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Instructional Technology Newsletter / Cowley College
Dec2010/Jan2011 Volume 1 Issue 6
Cowley Westside Center, 8821 W. 21st St., Wichita, KS, 67205 www.cowley.edu firstname.lastname@example.org 316.721.7103
Happy New Year!
Julie Rorabaugh – Director of Instructional Technology INSIDE THIS ISSUE 1 1 2 3 4 4
Happy New Year! Top Ten Techy Things Top Ten Techy Things 1-5 Top Ten Techy Things 6-8 Top Ten Techy Things 9-10 Next Month
I’m having a hard time coping with the passing of 2010. Seriously. Where did it go? Upon reflection, it seems as if I spent a copious amount of time during the last year, hungering after new technology. Some I got (iPod 4 Touch, and iPad) and others I’m still waiting on. (The near-mythical Motorola Droid “Terminator 2” phone springs immediately to mind.) My point is not that I’m a compulsive techno-geek, but that there are so many wonderful technologies available now, it’s hard for people to remain unconnected. I recently saw an article predicting that students will be bringing tablet computers into the classroom in droves SOON, if not NOW. Are you ready? Literally having the world at your fingertips is an exciting and awe-inspiring feeling. Do yourself and your students a favor, check into the exciting new technologies and seek ways to incorporate them into your teaching. As I did in 2010, I’ll be bringing you the latest and greatest instructional technology “finds” each month in the Tiger TechnoBabble. Please take a few minutes each month to read my musings. Something might just strike a chord with you. If you need help disposing of your old overhead transparencies, just let me know. Out with the old…in with the new! ~Julie
Top Ten Techy Things - 2010
Let me preface this list by saying it’s really in no particular order, but that the alliterative title above was catchier and shorter than “Top Ten or So Techy/Geeky Bullet Points of 2010 According to Julie.” It’s also inclusive of apps, gadgets, social networks, Apple, and Android, etc. It’s based purely upon my personal experiences, biases, and opinions. Take from it what you will.
Please see Top Ten on page 2
Top Ten from page 1
As Al Jolson (and numerous other artists) have warbled through the years:
“You made me love you I didn't wanna do it I didn't wanna do it You made me want you…”
Ugh…I hate buying into the hype, but the bottom line is that I LOVE my iPad! Sure, I get flustered when I can’t view a Flash object, and I still haven’t really gotten the hang of the Copy/Paste process, and I’d love it if it was a little more Windows-based, but come on…it’s awesome. I do NOT go anywhere without it. Look for an iPad2 to come out in the first half of 2011, with the accompanying media blitz and hysteria from Apple.
2. Angry Birds
Evil pigs have stolen eggs from the birds, and the birds are ANGRY and out for revenge. Help them get their retribution by launching the various types of birds, via catapult, into the pigs’ fortifications. It sounds so innocuous and easy, doesn’t it? I can’t even begin to estimate the number of hours I’ve spent on this benign (and addictive) little game. (Note: Never during working hours!!!) The creative people at Rovio, made sure that I (and several million other people) would never be far from their Birds, by issuing the app on iPod/Phone, Android, and iPad. They’ve even got it for netbooks and laptops. Watch for the Valentine’s Day version coming soon!
3. Google App Inventor for Android
Have a few extra hours on your hands? Well, put them to good use by building an application for your Android phone. The Google App Inventor rolled out in an “invitation only” mode around mid-2010, and then in December they decided to make the nifty app creator available to everyone-FREE! This is a part of Google Labs, which is described as “a playground for Google Engineers and adventurous Google users.” I can proudly say that I’VE created an app! Ok, so it’s just a picture of a kitty that you touch and it meows, but hey…the creators of Angry Birds probably started off with tiny, baby steps too!
Where did I put those multiple flash drives with all my files on them? Oh that’s right…I don’t use them anymore!! I work between my desktop, laptop, phone, and iPad. In the past, if I needed a file it was always someplace other than immediately in my grasp. (The typical scenario: I would carefully copy a CRITICAL file to a USB drive, and then leave the drive plugged into my desktop computer, whilst I toddled off to a remote location.) With Dropbox I can install the application on all of my various electronic equipment, and the program keeps the files synced between the computers. Can’t get to one of your computers but need your files? Access the online Dropbox site and get them there. Want to share files with someone else? Create a folder and send them an invitation to access it. Organization/collaboration has never been easier! The basic account is FREE and includes 2G of storage space.
Honestly, I didn’t “get” Twitter until this past year. I had an account that I rarely used, but I just wasn’t active. Then I was introduced to the joys of a “backchannel” at a technology conference. A backchannel is the online conference within a conference, and is populated by some of the most dedicated (and opinionated) persons attending said conference. This is where the real action is, all delivered in 140 characters or less! Savvy keynoters even
Top Ten cont.
incorporate Tweet streams into their presentations, and conference bloggers are often given preferential seating…with tables and power outlets readily at hand. It’s from these “backchannels” that I’ve begun to build my Personal Learning Network (PLN). Not a day goes by that I don’t learn about a new instructional technology or educational resource, by virtue of the people and groups that I follow on Twitter. Give it a try in 2011!
Though not new, the session featuring this web-based video software was hands down the most heavily attended Technology Enhanced Classroom (TEC) workshop at Cowley in 2010! Animoto DID add some cool new features in 2010, and really opened up services for educators. They are also launching a new, redesigned website in February, and are rumored to be adding some enhancements such as HD, new styles, and FASTER video rendering. I still have some FREE All-Access accounts available ($30 value.) If you’d like to have one, just email me.
7. QR Codes
I covered Quick Response codes in the October issue of TTB, and even posted a QR Code Scavenger Hunt (Sarah Mathews was the winner.) Since then, there have been hundreds of articles on the Web by edu-bloggers detailing the myriad of uses for these artsy, little squares in the realm of education. Coincidence? I think not! Ok, ok, I can’t take credit for the spike in popularity of QR codes, but I CAN point you towards a cool site that gathers all your information into one profile (including Facebook and Twitter accounts) and creates a personalized QR code of your very own. I’m considering printing mine on labels, and pasting them on the back of my business cards. This is a quick and easy way to circulate your contact information to colleagues who have Smartphones! Check out the beta version of Jump Scan and create your own profile page!
Julie’s Jump Scan profile
“Ewww…I could never read off of a tiny little screen! I’ve got to have a “real” book in my hands!” (Attributed to Julie, pre mid-2010) If I must say so myself, those words are MIGHTY tasty! Nom, nom, nom.) It started innocently enough. I downloaded an ereader app for my phone from the Android Market. I was amazed at the plethora of books (FREE!) that were available at just the click of button. Then one day, I noticed that there was a free “Kindle” (Amazon.com) app for my Motorola Droid phone. And then I noticed that there was a free Kindle app for my iPod Touch, too! And then I saw that if I installed the app on my two devices it would automatically sync to the furthest location read, no matter what device I’d been using for my reading! And THEN I noticed that I could have a book delivered to me in SECONDS, oft times much cheaper than my local bookstore’s price. AND THEN IT DAWNED ON ME THAT THIS STORE WAS OPEN 24/7 AND I WOULDN’T EVEN HAVE TO LEAVE THE HOUSE WHEN I WAS CRAVING A NEW BOOK! It was then that I “got it.” Exactly what Cowley’s very own Queen O’Kindle, Tiffany Sowa, had been advocating for a couple of years. eReaders are cool! As a postscript to the epiphany above, I’ve since discovered a Kindle app for my iPad, and I use IT for the majority of my reading, and yes…the app syncs all three devices seamlessly! The price of eReaders has steadily declined, and you can pick up a good one for around $100. The one that I have pictured sells for $249 at Barnes & Noble. Mind you, I would NEVER advocate this, but some techie-types are buying this device, hacking it, and turning it into a very nice Android powered tablet, for approximately half the price of a Samsung Galaxy Tab!
Android powered Barnes and Noble Color NOOK
Top Ten The End.
9. Mobile – Anything!
2010 was the year that anything mobile in education automatically became a hot topic. Blackboard launched their Mobile Learn and Mobile Central services with a big splash, and promised (and delivered) a Mobile Learn ANGEL application at the very end of 2010. Other companies have sprung up to ride the mobile wave, including Mobl21 who demonstrated their product at the C2C Fall Forum in Overland Park, KS. Blackboard recently upgraded the features of their Mobile Learn product by releasing version 2.0, which allows for more interactivity with online courses for both students and instructors. Hopefully, we’ll soon see an ANGEL version that’s just as spiffy!
10. Wi-Fi Everywhere!
In the not so very distant past, if you wanted to connect to the Internet in a public place, i.e. a coffee shop, bookstore, airport, hotel, etc., chances are that you might be gouged a hefty access fee for the privilege. Not anymore! In 2010, it seemed as if we edged even closer to the geeky dream of ubiquitous wi-fi! Let’s go on a hypothetical day trip to “Julie-land.” (All of following businesses have FREE wi-fi connections for their patrons and are located in east Wichita. The author did not receive any compensation or gratuity for the “plugs” but wants to note that she is receptive to the idea.) Breakfast and coffee: Starbucks, McDonalds, Java Villa Morning reading: Borders, Barnes and Noble Lunch: Subway, Taco Shop, Quizno’s, McAlister’s Hair appointment: Yes, my salon has free wi-fi! Car service: Ditto Happy hour: Louie’s Bar and Grill, Fox and Hound (hic) Dinner: Old Chicago, Panera Bread Co., Cici’s Pizza, Schlotzky’s Home: Use neighbor’s unsecured wireless network. Just KIDDING! With all these options, it’s almost impossible to be unconnected and off the grid!
Next Month in TTB:
Report from eLearning 2011 (ITC) Cool Tools! Technology Enhanced Classroom (TEC) workshop schedule Contest Launch – FABULOUS PRIZES!
Director of Instructional Technology Cowley College
That’s my summary of 2010. I can’t wait to see what techy surprises 2011 has in store for us!
Well, that’s the kickoff issue for 2011. I hope you enjoyed it! The February Tiger Techno Babble will feature a report from the eLearning 2011 conference, sponsored by the Instructional Technology Counsel (ITC). Oh, it’s a dirty job, but someone has to go to St. Pete Beach, FL in the middle of February! Not only will I be attending, but I’ve also been chosen to be a presenter. I’m not completely sure what the Twitter backchannel for the conference will be, but if you’d like to be with me “virtually,” just follow me on Twitter from 2/19-22. Cheers!