Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Nerding Out with the iOS 8

This week, Apple held their annual WWDC, which is where they announce all of the cool, new features that are coming in the fall with the new iOS update. 

ios 8 730x486 Everything Apple announced at WWDC 2014 in one handy list

With our district now having at least one iPad in every classroom, there are many new features that will make you give a little happy dance. 

Interactive Notifications: Devices will now allow for the user to respond to the notifications that come in to your lock screen and banner across the top. For example, if an iMessage comes to the banner at the top of your iPad, you can literally tap on it and reply to the person directly from the notification. You can also accept or decline notifications as well. 
wwdc 2014 659 730x486 Everything Apple announced at WWDC 2014 in one handy list

Messages: There are going to be several new features added to messages. How many times have you been included in a group text and by the 100th reply you want to pull your hair out?!?!? With iOS8, you can opt out of the group text or even set 'Do Not Disturb' times within the message to stop them from coming through. Another added feature for messages, will be the ability to send audio recordings within your message conversation. (GREAT way to minimize the possibility of texting a driving!) 
wwdc 2014 848 730x486 Apple announces iOS 8 with interactive notifications, HealthKit and predictive typing

QuickType: iOS 8 will also feature a new keyboard with predictive test built in. As you begin typing words appear above the keyboard that you can select and insert into your message. The cool thing is that the predictive text will learn your communication style an start predicting words that you typically use.
wwdc 2014 759 730x486 Apple revamps its iOS keyboard with contextual QuickType predictive texting

HandOff: This feature is one that I am most excited about. Apple has developed a new communication scheme between devices. Basically, if you have a document or email that you have begun writing on your MacBook, your iPad will identify where you left off and let you continue writing on the same message through the iPad app. A bit confusing to explain, but VERY cool to see. Click here to see a more thorough explanation.

These few features along with many others are going to make iOS 8 a great update to have on your devices. If you would like to watch the announcements in their entirety (with demonstrations!) check out the video here

And because I think this is completely amazing, check out this great recap of the event in musical form... 

Photo credits: 


Monday, June 2, 2014

7 Ways to Use Technology with Purpose

A newsletter I am subscribed to had some interesting questions worth sharing.  AJ Juliani asked the following:

Why are you using technology?
How are you using technology to better the learning in your classroom and/or school?

In order to make sure you are using technology correctly, you must ask yourself "Am I starting with why?"  If students understand the "why" for using technology, then class will have purpose and any glitches or issues with technology can be worked through.  Major problems arise if students don't understand the "why."

Listed below are 7 ways technology can be used with purpose in your classroom or on your campus:

1.  Collaboration in Real Time
2.  Reflection and Sharing
3.  Better Research
4.  Write and Re-Write
5.  Make Something (that matters)
6.  Keeping a Digital Record
7.  Mastery Assessments

Don't forget the "why" to your students!

Click HERE to visit the site for detailed descriptions of the ways to use technology with a purpose.  

Wake-Up Call

I normally don't post doom and gloom messages, and I really don't think this one is, but the idea isn't all roses...

A colleague of mine was cleaning off her computer and ran across a picture of my son:

Anything strike you about it, other than how dashing and debonair he is? How about the fact that it pinpointed the location of where I took the picture, i.e. our street?!


What's even more crazy is that I train people on best practices for tech all the time and I wasn't even practicing what I preach! 

So, for those of you who are using iDevices to create and share media with student images, you may want to check those privacy settings on the device.

Here's how to disable location services for photos on your iDevice:

  • Tap Settings
  • Tap Location Services
  • Switch Camera to the OFF position

Don't be paranoid or anything, but don't be careless either. Knowledge is power, and as Uncle Ben from Spider-Man said, "With great power comes great responsibility!"