Productive Scholar: Tablets for the Classroom: iPad, MS Surface, and Android 9/26, 12noon

Topic: Tablets for the Classroom: iPad, MS Surface, and Android
Speaker: Janet Temos, ETC Director, Princeton University

Time: Thursday, September 26, 12:00pm – 1:00pm
Location: HRC Classroom, Room 012, Lower Level, East Pyne

Apple iPad, Amazon Kindle Fire HD, and the Microsoft Surface: Tablets in the Classroom. What makes the difference between a mobile device for personal consumption, and a mobile device that is effective as a teaching and research tool? Find out at this week’s Productive Scholar, where the three major tablet brands listed above will be examined.

Topics covered will include: What to consider when buying a tablet; how to transfer and work with documents created on your desktop using a tablet; how to display from a tablet to a classroom projector; how to use a tablet effectively for text creation; and finally, how not to mess up the “fun” leisure-time tablet features while also making your device a companion to professional life.

About the Speaker:
Janet Temos
is the Director of the Educational Technologies Center at Princeton. She is a member of the Princeton class of 1982, and received her PhD at Princeton in 2001. The ETC helps faculty use technology in teaching and research, and includes Training and Outreach as well as the New Media Center (NMC). We also offer consulting, training and outreach in educational technologies.

To subscribe to the ETC announcement listserv, email:

Lunch & Learn: John LeMasney – 10 things you should know about Android and the Nexus 7.

The Google Nexus 7 (
The Google Nexus 7 (

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

    Making a folder in Android (
    Making a folder in Android (
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Specifications for the Nexus 7
    In closing, LeMasney shared the specifications of the Nexus 7 (


    7″ 1280×800 HD display (216 ppi)
    Back-lit IPS display
    Scratch-resistant Corning® glass


    1.2MP front-facing camera


    198.5 x 120 x 10.45mm




    WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
    NFC (Android Beam)


    16 GB internal storage (actual formatted capacity will be less)
    1 GB RAM


    Micro USB


    4325 mAH (Up to 8 hours of active use)


    Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean)


    NVIDIA® Tegra® 3 quad-core processor


    NFC (Android Beam)

Here is the presentation from the talk:

Here is the screencast from the talk:

Screencast: How to use Themes and Animations in Google Docs Presentations

In this screencast, John LeMasney describes the basics of using Google Docs Themes and Animations in Google Presentations. By adding themes to apply a look and feel that reinforces your content, transitions to enhance the visual appeal of your content, and animations to help create anticipation in your slides, you can potentially make your presentations more enjoyable and effective.

video platform video management video solutions video player

Mobile App and site review: Lightbox

English: A collage of an image modified with 1...
Image via Wikipedia

Lightbox is a free Android application that ties tightly into a photography social media site at

It is described as:

“a place to capture, enhance, & share your moments. Your photos are automatically organized into a timeline of postcards on Keep them private or selectively share them with friends, family, or the entire Lightbox community.” (source)

You can go to and sign up for a free account, after which you can save the photographers and designers who you want to follow, as well as upload photos from your desktop. After installing the free app from Android Market, you can use your Android based phone to upload photos directly to Lightbox and share them on other social networks like Facebook and Twitter in a few clicks.

One notable thing about this application is that it offers many of the features that iPhone users enjoy with the currently iOS-only Instagram app, including simple effects, cropping, and virtually instantaneous uploads. It could certainly be used to track the image-based objects that students come across for a visual class project, or used to simply collect the interesting visual items that a faculty member might come across in their research.