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Pages: Making a Brochure on an iPad

2015 May 15
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by SSedro

One of my teachers wondered how his students could create a brochure on an iPad.  Turns out, Pages has two nice brochure templates.  These directions assume the children have already saved all needed photos to their photo roll, and have finished revising their text in Google Docs. You can view the original document here.

This was my first attempt at making a tutorial which displayed well on an iPad. If you end up using it that way, please let me know if you think this layout works well for that device.

Movenote on the iPad

2015 April 21
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by SSedro

Last year I had attempted to use Movenote with students. Actually I probably tried it the year before even. In any case the old windows laptops we had were not up to the task. I was surprised to see that there is an iPad app. I tested it out. If you click the link you can view it. Know that I did not record on all the slides because there were 11 in the presentation. I just did enough to test out the app.
The only tricky part of the entire process was figuring out how to get the presentation into Movenote from Google Drive. Here are the steps.
  1. Open Google Drive.
  2. Locate the presentation. Open it.
  3. In the top right corner of the screen, tap the More menu. It looks like 3 dots.
  4. Tap the Share & export menu.
  5. Select Send a copy.
  6. Choose PDF as the format and select OK.
  7. Swipe until you see Open in Movenote.
  8. Wait while the file opens in Movenote. When it is fully loaded, you can start recording.
  9. Swipe from right to left to advance to the next slide.

I am not certain how to use this app with students. The entire recording must be done straight through. That is a challenging task for anyone, especially a child. One use could be as a poetry performance.  They could record themselves performing the poem.

Another application could be for reflecting on their art.  In this case, students would take a photo of their art. Then they would start a new Movenote, import the photo, and then record their annotation.

A final idea I had was that we want students to use some degree of Presentation Zen instead of having all their speech on their presentation.  However, then there is less of a useful artifact to add to their digital portfolio. With Movenote we could see the slides and see/hear them give the presentation.

Best Paris iPhone Apps

2015 April 14
by SSedro

This post was originally published on August 19, 2012. Unfortunately, many of the apps listed below are no longer available.  I’ve marked those apps so you don’t go looking for them and added some replacements. 

This summer I took the trip of a lifetime with my family to Paris.  The trip was amazing – great weather, great museums, great food and great exercise.  Kent and I were the tour guides since we had been there before.  We found we were using a few iphone apps over and over again throughout the day.  I’m going to share them here in hopes of assisting other travelers to that amazing city.

First a few details.  The apartment we rented had wifi. We did not use cellular data at all. That meant in some cases that we needed to do our research before we left.  In other cases we used apps that did not require wifi.

Certain public parks now have wifi. I had to create a new account each time – sometimes multiple times within a single use but it was hanly. Read about the process here. Many cafés and restaurants also provide wifi. Ask your server for the code.

We used other apps on the trip, but the ones listed below were by far the ones we used the most.

 

MetrO appMetrO helps you find your way in the public transportation systems in more than 400 cities worldwide.  This free app requires an internet connection to download the city you want. Once downloaded the app works offline.  Since our apartment was near a Metro station, we used this app extensively.  It is well designed and full of useful features. For example, after using it to find a route we can expand any section of the route to see all the stops between our starting point and destination.  It knew both Metro and train routes so it was able to connect us between them.

 

 

 

 

Paris Museums and MonumentsParis Museums and Exhibitions is another free app we used extensively.  Updated monthly, this well-designed app makes it easy to check admission times and costs. It lets you know the days it is closed and when it is open late.  It lists whether or not the venue is covered by the Paris Museum Pass. It provides info on closet train and Metro stops. It has a favorites feature so you can quickly find the venues you plan to visit that day.It links to the venue’s website (internet connection required). Linking to the website monosnap 04-15 20-10allowed us to discover a special Berthe Morisot exhibition at the Musee Marmmotan. She’s my mother’s favorite impressionist painter.

– That app is no longer available. The Paris Museums and Monuments app cost $1.99. It gives basic info and then links you to the museum’s websites.

 

 

By the way, we flew from Minnesota to Paris on Delta. On arrival there was a  tourist information bureau very near to our baggage carousel. We were able to purchase our Paris Museum Passes and our first carnet of Metro tickets there which made for a smooth start to our vacation.  Although we didn’t end up saving any money using the Paris Museum Pass, being able to jump the admission lines made it worth the price.  Note that you cannot jump security screening, just admission and ticket purchase.  Many of the big museums have special entrances for pass holders.

We also found that purchasing ten packs of Metro tickets called carnets was much more cost effective than the Paris Visté pass.  Although we rode the Metro frequently, we walked as much as we could so the Visté would not have saved us money.

 

Tripadvisory Offline City Guides

Tripadvisor Offline City Guides is another free iphone app that served us well. Prior to our trip we used an internet connection to download the free Paris guide into the app.  After that the app works offline. It includes all the reviews for the city that are available on the TripAdvisor website.  When we were out sightseeing, we used it to find great restaurants that were nearby. It never steered us wrong in terms of directions or food.  The ability to search by district was very helpful, as were the accompanying maps.

Note: many restaurants in Paris are small making reservations a must. We walked to a number of restaurants whose menus looked mouth-wateringly good only to find that all 10 tables were book through next Tuesday.

 

Rick Steves Audio Europe is a free app which makes it easy to access Rick Steve’s podcasts and audio tours.  The app requires an internet connection to download the content you select into playlists. After that it works offline.  We listened to his Paris podcasts prior to our trip. They covered interesting topics such as the history of the Eiffel Tower, hidden gardens of Paris, Paris café culture, and lesser-known Paris museums.  When we were in Paris we used his audio tours of the Louvre, the Musee D’Orsay. We also used one of his walking tours.

 

 

 

 

Talking French Phrasebook is a $0.99 app that we used a bit.  It is well laid out and the pronunciations were useful.  It works offline. We were fortunate that so many Parisians speak English, but we did make use of this a few times.

 

 

 

Although I used my digital camera for most of my photos, I found I used my iPhone camera often to capture information, restaurant operating hours, street names, etc. For example, we passed posters advertising classical music concerts being held in churches. I snapped photos of them. Later we pulled up the photos so we had date, time and location. We heard a great piano concert as a result. My iphone camera app of choice is Camera + ($3.99). – I no longer use this app because the camera is so good on my newer iPhone. However, it is still a great app.


 

 

My most useful food app is no longer available. It is Escargo  from Meeker Hollow Productions.  This food dictionary served us well as we tried to read menus written in French.

 

 

 

Since Escargo is unavailable my family members purchased The Food Lover’s Guide to Paris. This $4.99 app works offline. We mostly purchased it for it’s food dictionary. It also has good restaurant reviews and a helpful map so you can locate reviews by arrondissement.

 

 

monosnap 04-15 19-48For navigation we also used the free Paris Travel Guide and Offline City Maps app. It works offline. Its maps were easier to pinch and squeeze than the ones in the MetrO app.  Still, reading maps on an iPhone is not easy. It would be worth it to have a really good paper map. When I had wifi I also used the Maps app that comes with the iPhone. ) This old version is optimized for iOS 6.  Ulmon Maps 2 Go is updated for iOS 7 and above and has a free and also a paid version which costs $4.99. Both allow unlimited downloads of maps but the free version has ads. I was able to get the paid version when it went free for a few days.  

 

Thankfully, we didn’t use the mPassport Paris (free now, usually $0.99) but I was glad to have it on hand.  It would have made it easy for us to locate doctors, dentists, pharmaciess and hospitals if we had needed them. It includes reviews. Info on languages spoken. – This app is now free but it appears to be tied to an insurance company. You must login to use it. 

 

Before and during the trip I made use of Rick Steve’s Paris 2012 guidebook in Kindle format ($9.99). Navigation leaves a bit to be desired. However, it is a useful guidebook. I was able to highlight portions so I could find them easily on the road.  I used his tours when we were in museums.  In general, it is a good guidebook and having it always with me was useful. I recommend reading it first on a computer or iPad and then transferring it to the iPhone for the trip. – 2015 version is available here for $9.46.

 

 

 

For most of my travels I make use of Packing (+ todo!) ($0.99 + in app purchases). This is a robust packing app. I save different packing lists for different types of travel (business vs. pleasure) and different climates (Southeast Asia versus Minnesota). I used an in app purchase to allow it to sync between my iphone and ipad. That way in the lead up to the trip, I can add items that I think of while I’m in the taxi, shopping, etc.

 

Finally, not related to apps, but we made use of the Vacation Rental by Owner website to book an apartment. That was a great experience. The apartment worked out really well. The size, amenities and location really made a difference in our vacation. We stayed here: http://www.vrbo.com/383576. We would stay there again in a heartbeat. We were a group of two couples and one single adult. Besides having the St. Paul metro station very nearby, we had ATMs, grocery store, Mono Prix, 2 bakeries, 2 chocolate shops, a cheese shop, coffee shops (including Starbucks) and restaurants. The apartment manager was a great communicator. The concierge made our stay much more pleasurable.

Safe travels! Have a pan au chocolate, a chocolate crepe and a macaroon for me!

Creating Field Guides with Haiku Deck

2015 April 1
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by SSedro
Grade 4 takes numerous field trips in second semester related to their social studies units. This year their trips include Sungei Buloh wetland reserve and the MacRitchie Tree Top Walk.

Copy of Mei Field Guide – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

One way to enhance the experience is to help students learn about some of the animals they might see on their trip.  Fortunately, the presentation app Haiku Deck makes it easy to create a field guide. Not only does it have an excellent photo search engine, but it is searching for images with Creative Commons licenses and it imports the credits with the photos.
To prepare for the lesson, I searched the internet for lists of animals sighted in those locations.  List in hand I then went into Haiku Deck to see which animals were in their Creative Commons image search engine.  Many of the Sungei Buloh animals were in there. Fewer of the MacRitchie animals were but we still ended up with good list. You can view the lists here:

This is an open ended project. All students successfully completed at least a few pages before the end of the class. Students with their own iPads or computer access at home are able to login from there to continue working. Although we did not assign it as homework, many students continued to work outside of school.  Some students had 30-60 pages in their field guide by the time they went on their field trip. We were only looking for photos but some students went on to research some of the animals and added additional information to their slides.

Vinya’s Field Guide – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

We were able to teach students some tips to increase their efficiency. For example, after they typed or dictated the animal’s name onto a slide, they copied the name and pasted it into the photo engine rather than taking the time to retype.  Another time saver was copying a slide rather than setting each slide up from scratch.

Andy’s Animals – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

This lesson also gave us the chance to talk about checking accuracy of search results.  What should you do if you search for photos and they don’t all look like the same bird? Why might it look different? Does the female have different markings than the male? Do the younger birds not have the same plumage as the adults? Is the picture mis-labeled? How can we check?

As teachers, we spot checked to help ensure their photos were correct. This gave us many teachable moments. For example, one child’s Chinese Egret slide had a photo of a swan. We were able to discuss the different diets of the birds and how that led to different beak types which help us identify which photo is correct.

Although students bring their iPads with on field trips, they did not use the field guides on the trip. However, making the field guide ahead of time made them much more aware of the animals and teachers reported that kids were much more tuned in as they hiked.


 

What Do You Want Leaders to do With Technology?

2015 March 1
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by SSedro

Click to enlarge.

What do you want leaders to do with technology?

I can take no credit for this. As the graphic says, the ideas are by George Couros and the art is by @PluGusin. I’m posting it here so I don’t lose it and because it is too good to not share.

Hosting Class Photos on a Flickr Account

2015 February 13
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by SSedro

Our school uses Google Apps for Education. We require our teachers to have either a class Blogger blog or a class Google Site. Teachers are expected to post photos and weekly updates.

Each teacher has their own school Google Apps account which they use for school work and school correspondence.  They also have a class account. Students are given the credentials for that account.  Those same credentials are used for the class YouTube account and other class accounts such a SoundCloud.

Our teachers have Google + enabled.  Our students and class accounts do not have it enabled.  We ran into a problem when teacher would upload class photos to their personal account.  Those photos would end up on Google +. If they set the privacy to unlisted, then they had to link every photo upload individually to their class site.  If they set it to public, the photos were searchable and families were unhappy.

For now, the easiest solution is to only upload photos to the class account. Those photos go to Picasaweb, not to Google +.  From there, it is easy to embed a slideshow or share the link. Unfortunately, since Google would like Picasaweb to go go away, they seem to have stopped development on it. As a result, it is a very clunky tool with no batch processing.

I decided to see what the process could look like in Flickr instead. I assumed the teacher had  created a class account in Flickr.  They could then follow the directions below.  The photos end up public but they are not visible to search engines.  That means only people with the link are likely to find them. By using Flickr’s collections feature, all the class albums can be in one collection. By sharing the link to the collection, families can visit throughout the year and see each of the albums.

Listed below is the best workflow I was able to devise. Click here to see an easier to print version.

 

Flickr Album Settings for Class Accounts

Flickr allows granular control of photos. For examle, I can set an album to Public but not visible to search engines.  That should allow families to easily view the photos without them being easy for other people to find them.

Create a class collection.

In your class Flickr account, click the Albums and Collections  tab.  Then click new collection.

Give the collection a title.

Get the link to the class collection.

Click on the collection’s title, then select Open collection page.

Copy the URL from the top of the page.  That will be the link to your class photos. Add it to your class blog or website.

Upload photos from iPhoto to Flickr.

In iPhoto, select the photos you want to share.  Click Share in the bottom right corner.  Then click on Flickr.  If this is your first time sharing to Flickr, follow the on-screen directions to link your class Flickr account to your iPhoto.

Click New Set.

Give the set a name.  Make photos viewable by anyone.  (We will make them unsearchable later.)

Change the set’s settings.

In a web browser, login to your class Flickr account. Click on the Albums tab and then click on your new set.  From now on we will refer to that set as an album.

When you are in the album, click the Edit tab.

Now we will make some changes using the Batch edit.

Batch edit > Change permissions

Set to Anyone (Public).

Change license to “None (All rights reserved).” That prevents other people from downloading, (but not screen capturing) the photos.

Set “Hide/show in public searches” to “Hide these items from public searches.

Add album to your class collection.

Click on the Albums & Collections tab.

Tap the triangle next to your class collection.  Drag the album on top of the collection.

Click back on the name of the collection. Click the arrow to the right of the collection.  Select “Open collection page.”

You should now see your new album in your class collection.  Families who visit your class photo gallery should be able to see it, but people searching the internet with a search engine such as Google or Yahoo or Bing can’t find it.

For future uploads…

After this first upload, teachers start at the iPhoto step for subsequent photo uploads.