Category Archives: Mobile Computing and Apps

Bring Your Own Technology (Students, that is)

As shocking as it may be for some to believe, there are districts which have begun, or are about to begin, allowing students to bring their own technology to school. Not only that, but the districts are going to allow the student devices to connect to the school network so they can access the Internet while they are at school. Yes, students will be allowed to have their own cell phones, laptops, iPads, iPod touches, etc. in the classroom!

Okay, take a deep breath.

Now that you’ve taken a moment to digest that, what do you think of this development? Forsyth County schools are already allowing students to bring their own technology, and Douglas County is going to allow it at their new high school which opens in August. Needless to say, this is a MAJOR shift in philosophy. Some districts would tell you that they would never consider such a thing, but dozens of school districts attended a Bring Your Own Technology Summit at Kennesaw State University a few weeks ago. You can watch some of the recorded presentations here.

So I guess I’m saying that we should all get ready for this. Like it or not, it’s probably coming to a district near you!

Image attribution: @timclark45

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2011 Horizon Report – Emerging Technologies in Education

The 2011 Horizon Report was recently released by the New Media Consortium and Educause.  Each edition of the Horizon Report examines six emerging technologies and their potential impact on teaching and learning in the next 5 years.  The six chosen technologies are the result of a series of discussions by the 2011 Horizon Report Advisory Board and  selection process than can be analyzed at the Horizon Report Wiki.

The report recognizes the following trends that are affecting teaching, learning, and creative inquiry:

  • The abundance of resources and relationships made easily accessible via the Internet is increasingly challenging us to revisit our roles as educators in sense-making, coaching, and credentialing.
  • People expect to be able to work, learn, and study whenever and wherever they want.
  • The world of work is increasingly collaborative, giving rise to reflection about the way student projects are structured.
  • The technologies we use are increasingly cloud-based, and our notions of IT support are decentralized.

The report also recognizes the following challenges to technology adoption:

  • Digital media literacy continues its rise in importance as a key skill in every discipline and profession.
  • Appropriate metrics of evaluation lag the emergence of new scholarly forms of authoring, publishing, and researching.
  • Economic pressures and new models of education are presenting unprecedented competition to traditional models of the university.
  • Keeping pace with the rapid proliferation of information, software tools, and devices is challenging for students and teachers alike.

Each section of the report about an emerging technology includes an overview, relevance to teaching and learning, how it is in current practice (with links), and further reading (also with links).  The following are the final topics for the 2011 report and are arranged by a Time-to-Adoption Horizon:

It is interesting to compare the final 2011 topics with the 2010 finalists as outlined in this post by the Unquiet Librarian.  Some of the technologies have continually been on the list with evolved names and adjustments on their time-to-adoption.

What does this all mean to us as educators?  Never before has the technology demand out-paced the availability of resources at such a rate.  How will we incorporate these emerging technologies in our practice?  I look forward to learning with you.

Gregory Odell

e-Learning Specialist

Hall County Schools

Gainesville, GA

Twitter:  ugaodawg

Give Your Gift Through APPS

Having a hard time deciding what gifts to give to friends and family? As Christmas is almost here, I was reading up on a few apps (based on article by Shelly Terrell) that just might be a great alternative for standing in line at the department store…

  • StoryRobe – you can wow and amaze your friends with this digital storytelling app. Even though it does not have video, through your iPhone and iPod Touch you can set up A-V stories using photos and your built-in  microphone. Stories can then be uploaded to YouTube or emailed. Since creating the stories does not require Internet access, this is a great option for a gift to share with everyone in the family!
  • StoryKit – this is another story creating app where you develop a storyboard of drawn images, pictures, recorded audio, and sound effects. StoryKit allows you to drag and drop or resize pictures/images, then upload to the web server for a cool story that can be shared with others by sending your story link.
  • Fotobabble – create cards with this free app. This allows you to simply “snap” a photo, add an audio message, and then share through email, Facebook, or Twitter. Quick and easy to use!
  • Audio Boo – this app is really cool! It allows you to check out “who, when and where” about any audio message that has been posted at the audioboo site.  When you create your boo, you can even pull in photos and your location (through an interactive map). Import recordings you’ve made from other devices, add tags, or even embed the code on your website. You can set to autopost to Twitter, Facebook page, or other sites like Tumblr.  It is quite a social networking app, and best of all, it’s free!!
  • Comic Touch Lite – this app idea shared by Shelly is a really cute way to personalize your photos. Similar to Comic Life, it allows you to create a comic with bubble captions on your photos.
  • Santa Hat Sewing – by measuring your own physical dimensions, this app helps you design and create a pattern for a santa hat that is a perfect fit. Kids can see the design process from beginning to end, and can work with mathematical concepts in the process. Great activity for family fun!
  • Countdown to Christmas Holiday Puzzles for iPad – this app is described as having “rib-tickling picture puzzles” that are great fun for kids. Even though it is designed for the younger generation, it is also great entertainment for any age!

These are just a few apps that might come in handy as you are trying to personalize gifts and share with others who may not be close enough to visit this Christmas. I encourage you to check out Shelly Terrell’s article (http://www.techlearning.com/blogs/35294) at Tech & Learning for some great, practical ideas about how to use these apps during the holidays – along with actual examples she’s put together of each app she mentions. These apps (except for the last two) are not just for this time of year, but are GREAT for use by students, teachers and parents during the school year. The only limit to use of them is a limited imagination!

Enjoy this season, and may 2011 bring you all many blessings!

Dr. Phyllis R. Snipes,
University of West Georgia

Edmodo – A Social Networking Site for Education

Hello everyone, my name is Stephen Rahn and this is my first posting on this blog. I work as an information technology specialist at Kennesaw State University, and I am in my 22nd year as an educator. I was very honored to be asked to post here, and I hope you will enjoy this first entry.

I don’t know how many of you are familiar with Edmodo, but you should be! Edmodo provides a free and easy way to create a private (if you want) social network for educators.

The major features of Edmodo are the following:

  • Messaging: You can post messages to your entire group or only to individuals in the group. This makes it great for group announcements or individual feedback
  • Assignments: Creating assignments is quite simple. You can include the title, description, due date, and even supporting files for the assignment. Group members can submit assignments by uploading their files and leaving a message to the group leader.
  • Polls: You can conduct polls or surveys within your group and get instant results. All submissions are private, so group members can feel secure when answering honestly.
  • File and Link Sharing: You can share files up to 100 megabytes in size with your group. You can also share an unlimited number of Internet links.
  • An Online Storage Locker: Your group members can upload their own files (up to 100 megabytes in size) to Edmodo.  They can then access those files on a home computer or any other computer that can access the Internet. This can virtually eliminate the need to E-Mail files to oneself or carry around a portable memory drive.
  • Public announcements: You can designate certain message to be viewed by anyone. This way even non-members of your group (like parents or other educators) could get an idea of what is going on. By default all messages are private, so you would have to manually make anything public.

Sound intriguing? Here’s all you need to do.

  1. Head over to http://edmodo.com and sign up for a teacher account.
  2. Once you’ve created your teacher account and logged in, you will want to create a group. Edmodo automatically generates a code that your potential group members will need to gain access to the group. The code is a one-time password that enrolls the person in your group. Give this code only to those you want to join the group. If you feel that the code has been compromised, you can go to the group settings and have Edmodo create a new code. If you do that, the original code won’t work.
  3. After you’ve created your group and given out the code, your group members will need their own Edmodo account. Have them sign up at http://edmodo.com and tell them to enter the group code once they get logged in.

Note: If you are having students sign up, Edmodo does NOT require them to provide an E-Mail address. This is very important for some school districts.

Once you’ve got your group going, you’ll want to check out the Edmodo User Guide, which is very informative and user-friendly.

In addition, Edmodo has a FREE app that will allow group members to access their Edmodo accounts on an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad. They can also access the site on any web-enabled phone by going to this url – http://m.edmodo.com

One last thing…you’ll notice that I’ve mostly used the term “group members” instead of students. My reason for this is that Edmodo would also serve as a very good choice for building a Professional Learning Community of educators.

If you have any questions about this, please feel free to contact me at sbrahn@gmail.com, or you can follow me on Twitter @stephenksu.

Thanks and I hope you enjoy Edmodo!

LMC One Question Survey

The October 2010 Library Media Connection One-Question Survey is now
open. The question for the current survey is: What devices are
you using for ebooks with your students?

And please check out the the results from previous surveys!

Thank you!

Judi Repman, Associate Editor/Georgia Southern University