Monday, April 15, 2013
The crux of the keynote was based on the disruptive nature of technology and how other industries are adopting this disruption. The analogy started with an examination of the impact of technology on DJs. Prior to starting my career as a teacher and working with EdTechTeacher, I spent countless hours with a set of Technics 1200s (turntables) and crates of records. There was a skills in digging through crates to find the perfect record, to know where to look to find the records and to then integrate that new record into your existing collection. Records are knowledge and currency for DJs. The artistic skill of DJ'ing can't be accomplished without this currency and the acquisition of this precious vinyl is a time consuming process. However, due to the disruptive nature of technology on DJs, things have changed.
At the fullest extent, technology eliminates the need for turntables, vinyl and a mixer. The question I posed to the audience during the keynote revolved around whether the DJ setup on the right requires any artistic talent. While a computer program may now beat match two songs and while the skill of finding, organizing and accessing vinyl records quickly and effectively is no longer necessary, the individual using the setup on the right is still a DJ. In many ways, the setup on the right lowers barriers for individuals to enter this world and be creative with music selection, mixing and transitions.
In many ways, iPads are quite similar to the DJ setup above. The simply lower the barriers to expression and demonstration of understanding in multiple creative capacities. The technical skills required in the past to create all sorts of creative content are simply no longer required. Does this mean he student is any less creative, I would argue no. Just as the skill of digging through dusty record crates, physically beat matching two songs and skillfully organizing a record collection were once necessary skills for a DJ, those skills in many ways no longer apply nor do they have any substantial value. Technology has lowered the barrier and more students than ever before now have the tool available to create extraordinary content.
While prepping for the iPad Summit and the keynote, I found myself reading the works of Seymour Papert. Luckily in my readings I came across the quote above from "Looking at Technology Through Shool-Colored Spectacles" and it instantly resonated with me and I felt that his message had to be shared with the group in Atlanta. The analogy above transcends any particular bit of technology and instead focuses on the more important concept of using any new innovation to its full capacity. Whether it be a jet engine rigged up to propel a stagecoach or an iPad in schools. Any disruptive and innovative technology will only be effective if it is applied to a scenario that allows it to be unbridled and reach its full potential.
I wanted to leave the audience in Atlanta with a critical question to consider, is the iPad a solution or a problem. Those who argue that it is a solution, point to either the problems it is solving or the ways in which it is effectively being used in the existing structure of traditional schools. If we consider the iPad to be a solution in schools, we are only using it to address the low hanging fruit. We define the problems by the solutions available and if the iPad is a solution, the problems are easy to solve. My perspective is that the device is a problem, a problem in a very specific sense. If the iPad is a solution, then the problems that it can solve in the existing structure, time and space provided by schools are easily solved and will not lead to any substantial change that allows students to demonstrate their understanding through the process of creating content. If we view the iPad as a problem, it will force us to consider the changes that may need to be made in order to unleash the full potential of this device when placed in the hands of students. This is a good problem, one that will have us rethink learning spaces and the environments in which our students grow and learn. As Justin Reich, my colleague at EdTechTeacher put it so clearly in his recent EdTechResearcher EdWeek blog post:
@shawnmccusker) for providing me with a sounding board and thoughtful insight into many of the ideas outlined above. I am greatful for your help and wisdom.
Thursday, April 11, 2013
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Don's diagram is outstanding, but I also wanted to provide a solution for schools using Google Apps and iPads. The diagram below uses a combination of Pages, Explain Everything and Google Drive to achieve the same result, teacher created video feedback. Pages could of course be swapped out for any word processing app than can export as PDF and at a $9.99 price tag, that may be necessary in many instances.
As always I like to highlight which apps were used to create the content in is post & the post itself.
Image: Created with Explain Everything & exported to the camera roll.
Blog Post: Written with Blogsy & published to a Blogger blog.
Saturday, March 23, 2013
I frequently get questions from people asking how to create screencasts of an iPad. I have tried a number of workflow scenarios that started with various document camera setups, but have settled on the setup below.
The tools used include:
- QuickTime Pro
- Reflector App
- iMovie (MacBook)
The process is quite simple and is described in the image below:
- Mirror an iPad to a MacBook using Reflector
- Use QuickTime to record the mirrored iPad
- Record and create the screencast. I don't record my voice in this process, instead I focus on the process I am capturing on an iPad.
- Import the video recorded with QuickTime into iMovie. Record the voice overs in iMovie & export the final product to either Vimeo or YouTube.
As a side note. I always like to point out what I use to create these posts.
The image above was created in Explain Everything & exported to the camera roll.
The blog post was written using Blogsy & posted to this blogger hosted blog.
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Here is where things get fun. With the recent update to Explain Everything, the app now directly interfaces with Google Drive. This connection allows students to create screencasts, upload them to Google Drive as either .mp4 or .xpl files. Once uploaded they can be shared with the teacher through the Google Drive app, or they can be uploaded to a folder that has been created and shared ahead of time from the student to the teacher. To extended the process, the teacher now has the ability to download the .xpl files from Google Drive and "open in" Explain Everything. This process allows the teacher to view the screencast and more importantly, add a slide with screencasted feedback. The .xpl file can then be uploaded back to Google Drive and the student can download and watch the feedback in Explain Everything. Below is a diagram to explain the process as well as a video tutorial that walks through the entire scenario.
**Update: With a recent update to Explain Everything, videos uploaded to Google Drive can now be played back in Google Drive without being downloaded.**
How can you envision using this workflow solution to have students create and receive feedback?
As a side note. This blog post was created entirely on an iPad (the video was created, edited and uploaded from a computer)
Image: Created in Explain Everything & exported to the camera roll.
Video: Embed from Vimeo.
Blog post: Written using Blogsy and posted to blogger.
Thursday, March 14, 2013
Notability is a powerful digital note taking app that allows users to create digital paper that can include:
- Freehand Writing
Along with creating notes from scratch, Notability is also an outstanding PDF annotation tool.
While the application is relatively straight forward, there are a few features that typically need explaining to a first time user. To help those getting comfortable with Notability, I thought this video tutorial might be a help.
It is important to keep in mind when using Notability that the contents in the app are stored locally on that single iPad. If the iPad is damaged or the app is deleted, all of the contents within the app will be lost. It is highly recommended that the contents of the app be periodically backed up using the "open in" feature from the app. Notability will "open in" Google Drive, Dropbox and many other cloud storage tools.
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Somewhere along the line I tweeted the following:
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
- Explain Everything (optional)
- Garageband (optional)
- Create a blog with Blogger. A new blog can't be created in the app, so go to blogger through Safari to create a new blog.
- Post a entry to the blog through the blogger app. You will notice that there is only an option to insert text and images (camera roll and live photos).
- Create a screencast in Explain Everything and export the video to the camera roll or shoot video from the camera app.
- Upload the video to your Vimeo account from the Vimeo app. (the vimeo app will pull video from the camera roll to upload).
- Log into your Vimeo account through Safari & copy the embed code.
- Paste the embed code in a blog post through the Blogger app. The video will automatically embed when the post is published.
- NOTE: I have had trouble uploading larger videos to Vimeo through the app. Another option is to import larger videos from the camera roll to iMovie and then upload to Vimeo directly from iMovie.
|Tap the share button then copy the embed code|
|Blog post with the Vimeo embed code|
|Blog post with an embedded video that has been published through the Blogger app|
- Record audio directly into the SoundCloud app. The app does not allow for editing. If you would like to credit edited audio I suggest using Garageband. Garageband allows a finished podcast to be exported directly to a SoundCloud account.
- Log into your SoundCloud account through Safari and copy the embed code.
- Paste the embed code into a post through blogger and when published the audio will automatically embed.
Monday, February 18, 2013
App Smashing Defined: The process of using multiple apps in conjunction with one another to complete a final task or project.
I hope to make this a series of posts that outline my favorite "app smashes" and I am going to start with my favorite smash.
End Result: Students can create a web based timeline to capture their learning, to share a digital portfolio or to capture an event, era or topic of study. This process could be used as an ongoing, year long assignment. With the ability to update the google doc from an iPad, the timeline can be updated whenever a student has a new piece of content to add to their final product.
1. Download the Google Doc template from the TimelineJS site.
2. Make a copy & rename the template.
3. Publish the Google Doc & create the web based timeline from the TimelineJS site.
(Complete the steps outlined in a previous post to complete this process.)
4. Update the Google Doc spreadsheet to share an event.
5. Paste the URL of an image from an Instagram photo to include an image on the timeline.
6. Paste the URL of a video hosted on vimeo to include video on the timeline.
(Create the video using Explain Everything, export the video to the camera roll & upload to Vimeo using the Vimeo app)
The End Result: Here is my timeline that I have started to create with this process. My plan is to update the timeline over the next few weeks using the four tools outlined above. Once the timeline is published via the TimelineJS site, it will automatically update when any new additions are added to the Google Doc template.
What apps do you smash?
Thursday, February 14, 2013
TimelineJS - In my last blog post I outlined a method by which students can collaborate in real time on a google form to create a web based timeline. The entire process is outlined here. What I like most about this method of collaboration is that once the timeline is published through the TimelineJS site, when any future updates are made to the google spreadsheet, the timeline updates in real time.
Here is a sample timeline that was created collaboratively in an iPad workshop I ran recently at Needham High School.
NOTE - We learned a few valuable tips during this collaboration session:
1. Events can be entered on the spreadsheet out of order
2. Any blank rows on the spreadsheet need to be removed for all content to display on the web timeline.