Tuesday, November 23, 2010

iOS 4.2....Day 2 with the iPad

Image representing iPad as depicted in CrunchBaseImage via CrunchBase

Day 2 into the new iOS for the iPad and I'm learning quite a bit and enjoying some of the new features. (Although I will state that anyone looking to upgrade their device, should attempt to avoid peak hours for the next few days. My update took approximately 1.5 hours total.)

First and foremost, I am excited about the ability to use folders on the iPad. For me as a user, I missed that functionality from my iPhone. Also, for our iPad field tests this allows users to organize apps either by school, grade level or content area. This is a big win for any school looking for a way to organize and evaluate the apps during a field test.

So I have haven't a chance to test out AirPrint yet, because apparently none of my printers are compatible. However, the concept is fantastic. I do struggle with how many printers out there are compatible and is the AirPrint function THE printing solution iPhone / iPad users have been craving. I think only time and testing will tell.

This was probably the feature I was most excited about prior to release and definitely the feature I was most disappointed with after the update. AirPlay is supposed to allow a user to stream videos from your iDevice to your TV or other iDevice. However, I realize my Internet-enabled Sony 55" LED television at home, will not work without Apple TV. Thanks Apple Marketing for being such a genius that you crush my expectations. I guess I will wait for a future update to this feature (which I'm sure is coming in the next release) that (probably for a cost) will allow me to connect to my other devices.

The new update brings multitasking from other iDevices to the iPad. You can be more productive as you work, have more fun as you play or do both. Everything happens smoothly and efficiently — without slowing down the performance of the foreground app or draining the battery unnecessarily - at least in my early findings. Fairly impressed with this functionality thus far.

Find My iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch — the MobileMe feature that helps you locate your missing device and protect its data — is now free on any iPad (and other iDevices) running iOS 4.2.3 Once you set it up, you can find your lost device on a map, display a message on its screen, remotely set a passcode lock, and initiate a remote wipe to delete your data. And if you eventually find your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, you can restore everything from your last backup. Pretty impressive resume - however something I hope I never have to use. This could be a function that school districts look to leverage as they deploy these devices to students - maybe Apple Marketing was one step ahead of me again.

I do like the ability to view all mail in my inbox (gmail, yahoo and exchance) from a single view. Also, the ability to thread messages (much like gmail) provides a cleaner and concise view. I haven't attempted to open attachments in a third-party app, but I know that is a function that is also available. To be tested soon...

Some of the new Accessibility Enhancements include Control VoiceOver using a wireless keyboard and output in braille to over 30 supported 
wireless Bluetooth refreshable braille displays in more than 25 languages. Both items that special education departments will be looking to utilize in determining whether the iPad continues to play a prominent role in the education of children with disabilities.

One final feature that I found cool was the ability to find text on web pages within Safari. What this allows you to do is a quick text search to find and highlight specific words and phrases on even the longest web pages. This is a pretty neat feature - I used it last night while reading news articles and was able to quickly jump to a section of interest based on a keyword search.


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Sunday, November 21, 2010

IASB Conference

Image representing AudioBoo as depicted in Cru...Image via CrunchBaseI had the opportunity to attend the IASB joint conference over the weekend with some of my colleagues from District 203. http://www.iasb.com/jac10/

It was great networking time and to see how other school districts in the state of IL are integrating and utilizing technology in the classrooms. Below are a few of the highlights:

  • A book I ordered today that will be at the top of my reading list: Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns by Clayton Christensen .

  • WallWisher - a new way to communicate. An online notice board maker that is safe and secure for students to communicate and collaborate with each other - and its free: http://www.wallwisher.com

  • I've blogged about this before - but I figured it was worth another mention. WolframAlpha is a computational knowledge engine that is much more sophisticated than the traditional search engine. For a demo of WA, visit here.

  • Audioboo.fm (iPhone / iPad app or on the web) - Audioboo is a mobile and web platform that enables users to record and upload audio for others to hear / view

  • Khan Academy is a non-profit video based academic lesson repository. It currently has over 1,800 titles in primarily math and science. It has drawn the attention of national and world leaders - including Bill Gates and PBS. Check it out: http://www.khanacademy.org/

  • Blabberize - Blabberize is a tool that allows students to take a photo and add their voice on top of it to create an authentic piece of work that captures their thoughts, ideas, etc. http://blabberize.com/

  • Kidblog.org - Kid Blog is what it says it is - a safe and secure way for students to blog. It is primarily designed as a way for elementary and middle school teachers who want to provide an avenue to communicate and collaborate with their students, as well as foster that same relationship for students and others. http://kidblog.org/home.php


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