21st Century Education: Integrating Apps in Learning

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There are different kind of students; the academe, over-achievers, jocks, queen-bees and happy-go-lucky types, who are too cool for school until it’s almost time for graduation. I can find one thing in common with them:

“these students spend lots of time with their mobile devices”

and so educators must learn to peak their student’s interest and alter their teaching technique that is best suited for the current trend in learning but at the same time still be in accordance to the school’s standards. 59 percent of students use mobile phones to study, while 93 percent of them use their Smartphone to access study apps, so why not start adopting a few changes in your teaching strategies?

Mobile Learning

Some teachers gave-in to the TechEd evolution and tried the following:

(1)  Spearheaded (BYOD) Bring Your Own Device programs

Encourage your students to use of their gadgets in class to boost their learning productivity. Involving these medium for learning will help them utilize and optimize their usage other than just for social media and communication purposes.

(2) Integrated mobile & desktop applications to their lesson plans

  • DropBox: Free online back-up storage you can use to save your documents, presentations, photos and other files. Compatible with iOS and Android devices.

To facilitate file sharing with ease; everyone needs to create their own unique user ID then share notes, review materials and even homework to your students online. All the stored resources can be accessed online and through any device as long as you logged in using your ID and by adding files in the “Favorite” labeled folder, saved files can still be accessed even when offline.

  • Haiku Deck: Presentation software that’s simple, beautiful, and fun. Works for all types of presentations including enliven a to-do list, tell a story with words and pictures, and summarize a discussion.

Create a stunning visual presentation using your iPad. Making visuals for your presentation can be a breeze. Choose from a wide selection of elegantly designed background slide themes, fonts and color palettes and share your presentation on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. You should also develop your student’s visual literacy by making them a critical viewer of the media.

  • Edmondo: A free and safe way for students and teachers to connect and collaborate

A must have app for very classroom where every member of can create their own profile very similar to Facebook. It is especially designed to promote teacher-student engagement. Sharing resources and connecting with the respective instructors is made easier and seizing each student’s performance can be done in real-time.

(3)  Implemented the use of classroom management tools and applications

  • Teacher Kit. Be future forward and go mobile with this free app previously known as the “TeacherPal” app. Available for iOS and Android.

Start being techie and organized. Move on from the old-school class records and use this app for creating class lists, taking attendance, entering grades, managing student data, keeping seating charts, monitoring student behavior in class and more.

Seeking for the right mix of strategy in choosing the teaching platform you want take can be a bit tricky! So knowing your students well can be a great help in planning how to go about your lessons. Try the ideas above or share something that worked for you.

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Tips in using the iOS 7 Safari

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iOS 7 SafariAs the iOS 7 arrives to various iDevices, a lot of changes have been made especially for Safari, Apple’s dedicated internet browser. Although its layout and interface has been improved, using it for the first time can be challenging especially with the recent changes. To help you out, here is a list of tips and tricks that you should learn before searching in this newly enhanced Safari browser.

Password storage

According to Macworld, this updated browser can now store information pertaining to passwords and even credit card numbers. Moreover, it also has a built-in capability wherein it can generate passwords for you. This will be tied to Apple’s iCloud Keychain – a cloud vault for safely keeping all user’s vital information.  According to the posts from the O2 community page, you can activate this feature by visiting the Safari tab on the Settings app on your device. In the Passwords and Autofill section, swipe the “always allow toggle on” button.

**To learn more about the iOS 7’s password settings, you can visit : http://www.o2.co.uk.

Private browsing and Do not Track settings

Private surfing is a vital feature of any web browser because it allows you to keep internet activities hidden. However, activating it is time-consuming because of all the numerous steps that you have to follow.  Now, this secret searching mode is just one tap away. All you have to do is scroll down at the bottom of your tabs and hit the “Private” button.

Another feature that users will definitely enjoy is the Do not Track settings. Using this mode, websites will not be able to track your browsing habits so vital information about your online history is safe. To activate it, launch the Settings App and open the Safari page. In the Privacy & Security tab, flip the switch in the Do Not Track section.

One unified search bar

Before, you need to type in two separate text fields when you want to enter a website address or if you need to look for information. With this new browser, these two fields are merged into one and are known as Smart Search Field to make your browsing quicker. Furthermore, the new iOS has the ability to suggest the most searched items on the internet based on the keywords that you entered. If you know how the Google Chrome’s Omnibox works, then you won’t have a problem coping with this change.

With the new smart search bar, you will also notice that the “.com” button is nowhere to be seen. Don’t fret because this nifty shortcut can now be found in the period key. Just tap and hold it until the default extensions appear.

Thanks to the iOS 7 upgrade, exploring information online using our iDevices has never been so efficient and fun. With its new security system, we can ensure that important data about us will not be easily stolen by others. If you want to learn more about the various online surfing tips, you can read this post about essential searching tips on the internet.

Do you know other iOS 7 tips that you can share with  other Apple enthusiasts? Feel free to share them  below.

 

 

Why Tablets Are a Speaker’s Best Friend?

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TabletsThere’s never been a more useful piece of equipment for a public speaker than a tablet since the invention of the autocue, and any talented speaker tends to avoid even those. The tablet allows someone to walk onto the stage with an item no larger than a pad of paper, connect it up to the A/V setup on stage and do everything from read their speech off the device to conduct presentations and even demonstrate how software works in real time. It’s an incredibly powerful device to have in your hands when presenting to an audience.

However, if you’ve got a real audience to contend with after a regular “podium” on Twitter, it is tempting to yearn for the solace of being able to communicate with a full suite of computing tools on hand. If you want to look at PDFs of important research papers or social media, then having your iPad on your podium should help you through your speech.

What Podium Cue allows public speakers to get on with talking and leave all of the peripheral worries about things going awry out of your process. Being able to swipe between pages and maintain a continuous flow of speech is a lot easier, and we’ve built color-coding and timer cues into the app to ensure that everything from staying on-topic section-by-section and ensuring you’re pacing yourself well during your speech becomes a lot easier.

One of the best things the app does to aid your presentations is limit the amount of content per slide. While this initially sounds horrifying, you can all imagine speeches where someone has a tiny font and a lot of scribbled notes in the margins and it causes chaos. Instead, this format forces you to be more concise and to expand on simple, straightforward thoughts rather than stumble through something long, complex and overly rehearsed. Plant a seed for your speeches – don’t attempt to navigate a forest.

One of the main advantages of using a tablet when doing audiovisual presentations is that you don’t have to stand by a podium or look behind you in order to see what the audience does. You’re free to stroll across the stage, mike and tablet in hand, presenting graphs, videos and even just slides without having to worry that people are questioning why you’re on stage rather than in your seat doing a voice-over into a microphone.

Thus, we cut to the heart of the matter. Public speaking isn’t just the art of being able to talk into a microphone in front of people – it’s part information delivery and part performance. You need to engage your audience visually, and being able to cross the stage, monitor what they’re seeing and even demo things for them live (by streaming from your iPad to the on-stage screen), and a tablet and apps like Podium Cue will assist you in doing that.

The Gamification of Apps

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APpsApps are rapidly turning into games. Obviously, apps that are already games aren’t what we’re talking about, here – instead, it’s apps that are designed without gaming in mind that are being influenced by games and their ability to incentivize the way we engage with them. These days, you’re just as likely to level up in a social check-in app as you are in an RPG – and that’s fantastic.

It has however been suggested that this may be the wrong approach – that so many apps are gamififying their mechanics to the point where it’s impossible to find a social iPhone app that works straightforwardly, rather than constantly awards you badges and experience points. While these incentives do reward users, apps should retain some level of purity, and as Ingrid Lunden states, this approach means that “many of the apps using the technique are becoming noise themselves.”

It’s true – play a session of Angry Birds and all the mechanics fit because you’re playing a game. But if you then start to find star ratings and unlocks inside your banking app, it’s not unlikely that the app will not be as efficient or fully-featured as it could be because the incentives have begun to replace the actual features.

Foursquare is definitely a service that worked very well and had a noticeable presence when it first launched, but these days it’s easy to feel that someone’s a bit odd when they’re still auto-tweeting the fact they’ve become Mayor of their local Starbucks in 2013. The reason for this is that while the app had medals and various accomplishments, it was essentially built around its gamification mechanics and offered little else – there was no real need to have a service to tell people where you were unless you were really keen on helping burglars.

The ideal approach to gamification would be to appreciate why you might need it, as if you have to give people badges and experience points to use your app, it might be worth considering that the app by itself lacks incentives for extended or regular use. Perhaps the best approach for all of these gamified apps appearing on the marketplace would be for us to only opt for those what would be great to start with, rather than ones where we’re paying for an app, just for mechanics that exist in a thousand other ones.

Gartner, the information technology research and advisory firm, recently published a report stating that gamified apps are going to fail 80% of the time if your reason for involving game mechanics in your software is purely due to novelty and hype. If all of those badges and points have no real meaning or use, then you’re just adding noise to a quiet room. These are wise words, and it’s definitely something to consider as a consumer – if you’re paying for apps, try and opt for the ones where gamification is used intelligently and really rewards you – don’t be fooled by shiny stickers.

 

Using iOS Apps Can Boost Your Follower Count

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AppleYou could be running a Facebook fan page, a Twitter account or even a Tumblog, but if you’re not staying on top of how frequently you post, your followers and their reaching out to you, or keeping everything up-to-date, people will soon lose interest.

The reason people sit on roller coasters is the thrill, knowing that they’re not just traveling at high speed, but because there are rises and falls and loop-the-loops. Social media is no different – people want their social feeds to constantly keep their minds stimulated, and a lack of content or creativity can be really off-putting.

One of the mistakes people make is the assumption that if you’re really pushing your social media activity, you should be doing it in an almost office-like (or an actual office) environment. This isn’t a good idea – in fact, the more mobile you are, the more impressively organised your feed looks and the more content you’ll end up posting.

After all, all those apps on your iPhone can add a huge variety of media, rather than 140-character text posts. Think about using services like Vine – six-second video snapshots that can be cut and sliced up to look fantastic. Perhaps also YouTube, or Instagram – anything that allows people to look, and watch, rather than solely read. A multimedia feed is always going to stimulate more minds more than a constant flow of text.

There are also buffer services that can really add to your ability to constantly output content without having to manually do so over the course of the day. Services like the Buffer iOS app mean that you will be able to slowly push out fifty content-filled tweets over twenty-four hours to ensure it’s never quiet on your social front, even though you only spent a concentrated hour or two putting them all together. Doesn’t have to be fifty, of course, but at least twenty or so tweets that aren’t responses and manual, quick tweets are great.

If you blog, commit. In today’s environment, a burst of blog posts going onto social platforms for promotional purposes followed by a vanishing act don’t go down well. Social media is a double-edged blade, as it can make you look incredibly busy and incredibly lazy at the same time – often with the same tweet. The best way to avoid eventualities like this is to blog when you’re on the move. On a bus? Blog. On the train? Blog. Doctor’s waiting room? Blog. Even the WordPress app will work great.

Speaking of blogging apps, Tumblr’s official iOS app means a constant flow of content both to reblog and comment on, and also to put through other social media feeds. Don’t keep great things to Tumblr – a JPEG, a GIF, a Video, or even a blog post can be interesting to those on your Twitter and Facebook feeds, even Pintrest, so don’t ignore the potential for content being dropped into your Tumblap!

You can also make use of high-quality apps for platforms that aren’t going to shove anything special your way short of convenient shortcuts, like Tweetbot. But the big bonuses come in when you delve into the “power-user” section of social media apps for iOS. Invaluable apps include those like HootSuite that do Facebook and Twitter, with post scheduling and even analysis of how popular your linked content is.

Using social media is easy, but mastering it is an ongoing process that, like anything else, is impossible to do completely, but you can put yourself significantly ahead of the competition by staying mobile and making the most of iOS apps that are going to help you do that. Stay mobile, stay smart, stay productive, and stay renowned.

How Mobile Technology Evolved in the Past 20 Years

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Mobile Phone EvolutionFor the past two decades, mobile technology has evolved around our society’s needs. From making calls to monitoring a patient’s health remotely, smartphones have become essential tools to run our daily lives. They became so pervasive that people can’t live with them anyone. Now, we’re entering an age where different devices are starting to merge via cloud computing, and high-speed broadband connectivity.

As we move towards a more mobile future, let’s look back at the last twenty years and see how this technology evolved, which helped us shape the Digital Age.

Mobile Communication: 1G to 4G

The first generation (1G) mobile communication was first launched in 1977. Called the Advanced Mobile Phone System (AMPS), it helped the mass market communicate via cellular technology. However, it was prone to eavesdropping via a cellular scanner which allowed for cellphone cloning. A decade later, the second generation (2G) network was established and it used digital signals instead of analog. During this generation, more cell sites were established to accommodate the increasing number of users, SMS or Short Messaging Service was made available, and prepaid services were also introduced.

As more people used their phones for their daily tasks, the demand for larger data increased and 2G isn’t enough for it. With that in mind, the industry started its development of the next generation of mobile communication—3G. It was faster, leaner, and it allowed for mobile broadband data transmission over a cellular network. People can now listen to podcasts, watch videos, and live streaming on their mobile devices, thanks to 3G technology. It was also during this time that mobile internet was truly realized. But with the introduction of bandwidth-intensive applications and smart devices, the industry needed something better—4G.

4G or the fourth-generation cellular communication provides users with ultra-broadband Internet access. It paves the way for faster web access, gaming services, high-definition mobile TV, and cloud computing. In an article published on Verizonwireless’ website, 4G or 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) is clearly paving the way for the next wave of innovations. People can now access data in real-time, while improving the overall user experience.

From a “Brick” to a True “Smart Phone”

In 1983, the first commercially-available cellular phone was introduced—the Motorola Dynatac  8000X. Measuring 13 x 1.75 x 3.5, “The Brick”, as it was fondly called, let you talk for about 30 minutes and it boasted with 10-hours of standby time. But in 1993, IBM launched the IBM Simon Personal Communicator, which became the predecessor of our modern smartphone. It was a calculator, phone, pager, and an email device. The Simon was truly a power house during that time, but it was too big and bulky to carry around.

It was in 1996 when Motorola launched its new phone—the Motorola StarTac. Coined as the “Wearable Cellular Phone”, it was small enough to slip into your pocket and light enough to carry anywhere with you. Designed after the famous Star Trek Communicators, it had a clam shell design and it offered a discreet vibrate mode, instead of a loud and annoying ringer. However, things changed when Nokia unveiled their new phone—the Nokia 6110. Featuring a monochromatic display, it was the first phone to introduce Menu icons, an infrared port, and it was also pre-installed with their highly-popular game “Snake”.

Other phones followed like the Nokia 7110, which was made popular by “The Matrix” movie. The Handspring Treo had 16MB of internal memory, and it was the first one to offer the Graffiti Text Input. On the other hand, the Blackberry 5180 had a thumb keyboard, email, and it came with a headset. Modeled after the “Minority Report” movie, the Nokia 7650 was the first phone to feature a 4,096 color display and 30 ring tone options. The 7650 was also the first cellphone to include a built-in camera.

But 2007 was the year that changed everything, when Apple launched the iPhone. Its innovative design and use of a touch sensitive screen ushered in a new age of phones. Coupled with the App Store and iTunes, this phone still stands as the standard of modern smartphones.

Mobile devices aren’t just means of communication; they became integral parts of our lives. The evolution and revolution of these devices are just starting, and we will reap its benefits in the long run. With their nearly limitless possibilities, what can we expect from them in the next 20 years? Only time can tell.

 

Facebook: “just the F, please.”

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FacebookFacebook has become one of the most famous brands on the planet. It’s completely unavoidable, far more so than Twitter – even your grandparents might be on it! A big part of the daily lives of hundreds of millions of people, Mark Zuckerberg’s college IT project has changed the social landscape forever and helped usher in the digital era. Out with the SMS, in with the Facebook message.

Their redesigned news feed has actually reduced the brand to something even more minimalistic than their existing site design: the Facebook logo is now just the famous “f” symbol. It’s great news for those who’d rather their feed wasn’t being partially taken up by the full name, but also proves a point that’s less than subtle – everyone knows what the “f” means, and new users are already aware of the service.

They’re also beginning to move away from text and focus on image sharing, which is definitely in tune with the view that today’s average internet user prefers pictures to words. A shame for those who love the craft of the written word, but for social, Facebook are bringing their A-game towards photos and other images, as services like Imgur continue to take off into low orbit in terms of popularity, while Facebook struggles to stay as valuable as it claims to be for its IPO.

They also want a better mobile experience, despite the app – an odd aim given that they already have mobile apps whether you’re tooling around on Android, iPhone or anything else – and feel like you should be able to access their social platform easily regardless of the device or software you’re using. Facebook are a company that really understands user desires, and while they do consistently raise red flags when it comes to data privacy/protection, as far as user experience goes, they’re headed in the right direction.

But are they becoming slightly too confident? Their IPO really didn’t go as well as they or anybody else had hoped, and their critics were proved to be right – their number of users is false given many accounts are fake, and the average Facebook user isn’t actually worth much money, if any at all. They were built on supplying services that are free, and as with Twitter, it has proven difficult to capitalise on their user base without being seen as extortionists.

They are however in the odd position of having no competition whatsoever for the service they provide, which, while something of a relief also means that it’s up to them and them alone to reinvent themselves and innovate. While the “f” move is more “look at us” than “here’s a new feature,” they’re definitely trying to simplify and streamline the reasons why people engage with the platform at all, and it’s an interesting step that shouldn’t be overlooked.