Holt Think: Ed, Creativity, Tech, Administration


Posts tagged with "apple"

Sep 9

Here’s to those that see things differently

Why do people love a tech company?
Because they make awesomeness like this:

Sep 7

Apple Was Right: TECH CEOs Want Employees with Liberal Arts Degrees

I remember Steve Jobs once stating that Apple could not do what it does without the marriage of the technical with the beautiful. It was, I recall the “intersection of Technology and the Liberal Arts.”

In 2005, Fortune Magazine writer Peter Lewis had a profile about the late Apple CEO: “As his company moves deeper into music, video, consumer electronics, telephony, software, and services, Jobs is asked, How does he describe Apple Computer Inc. these days? He responds by picking up the new Apple remote control device and placing it against a giant, peanut-shaped remote that comes with a computer running Microsoft’s Windows XP Media Center Edition PC operating system. The Apple remote, sleek and white and smaller than an iPod, has six buttons. The Media Center PC remote is a handful, with more than 40 buttons. ‘Apple is a company that takes complex technology and makes it easier and simpler to use,’ he says, and seems satisfied with his answer. But moments later he smiles, and refines his definition: ‘Our goal is to stand at the intersection of technology and the humanities.’

As usual, Apple, even way back in 2005, was using their very clear crystal ball to see what is needed to make a successful company. It cannot always be about the circuits and the

I wonder sometimes, with the current emphasis on STEM, are we forgetting the importance of Liberal Arts?
Apparently, some CEOs are concerned as well.

Click on the title to go to the article.

Jul 3

Lessons From the Los Angeles School District iPad Fiasco - The Mac Observer

What happens when you try to do the same old thing with new technology? Ask LAUSD. Here is a good article that looks at the whole iPad fiasco in Los Angeles:

From the article

Throughout my career, in education and government, I’ve seen these effects. Purchase authority is exercised by those who have the least technical expertise. Those who have the expertise have no say in the process. Piecemeal test projects fail to generate the desired political clout and glory and are bypassed, and those at the bottom are burdened beyond belief by projects they had little say in, no control over nor adequate preparation and training.

I don’t claim that the LAUSD had all these problems. However, reading about their experience reminded me of the kinds of difficulties I’ve seen in my own career. Perhaps the driving issue on all this is that in modern day American technology, those who most seek enduring power are those people least able to exercise deep technical judgment, whether it’s an iPad in the classroom or a billion dollar weapons program.

It’s a malady without end in sight.

Click on the title to go to the article.

Jul 1

E.O. Wilson’s “Life on Earth” complete is now free

A couple of days ago, Apple announced it was upgrading iTunes U so that teachers could create entire courses inside their iPads. It looks like they are kicking it up a notch as they have just released E.O.Wilson’s entire work Life on Earth for free in the iTunes Bookstore. If you are not familiar with this work, it continues to be one of the most interactive AWESOME ibooks ever created. Even if you are not teaching biology, this is a great set of books to have on your iPad.

Along with the books come the free course as well on the iTunes U

“’Life on Earth’ comes alive on iPad, providing a stunning perspective on life. The interactive experience will ignite in students an appreciation for what they have inherited—this beautiful planet and every living thing on it—and an understanding of the role and responsibility we all have to preserve the biodiversity around us,” said Wilson. “I am immensely proud of the iBooks textbook series that the Foundation is providing at no cost to students and the public, allowing us to bring the meaning and importance of biodiversity to life for a global audience.”

“We are very proud of the enormous effort by all involved in making E.O. Wilson’s ‘Life on Earth’ a reality. We have created a state-of-the-art teaching tool that brings a new dimension to our understanding of nature and biodiversity, and how it should be presented in classrooms,” said Dr. Paula Ehrlich, President and CEO of the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation. “We aim to inspire a new generation of explorers and informed citizens who are prepared to take responsibility for conserving and protecting the biological richness of nature as a treasure to be passed on.”

From the iTunes release notes:

Inspired and led by Pulitzer Prize-winning author and naturalists Edward O. Wilson – and created with a team of world-renowned educators and artists – this comprehensive and original standards-based curriculum tells the story of life on Earth, giving students a deep understanding of introductory biology.

Presented as a seven-unit collection, E. O. Wilson’s Life on Earth is a free iBooks Textbook that uses rich, Multi-Touch experience to engage students in lessons about everything from molecules to ecosystems.

And accompanying iTune U course – Biology: Life on Earth – extends students’ learning in and out of the classroom with reading and writing assignments and extension activities like field observations and moviemaking.

Designed to prepare tomorrow’s biochemists, explorers, environmental policymakers, and engaged citizens for their work, this captivating curriculum inspires students to take responsibility for conserving and protecting nature’s biological treasures.

Another nail into the publisher’s of textbooks coffin.

Go get it.

Apple Announces update to ITunes U

Why more people are not using this incredible resource is beyond me.
Anyway, the best just got better.

Apple Announces Updates to iTunes U
Brings Course Creation, Management for Teachers & Student Discussions To iPad

CUPERTINO, California—June 30, 2014—Apple® today announced updates to iTunes U®, bringing educators and students great new tools to build and experience educational content on iPad®. Beginning July 8, teachers using the free iTunes U app can create, edit and manage entire courses directly on iPad for the first time, and students will discover new ways to collaborate including the ability to start class discussions and ask questions right from their iPad.

“Education is at the core of Apple’s DNA and iTunes U is an incredibly valuable resource for teachers and students,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “iTunes U features an amazing selection of academic materials for everyone around the world. Now, with the ability to better manage and discuss educational content, learning becomes even more personalized on iPad.”

The new in-app updates to iTunes U give teachers full course creation capabilities on iPad, with the ability to directly add rich content and learning materials from iWork®, iBooks® Author or any of the over 75,000 educational apps available for iPad. Taking advantage of the built-in camera on iPad, teachers can also capture photos and videos to incorporate real-world subject matter into any course, making relevant content available to all students in an instant.

“iTunes U is the most powerful destination for bringing the entire educational experience to life on iPad,” said Fraser Speirs, head of computing and IT at Cedars School of Excellence in Scotland. “By freeing teachers to create and organize courses right on iPad, educators can be better focused on enabling student participation both with the content and one another.”

Students using iPad and enrolled in private iTunes U courses will now have everything they need to fully collaborate with their classmates and teachers. With Discussions in the iTunes U app, students can automatically follow classroom discussions and join conversations on new topics, or set up push notifications for when new topics are started or replies are added to active exchanges. Teachers can participate in forums too, and have the ability to moderate discussions by removing any off-topic messages or replies.

“Discussions in iTunes U puts the potential for thoughtful exploration and collaboration into the hands of every one of our students,” said Larry Reiff, a teacher from Roslyn High School in New York. “iPad and iTunes U continue to provide students with the tools they need to build knowledge and demonstrate their learning.”

iTunes U helps educators create courses including lectures, assignments, books, quizzes and more for millions of iOS users around the world. With over 750,000 individual learning materials available on the iTunes U app, iTunes U is the world’s largest online catalog of free educational content from top schools and prominent organizations. Today, thousands of educational institutions are hosting over 7,500 public and thousands of private courses encompassing the arts, sciences, health and medicine, education, business and more.

Educators can create iTunes U courses in 69 countries and make their courses and educational content accessible via the iTunes U app in 155 countries. In addition to the thousands of individual iTunes U learning materials found on the iTunes Store®, over 500,000 apps designed specifically for iPad are now available on the App Store℠. Additionally, with the free iBooks Author app on the Mac App Store℠, nearly 30,000 Multi-Touch™ books have been created by independent teachers and publishers worldwide.

Digital Textbooks and Film Cameras:

Back in the late 1990’s I was a member of a photography club here in El Paso. That club was made up of all kinds of photographers, from VERY amateur ones to VERY professional ones. I remember that at the time, there was some talk about digital photography, and I had gotten my hands on some digital cameras, like the old Apple Quicktake 100:

Back then, digital cameras were few and far between, with only high end professional photographers using them, and Photoshop was something that very few people knew about. Way expensive cameras, low resolution images, few ways to manipulate either, and even fewer ways to print an image out. If you wanted the image, you had to pretty much also own an Epson Photo Printer, whose images faded quickly and whose ink and photo paper cost a small fortune.

Yet, the technology, as it almost always does, marched on. Slowly, surely, the cameras became more capable, the software to manipulate the images became more affordable (Photoshop remained expensive, but Photoshop Elements provided users with 90% of the functionality of Photoshop at 1/5th of the price. Photo stores began to adapt and purchase equipment that could print real photos from digital files.

Still, in my photo club, there was almost unanimous opinion that this new technology would never ever replace film. The oft heard phrase was that film was here to stay and that this digital stuff was simply something as a diversion for rich people that could afford a lot of equipment. They pointed to Kodak as an example. Kodak was so big, how could it ever go out of business? And Ilford? And Fujifilm? There simply were too many film photographers out there. You had to know a lot about photography in order to be a “real photographer.” When I demonstrated some digital photo technique to the group, I was met with polite applause, but never a follow-up question. Digital, at least for these folks, was a fad that would pass. Indeed, for a while, photographers that used digital equipment were not really considered “real photographers” because they could manipulate their images on a computer and not in a darkroom.

Well, we all know how that story has ended. Kodak and the film based industry, for the most part, simply could not adapt to the rapid change in their business model and have been relegated to the graveyard of failed businesses. Those “fad” digital devices which once were so expensive only professionals could use them soon became common place. Now, almost every person that has a cell phone has a camera. More photos are being taken now than ever before. Indeed almost one TRILLION photos will be taken in 2014 alone.

Of course, not all of these are works of art, far from it, but there are now more photographers on the planet than ever before. Those high end Photoshop manipulations from a few years ago that cost around $600 to do are now free or near free as apps on those same phones.

Digital photo technology has democratized photography. You no longer have to be a trained professional photographer to get professional looking photographs. That is not to say that professionals are not needed. A trained professional can still run rings around an amateur when it comes to lighting and posing. But for the most part, for 99% of photo needs, that camera in your cell phone will do just fine.

That photography club I once belonged to? Last time I checked, every single photographer was using digital cameras.

If you were like me, you could have seen the shift coming whether you believed it or not, whether you wanted it or not. It was a train that simply could not have been stopped.

The shift was fast, the industry was slow to keep up, the power of the people, the availability of devices and the price being lowered to essentially $0 created a planet of picture takers. Entire industries that were not here a few years ago have now sprouted up in recent years to handle the onslaught of the sheer number of images. Sites like Flickr are designed specifically for digital images.

Here is the sequence: Nascent technology takes on an entrenched and unwilling or unable to change industry and is overwhelmed by massive amounts of free materials that are almost as good , say 99% as good, as the “professional material.”

Sound familiar? The exact same thing is happening right this minute in the textbook industry. Consider such groups as CK12.org which provides secondary textbooks for free, aligned to state and national standards. Did you get that? FREE TEXTBOOKS. No publisher can beat that price. None. And it doesn’t stop there. Literally thousands of free textbooks and entire courses are now available to students and teachers using such diverse sites as hippocampus.org and iTunes U. My district has even started a collection of all of the content we are finding online that can be used in lieu of a traditional textbook. One wonders how long it will be before the traditional textbook publishers start pushing back against the free material. Because knowledge is free, it will be difficult for them to argue that their CONTENT is better. My bet is that they will start arguing that their process is better. In any event, it will be difficult for them to justify $100 textbooks when the same information is available for free elsewhere. Maybe not in as pretty as package, but 99% good enough.

Of course, the other advantage of a digital text is that a device needs to be used to read them. Students an use a device like an iPad to read the text, but also take notes, share information, research and write, all the while no longer having to carry around 30 pounds of books. Digital texts weigh nothing, something that publishing printshops are no doubt very aware of. Choices now seem to be quickly going away from heavy, paper texts. Sure, they will still be there for those that need them, just like you can still buy film for a camera if you really need to, but the reason for doing it becomes more and more moot as time rolls on.

Has your district started to make the switch to digital texts? Let me know about it.

Jun 6

Why iOS 8 will be a big deal to educators

From the article:

I’ve been using iPads in education for as long as there have been iPads available to use in education. I implemented the world’s first whole-school, one-to-one iPad program, in which all students in my school use iPads full time.

The iPad has served us very well over the last four years but, recently I had grown concerned that iPad was always going to remain the little brother to the Mac. Before WWDC last year, I wrote a blog post in which I outlined the limitations of iOS that we’d discovered when using the platform full-time for serious productivity work.

Last year, I didn’t get much that was on my iOS 7 wish-list. (We did get AirDrop and it has been transformational in how easy it is to move large data files around the classroom.) But at WWDC 2014, Apple delivered on a huge chunk of my wish-list, and I couldn’t be happier.

Jun 4

Analyzing 10 iPad Myths in Education

Click on the title to go to the article

Should out to Carl Hooker for pointing this out.

Here are more iPad Articles from my blog.

Tablets on the rise in nation’s schools

Dear Apple: Time to bring iChat Back

Dear Apple,
It is time to bring iChat back.
For those of you unfamiliar with iChat, when Apple released OSX.2 twelve years ago (can you believe it?), it also released a new video/audio messaging system that was to challenge Skype. It came free with every computer.

I suppose not a lot of people used it to its full potential. Apple has a history of deleting unused or underused features (see the latest versions of iWork, and of course RIP iWeb, and iDVD both of which were ahead of their time).

The reason that Apple needs to bring back iChat, or at least the feature set of iChat into its current FaceTime / iMessage video system is this:

iChat had some awesome features that even NOW are not available in the free versions of Skype or Google Hangouts. These included:

Text chat: You could carry out a multi-point text conversation. I know, everyone can do that now, but 12 years ago, that was unheard of.

You could have an audio chat. No big deal, we call that phone calls. But you could call up anyone from your computer and start an audio chat if the text chat was not enough, all without switching programs. Voice over IP for the masses.

If the text and audio were not enough, you could then create a video chat. Again, we are all in the same program, iChat. All of these things are without changing programs.

If talking to a single person were not enough, you could then have a multi-point video connections ( I know, Hangouts has this ability.) Up to 4 connections could be on a conference at a time, and using some nifty video and audio compression techniques, there was little or no lag time even on the crappiest connection.

But to me, the pièce de résistance from iChat was this:
iChat had an amazingly easy way to share files with the other users; You simply dragged and dropped files into the video chat screen and whatever you dropped could be seen by all the users in the chat. Movies, audio files, PDF files, Keynotes, documents, whatever. Wanted to share a video? Drop it into the chat. Want to share a PDF file? Drop it into the video window (which was called the theater). I do believe you could even record the video connection as well. Yes, Skype and others can do that now, but iChat had them all beat to the punch. Even now, the Skype method is more clunky than the drag and drop method of iChat.

When Apple dropped iChat, it replaced it with FaceTime. And while FaceTime is nice for a point A to point B conversation, it is only a single connection. There is no text chat. For that, you have to use Messenger. There is no multipoint connection. There is no screen sharing. There is no file sharing. In order to do those things, you need multiple programs, AND the person on the other side needs multiple programs as well.

Google hangouts or webinar programs such as Blackboard Collaborate are the closest thing now there is to the old iChat. Google allows 6 simultaneous connections and also allows screen sharing.

iChat, was way ahead of its time, and probably most people did not use it to it’s full ability.
But now that Apple is touting “Desktop class” processing on it’s phones and iPads, it is time to bring desktop video conferencing capabilities back.

Time for FaceTime to learn a few tricks from it’s grandfather iChat.

Are you listening Apple?

Free Epub: Redefining the Task

From the Site:

Many of you will have heard of the SAMR model for embedding technology in education, developed by Dr Ruben Puentedura. This two phase, four step model posits that the true aim for anyone seeking to harness tech in the classroom should be to redefine the actual tasks we are setting as educators. The iPad offers a wealth of opportunities to reach this goal due to its innate versatility and mobility.

A teacher recently told me that she didn’t see the point of iPads in education as there was nothing she could do with them that she couldn’t do without them. This is a classic case of someone who is only able to see/utilise technology within the “”Substitution” band. It’s the 21st centrury and we’re preparing children for a future that is inescapably threaded with the use of technology. We need to do all we can to prepare them for this.

They are ready. We know they are and more importantly they know that they are. Their lives are imbued with daily technology use and they access the world in a much more tech-friendly way than ever before. It also allows them to create work that is modern, polished and in line with their own goals and expectations. A parent recently spoke to me about an iPad project that I ran last year where the children used Book Creator to collate a whole term’s worth of multimedia work rather than use an exercise book. The parent in question told me that she had never seen her child so eager to share this work and that over the summer she had taken it on holiday to see their extended family and shown every single one of them!

Genuine pride.

The only problem for educators is that inescapabilywith over a million apps in the App Store and 60,000 within the education section, the location and choice of apps can be daunting. When it came to choosing the apps for our presentation, we selected those that are best suited to modifying and redefining the tasks set for students. What these apps have in common is that they are creation tools. Taking a constructivist approach towards selecting apps allows educators to get more out of each application as these apps work across a range of curriculum areas and age ranges.

The apps we focused on were:
  • - MOLDIVv
  • - SLOPRO
  • - MORFO
  • - MADPAD
  • - STAGE
  • - SKITCH

Details on these and examples of their use can be found within the ebook itself (link below) as well as in various other features and reviews across the site. Naturally there are others we could have included and we hope to produce a second volume of the book next year.

If you have any issues downloading the ebook, feel free to contact us.

Download from Google Docs: DOWNLOAD THE EBOOK Please note that the ebook is in .epub format to enable all the multimedia elements to work in full. This means you have two choices: 1. open the link on your iPad and download the file (Open in iBooks) 2. open the link and save the file to your Mac or PC and open the file using the Google Chrome browser’s Readium app (free to download)

10 things your iPad can do right out of the box that you might not know about.

NYT - How to Survive the Next Wave of Technology Extinction: Buy Apple

But the best thing about Apple’s hardware is that it maximizes your ability to be promiscuous with software. Apple’s App Store is home to more programs than any other app marketplace. What’s more, the most innovative start-up firms often create apps for Apple’s platform before they bother with Android. Since software is the soul of a machine, the source of all our devices’ advancing powers, you’re best off getting the gadgets that can run the widest range of software. (A note for the sticklers: Yes, Apple restricts the ways you can tinker with the deeper parts of your mobile devices. But if you’re a tinkerer, you don’t need to read a column to decide what to buy.)

Technology is only technology to those born before the technology. -John Couch

Technology is only technology to those born before the technology. -John Couch

(Source: recitethis.com)

It is interesting to me how current Apple Ads are used to show how the devices can help people change their worlds, as opposed to other companies that show features, or make fun of the competition.

"We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering — these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love — these are what we stay alive for.

To quote from Whitman,

“O me, O life of the questions of these recurring.
Of the endless trains of the faithless. Of cities filled with the foolish. What good amid these, O me, O life?
Answer: that you are here. That life exists and identity. That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.”

“That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.”

What will your verse be?”