Thursday, February 27, 2014

23 Mobile Things #6 Creating and Editing Documents

The App Store is full of apps to create and edit documents. As with many things, I have found it works best to pick with one thing and use it across multiple devices. My go to app for creating and editing documents is Google Drive. It helps that my iPad has AT&T service with it which allows me to always have access to the Internet.

Google Drive-
If you know me, you know my love for all things Google. My dream is to work at Google out in Mountain View with the Education Team (or some other location in the world.... Europe maybe?) Do you know anyone who works there? Put in a good word for me ;)
I love to use Drive when I take notes at conferences or for class. My top two favorite features are collaboration and cloud capabilities. If I am taking notes at a conference, I can share my document with other people at the conference and we can take notes together. I don't catch everything, so it is nice to have the option of collaborative note taking. I also am grateful for the cloud capabilities. I have many devices and use them in a fluid motion. By Drive saving my notes to the cloud, I can put down my iPad and pick up on my computer with out having to think about saving my notes and transferring them to another device. I have been at a conference before when my iPad has run out of battery and I have not run out of notes to take. Thankfully the cloud service allows me to pick up on my phone or laptop.
A few other apps to mention...

There have been times that I have needed to download a PDF, sign it, and return it. PDF expert allows me to do that on my iPad. When purchasing my house last fall there were many times our realtor would send us a document, need us to sign something and send it back to him. By doing it all on my iPad I was able to save time and paper.

Notability is the note app I use when I need to down load an article, read it, and mark it up. I am able to hight light text and write on the documents. Although writing with my finger or stylus on an iPad doesn't come easy to me, I am sure it does for others. I typically have to write something really big, and then shrink it down to fit on the document. Another great feature of Notability is that it will sync to your Google Drive to backup your documents if you would like it too!!

Monday, February 24, 2014

23 Mobile Things 5. Notetaking

When I facilitate iPad for Beginners classes I typically point out the basic note taking app. I share this because it works without wifi. While I typically don't take most of my notes in the Notes app, it has saved me a few conferences when wifi has gone down. There are a few things that the iPad has in it’s iOS that make the Notes more functional.
  • Speech to Text. Depending on the iPad you have, you may have access to the small microphone that would appear next to your spacebar on your onscreen keyboard. By touching this microphone you will be able to speak what you would like and your iPad will turn it into text on your device. The majority of the time it is pretty accurate. Learn from my mistake. If you are going to demonstrate this think carefully about what you will say. I was showing a group of teachers this feature at a back to school meeting. My iPad was being projected as I modeled this great tool and it turned one of my words into a swearword. I did not know this had happened until a very kind teacher pulled me aside during work time and pointed it out!! Yikes!
  • When typing a sentence if you tap the spacebar twice it will put in a period, give you one space and make the next letter you type uppercase. This is just a nice time saver.
I use different note taking apps for different reasons. In this post I will focus on how I use Evernote.
I use Evernote for my groceries. My husband has Evernote on his phone. When he realizes we are out of milk, he can add it to the list. He does not need to call me and ask me to pick it up. I also like Evernote because it has small checkboxes for my list. In the past I would bring my hand written note to the store and scribble off items as I put them in my cart. Evernote allows me to check off items as I pick them up. There are many more great aspects to Evernote and paid features. However at the very basic level, these are the two things I use the most!!

Friday, February 21, 2014

23 Mobile things 4. Keeping Up

Keeping up, what a great title. It can be very hard to keep up with everything. I think that using a service like Feedly is a great way to keep up without getting overwhelmed.

The Internet is full of so much information. It can be overwhelming to navigate. I like to learn from people I know and have a connect with them allowing me to ask questions and get a deeper understanding. One way I do this is through following blogs by real teachers. I use the service called "Feedly" to manage all of the blogs I follow. Feedly allows me to organize blogs, do a quick read and easily share out.

Inside of my Feedly I house around 35 blogs. I have five categories that each of those 35 blogs fit into.

This is where I put blogs that deal with education and technology. A few that I have here include Edudemic, Free Technology for Teachers and our blog The Techie Teachers.

This is where I put blogs that deal with leadership. I got the chance to meet George Couros at the TIES 2013 conference. His blog feels very personal and gives you a lot to reflect on. He is also very active on Twitter. If you want to know more have something to say you should Tweet at him, I bet he will get back to you.

Tis the season. I work with a teacher who has a daughter at the Olympics. Before she left to cheer her on we set up a blog so that she can share her experience!

People I know
Here I put people who I have meet at conferences. I met the top dog teacher via twitter at the ties conference and had the opportunity to meet her in person at the iSummit. 

This is just technology in general. It has nothing to do with education or teaching, but everything to do with technology. I like to follow TechCrunch and Lifehacker.

My nightly routine is to brush my teeth, crawl into bed, grab my cell phone and scroll through my feedly stream. If it find something that I want to read later I add it to my "Pocket." Pocket is a service that allows me to read online articles offline. This is handy if you are going on a flight or staying somewhere with out wifi.  I can also share these posts through Twitter via feedly. I have picked Twitter as my favorite sharing tool but there is a list of seven other options if Twitter isn't your thing.

What is your blog? Share it with me so that I can learn with you!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

23 Mobile Things 3. Utilities

There are many great tools available to people with SMARTphones and tablets. Some of them suck up our time like Candy Crush, while others help us make the most of our time like Google Search. One of the things I like most about Google Search is Google Goggles. By using the camera it scans an object and brings you online for more information. I first tried it using an American Flag, then tried it with a poster advertising "Diary of a Wimpy Kid." Thinking about how it could be used in education... What if you took devices with you on a field trip. Kids could get more info about things they are seeing by simply using the camera on their device. As they walk around the Science Museum, they can get a deeper understanding of what they are seeing. I think it would be neat to take it a step further by bookmarking things they found of interesting. This could continue their learning on their bus trip home (if you have a wifi enabled bus) or once they get back. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Organized Chaos!

If you have read some of our previous posts you understand how we value our Personal Learning Network (PLN). There are so many different platforms available to connect with others online from all over the world. It is even better when we are able to meet people from our PLN in person. I just got back from the iSummitMN a little of a week ago and I am looking forward to the ITEM conference up in Duluth on March 15. My friend Andrea and I will be running the unconference in the afternoon.

Back to managing your tools for your PLN. I use HootSuite to watch hashtags (#) , follow certain groups of people and post to multiple accounts.

Have you heard of Twitter Chats? Here is a list of Twitter chats by day of the week and time 
If you are solely using the Twitter application, these chats will be hard to follow. HootSuite allows you to make a stream following a hashtag of your choice. Sunday night at 7pm Minnesota educators are using the hashtag #MNlead to discuss leadership in education. If you want to follow along in the conversation, I would recommend using a service such as HootSuite. 

Typically when you participate in a Twitter chat there is a moderator or two who lead the conversation. They will post a question and  people will respond to the question. To stay organized and make it easier to follow the moderator will use some thing along the lines of Q1) or Q1-  which means "Question 1" and when others respond they will use A) or A1- which means "Answer to question1". If someone posts something of interest, that you would like to comment on, you can reply to the tweet. It is important for you to remember to include the hashtag so that others in the chat will see your comment.

Here is an example of how hashtags, questions and posts at people are used

In my HootSuite account I have multiple pages and each page has a different purpose.

  • One page has the top people I follow and interact with. This allows me to easily navigate their Twitter posts and interact with them.
  •  Another page is just for information about me. I see when someone Direct Message (DM) me, posts at me (@), and a stream of new followers. 
  • My third page is a page of conference hashtags (#). I love to connect with others via Twitter while conferences are going on. If I am in a great session I will Tweet out what I am learning, when I attend EdCamps I typically tweet my notes for the day, and if I am leading Professional Development (PD) I will share my resources. 
  • My last page brings us back to the Twitter chats. I went through the list of daily chats and chose one chat per day. If I ever have some down time, I will got to this page and read through previous chats or contribute to a live chat. (Picture above)

My Personal Learning Network has influenced me immensely as a teacher and learner. I have connected with so many wonderful people over the past few years, whom I would have never had the chance to connect with.

Call to action! Have you participated in a Twitter Chat? If not, try one out. I bet you will learn a thing or two! 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Reflecting on #iSummitMN

One week ago I had the privilege of attending and presenting at the iSummit in Minnesota presented by Flipped Education. I am always excited when a new learning opportunity comes my way, and even more excited when it is with this wonderful group of people.

Last year I attended and presented at the Minnesota Google Summit and hope to have that opportunity again this year, mark your calendars it is Mothers day weekend! I love that I can spend an entire day around people who have a common goal and are excited about teaching and learning.

Conversations typically carry on as I leave a session and continue throughout the rest of the day in person and pick up on Twitter when the day is over.

My top two take aways from the iSummit

1. Jennie Magiera's Keynote
Jennie used the three little pigs to help her connect using technology in education to transform the way to you teach. The picture above illustrates how if you use bricks ,just because everyone else is using bricks, and use them the same way you were using straw it won't work out like it was intended to. If you search for her in YouTube ,you can watch her present this keynote at a different conference. Totally worth your time if you have 20ish minutes. 

2. Meeting up with my peps in my PLN

Kayla and I met on Twitter via the #TIES13 hashtag a few months ago. We have connected a few times via Twitter and I was excited to see that she was attending the iSummit. We made it a point to meet up with each other in person and then to get a picture. During AppyHour, at the end of the day, we were exploring how she could use Chirp in her classroom.

I look forward to my next conference! If you want to read more about my the sessions I lead you can visit my other blog that I co-author The Techie Teachers.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

23 Mobile Things 2. Mobile Devices

From the second  blog post on Mobile Devices I have reflected on a few tips and how they save me time.

Many of the tips found on the site are included in the iPad Basics class I teach for:

  • My school district 
  • Conferences
  • Community Education

Here are a few that want to share and a few that are new to me!!

  • If you put your phone on airplane mode, it will charge twice as fast -
  • In Safari, hold down the period key to quickly add a domain in the search bar
  • 4/5 finger 
    • Swipe to go between open apps
    • Push up from the bottom of the screen to see open apps
    • Bring fingers together to get out of app
  • When iPad is locked, put your finger on the camera in the lower right corner and slide it all the way up to quickly access your camera
  • Turn on Speak Selection in
    • Settings
      • General
        • Accessibility
          • Speak Selection
            • Turn "On"
  • Add a website to your home screen in Safari
What are your favorite tips to share? Please let me know!