing a result.

I thought students would be quick to learn by they struggled too.  With a little practice they work well and the students are eager to try the tools and overcome their difficulties.  So far everyone has been successful with a little effort.  hand-to-eye coordination. The writing does not appear on the slate, only in the projection.

Stay tuned for updates on our adventures.

~Rob Kovi