Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Perfect iPad Case

The Perfect iPad Case depends on how you want to use the iPad and what you want to spend.   Below is a short video where I showcase 3 possibilities for the iPad2.
Careful  consideration needs to be done before you purchase a case.  You need to weigh the following factors:

  1. How much weight will the case will add? ( especially if used for reading books)
  2. Protection ( will the kids be using it, do you drop things? )
  3. Can I remove the iPad from the case easily?
  4. Do I want to carry around or integrate a keyboard into the case?
  5. How much money do I want to spend?


1)  The Apple Smart Cover

2) A simple sleeve

3)  The Zagg Case

Please view the video below for more information and have fun!

Give the video a moment to load after hitting play.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Balancing Technological and Traditional Methods in the Classroom

I had the pleasure of visiting one of our Elementary Schools as a guest reader for a grade 2 class.  I wouldn't want to miss out on a chance to get involved with some of the great activities going on in our schools.  My 3 kids are all in the age range of grade 2 students so it wasn't hard to locate a book that should be engaging.  After a quick poll of the kids I had my books selected "How I Became a Pirate".  I decided to go with the pirate theme so I brought a Jolly Roger flag and some other props.

For those of you who are familiar with the book it it lends it's self to some fun and exciting audience participation with some good old fashioned pirate speak!

I felt compelled to introduce some technology into the field trip so I decided to incorporate the ipad into the second part of my hour with the kids.  I took out my iPad which is in a case that looks more like an organizer than anything.  Immediately the group was inquiring whether the organizer was in fact an iPad.  They know.

I used the free Toy Story app which is really quite impressive.  The app reads the story using music and the characters real voices.  As the story is read the words are highlighted.

The students were captivated with a story they have seen on TV a number of times.  Was it the device that was making the difference?

The novelty will diminish as time goes on but we did make a great find.  One of the neat features of the app is it allows the student to read the story and the ipad will record the student's voice.  Every student in the class wanted to participate so they could see the animation, hear the music and most importantly hear there voice.

iPad have many uses in the classroom and this is just one of them.  This could be used as a fantastic station however the price tag can be a slight deterrent.  The classroom teacher decided to use a tape recorder and stories in the classroom as a replacement for the iPad which worked like a charm.

Leverage the technology to build the skills.  Do we need iPods, iPads, and other technology to get students to read?  Some studies say this is how we will be able to get boys to read.  I think the answer is in the middle.  Balance is what we need.  Technology will be quite effective as long as it is applied to meet specific learning goals in conjunction with traditional methods.  For more information on the application of learning goals and the use of ipods visit Kelly Powers Blog.

Inserting Google Spreadsheets and Drawings into Google Docs

The Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board has there own education version of Google Docs which is virtually the same.  So whatever applies to Google Docs applies to what we call Tools2Go

Our teachers would like to add some cross application assignments using Google Drawings and Google Spreadsheets.  The task today is to insert a Google Drawing and Spreadsheet into a Google Doc.  This is not an easy task because it is not a simple point and click operation. There is no argument it should be but there are some options for you to consider.  I recommend teachers consider using Google Sites ( Wiki Tool) to merge the Spreadsheet and Drawing.    Every student has access to Google Sites.  Sites will allow for easy merging of most Google tools.  Check out the video below for instructions. 

Cluster Map