Stylus Reviews

I have been thinking of styluses lately (styli?). I think more and more, the ability to also write on the iPad is becoming more important. Whether it is a teacher who wants to demonstrate how to solve an equation in geometry, or simply wanting to highlight a concept on a whiteboard app, or a student who feels more comfortable writing their notes instead of typing.

The problem is the only styluses I have used have been very cheap and hardly work.

An example of me writing with a stylus:

Screen Shot 2014-02-13 at 8.47.54 AM


I had to press really hard and it took me a long time. Also, I have an odd, fist-like way of writing (which my mother tried unsuccessfully to cure me of) which doesn’t help.

Writing with my fingers gives the impression that I am a toddler, playing with her mommy’s pens:

Screen Shot 2014-02-13 at 8.51.15 AM


The stylus is only a little better. But what if you could have a stylus that feels like a pen in your hand? That reacts to the screen the way an actual pen or pencil reacts to paper? How would that change your use of the iPad? Would I still feel the need to have my paper pad beside me? The thought intrigues me.

Here are a few articles I found reviewing some of the styluses on the market. Unfortunately, the higher end ones are prohibitively expensive. The idea of providing one for each teacher at $75 bucks (at the high end)- $50 bucks (for a decent one) per stylus seems impossible. Still, I am hoping for the day where the use and need for styluses will cause cheaper and just as effective to appear on the market.

What do you think? Do you feel the need for a decent stylus?

The Verge gives the most comprehensive look at the styluses on the market, though it is a little outdated, having been written in April 2012 (though it has been updated a couple of times).

A Review on for Pencil, from the makers of Paper and one by Macworld with a slightly different view of the same product.

And finally a more recently penned iPad Stylus Buying Guide on Tech Hive.


Wednesday iPad Workshop: Ms. K takes it away!

This morning we had brave Ms. Science and vice-admin give a show and tell on her adventures using Notability, Explain Everything and Showme.

She needed a good way to annotate PDFs while recording her voice in order to post her lessons for her students to review on their own time (or shorter version- flipping the classroom).

Yesterday, in true Flipped Classroom format, she sent out the following videos for us to watch before the workshop:

Introduction to her workshop in Showme

As well as a 5 minute Trig video she made by importing a PDF into Explain everything and then sharing it with her students via google drive:

Although I wasn’t able to attend the meat of her presentation as I was giving one myself, I did talk to her beforehand. Some of her problems involved an attempt where she mistakenly paused the record button, so that half her presentation had no voice. As well, she tried a few times to export it as a project instead of a video and was wondering why she couldn’t view it in that format. However, once she got the hang of it, she found an easy effective way of creating videos of her lessons for her students.

Yay, Ms. K!

I am looking forward to having more teachers share their amazing use of tech with us in the following iPad workshops!

The Cultural Phenomena of Selfies

Two things caught my eye this morning as I was pursuing my RSS feeds. First was the article on Langwitches abut Selfies.  The second was this infographic on how kids use Social media. Now we have seen many of these infographics, but the one fact that made me pause was in the “Harm” section:

  • Increased narcissism

33% surveyed said being famous was either somewhat important, important or very important


But then I looked at some of the slideshare presentations Langwitches provides in her article that give a different perspective on the selfie. Could it be that the Selfie is not so much narcissistic as a way for people to begin re-defining our beauty norms? How we view each other and ourselves? A way where the average person can highlight they own everyday selves and celebrate that?

Intriguing thought. I am not sure I am convinced however. When people (and I am thinking especially of young girls) put up Selfies on instagram or Facebook or snapchat, they mostly do it in the hopes of receiving likes, or hearts or whatever the thumbs up option is on their platform. They are seeking to define their own beauty in the eyes of other people, by external approval. My worry is that their self esteem will now depend on that instead of being grown from within.

What do you think?

See on Scoop.itipadyoupad

The impact of the SELFIE on our culture has started to intrigue me. As I see my little granddaughter love looking at (and taking) pictures and videos of herself on the iPhone and iPad… I wonder w…

See on

How Many Lines Of Code Is That? – Edudemic

Did you know that the latest version of Google Chrome and the Mars Curiosity Rover take between 5-10 million lines of code?

Check out this cool article and infographic to see how much lines of code it takes to make apps, search engines, video games + more!

See on Scoop.itipadyoupad

From basic iPhone games to entire operating systems for computers, just how much code does it take to make our electronic lives happen? Just a fun, visual way of showing just how much coding is in our daily lives!

See on

Why Food Education Matters – Edudemic

“[in Australia] 20% of children think pasta comes from animals.”

Whatever happened to Home Economics? When I was in Grade ten, Home Ec was required. We learned cooking and nutrition basics as well as how to bake, how to budget and how to sew (I sucked at sewing).  I know, I know, it isn’t very iPad related, but this info graphic was too scary not to share. I thin I have to start getting my kids to cook more…

Just a note: I now that in grade nine the students at our school do a nutrition section in their Science class- wouldn’t it be great if this could complimented by some sort of food education in another class? I t could even fit into Ethics and Religion.Personal Development. I’m just spitballing here…

Read the article below the info graphic if you like to have your facts and stats in a nice bullet-point form!


See on Scoop.itipadyoupad

This image takes a look at how important it is to educate kids about food choices and eating healthy. So many kids don’t know that real food doesn’t come out of a box. Keep reading to learn more.

See on

Google field trip & 13 Things You May Not Know About Google

photoLast Thursday our Code Club went to visit the Google office here in Montreal, thanks to our partner in crime Monica Dinculescu, who has generously volunteered to guide us in our quest to code.

After we tore the students away from the floor in the lobby, which is laid out like a huge map of Montreal (they wanted to find their streets), the students were wowed by all the benefits available to the employees:

  • Food! The google office has one large cafeteria where healthy lunches are served for photo-1free every day. They also have two mini kitchens always stocked with coffee, tea and snack items. Also for free. I spied a whole row of Lindt dark chocolate bars. Just that prompted me to consider a career change…
  • A Gym
  • A garden room, complete with garden furniture, swinging chairs and chaises longues.
  • A Nap room
  • A climbing wall
  • A game room
  • A fix-it bar (apparently being a programmer does not necessarily mean you are good at hardware)
  • A 3D printer which our guide Monica had printing a squirrel
  • A Google earth display on five large computers, which you could work with a joy stick
  • The workspaces where teams working on the same sort of things were grouped together. This was by far the neatest- the spaces were open and personalized with plenty of windows. Some had standing desks, some had nerf guns for impromptu battles. Talking to Monica, she told us that Google employees did not need to keep regular hours- she could come in and go home when she wanted. She could even work from home, as long as her work got done. The students were able to see that being a programmer was not a lonely endeavour, no longer the purview of the Geek leaving in his mother’s basement. It was a dynamic yet despite the toys, a serious work environment.

At the end, Monica asked the group who would like to work at Google. Let’s just say that not only the students raised their hands!


Below is an article that gives some interesting facts about Google in a hand dandy infographic format!

See on Scoop.itipadyoupad

Google has infiltrated most of our lives these days. Not just in the search realm, but in terms of calendars, maps, images, and social connections and more.

See on

Groovy Graphics in the iClassroom: ideas and lesson plans from TechChef4U

I’ve noticed that a couple of the French classes have been borrowing many Bandes Dessinées for a unit on comics. I also know the grade 8s do Persepolis and I think the grade 9s might also have a graphic novel section, though these lesson plans might be better for next year as I think these units have come and gone.

Either way, Lisa Johnson gives some great ideas of how you can use comic making apps in any class- math, science, etc.

As always, the tools she uses are just as interesting as her ideas, which is saying something.’

Check it out!

See on Scoop.itipadyoupad

» Groovy Graphics in the iClassroom |

Sharing Full Session Resources for Comic and Cartoon Creation using iPads and Web Tools.

Smore and Thinglink include:

A tour of Student-Created Curricular ExamplesA tour of Graphic Novel Apps and BooksA list of apps that Create Comics/Cartoons100+ Student-Created Curricular ExamplesAugmented App-Smashing ExamplesClever Web Alternatives to Comic Creation AppsThings to Consider when Publishing Student WorkIdeas for Using Comics in the ClassroomIdeas for Using Graphic Novels in the ClassroomAnd Much, Much MORE!!!
See on

Why Do Kids Spend All Day on Social Media? Because They’re Not Allowed Out of the House | MIT Technology Review

Danah Boyd is a Microsoft Researcher on all things youth and social media, and one of the most sensible voices out there. If you haven’t heard of her or read her blog, I recommend you do it now. Add her to your RSS feed. Check in once in a while to read her thoughts. I guarantee you will feel better about the state of our youth.

She has a new book coming out this month which I am very excited to read. But, while we wait for February 25th, here is an interview with Ms. Boyd below. Always thought-provoking, here is a quote about privacy and youth to whet your appetite:

Many adults assume teens don’t care about privacy because they’re so willing to participate in social media. They want to be in public. But that doesn’t mean that they want to be public. There’s a big difference. Privacy isn’t about being isolated from others. It’s about having the capacity to control a social situation.

It is a short interview but well worth the read.

See on Scoop.itipadyoupad

Microsoft researcher Danah Boyd tries to puncture some myths about teenagers and the Internet.

See on