Posts Tagged ‘apps’

PostHeaderIcon Education & Google Apps — Computing in the Cloud

End of the year craziness has limited my blogging time, but I am here again to talk about something that I am in the midst of.  I am not on the back-end of setting it up but I am a user experiencing a transition in our school.  We will soon be utilizing Google Apps for Education in our district.  I am very excited about the potential.

Many schools are transitioning to Google Apps as their email and document/media management system.  Cost is a big reason, but also the cloud computing potential.  Rather than setting up remote access, hosting everything in the cloud is much easier from the backend.  A computer then becomes merely a portal.  I think this is ideal in a school because one does not always have access to the same computer day after day unless you are a staff member.  Students get online from any available computer.  Can we transition to tablets??  Big question if everything is hosting in the cloud.

I have a been a Gmail user for over three years so I am quite familiar with the organization.  I use Google Docs every day but as a Publisher user I find docs a bit limiting.  I hope a Publisher-type Google Docs program is on the way.  The ability to upload nearly any type of file is a great benefit of Google Docs.  Even if Google Docs cannot open the file, it can be hosted on Google Docs essentially turning Docs into a cloud external drive.

Some of the best Apps for the Google Account include the following:

EasyBib – create bibliographies in MLA format

LearnBoost – planbook, gradebook, roster, embed files, export data, iPad compatible, attendance, reporting and analytics features

Aviary — web-based design tools (audio, images, documents)

Haiku – LMS (Learning Management System) ePortfolios, annotator, wikiprojects, resource sharing, portal, embed websites

BrainPop – BrainPOP creates proven and award-winning educational resources including animated movies, interactive quizzes, activities, high-interest readings, and more.

Rcampus ePortfolios – RCampus ePortfolios App is the most comprehensive and flexible electronic portfolio management environment for easily creating lifelong ePortfolios to serve a variety of purposes.

Those are just a few educational Google Apps that I have found helpful when making the jump between the desktop based environment to cloud computing.  Good luck and let the fun begin!


PostHeaderIcon Apple vs. Android

So I was reading a blog that did a nice job laying out public opinion on the Apple vs. Android discussion.  Should schools get iPads or Android Tablets?  Which is the best solution?


One of the big concerns with Apple is the way they are marketing the iPad.  Users seems to be looking for a netbook replacement.  They want to be able to hook in their peripherals.  They want USB, HDMI, & SD Card ports, not to mention the limits of Google Apps on iPads.  Android allows users to use Flash and other popular tools.  Though with the transition to HTML5, maybe Flash will not be such a big deal in the future.

I do wonder if jumping on the tablet band wagon is necessary….could education wait until the price goes down?  Are there cheaper options such as the Nook Color adding Android accessibility options?   Companies are rushing to come out with the next solution.  Is the first solution the best?  Should schools even be buying these things when students can bring them in to school to use on a wireless network?  Not all students have these tools…so buy a few instead of for all students.  Cellphones are quickly replacing laptops for simple and general computing.  Things change every day…I look forward to the next advance with interest.

Another user notes the ease in which Google makes app creation.  In the Google App Inventor, users can easily create apps.  This is ideal for students.  However, Apple caters to education and has a variety of educational apps.  Android needs to catch up to be a threat in that field.

To create an iPad, iTouch app there are a few more steps.

“First start by joining Apple’s iPad Dev Program ($99).  With your membership you will get iPhone SDK with Xcode, interface builder, ipad simulator, sample codes, video guides, forum, and performance analyzer.  Download and install the latest version of the iPhone SDK. Note, you will also need a MAC or  Mac Mini with the freshest Snow Leopard installed in order to run it. If you cannot afford a MAc. you may try to develop on a Hackintosh PC. Here is a tutorial on building a Hackintosh with Snow Leopard, no hacking required that might help you in your project.  There are some great places with tutorials and guides or forums to ask for help from other developers: Apple Dev Forum, iPhoneSDKiPhoneSDKForum.(Source)”

What will you choose?  Will your choose?  Take a look at your needs and reasons and then decide.


PostHeaderIcon Educational Apps

iPod App List

I just came across (thank you Twitter) a list of Educational Apps.  I will not try to list them all, but go to this wiki and find a slew of them.  Some are free and others are not.  I believe the most expensive one is $1.99.

A few to note:

Animoto App — Free.  I am a great fan of Animoto.  They have educational accounts and make digital storytelling so easy to accomplish.  Taking advantage of the video capabilities of the iPad 2 and iTouches make this tool a must.

Bump – Free.  Share photos, apps, music, messages, locations, contacts, calendar events; become friends on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn; compare mutual friends, and more.  You can share information with those people in your vicinity.  This would be great in a classroom.

Puppet Pals — Free.  Create animated puppet shows and add your own audio for the shows.  Once completed, you can add to your videos for future viewing.  I saw the program online a few years ago for Harry Potter.  A very funny app students will enjoy.

Xtranormal Messenger — Free.  Create avatars and add your own voices to them.  Much like Voki but for i-devices.  Text-to-speak or voice recording options.  Choose your character and settings.

Very soon I will have 7 iTouches in my library and I am so excited to use them with my library classes.  The kids are going to love love love them! I was able to use an iPad for 3 weeks (thank you SLS BOCES!) and love it.  I do think it is important to separate what an iPad is and one’s expectations of a computer.  iPads are not computers and they are not trying to be….they are iPads a new type of device that allows us to cloud compute (unless it is Flash) and do limited creation.  Also, some are not Apple fans….I have to admit I am a bit of a PC person myself but one does not have to have an apple to appreciate the uses of an i-device.

I think of it as a small window into the internet.  Most of the activities that I do online do not require a laptop.  Sure the laptop is nice, but not as portable as an iPad and it definitely does not have the battery life!

PostHeaderIcon Google Docs Update

Google has recently updated their list of filetypes viewable in Google Docs.  This is quite exciting as computers are becoming much more like portals and we might not have the same resources on each computer.  You can now view the file types in Google Docs (without the need to download from attachments in gmail):

  • Microsoft Excel (.XLS and .XLSX)
  • Microsoft PowerPoint 2007 / 2010 (.PPTX)
  • Apple Pages (.PAGES)
  • Adobe Illustrator (.AI)
  • Adobe Photoshop (.PSD)
  • Autodesk AutoCad (.DXF)
  • Scalable Vector Graphics (.SVG)
  • PostScript (.EPS, .PS)
  • TrueType (.TTF)
  • XML Paper Specification (.XPS)

“Not only does this round out support for the major Microsoft Office file types (we now support DOC, DOCX, PPT, PPTX, XLS and XLSX), but it also adds quick viewing capabilities for many of the most popular and highly-requested document and image types.  In Gmail, these types of attachments will now show a “View” link, and clicking on this link will bring up the Google Docs Viewer (GoogleDocs Blog).”

PostHeaderIcon BigHugeLabs — Picture Toys

Big Huge Labs — is a website which takes pictures and morphs them into many different applications.  A relatively new development has been the creation of education accounts.  One must provide proof of being an educator (School ID scanned) but after that it is possible to create student accounts which do not require email addresses.  Some of my favorites are listed below.

Trading Card – they provide the template in order to create your own trading cards.  The template is much like Magic the Gathering, Pokemon, and YuGiOh format.

Motivator Create your own motivational posters for an occasion.  You could even use it as a literary device.  A picture saying a thousand words.

Magazine Cover –make your own magazine cover! Journalism and English would be traditional applications, but you could also use them for an element in Science.  You are only limited by your own creativity and the creativity of your students.

Captioner – Add comic book style captions to your photos!  There are many places one can add captions to photos but this is an ideal and easy to use creator.

There are many many more templates on the site but these are a few of my favorites.  Leave comments on how you might use these in your classrooms/learning commons.

PostHeaderIcon Google Apps for Education

Many schools are moving toward the use of Google Apps as their schools’ solution for email, applications, etc.  My school is in the process of rolling this out.  Being a user of Google mail and apps for years, this is quite exciting for me.  However, I thought I would let you all know about some additional apps that work in conjunction with Google Apps that you might not be aware of.

Google has a website for apps and 20-30 (more all the time) EDU apps.  You can see them here.

Many of the apps work inside of Google Apps.  I am looking forward to trying out the lesson plan and grade book as well as the portfolio builder.  My department is considering creating portfolios for students to follow them

throughout their school career and this option might be ideal.

Online Gradebooks, lesson planners, BrainPop, portfolio systems.  You can also find more in the other categories listed on the website.  So check it out and ask your Google Apps administrator to add them to your domain.

You can access the Google Apps Marketplace for many different apps both personal and educational.

April 2014
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