iTunes II: Use your Mac Camera to Redeem Gift Cards


I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but iTunes looks different. You updated it, thinking oh, it was just another small bug fix, right? But then when you go to put some music on the interface is all different, things aren’t where they are supposed to be and you are stopped in your tracks just like the ants from the Disney movie A Bug’s Life:

This was the scenario in my household on the weekend, when my hands, deep in truffle makings, I asked my daughter to put some music on. She couldn’t figure out the new interface and we ended up listening to each song from her favourite Glee album over and over and over.

To avoid this scenario, you might want to take the tutorial.

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Even though there is a learning curve, there are also some perks. I just came across this article from app advice noting how we can now just take a picture of the bloody iTunes gift card code instead of having to do all that pesky typing (I don’t mind typing when the words make sense. But typing in a random alphanumeric code makes me nervous. I know I am making a mistake. I know it!

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Student Agendas on the iPad: Part 1

This morning I received a message in my inbox asking me if I know anything about student agendas on the iPad. I answered the way I always do: No, but I can look.

First thing’s first though. What are we looking for? I am assuming that the app would be a replacement for the paper agendas we hand out to the students each year. Some features would be:

  • Easy to use
  • Clean, intuitive interface
  • easy to import schedules
  • It would be great if it could talk to our intranet, but that might be too much to ask.
  • Easy to input assignments
  • Different colours for different classes
  • Alerts for assignments
  • If not free, then cheap
  • Easily synced with your other devices

That is all I can think of for now, but it is a start.



To begin with, I read this article by a student way back in 2011 who uses his iPad for school. He mentions ihomework and istudiezpro. Then I read this other article from 2010 which also mentions these two apps.

Because istudiezpro has a lite version I decided to try this one out first.

Can you access my calendar? Well, yes please! My life is on my calendar. I would like my life in my agenda:


I used the sample courses because, well, I don’t have any courses. I am the librarian.


You can add an assignment to your class as well as add a partner from your contacts or add a new partner:


You can have a day view or a week view (but no month view, at least not in the lite version):


You have the option to sync to icloud when you buy the paid version. You can also change your settings, though I don’t see a place for push notifications. Perhaps in the paid version?


When you tap on the folder with the paperclip you can see all the assignments that are due and even those that are completed. You can add new ones and decide what their priority is:


You can also add your instructors to your agenda with all their contact info:


If you tap the house icon you can add your courses:

So does it meet our criteria? Let us see:

  • Easy to use? √
  • Clean, intuitive interface? 
  • easy to import schedules?   Yes, if your schedule is already in icalendar or google calendar
  • It would be great if it could talk to our intranet, but that might be too much to ask? x But that might have been too much to ask. Still, I dream of a world where all our applications talk to each other. How lovely would it be for an incoming grade 7 student to be able to import all her classes, teacher info, etc. from the intranet. Or when a teacher posts an assignment on the portal for it to automatically be updated into their agenda? I know. Dream on.
  • Easy to input assignments?  
  • Different colours for different classes?  √
  • Alerts for assignments? X At least I don’t think so…Let me try to make an assignment due in two minutes and see if I get a notification….Hmmm. You can’t get more specific than due today and I don’t see istudiez in my notification centre so I guess not.
  • If not free, then cheap?  √ Yes- the paid version is only $2.99
  • Easily synced with your other devices?  √

So istudiezpro fares pretty well with the haphazard criteria I set for it. Is there anything else a student agenda should be able to do?

Let me know!

Next in the student agenda saga…ihomework.


Just in Time for the Holidays: the Etsy App!

Screen Shot 2012-12-05 at 8.46.16 AMIf you are like me and prefer to avoid the plague of Christmas shoppers on St. Catherine and in the malls, never fear! The Etsy App is here!

If you are not familiar with the addiction that is Etsy, it is an online market place for handmade arts and crafts.



Here is how Etsy looks on the iPad:


I use Etsy to buy some very funky stationery from a Quebec designer called Lapapierre (because yes, I still write snail mail):


and I a book stamp is on my wish list:


Here is a good article that gives you the ins and outs of the Etsy App.

Hmmm. Now that I think about it, maybe I should forward this blog post to my partner…


Lesson Plan: Another Background Documentary

250px-Persepolis-books1and2-coversIn order for our grade 8 students to have a better understanding of the Graphic novel Persepolis, the English teachers asked me to put together another background documentary project.

Like always, this project involved:

  1. Finding the information in specific print and online resources
  2. Scanning a QR code to find relevant images
  3. Filming a “panel of experts” on a given issue (eg. The Iran/Iraq war)
  4. Write a “script” using their answers. This must be in their words.
  5. Putting the whole thing together in imovie to make a documentary.

The teachers divided the class into four equal groups. Then the students began their research. This took a long time. They are so used to scanning the information, that even when they are given the exact page in the book, they tend to miss the answer. What I found most useful was circulating through the groups as they attempted to figure out this complicated issue. Having the teacher and I drop in on their discussions helped the girls understand a little better. I encouraged them to explain it to each other aloud- this seemed to work well and the students were very engaged.

Here are some sample questions:

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Screen Shot 2012-12-04 at 12.10.46 PMScreen Shot 2012-12-04 at 12.10.30 PMHere is an example of a finished documentary:

Lesson Plans with Strip Designer

Screen Shot 2012-12-03 at 7.50.06 AMViaTechChef4U

Lisa Johnson has showcased these awesome Grade 3 science projects addressing Bat myths. The moment I saw it I thought of the Animal Real Estate project in Grade 7. Heck, they could even use Strip Designer to tell the story of their periodic element.

Hmmm… Looks like I am going to have to try this app out to see if it should be on the iLab iPads….