December
7

Listed below are some apps that were demonstrated during the meeting.
Talking Tom Cat
Weatherbug
Alphabet Race
Hidden Curriculum For Kids
MeeGenius!

Our Special Education Coordinator supplied this link to the Top Ten Best Apps For Education.

The following is an email from a teacher who could not attend the meeting, but wanted to share how he uses the iPad in his classroom.

All of my books – The children use books for multiple purposes throughout the day. First, it is part of their Daily Five language arts center. It helps them build fluency in reading and also expression. I try to get the books that highlight the words in phrases so that as they listen they can follow along. Second, they use books on the IPad to read. I turn off the volume and they are able to read it themselves. Finally it is a different way to allow the chilren to experience books.

Story Buddy – This app allows kids to write their own story. They can illustrate it and it can be saved in IBooks

Fridgit – This is a virtual magnetic board. I use it with a child on the autism spectrum. He builds words with the different magnetic letters. Also, for speech development he adds the pictures and then we say them together.

Alphabet Race – Writing the letters in the right direction. A train shows the correct path on how to form the letter.

Park Math – Very simple developmental math that includes addition, subtraction and equivalent amounts

SumsStack – Number Sense App that you have to move the dice around to try to make the correct amount on each of the three towers

Clock Master – adust the hands on the clock to show the correct time

Counting Coins – Math the value, make the total, how many cents, show values

Good Math – 3 levels and it is a mix of addition subtraction and multiplication

100 numbers – this is a scramble of numbers 0 -100 and you have to click on them in order for them to disappear

Find Sums – Number Sense app that uses a 10 frame as a basis of addition. It also can be switched to do part-part-whole.

Word Families – goes through all of the word families. It gives about 5 per family.

Sight Words – Trace the sight word and it also tells it to you when you click on it.

ABCD – Mix of all letters and you have to try to get drag them around the screen to get them in order.

Writing Pad – I use this with a child on the autism spectrum as a way of writing his words.

Drawing Pad – Any tool or color imaginable this app has. It is really neat. I let the students illustrate their writing on it. I also will let them have it during a read aloud and they will be able to draw their “mental images” which is a comprehension strategy we practiced.

Shrek Karting – This is just like Mario Kart for the Wii. I use it with kids that need gross/fine motor deveopment because it allows them to practice crossing the midline and making connections from their brain to gross and fine motor movements. (It is also fun to play!)

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December
6

Listed below are some links to iPad resources.

iPad Curriculum – http://www.ipadcurriculum.com
iPods, iPhones and iPads in Education – http://ipodsiphonesineducation.wikispaces.com
iPads in the Classroom by Jonathann Reed and Sharon Parsons – http://www.speedofcreativity.org/2010/11/30/ipads-in-the-classroom-by-jonathann-reed-and-sharon-parsons-cmtc10-edapp/
iPads in Education – http://ipadeducators.ning.com
iPad Deployments – http://ipadpilots.k12cloudlearning.com/

Follow me on Delicious and search my links. http://www.delicious.com/rundagj

Have any resources you want to share? Please leave a comment with the URL.

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August
2

iPad for Marching Band? YES!

Posted In: Apple, Technology by John Rundag

I am at band camp this week at Hocking College in Nelsonville, OH. In the past, I would be carrying around a notebook with all of the music we have written, a drill chart book, a tuner and a metronome. What am I toting around this year? An iPad. One device, not three. No 9 volt and AA batteries to buy and carry around.

At first, I was skeptical. Could the iPad make it through an entire day. Would it overheat in the direct sunlight? Would it be more difficult to use? Could it replace the paper charts we have been using for years? The answers are YES, NO, NO, YES!

I noticed JD (band director for Berne Union) had his iPad out on the field on Sunday night. He said he was going to try using it and see if would replace using 2 books (drill charts and music). It worked well for him on Sunday night, so I had him send me the files he was using and decided I would give it a try on today. Listed below are the apps we are using and how we are using the iPad to clean drill and music.

First of all, we setup Dropbox accounts. We installed the clients on our computers and placed the files in our Dropbox folders. Then, we installed GoodReader ($0.99 in the App store) and entered our Dropbox credentials. We grabbed the files we needed from Dropbox and placed them in GoodReader. When we needed to access the marching drill, we opened up the appropriate file. For those of you who have never seen marching band drill, here is a picture.

GoodReader allows you to zoom in and zoom out using your fingers. This was handy when you are trying to figure out exactly where to place the students on the field. Also, you can add bookmarks in the pdf files. We combined the drill charts of the 4 songs into one file. We created bookmarks for each song. So, if we want to work on the second song, we hit the bookmark for that song and go.

The same applies for the music. There is one file with bookmarks. You can use the bookmarks or tap the right side of the screen to go forward one page or tap the left side of the screen for the previous page. Below is an example of the music we are using.

Another application that we are using is Subdivide Metronome ($4.99 in the App Store). It is a metronome application for the iPad to provide the tempo of the music for the band. If you have ever used a Dr. Beat, it is very similar. It can subdivide the beat and play different pitches for the different beats and meters. If you want to determine the tempo the band is playing, you can tap on an area of the screen and it will show you the current tempo that you tap. It is very accurate. It has replaced my metronome that I paid over $100 for many moons ago.

The final app I would like to mention is eTuner for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad ($1.99 in the App Store). It is a very simple tuner that shows you the pitch being played and whether the note is sharp, flat or right on the money.

Time will tell if the iPad will make it through the entire marching band season. My first impression is that it is a very valuable tool on the field. I was not concerned with the battery life. I knew that it could last about 10 hours. My concern was with the iPad overheating. I have experienced the overheating issue while driving. I listen to podcasts during my 30 minute commute to and from work. I had the moonroof open, so the sun was beating down on the iPad. After 10 minutes of exposure to direct sunlight, the iPad shutoff and displayed the message that it had experienced an overheating event. I did not experience this on the field. When I was not using it, I closed the case and kept it out of direct sunlight by shielding it with my body or moving it around. Battery life was at 70% after a 3 hour rehearsal with constant use.

My only concerns are what to do when it rains or damage to the iPad from being dropped due to being a klutz or having a guard member knock it out of my hand with a flag! If it is raining, I will stick it in my bag and use the paper charts. I have been very careful with the iPad on the field and I try to avoid the guard! Another concern I have is with the accuracy of the tuner. I plan on using the iPad and my $200 tuner at our first contest, the Lancaster Invitational in Lancaster, OH. If everything shakes out, the iPad could replace $300 worth of electronics for $8 dollars!

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July
18

Mozilla Weave

Posted In: Apple, Technology, Windows by John Rundag

I have been using Firefox 3 for some time now. I went through all of the betas and really liked how fast it is and the new features. I knew there would be some issues with existing plugins, but I thought it would be a matter of time before new versions were released. I used Google’s Browser Sync plugin to sync my bookmarks on the computers I use. I was saddened by the news that Google had dropped development of Browser Sync. Now, I had to find an alternative.

First, I looked at Foxmarks. But, all it does it sync the bookmarks. I wanted it to sync cookies, form data and history, as Browser Sync did. Then, I stumbled upon Mozilla Weave. I installed the plugin on all of the computers I use everything worked as publicized.

Things began to change a few weeks ago. I noticed that I could no longer sign into Weave. A dialog box kept popping up asking for my password. I entered my password and the box popped up again. I ended up disabling the plugin for a few days. In the past week, there have been a couple updates. I will say it is working much better, even though there was an outage a few days ago. I believe it could be growing pains for Mozilla. A lot of people are moving to Firefox 3, so their servers are being bombarded. Google has dropped Browser Sync, so more people are looking for alternatives, such as Weave.

My only negative comment about Weave is the amount of time it takes to sync after you close Weave. A box pops up showing the progress of the sync. In my opinion, the sync should be occurring while the browser is open. When I close Firefox, I usually close the lid on my laptop. If I did this, the sync would stall. Now, I have to leave my screen up in order for the sync to complete.

Some may ask why I need a browser syncing program, since there are sites like Delicious. I use Delicious everyday and have a lot of people in my network. If you would like to see my links, click here. There are times, when you just want to your bookmarks and click on a link. Also, I use Quicksilver on my MacBook and Launchy on my Dell and I can use it to begin typing a bookmark I have on my computer and it will come up after typing a few letters.

Download Weave and give it a go for a week. I think you will like what it has to offer, even with the annoying sync after you close the browser.

My apologies for not posting for a while. It has been tough sitting down to write, since I have not been working much this summer.

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June
16

Mozilla Firefox 3

Posted In: Apple, Linux, Technology, Windows by John Rundag

Tomorrow is the big day for Mozilla. Please help them set a new download record by downloading Firefox 3. Even if you do not install it, go ahead and download it. Stick it in your downloads folder and install it when you have time.

I have been using the betas and release candidates for some time now. I will admit I had some issues with the betas, but stability increased with the release of RC1. RC2 was even more stable, even though there were some issues that prompted a release of RC3. I was alternating between the use of Firefox 2 and 3 until a week ago. RC3 seemed stable enough for me, so I removed version 2. I held onto version 2 because there were some add-ons I used that were not compatible. However, new versions of Delicious Bookmarks and Scribefire were released which prompted me to use version 3 more often. I used Google’s Browser Sync add-on and I have been looking for updates. It has not been updated for quite some time, leading me to believe that Google has abandoned it. So, I began looking for alternatives. I read about Foxmarks and Mozilla’s Weave project. I settled on Weave for two reasons.

One reason I chose Weave is that Foxmarks only synchronizes bookmarks. I wanted passwords, browsing history and form information to be synchronized as well. The other reason is I assumed that since Weave was a Mozilla project, it would be stable. I was correct…until now. Over the weekend, I noticed that I was getting an error logging into the Weave servers. I remoted into my computer at work and had the same issue, so I knew it was not a problem with my ISP or my computer. I looked on the Mozilla forums and noticed that a lot of people were having the same issues. I hope they get the problems worked out soon. I did hear that they were “Slashdotted” and “Dugg”, which may have contributed to their outage.

Put a reminder in your calendar and download Firefox 3 tomorrow. If you want to keep version 2, install version 3 in a different directory. Or, if you are on a Mac, install it to the desktop, rename firefox to firefox3 and move it to your applications folder. Give it a week and I bet you will switch. It is much faster and more stable than version 2 in my opinion.

What are your thoughts? Leave some feedback in the comments.

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April
9

Jing Project

Posted In: Apple, Technology, Windows by John Rundag

A picture is worth a thousand words. I could send out an email with very detailed instructions and some users will still have problems. Is it their problem? No. It’s mine. My delivery method did not meet their needs. Some people are able to follow directions without issues. Some need a visual cue to help them understand. There are some that are better with audible instruction. What about visual and sound? Or pictures with text?

If you ever ask a technology coordinator what projects they are working on, I bet you will get a long list. One project I was able (with the help of the high school tech team) to complete today is install a computer and 3 nComputing boxes. We are testing it in our high school library and if the test goes well, we will implement them throughout the district. However, one project that is in progress and will continue as a work in progress is working on technology documentation. One tool I am using to help with this project is the Jing Project. With this tool, you can grab a picture from anything or record a video of your screen. Once you have the media you want to use, you can share it online by uploading to Screencast.com, emailing it or saving it to your computer.

This is my ninth year as tech coordinator for the Logan Elm Schools. Everything that we own, I have installed and maintained. I know the quirks and issues with our equipment. I can look at the wiring closet and know where everything goes. If someone went into the closet and unplugged a wire, I would be able to figure out the problem within a minute. I don’t remember where I heard it, but the issue was brought up that if I were gone, would someone be able to step in and take over? Would they know that server A needs to be restarted every 12 days? Would they know that the laptop in room 1 is the teacher’s personal laptop and not the school’s? Would they know there are spools of CAT5 in the penthouse of the junior high and know that you have to go to the custodian’s office, climb the ladder on the wall, walk on the roof to the penthouse with the master key and go to the right side and look underneath the levy signs? Actually, I used up all of the CAT5 that was up there, so don’t look there copper thieves! ;-)

I realized I needed to get away from keeping everything stored in file cabinets and my memory. Right now, I am in the collecting stages. I am taking pictures of wiring closets and what I consider our core services (switches, routers, wiring, servers). As the school year winds down, I will be completing a visual inventory of the computers in our district. Along with this, we are working on screen captures of various technology support issues. For instance, there are times when our login script does not work. It is not predictable, but it is a nuisance. The script maps the user’s home folder, public share folder and apps folder. Most users do not know how to map the drives manually. The high school tech teacher made a video which illustrates how to map the drives manually.

The Jing Project is available for Windows and Mac OS X. I know that OS X has the Apple Shift 3 or Apple Shift 4 to capture images. I use it from time to time. And, I know that Windows Vista has the Snipping Tool. I have used it as well. Where these tools lack is in the ability to capture video. Jing is a project by TechSmith, the same company that makes SnagIt and Camtasia Studio. So, why use Jing when they already have other tools available? One reason is the Jing Project is FREE!

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February
14

Formatting my MacBook part 2

Posted In: Apple, Technology by John Rundag

Doing a clean install of Lepoard was very easy. It took about an hour and most of the time was spent checking the DVD for errors. What took the most time was installing applications. I realized that I use a lot of them. There are some applications I did not install, but I still ended up with 75. I did end up recovering 20GB of disk space and it runs much faster.

All of my notes from the eTech Ohio Conference are on my desk. I should have grabbed them when I left on Monday. We had two calamity days in a row and then I stayed home today because of having a cold. In previous years, I would have went into work. I felt it would be better to get up and do something, rather than resting. Employers call it presenteeism – showing up for work just to meet the company’s attendance policy. Now, I would rather take a sick day to rest and not expose any coworkers.

I did get some work done today, thanks to email, Skype and Remote Desktop Connection.

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February
8

Formatting my MacBook

Posted In: Apple, Technology by John Rundag

I have not had much time to reflect on the eTech Conference yet. I have all of my notes and information piled on a corner of my desk. Going to the conference is a nice break from the day to day operations, but at the same time, it just means that more things will pile up. I don’t have the luxury of having a “technology staff.” In fact, I am the only full-time technology person in the district. We have a technology support person from our ITC one day a week. It has been a blessing having him this year, however, I really need him 5 days a week.  I need to thank Phil, one of the students in Mr. Tomlinson’s Tech Team class. We had some network issues that affected the Superintendent’s office and they pulled him from class to assist in finding out the issue.

I plan on sharing the sessions I attended and how I will use what I have learned.

In the meantime, it is 5:00pm on a Friday night and I just finished backing up my MacBook. Now, I am going to load the Leopard disc and format my MacBook. It has been acting a little sluggish since I installed Leopard. I am going to do a clean install and only put back what I have been using. Everything else, I will keep on my firewire drive.

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January
24

K9 Web Protection

Posted In: Apple, Technology, Windows by John Rundag

If you have children in your house and do not pay attention to their Internet usage, take a look at K9 Web Protection. It is available for Windows 2000, XP, Vista and there is a beta version for Mac OS X. I installed the Mac version on my MacBook and gave it a test drive.

Installing the software is very easy. Just download the software to your computer and run the installer. You will need to register the software to get a registration key. After installation, you will need to enter the key and a password of your choosing. I used the default filter and typed myspace.com in my browser. A block page appeared with some options. Click on the thumbnail at the bottom of this post to see the page. You can go into the setup and choose to have K9 “bark” when a blocked website is requested. My dogs didn’t like this feature.

Administration of K9 is very simple. You can choose from different levels of filtering and you can choose to only monitor the traffic. Why would you want to monitor and not filter? If you just wanted to see where they are going on the Internet without them knowing you have something installed on the computer, this would be a good solution. K9 logs all http requests.

One of my favorite features is the logging feature. It shows every http request no matter if the site is allowed or blocked. Another feature I like is time filtering. If you want peace of mind knowing your child is not on the Internet at 1:00am, you could block all traffic from 10:00pm to 6:00am.

What is my favorite feature? K9 Web Protection is FREE!

I plan on getting the word out to parents in our district about this software. This blog post is just the beginning. On the website, there are brochures, signs and other ways of “spreading the word.”

K9

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January
18

Apple Mac OS X Leopard Upgrade

Posted In: Apple, Technology by John Rundag

Leopard I received a copy of Apple Mac OS X Leopard last week. I chose to install it today after work due to having a three day weekend to work out any issues or revert back to my backup. When I arrived at work this morning, I hooked up my MacBook to my external drive and fired up Carbon Copy Cloner. It took a couple hours to copy everything and I made sure everything was copied. When I got home this afternoon, I popped the install DVD in the drive and waited for the install screen to pop up. And I waited. And waited. Then, the disc ejected. I made sure there were no scratches or defects in the disc. There was nothing wrong with the disc. It looked perfect. So, I popped it back in. Twenty seconds later, it popped out again. They say the third time is the charm. Well…it wasn’t.

I opened up Firefox and “Googled” Leopard disc ejects. I found a few forums that discussed the issue I had. The only solution was to use an external DVD drive. Luckily, I had left my parts bag in my van. Among the various computer parts, I had a USB external DVD burner. I hooked up the drive and popped the disc in. Finally, the install screen appeared! I clicked through all of the setup screens and headed off to do some chores around the house. I fed the dogs, unloaded the dishwasher and took out the trash. Then, I hooked up my Ipod to the TV and watched the last ten minutes of Law & Order and made it halfway through CSI when I heard the MacBook reboot.I paused CSI and watched it boot into Leopard for the first time. I was a little nervous because I heard a lot of people had problems with upgrades. I keep all of my software up to date and run software updates at least once a week. I run the maintenance scripts at the recommended intervals, so I didn’t think I would have any problems. Plus, I knew I had a good backup. I had nothing to lose but time.After a couple minutes, the computer booted to the desktop and the few files I had on the desktop were there. I hit command spacebar to bring up Quicksilver and it worked fine. I opened up some of my apps and used some hotkeys I had programmed. I have a hotkey that opens Firefox, Skype and iTunes. It still worked.

I was very pleased at the ease of installation. Now, I get to learn about all of the new features! 

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