iPhone Time Always = 9.42?

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Thank you Zagg blog again. Not strictly speaking iPad related, but a fun tidbit about the way the iPhone looks in ads:

 

http://www.zagg.com/community/blog/iphone-time-is-always-set-to-942-in-apple-ads-and-now-we-know-why/

 

Along the same lines (fun tidbits), an easy one: the arrow in FedEx (look between the E and the x). I mention it because it’s one of those things (I suspect like the 9.42) that once you know it / see it, you’ll always look for it.

And Lorem ipsum, the famous placeholder text (text that publishers use to see how different pieces will layout on a page without actually using the to-be-published text), which comes from a Cicero text (forget which one at the moment), with the enigmatic ‘Lorem’ (not a Latin word) being the second half (or 2/3s) of ‘dolorem’ which was hyphenated over pages.

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Hidden On-screen Keyboard Features (from the Zagg blog)

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Just got an email from Zagg (love their keyboard; see this blog on keyboards) / the Zagg blog that highlight some hidden features of the new on-screen keyboard in split form, namely that there are ghost keys to the right of the left side and left of the right side that allow you to punch the keys that would be there if the keyboard weren’t split. Kind of a nice feature (though, to answer the Zagg blog question, I’m not sold on the split keyboard; I find the keys too small, and sometimes too high or too low on the screen).

http://www.zagg.com/community/blog/ipads-hidden-keyboard-features

iBooks and Local Web Downloading for Course Readings

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I’m taking an on-line graduate course through the University of North Carolina Greensboro that is fairly reading intensive: about 80 pages per week. We have a few books but the bulk of readings are either .pdfs uploaded to the Blackboard course space or links to primary sources online. iBooks and its .pdf reading capability as well as iSave Web Lite has made life very easy in terms of getting my reading done.

The context / situation: I work out every work morning, giving me about 35 / 40 mins on the elliptical. I think I’ve written here before about how nice the iPad makes it to read while working out (can increase font size, lies flat, don’t have to prop pages, have them go flying, etc.). So step 1 was getting all of the course materials to the iPad: open the .pdfs, click on ‘Save to iBooks’, and off you go. I made a specific collection entitled UNCG for all my material and I’m good there.

The web links were a bit more problematic. I have web access at school, so not a problem there, but I was going to PT twice a week and had some reading time there but no web access. Enter iSave Web Lite. This is one of many apps that downloads web sites to your iPad so that you don’t need web access to the view them. I did not shop around much, so I can’t speak to its advantages over other apps, but it was free (really, the #1 criterion) and did what I needed it to do. Now I have the web pages I need locally on my iPad without needing web access to read them.

So with iBooks & iSave Web Lite, I can get the bulk of my course reading done wherever I am, independent of web access, making my (course reading) life much more efficient.

Augmented iPad Keyboard

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Many know that if you hold down a key on the on-screen keyboard, you get extra options (e.g. hold down the ‘e’ and you get accented ‘e’s). One of my students today (thanks, SB-S) told me that if you do the same with the .com key with the website keyboard, the extra options that appear are the other dots: .edu, .gov, .net, etc. I won’t use it too frequently, I suspect, but a nice option to have when you need it.

iTunes U for iPad

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My technology director (thanks, LS) sent out an update today with a link for Apple’s new iTunes U app for iPad:

http://www.apple.com/education/itunes-u

Haven’t gotten a chance to poke around the app yet, but the storefront looks great (essentially an iTunes / App Store style store front but just with iTunes U content). I’ve been a big fan of iTunes U from the beginning, especially since, with my 40 minute commute, I have time to listen to the courses on the way in, and they go a long way toward helping me prep for my classes (especially the Lit. classes). I’ve included a few screen shots below that might be relevant to some of WHS’s iPad users (EU & CB). I’ll say more about it as I get to know it a bit.

iPad as Distraction in the Classroom

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I got the comment below on the About page, but thought it merited a post; I was going to address this at some point anyway, so figured I’d do it now:

“How do you prevent students from playing games? We deployed iPads to al students grades 9-12. A few teachers are having difficulties keeping students from this.”

This is a common question / problem. The difficult part is that the answer probably won’t be satisfying. The iPads are a paradigm shift, and that means that teachers have to redefine some of their approaches / philosophies, both in terms of planning classes and in terms of classroom management.

First, the technical side. There is of course LanSchool, the application that allows teachers to monitor student computer use. I don’t know a ton about LanSchool, but my understanding is that it was designed for laptop use, and has now expanded to limited iPad use; teachers can use an iPad to monitor student computer use, and can monitor some apps on student iPads. Beyond LanSchool, I know of no other way to monitor student iPad use other than simply walking around the classroom. I imagine, though, that monitoring iPads more carefully must be on LanSchool’s to do list.

Now for the philosophical side. Your teachers likely won’t appreciate this, but here’s what I say: don’t demonize the device. It’s not the iPad’s fault that students are distracted. If they didn’t have iPads, they’d likely be doodling, or staring out the window, or talking to friends, or any other number of ways to distract themselves. The iPad might make the distraction more fun but it doesn’t create the need for distraction; that is endemic to the student and/or the class itself (perhaps difficult to hear but true). On the other hand, as distractions go, the iPad is helpful. If a student is going to be distracted one way or another (and that’s an assumption I’m making for certain students), the iPad in my experience is a considerably less distracting distraction, i.e. it holds their attention and doesn’t involve other students.If a student is going to be distracted, he/she shouldn’t take others down with him.

Classes also need to be planned differently: they either incorporate the iPad or they don’t. If they don’t, the teacher is well within his/her rights to have iPads away. If the lesson incorporates the iPads, then they obviously should be hands on and developed such that the iPad is being used. More problematic, of course, is the incidental / everyday use of the iPad. Many of my students use it to take notes (some even use their iPhone), an approach I wholeheartedly endorse. But it means that iPads are / can be out when they’re not explicitly being used, which leads to a greater potential for abuse. But, I wouldn’t want to punish those that are using the iPad appropriately.

To sum up, it might just be one of those problems that the teacher has to accept as part of having the iPads, but for me it’s not an awful problem (because it’s a relatively focused and individual distraction) and it’s not a new problem (because students were distracted before the iPad and will be distracted after the iPad).

Love to hear what people think. This is a thorny issue to say the least.