Tag: IOS

10 Starter iPad Apps, 2013 Version


I started this Christmas list of applications on the iPad in 2010.  It’s interesting to see what’s stayed and what’s gone.  It’s shared here for those of you lucky enough to score an iPad for Christmas.  I’ve had to do some weeding this year and you’ll see some titles with a strike through.  They may be physically gone but I’m glad to have had them for a while and this post will remind me should I need an app for that purpose again.

2010
I thought that perhaps my blog reading friends might have unwrapped an iPad under the tree and were in search of some starter apps.  The list from last Christmas looked like this.

  • Twitter for iPad – stay connected, listen to the Twitter stream, learn, and get advice on future applications;
  • Flipboard – bring all of your reading into one place – if you’re into news, don’t get individual news apps, bring them all into Flipboard;
  • TaskPad HD – we all have to-do lists – you might as well keep track of them on your iPad;
  • VLC Media Player – never be stumped by a file format again;
  • Google Earth – all the functionality of the desktop version but really takes advantaging of the manipulating ability of the iPad;
  • Aweditorium – a totally new way to explore musical artists;
  • Note Hub – if you create projects with resources from all over the place, use this application to bring all of the research components together;
  • Dropbox – this popular application for sharing with your devices and potentially others comes to this device;
  • fotopedia Heritage – explore UNESCO world heritage sites and their beauty comes to life on your iPad;
  • Documents Free – you will need to work on your documents and spreadsheets.  This one is free.

It was a good list at the time and I still stand behind the recommendations.  But, it is dated.  The VLC Media Player, for example, is no longer available for download but if you do a search for VLC there are a number of related applications.  GoodPlayer looks interesting.  I’m glad that I got my copy of VLC while it was available though.

2011
I wrote this post last year.  I’m thinking this Christmas might bring some more people with their new gifts looking for ideas.  Or, this might be the year where you upgrade to an iPad 2 and hand the original iPad down.  Or, maybe you’ll have duelling iPads.  Or, something else.

Anyway, I’ll use the premise to give you 10 more iPad applications that I think are noteworthy and should be on anyone’s list of starter applications to grab.

  • Zite – Create your own personalized news magazine and find all kinds of stories based upon your interests;
  • Evernote – Absolutely the best way to take notes on your iPad and synchronize them to your computer(s) via the cloud;
  • Skitch for iPad – If Evernote is the best way to take notes, then Skitch has to be the best way to capture images and annotate them – and then send them to Evernote!;
  • Popplet Lite – Is it a brainstorming mindmapping tool?  Is it a wall to stick notes?  Is it a hybrid of the two that synchronizes with your desktop?  Yes to all of the above.  Once you use it, you’ll want the paid upgrade version;
  • Splashtop Remote Desktop for iPad – You’ll never regret paying for this application.  No matter how good your iPad is and becomes part of your life, the crucial file is on your desktop.  Remotely access your computer with this and so much more;
  • Garageband – Even I can make music with Garageband and now I can even do it on my iPad;
  • Pearltrees – Pearltrees lets you find and graphically organize resources from the web.  You can even add the Pearler to Safari to cultivate as you go;
  • ScreenChomp – Create your own Screencasts and share them with others.  Great for instructional content or to illustrate thinking visually;
  • Dolphin HD – Safari is great if all you want is a browser.  But, how about a webzine reader with Twitter and Facebook access or a Speed Dial launcher just like your desktop browser;
  • The Guardian Eyewitness – Access to the spectacular photograhy in The Guardian but there’s more – professional photography tips about how to get the same results by yourself.

Last year, I suggested that a great game to latch onto was the Angry Birds Lite.  You still can’t go wrong with that.  I’m going to add a new one – this year I’ve played many Word with Friends game.  There’s a new game in the Zynga fold called Hanging with Friends.  It’s a simple concept – we’ve all played Hangman as kids – this takes it online and social.

2012
Let me add 10 more applications that caught my attention this year.  The criteria is that they have to be regularly used applications by me.  I look back at the 20 from the past couple of years and they are all still there.  From my view, that’s the test of time.

  • Google Stuff – four applications were released that have become mainstays for me.
  • Google Chrome Browser – the great browser for Mac, Linux, and Windows is now available on the iPad and does all that I do on the desktop except for extensions;
  • Google Gmail – Gmail is my connection to the world and the Gmail application is an awesome application;
  • Google Drive – If you’re using Google Drive, and who isn’t, you’ll dive into this application;
  • Google Maps – Apple Maps had some issues.  OK, quite a few issues.  When Apple replaced Google Maps on iOS, we all were interested to see what it would be like.  That interest didn’t last long.  Google Maps is back and it’s better than ever;
  • OK, I’m a Google fan boy.  I could include YouTube and the Google Plus app but will resist the urge.  Must…keep…the…list…to…10;
  • Matching with Friends – Zynga is a premiere developer for the iPad and the mathematical types will love the visualization required to get top scores;
  • GEMS with Friends – OK, another addictive game from Zynga.  My friend Tina clobbers me regularly but I’m hoping to up my game with practice;
  • Learnist – If you’re reading this post, you know I like to read.  Learnist is all about reading, creating boards, sharing, …;
  • Rockmelt – This used to be my preferred browser under Windows and Macintosh. Reinvented for iOS, the developers claim that it will change the way that you think about browsing the web;
  • War of 1812 – This was big this summer.  We visited many historical sites including visiting those in our back yard.  This was a great planner and helped me learn so much more than what I had learned in school;
  • WordPress – If you’re blogging on WordPress, you’ll want to keep an eye on your blog, reply to comments on the fly, and even write new posts.  Until this app came along, I would have to find a computer to do what I do.  Now it’s a tap away.

2013
For 2013, it’s interesting to take a look at what’s new and what’s gone.  Sadly, Rockmelt is gone.  The product was purchased by Yahoo! and supposedly the product will have impact on their ongoing services.  I hope that it comes out as Yahoo! Rockmelt or something.  I even made reference to it during my presentation at #ECOO13 as a good luck omen.  Still waiting.  For 2013, here are 10 more apps that I’ve added and use regularly.

  • Mailbox – I was inspired by the claim to get your Gmail box down to zero.  It actually does help although it seems to quickly fill up again.
  • HelloSign – I actually needed this application.  I was asked to preview a app under development and needed to sign a non-disclosure form and was recommended this one.
  • Bee-Bot – Ever wonder what a floor robot might look like on an iPad?
  • Hopscotch – Ever wonder what a Scratch-like programming environment might look like on an iPad?
  • Candy Crush Saga – I wondered what all the hubbub was about this application so I downloaded it to investigate.  Now, I’m hooked and have been stuck at level 125 for a couple of weeks now.
  • Cloudart – I wanted to have an application that would allow me to create word clouds on the iPad.  This commercial application became free and I grabbed it and haven’t regretted it.
  • Coast – From the folks at Opera, it’s best described as how a browser for a tablet should be.  It’s quickly become my browser of choice.
  • Quickoffice – For times when you’re not at the traditional keyboard, it’s nice to be able to edit documents.  I like the integration with Google Drive.
  • OfficeHD – Another office productivity suite – this one I paid for and just can’t bring myself to delete it! I waffle between it and Quickoffice.
  • Twittelator – As I write this post, I can’t believe that I’ve never talked about Twittelator.  It was one of the first Twitter browsers that I used on the iPad and I continue to use it daily as my first choice.  For what I do, it’s perfect.

So now, there are 40 starter apps in this series.  I hope that it helps and, please, if you have another idea about an application that should be installed, add it via reply.  I’m sure that others will appreciate it and I’m always on the hunt for something new and inspiring.

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Little Help Needed


You know that I really like DropBox and the DropItToMe combination.  I think it’s genius when looking at a web-based hand-in folder for students.  I wrote a post about it once and do repeat it as a “post from the past” at the beginning of the school year.  With more students involved with BYOD, it’s important to have their work submitted to the teacher and nobody wants more paper.  Electronic copies make so much sense.

Of course, when a student hands in a file for an assignment submission, they’ll attach their name to the file so that the teacher knows whose file is whose.

Recently, I had a former colleague ask a wide sweeping question about electronic hand-ins to her network on Facebook and I responded with my post above.  I, of course, tried it out again at home to make sure that it would work; she tried it out at her home and it worked and she was ready to go with it.

As her students started to submit their work, she noticed a problem.  Only a few of the submissions were getting to her.  She would download a file from DropBox and look at it; go back and get another submission; etc.  But, in a complete class, she wasn’t getting all of the submissions and was puzzled.  She asked me if there was a problem with Dropbox; I tested it and it sure looked like it worked.

So we did some digging around and got to the bottom of things.

She was using the Pic Collage application with her students.  It’s a nice app that creates a collage from content that you send it.  Once a student is happy with the results, she or he would save it to the camera roll on the iPad and then go through the process of submitting the finished product.  They would appear to be following instructions properly but she wasn’t getting the files.

I was able to replicate her frustration here.  The problem, as I see it, is that each file that was submitted from the camera roll is called “image.jpg”.  No many how many times you upload it, only one appears in Dropbox.  As I’m sure you can see by now, the problem is that subsequent uploads were simply overwriting the one uploaded before it.

No problem, I thought.  I’ve got a number of ideas that might solve the situation.

  1. Configure Dropbox to allow multiple copies of the same file.  It’s a pretty common activity – the application could just call the files image(1).jpg, image(2).jpg, …  or some similar naming convention.  Strike One.
  2. Go into Pic Collage and see if there’s a “Save As” or option to give the file that it creates a unique name.  None found.  Strike Two.
  3. Go into the Camera Roll and rename the file.  The only editing options deal with editing the image itself and not the filename.  Strike Three.

I am out of ideas.

Well, actually, I’m out of my own ideas so I’d like to turn to you for assistance.

I don’t think that what she’s asking from technology is something unreasonable.  Or is it just not possible when taking a consumer, one user product, and attempting to use it in a networked world?

I can see a couple of ways around it but they sure seem like a real jury rig.

  1. Sit at a computer with Dropbox open and have the students send the files one at a time and download them as they appear;
  2. Have the students transfer the file to a regular computer, rename it there and then upload it.

Both of these ideas would work but take all of the elegance and magic out of using a computer.  Surely, there’s a better way.

I’m hoping that I can’t see the forest for the trees and that one of my very talented blog readers has a simple solution.  Well?

 

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Here are some of the great things that I read from Ontario Edubloggers this past week.  Check out the complete blog posts and the entire LiveBinder of content here.

Descriptive Feedback and Assessment – What my students in Fiji taught me

Jaclyn Calder spent the month of July in Fiji with a group of students.  Did she come back with a good tan?  Maybe – in this blog post, she shares with us that she learned a great deal more.

In addition to her personal reflections, a separate blog  http://biologyinfiji.edublogs.org was created to document the event, complete with student blogging efforts.

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A Why to Live

Paul Cornies always creates thought provoking posts about quotations from others.

If there is any doubt, or any question, check out the collection of quotes from Viktor Frankl at this post.

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How to Setup your Office 365 Email on your iOS (iPad/iPhone) Device

Eric Wideen is moving to a new platform for his school email.  In this screencast, he shows how to access Office 365 using the standard iOS email program.  This might be of a lot of use to those in a similar situation.

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Creating the Conditions for Potential

Andy Forgrave has long been a support of ds106, its philosophy, its application, and its extension.  I recall a few years ago sitting on Diane Bedard’s outdoor deck with Andy and Alan Levine talking, learning, and taking a slice of ds106 time.  Andy’s post, when you get right down to it, is a referral to a recent post by Alan.

I think back to that night on the deck and you could tell that this wasn’t a lock step procedure for broadcasting success.  In fact, there was nothing canned about the whole thing.  Alan was “technically” in charge since he provided the technology but the real value was in the discussion.  On that evening, it just flowed.  I remember my contribution which nobody on the deck saw coming – in fact, I’m not sure I saw it coming – but Alan asked me something to the effect of what had changed my life recently.  As it would have it, I had just returned from a trip to Goderich where I was still shaken by what I had seen as damage from the tornado that had ripped the guts out of the Square.  There was no recipe for the evening, the power came from the fact that it just flowed out.  In his post, Alan talks about how the magic of ds106 happens.  He’s got it dead on.

If you’re interested in this, certainly get involved in ds106.  If you want to have a discussion about the concept of broadcasting, look for “The Hive” at the 2013 Conference.  Andy, as well as a number of others, will be taking The Hive to the convention centre and are there to help you think of magical moments for your students.

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Thanks so much for all of the Ontario Edubloggers who continue to share over the summer for those of us who are ready to read and learn.  If you are an Ontario Edublogger and want to be added to the collection, just go here and add your details.

 

French iOS Applications


One person that’s regularly on the Ontario Educators’ list is @sylviaduckworth.  She’s a regular Twitter user and sends out some great content.  Sylvia is definitely someone that you want to follow, particular if teaching French using AIM is of interest to you.  She has a strong passion for this.

I’ve just recently stumbled on her French iOS Applications blog.  It’s bookmarked and now listed in the Ontario Edublogger list.

This has real interest for me.  That little guy that hangs out at our house is soon going to be in a situation where he’s serious about French as a language.

Of course, I’ll want to make his environment as rich in both languages as I can.

That’s where Sylvia’s blog will come handy.  She’s devoted this blog to downloading and evaluating applications that would be appropriate for use in the FSL classroom.  She has a “so far” list…

and a much longer to-do list.  It’s a very ambitious goal!  Those of us who are interested in this will truly benefit from her efforts.

She’ll have plenty of visits from me over the next while as these all roll out.

Bring it on, Sylvia!  This will be a truly unique blog.  I can’t find anything similar and neither can Zemanta which I use for related links.

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So Smooooooth


There’s so much about Google Chrome that I like and it’s been my main browser for quite a while now.  There was one annoyance that happened when I sat at my desk, using a full keyboard and a scroll mouse.  The scroll action to the mouse just didn’t always seem right.

It seemed slow and jaggy at times.

But no more.  I read about and installed the Chromium Smooth Wheel Scroller.  There is a smooth scrolling option available if you’re brave enough to ignore the warnings and go to chrome://flags/ and experiment.  Sadly, as of the current release, it’s not available for the Macintosh.  However, this extension has you covered and more

Install the extension and then right click to head to the configuration options.

Scroller

 

Then, quite frankly, it’s just a matter of adjusting the sliders until the scroll wheel does what you need.

The cool thing about Chrome is that you install the extension in one installation and, with synching turned on, it appears on them all.  So, I installed it under Linux where I use the scroll wheel and shortly thereafter, it appeared on my Macintosh.  I had spent some time configuring it under Linux and got it just right.  Fire up the Mac and Whoa!  It takes a little while since the trackpad has a different level of sensitivity so it was back to the sliders to get it just right there.

It was worth the time and effort.  Scrolling is even smoother on all the machines now.  It’s so nice.  There are other little niceties like having the screen bounce when you reach the bottom like iOS.

All in all, I just have to recommend this extension if you’re looking to customize your scrolling experience.  Be prepared to spend a little time adjusting it until it feels just right.  Once you get the knack of it, hide the button and never look back.

 

Taking Instead of Sharing and Then Taking Off


It’s Saturday morning and my favourite movie “The Alamo” is on television.  Every time I watch the movie, I think of San Antonio, my tours of the Alamo, the Riverwalk, and all things I know about Texas.  Then, it hit me.  I had another Texas connection in the hopper.

I had read Miguel Guhlin’s post “Collect Student Work Easily – Setup Your #iPad as a WebDav Server” on Zite but I hadn’t actually tried it myself.  Whenever I read something inspirational like that, I do try it to see if it works as easily as the post says.

Up goes the laptop and I’m off to read his post.  Essentially, it required a couple of downloads.

  1. Documents by Readdle as the host for the teacher iPad;
  2. WebDAV Navigator for the student’s iPads.

OK, first problem.  That would require more than one iPad to experiment.  That’s a luxury that I don’t have here at dougpete labs.

I know – I’ll use my old iPod instead.

Second problem.  The operative word is “old”.  So old, in fact, that it’s not capable of running a current version of iOS to run the Navigator client.  Rats.

Well, maybe there’s another application in the App Store that will run on an older version.  Nope.  Nope.  No go.  Finally, I find DAV-E.  It likes my old iPod!

A quick setup on the host iPad and I’m ready to test the connection.  Voila!  It’s very fast and I’m browsing the host iPad very nicely.  I try to do a number of things and DAV-E wants me to make a purchase to a module to make it happen.  I’m just doing a proof of concept and so resist the urge.

Now, I should be able to connect my computer to the iPad.  “Go”, “Connect to Server”, enter the login credentials and I’m there browsing my iPad.  Very nice!

I head over to the Google Play store to install a WebDAV browser there.  WebDAV Nav Lite is a quick download and configuration away.  Connect and go!

This is really slick.  I would normally have used a third party for file transfer between devices – typically Dropbox but Miguel’s insights has streamlined that process.

In addition, Documents by Readdle is also a file browser and internet browser.  I’m going to have a great deal of fun playing around with this and seeing just what I’m able to do with it.

The original post was a fabulous launchpad for me and my explorations!  Thanks so much for the post, Miguel.  If you haven’t read the post, scroll back to the top and read his post completely.  Try it and you’ll agree – it’s a keeper.

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Mobile Muzy


So, today I messed around with the Muzy mobile application.  Designed for the iPhone, it still worked nicely on my iPad.

Starting the application, I logged into my Muzy blog and was immediately where I left off with the desktop version.  Just like the desktop, there is a suite of tools.

So, I started to poke around and see what I could do.  There were actually far more things that I could do here than through the web.  I have access to my camera, to camera rolls on the iPad, a world of play.  I’m really seeing the use of this for the iTeacher who likes to take a lot of pictures.

In my case, I pulled out a classic Words with Friends screen capture from an experiment with Andy Forgrave.

You may scoff but it takes a lot of work to come up with those many three letter words!

I decided to mark it up and see what I could do…I was intrigued by the stickers option.  Clicking that downloaded a collection and I decided that this was a “Star” effort!  So, I selected one and applied it to the image.  Next, a little comment bubble applied and then overlaid with a bit of text.  Piece of cake.

When I’m done, Muzy saved it to my Camera Roll and uploaded it to my Muzy blog!

I was very impressed with the features packed into the application.  Right on the install, there were a number of apps good to go.

But, I guess you can’t please everyone so Muzy has its own app store where you can add even more functionality to the base application.

The suite of tools just continues to add to the functionality…

If you’re a picture taker, or a picture blogger, or like to do a lot with pictures with your iOS device, you’ve got to look at this.  You’ll be quite impressed.