We’re making some exciting changes to ETC programing this year. The Productive Scholar series is now our single public series of educational technology workshops that highlight the tools and methods that enable scholars to work more effectively in the the classroom and in their research analysis and organization. We will no longer offer Lunch & Learn as a separate series. Now as part of the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning, we are planning to introduce a broad program of traveling technology and pedagogy workshops that will bring our events to scholars where they live. We will offer a menu of topical workshops available by request, which we will bring to individual academic departments with the aim of providing more sessions tailored to the academic interests of specific disciplines and areas of study.
Timothy Recuber, lecturer in the Writing Program at Princeton University, spoke about using WordPress as a platform for student writing in his WRI 128/129 courses. The course, entitled ‘Witnessing Disaster’, investigates media depictions of disaster and human suffering. In the assignment for which WordPress was used, Dr. Recuber asked students to “envision an alternative way of representing the suffering of others by creating a website, online memorial, or blog devoted to the disaster or tragedy that you research this semester”. The students, having chosen and written about significant events previously in the semester, expanded upon their research by posting writings, videos, images, and sound recordings to the course blog. As a supplement to the more formal writing done during the semester, the blog was intended to provide a more creative outlet for the students. Continue reading
In this Lunch and Learn session, Janet Temos and Angel Brady of the Educational Technologies Center gave an introduction to the SMART Technologies SMART Podium (formerly Sympodium) and the iPad, and how they can be used as interactive whiteboards for the classroom. Continue reading
In this session, John LeMasney joined the audience in a conversation about the Android operating system, and the Nexus 7 Tablet, Google’s first entry into the tablet market. The Nexus 7 was Google’s first competitive action to the ever-popular Apple iPad, and its quick success in the industry prompted Apple to cut the size of their iPad in the offering of the iPad mini. While other vendors like Samsung found some success with their Tab Android Tablet line, the Nexus was the first Google-designed device in this form factor. The device was manufactured by Asus. Here are the ten things that LeMasney presented about the Nexus, and Android Tablets.
- Android versus Chrome OS
There is still some confusion in the market about when someone might choose an Android based device (like phones and tablets) and when they might opt instead for a Chromebook running Chrome OS (essentially a laptop running only a browser) which LeMasney and Howarth discussed in a previous Lunch & Learn. Google itself said that Android is for touch-based devices and Chrome OS is for keyboard-based devices, though that answer is complicated by Google’s recent release of the Chromebook Pixel which features a touch interface. It is also complicated by Android devices such as the Cotton Candy Stick based PC, a small device running Android meant to be used with a keyboard, mouse and monitor. Since many users of both Chromebooks and Android devices are happy and satisfied with the abilities of the devices, the confusion may not matter that much.
- The Play Store
One of the first things that you will do with an Android device is sign into it with a Google account, and that authentication will allow you to install applications with Google’s own app, media, and book store called Google Play. Play, like Amazon’s app store for Kindle devices and Apple’s Store for iOS devices, allows you to buy (or often download for free) and install movies, music, apps, books, and even buy new devices, such as the Nexus 7. You can even install Amazon’s App store along with the Play store on your Android device. The idea behind each of these ecosystems is to create a one-stop shop for all your media needs, and the tablets, phones, desktops and other devices can then allow users to get to and consume all of that media from anyplace on a network.
- Navigation and Folders
You can move, delete or collect installed apps into folders on your tablet screens. These actions become available after doing a long press on an app, meaning that your touch the app and hold your finger there for a moment until it ‘jumps’, at which point you can move it. Once you install an application from the Play store, you can do a long press on it in your installed application list on your tablet and drag it to the screen where you’d like it to live as a shortcut. You can also drag an app onto another app to create a collection or folder of those apps.
- Keyboards and Voice to Text
While the default screen-based keyboard is a perfectly nice way to search, write and update in your apps, you can choose to install alternative keyboards on Android to add different functionality. If you install the keyboard from Swype, for example, you can swipe your finger over the letters of a word, and the application will guess the word that you are typing from your gesture, which can be great for increasing the speed of your typing. Alternatively, Android has voice recognition that you can use to search, play your favorite artist, or dictate a written note. You can learn more about Voice actions in Android from this Google article.
- Customized Interfaces
Another interesting aspect of the Android experience is that you can completely replace the interface with apps like Nova Launcher, which allows you to change the icons, background, lock screen and other interfaces. You can also create a dashboard of widgets to see information like email, weather, social media updates, and calendar events at a glance of your screen without entering those applications. With an Android only application like Tasker, you can create sensor based triggers for actions, like to start playing music whenever you plug in headphones, turn down your volume when you connect to your work’s WiFi, or send an automated text to your spouse when you walk into the geolocation of your parking lot at work.
- Google Services
Google’s Nexus Tablet makes very strong use of Google services. With Drive, you can store and edit all of your documents, drawings, spreadsheets, and presentations. With Calendar, you can keep track of your agenda. With Gmail, you can stay informed of conversations with friends and colleagues. With Plus, you can follow and stay informed about the contacts and topics that you find most important. You can use Google Maps to navigate and find out what’s going on in your locality. Google’s tablet includes all of these dedicated apps and others to give you a lot of productivity options at the time of purchase.
- Google Now
Google Now is the default search engine interface in the latest version of Android. It adds value to your searches by predicting and presenting information that you need when and where you need it. For instance, if you do a search on an upcoming flight, it will track that flight and automatically present information related to it to you in Now. If you search on a location, it will show you a map of that site with a link to navigate to it. If you have an upcoming meeting, it will remind you about the meeting, and tell you when you have to leave to be there on time. You can turn on or off any of these notifications, called cards in Now.
- Sharing data between apps
You can easily share data like pictures between applications on Android. If you are in the Flipboard app and you see a picture that you’d like to post to Pinterest, you can do it easily just by installing both apps. From the image you’d like to share in Flipboard, touch the share button, choose Pinterest from the list of installed applications that understand pictures, and finish the share in the Pinterest app.
- Notifications and Quick Settings Bar
You not only get notified in Android when you get email, but you have the ability to expand that notification to preview the content of the email without ever leaving the notification dropdown. The latest version of Android also has a quick settings palette to quickly toggle wifi, sound, and other sensors. Here’s a basic overview of notifications from Google.
- Specifications for the Nexus 7
In closing, LeMasney shared the specifications of the Nexus 7 (https://play.google.com/store/devices/details?id=nexus_7_16gb)Screen:
7″ 1280×800 HD display (216 ppi)
Back-lit IPS display
Scratch-resistant Corning® glassCamera:
1.2MP front-facing cameraSize:
198.5 x 120 x 10.45mmWeight:
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
NFC (Android Beam)Memory:
16 GB internal storage (actual formatted capacity will be less)
1 GB RAMUSB
4325 mAH (Up to 8 hours of active use)OS:
Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean)CPU:
NVIDIA® Tegra® 3 quad-core processorSensors:
NFC (Android Beam)
Here is the presentation from the talk: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/101_pg1qI4OuGjN-jGMuZU3tIRgUyPjI2aXvsx1MRL9I/edit?usp=sharing
Here is the screencast from the talk:
In the Lunch & Learn session on Wednesday, February 20th, 2013, Janet Temos, Director of the Educational Technologies Center at Princeton, and Angel Brady, Instructional Technologist in the Humanities Resource Center at Princeton, gave an introductory talk for new users of the iPad, Apple’s famously popular tablet.
Temos started the talk by introducing the iPad’s interface, sometimes met with culture shock by long time users of desktop computers because of the touch based interface, which has different interactions than a mouse based interface. Using two fingers versus one and gesturing, or holding down your finger for an extra second have meaning on tablet interfaces, and no easy equivalent on a mouse based interface. Temos noted that collecting many applications can make navigating that large collection more difficult, but you can create folders on your iPad to organize those apps that go together, or to make sense of the way that you work. Janet has a folder just for presentation apps. From your home screen where your apps are listed, the clean interface may make you wonder how to do such a thing as adding a folder. If you hold your finger on an app for a few seconds (a long press gesture), the apps start to ‘shake’, at which point you can move or delete them. Shaking is a visual indicator on the iPad that you can make a change to the shaking items, such as deletion or moving. To create a folder, after a long press, drop one app on to another. To add an app to a folder, after a long press, drag it into the folder. While your apps collection may span several screens that you can swipe through, the dock (the area at the bottom of the iPad screen) remains constant. To store your most often used apps for quick opening, store them on the dock. When you are all done, hit the physical home button on the iPad to exit the ‘shaky’ editing mode.
Managing app processes and settings
Do a double press on the physical home button to see what apps are in memory. You can press each icon to remove the app from active memory, which relieves the processor from having to manage that app actively. You can customize the iPad dramatically via the Settings app. Add email accounts, join networks, and change your sound settings, among many other options. Temos suggests that you explore the settings and their effects to get deeply familiar with your iPad. You can also change the setting of each app here.
The iPad’s virtual on-screen keyboard works when a Bluetooth keyboard is not present. Long presses on this keyboard’s keys often give shortcuts to alternative characters and strings. A long press on O, for instance, gives many alternative versions of the O such as various accented versions.
You can manage and add to the installed apps on your iPad via the App Store. You must login to your iTunes account to buy, update and track apps, even the free ones. If you have to rebuild your iPad, you can reinstall previously purchased apps. You can visit the purchased area of the App Store app to see what you have installed in the past.
Temos suggested that while the iPad is a self-contained, fully working object, you can get many benefits from the various add-ons that you can buy for it.
Headphones make for a more private audio experience. A bluetooth keyboard can make your iPad into a small, highly portable laptop. A stylus can make drawing and writing on the iPad far easier than with your finger. Various dongles, ranging from $30-50 allow you to send your iPad screen to VGA, HDMI and other video interfaces, for display on a projector or a TV. You can also use an Apple TV, about $100, which allows you to show the iPad on-screen via a wireless display technology Apple calls Airplay. You can also use the Apple TV to buy and watch movies from Apple, or use your Netflix, Hulu, and other media services.
Security and cloud storage
Temos briefly mentioned that by default, you need only ‘swipe to unlock’ a running iPad, which is the default, but that you can set a password as an extra layer of defense so that if you lose your iPad or if it gets stolen, the finder or thief would need to guess or crack your password to make use of your data. Brady told the audience that you can add many cloud storage services to get access to those files. In particular, she described how you can add WebSpace via the WebDAV protocol, which both WebSpace and the iPad support. (http://helpdesk.princeton.edu/kb/display.plx?id=9924)
No talk about the iPad would be complete without sharing various useful apps for the audience to consider. Both Temos and Brady suggested apps that might make sense for faculty, staff and students at Princeton. Brady and Temos presented various levels of detail on the following applications.
The Orchestra (TouchPress)
This app allows you to explore the orchestra in innovative ways, including written explanations of instruments from musicians, a follow-along version of the score, and simultaneous shots of players and conductor during the performance. The app focuses on works by Haydn, Beethoven, Berlioz, Debussy and others. http://www.touchpress.com/blog/2012/12/our-creative-director-waxes-lyrical-about-orchestra/
If you want to watch courses on technology, business, and productivity, including a fantastic list of popular design applications like Photoshop, this app is a great place to get your fill. Because of Princeton’s site license for Lynda, Princeton faculty, staff, and students may use it for free. (http://lynda.princeton.edu)
The iPad’s front and rear facing camera allow you to take pictures or video of yourself or what’s in front of you. You can add a grid to help you to compose your shots. Connect via USB, use email, or use Photo Stream to move the photos from the iPad to your computer or elsewhere. (http://www.apple.com/icloud/features/photo-stream.html)
Note taking apps
Angel Brady presented a set of apps specifically for taking notes in the field, including Evernote, Notability, and others. She detailed her findings in this post at http://blogs.princeton.edu/etc/2013/02/20/field-note-taking-with-the-ipad/