rAPPido Review: Prezi for the iPad

Prezi Viewer

Following up on an email sent out by our distinguished leader, wherein he forwarded some information from a recent QAIS technology workshop, I decided to embark on the Prezi bandwagon. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Prezi, it is an online, wacky version of a powerpoint presentation. Actually it is quite different from a powerpoint. First of all the look is completely different- it reminds me of a cognitive map or a planetary system where you have a central premise and then have topics orbiting around them. You see the whole and then can zoom into the specific ideas.

Price: Free

However, in order to check out the new Prezi presence on the iPad, I needed to actually create a Prezi presentation. This was done on my desktop because, as the title of the app suggests, it is only a Prezi viewer, not a Prezi creator, though there are some iPad editing capabilities. I made a quick presentation on my library catalogue, then downloaded the app from the app store.

You must sign in to your account, then you have direct access to your Prezi presentations:

I think you can also download your presentations and share them via itunes, but mine are simply online. And! When I edited the version on my desktop, I received a notification on my iPad version that it had been modified online and which version did I want to use. Very cool.

Once you figure Prezi out, it is very easy to use. if your presentation is all perfect, just click the show button and tap the right side of the screen to go forward and the left to go back.

You can also edit it, or pinch and zoom in or out:

Also, the iPad lets you rock the boat a little:

Although the Prezi viewer doesn’t allow you to create a presentation on your iPad, what it does it does well. Simple, intuitive and elegant, this is definitely a viable option for presentations via the iPad!

If you are actually viewing this blog on your ipad, here is my presentation. Have a look!


P.S. the email I mentioned above also contained a link to a Prezi manual just in case you want to go all personal with the Prez…

Spotted: Two Interesting Articles in the Globe and Mail

Perusing the newspapers this morning (one of the many perks of being a librarian) I came across two interesting articles about technology in the classroom in the Globe and Mail.

The first one had to do with how the iPad is a useful device for people on the Autism Spectrum: Technology Opens Up New Worlds for Children with Autism.

Although not that relevant in our context, one point struck a cord.

The article mentions how an interactive whiteboard and an iPad were key to the acquisition of language for autistic students who do not speak. The 14 year old boy they give as an example was able to figure it out  easily. The technology revealed to his educators and parents how much he actually knew and was learning. I was thinking about the students in our school with various learning disabilities and how it could have the same effect.

Right above the article on autism and technology, was one talking about Digital literacy in the classroom: Using Technology in the Classroom Requires Experience and Guidance, Report Finds.

I know. Duh, right? But the report makes some interesting points. The first one is that it is not younger teachers on the whole who are choosing to integrate technology in the classroom but the older teachers.

They also find that students are not able to separate the wheat through the chaff when it comes to information they find online:

In the report, a Grade 5 teacher from the North describes how a group of “A-level students” came across online images that purported to depict a Sasquatch penis bone. They wanted to know if it would be appropriate to include in their science fair exhibit.

I know. Duh again. I see this problem everyday. In fact, that is why I am here- to teach them how to sift efficiently. But the solution to this problem pleasantly surprised me:

In order to teach students how to be better digital citizens, the teachers surveyed said the training wheels have to come off the Internet: The filters schools use to block unverified websites prevent students from learning how to exercise good judgment.

They go on to describe how filters are giving the students a skewed view of what is on the internet- that they need to have access to the chaff in order to know how to throw it away. As for blocks, teachers report not having access to youtube, and other social media is getting in the way of showing the students how to use these new tools in a positive way.

All this to say that yay! We are on the right track!

Oh and also a shameless plug for how indispensable librarians are.

I know. Shameless.


rAPPido Review: Pinterest

So I finally took the time to check out Pinterest, which has been creating a lot of buzz in the online world.

I first heard of it through Lisa Johnson, who has create a pinterest board for all her posts about iPad Lessons.

Of what I can gather, pinterest is like a virtual corkboard collage you can create- a website equivalent of a playlist.

In order to try this new app out, I thought I would kill two birds with one stone and start one to fulfill this research request from the development office:

For the 125th, might you be able to research what Montreal maps exist from 1887 (our founding year) to now?
Specifically with the evolution of our Traf corner over the years (Dr. Penfield / Simpson).
To sign up to Pinterest, you have to request an invite. Then you have to wait until your request is accepted via email.
Then you can sign up with an email address and password and/or through facebook or twitter.
There is an app for it (actually there are three- two of which I can’t tell what makes them different):
The free version is obviously made for the iphone:
The other two costs $0.99. I took the amber one, but the descriptions seemed the same:
It took me a while to figure out how the app worked. I kept on tapping the Facebook icon and it kept on taking me to the webpage on safari (where you can do the exact same thing).
When you are searching on the web, all you have to do is copy the link you want to post on your Pinterest board and it automatically appears in the box. Then you tap the  Pin it button and you are good to go. The first time I did it though I couldn’t find my pin. Nor did I specifiy which board I wanted it on. I think that was because I wasn’t signed in properly.
Frustrated, I created my Montreal 19th century board online (which makes it seem kind of idiotic to have a paying app when you can do everything on the website).
The one thing that pinterest does give you is a nice visual of your topic. In terms of my project, it might have been better to just send a bunch of links to places where they can get historical maps, though if you use Pinterest on your desktop, you can upload an image:
But that would take me too long and time is money, yo. So even though it would look nicer if I downloaded and then uploaded all the images, I would rather just post the link and let the intrepid development office do the dirty work.
Other uses for Pinterest: because you can have other people upload to your board, students can use it to share the research load. Or use it as a way to present their research on a specific project or theme in English and History.
Warning though- the iPad version is limited to links to photos or videos on the web.

Valentine’s Day: Only if You Must…

I married into a family-owned florist shop, which means that Valentine’s Day is the equivalent to Black Friday in suburban America and is to be  AVOIDED AT ALL COSTS. Not that I was ever a fan- too saccharine for my taste.

However, I realise that is only my opinion and you might like cute little anthropomorphised  cartoon kittens handing hot pink hearts to you. Hey. To each is own.

So, if you feel the burning need to do something special with your class come Valentine’s day, you could use the free app Tom’s Love Letters.

I tried it out with a haiku:

Here are your options:

I first came across this app via a teacher’s blog who was using it to study inference. But you could also use it as a trigger for one of those short short stories- you know the Hemingway six word thing (For sale: baby shoes, never worn.)

Do you have any other ideas?


Two Things to Explore: Avid and Soapbox


Found on Jon Samuelson's iPads in Education Daily

Beth has been talking to me about Avid as a better solution to imovie and it looks like she’s not alone. I am interested to see if there is an easier way of importing a song into Avid from Garageband then the complicated idiocy that it is now with imovie. (Though I just checked quickly and it doesn’t look like it…)

Also, everybody’s buzzing about Pinterest which I hope to try out on the weekend.

Speaking of which, have a good one!



UPDATE: What is going on with the iPad in Education these days

Here are three articles I found in my inbox this week (via my handy dandy ipads in education google alert).

Most intriguing point (in my très humble opinion, of course):

For Educators

K-12 school districts, universities, and colleges in 26 countries can create and distribute courses on iTunes U. And whenever you upload a new assignment or a message about homework, your students get a push notification.

Just follow the iTunes U Course Manager instructions, and if you’re well-organized, you can build a course from a browser in an hour or two.

Most intriguing part:
5-Pepperdine University: Although the study won’t conclude until the end of 2011, preliminary findings of experimental iPad programs at Pepperdine have echoed the findings of increased student engagement, as the college kids with iPads became more involved with the material and with each other. But they have also found students will not make use of apps unless they are required to by an instructor.
18-Stanford School of Medicine: Hoping to curb the need for printed materials, Stanford’s School of Medicine lent an iPad to every student in August 2010. The experiment here was a failure; students did not like to use them in class, and half the student body stopped using them altogether just weeks into the year. The school had no choice but to resume printing hard-copy notes.

Most interesting prediction:

What about performance improvements?

Wiens: My guess is that improvements will be incremental, not insane-unless Apple decides to go to a quad-core. Will the next iPad have an A6 with a quad-core? I haven’t seen enough data to know. I would expect Apple to go to a quad-core within two years, but I don’t know if it’ll happen this year.

Sounds like the next iPad will be a very incremental upgrade.

Wiens: I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple calls it the iPad 2 HD, instead of the iPad 3. I think Apple needs to be more aggressive on price than on features. This means maintaining the $500 price point.




rAPPido Reviews: Flickr and Pixlromatic

Today I browsed the featured apps, something I only do when I have no idea what to write about. I was going to write about Pixound, but  I couldn’t get it to work right and the sounds I was making on the poor self-portrait of Van Gogh were frankly abysmal:

Hence my visit to the app store. But! I found something!

It is called Pixlromatic. So I downloaded it and was about to try it out when I realised I had no good photos to try it out with.

Then it occurred to me that maybe there was a Flickr app that would allow me to access my account ( I know. I am very slow sometimes.) Of course, there was. Actually, there is quite a few.

The first one I downloaded called Flickr Plus was not the right one. This app gives you access to the shared photos on flickr. However, the free version only gives you limited access, up to 25 photos per search.

But I want my photos! And flickr plus does not give you access to your own account. So. Back to the drawing board. Then I found FlickstackrXP and voila! Access to my account!

If you are familiar with Flickr, you know you can organise your photos in sets and collections. The app gives oyu access to both:

You can also share your photos to your photo library (and then have them available for other apps such as Pixlromatic below):

Here are some other options:

Some of which, you have to update to the paid version:

So! I chose a photo from my library and uploaded it to Pixlromatic:

Here is the original photo:

Here are a couple of different background colour effects:

Some frames:

Some special effects:

And many, many ways to export your finished product!

Perhaps this is a tool the yearbook committee could use for their old school theme? Just sayin’…

Other camera apps, such as Hipstomatic have been (and will continue to be) featured by Ms. Den in her Traf Trash column, Photography with a Phone.