Thursday, January 31, 2013

Use your iPad to scan to PDF

Did you know that you can use your iPad to scan documents to PDF so you can post it on MyMitty? If you have many pages to scan, you might want to just make the trek down to the copier, but if it's just a couple pages or less, using your iPad is a quick way to do it.

There are several (free) apps to choose from, but the one that I like is called DocScan. Watch the video for a quick demo:

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Upload multiple files to MyMitty at one time

This video will show you a quick way to upload multiple files to MyMitty from your computer. The basic idea is to compress all the files you want to upload into a single zip file, and then simply upload that zip file to MyMitty. Watch the video to see how it is done!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Emails Gettin You Down?

This is a specific type of setting for the web-based gmail account that divides your emails into different sections based on a variety of things (ex: importance, whether or not it has been read, or stared for importance).

  • Log in to your web-based gmail account. 
  • Click on the "wheel" icon.
  • Click on "Settings".

  • In your settings bar, click on "Inbox".

To set to this inbox for the best functions, I think it is most helpful to set up email with these settings.
  • Inbox type: Priority Settings
  • Inbox sections: 
    1. Important and unread
    2. Starred
    3. Unread
    4. Everything else
  • Inbox unread count: Unread Items in the first section
  • Importance Markers: Show markers
  • Filtered Mail: Your choice

This is how it looks with the settings. As you can see, I have "important and unread" emails showing in the first section. In the second section, I have emails that I have "starred" as reminders to follow up with the emails. Once I follow up with the email, I click on the star to remove it from that section and it goes down to the last section of "everything else". The third section is "unread" emails. These are put into this section if the email has not been marked as important. Lastly, once I have read an email, it is put into the last section of "Everything else".

Searching for students with D's and F's?

If you need a list of students that have certain grades, for example, students that have D's and F's, this is an easy way to get that list in Webgrade. 

Log into WebGrade:
Click on Grade Search

You can search by letter grades (ex: A, B, C, D, F) 
by specific scores (ex: Max-60 Min-0)

You can sort by: First name, Last name, Login, or Most recent login

Monday, January 28, 2013

Board Cam (Using your iPad as a document cam or whiteboard)

Board Cam is an app that basically transforms your iPad into a document camera or a white board. By using AppleTV to mirror your iPad on the projector, you can show a live feed from your iPad's camera, and then write on top of the video image, or show a pointer to direct people's attention to a certain part of the screen. There is also the option of recording the session so that you can post a video of it on MyMitty for your students to reference later.

Here's a video that I made using Board Cam:


1) Walk around the classroom with your iPad, projecting examples of student work for the rest of the class to see. You can use the pointer or pen to discuss certain areas of the work.

2) Set up your iPad at your own desk, point it at something (a worksheet, a book, lab setup - anything you want to show the class that they may not be able to see from their desks at the back of the room). Then you can demonstrate how to do a part of a lab, or project, or work out an example problem on a worksheet. Record the session and post it on MyMitty so that students can refer to the video again later.

3) Use the Board Cam app to "freeze" an image. This basically takes a picture for you, and then you can write on top of the still image. This might be helpful when you want to show impromptu examples to the class. Just aim your iPad at the example, take a picture of it, and then use the pen or pointer to discuss or work out a problem for the class to see. You can also use any picture in your Camera Roll as a background image and write on top of it.

4) Use the White Board feature to transform your iPad into a white board. You can now take your iPad anywhere in the room, and still be able to write on the board, or use a pointer to point to different areas of the board.

If you'd like to check out this app yourself, go to Self-Service on your iPad to download the app. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Upgrades to Mountain Lion Are Available

The IT department is now ready to upgrade computers to Mountain Lion (MacOS 10.8). This new version of the Mac OS has over 200 new features (you can read more about them here) including the ability to project from your laptop to the AppleTV, better iCloud support,, and (my favorite) dictation support. We are all one step closer to life on the Starship Enterprise. 

Take a look at this video to get a better sense of the improvements.

Unfortunately, The Mountain Lion installer not available from Self Service.  You will need to drop off your computer for a 45 minute installation process. You are welcome to bring your laptop to the Tech Counter between 7:30 and 3. Marc will oversee the installation of your new operative system. 

If you work in an office with access to Ethernet, please contact Maura. It may possible to do the upgrade in place and save you trip to the Tech Counter.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Creating Screencasts with the Doodlecast App

Doodlecast Pro (Click here to see in iTunes; $0.99) is a great app that students and teachers can use to create screencasts on the iPad. Here’s a quick demo:

I’ve used this app in both World History AP and Rise of the Rest (a Social Studies elective for seniors). I assigned each student a term from class and asked them to create Doodlecasts where they defined and stated the significance of their terms. Students uploaded their Doodleasts to Youtube and linked them to a GoogleDoc on myMitty. When it was time to study for the exam, students had a “Doodlecast glossary” where they could watch screencasts made by their classmates.

Here are a couple of examples from Rise of the Rest:

There are other apps that students and teachers can use to create screencasts on their iPads, such as ShowMe (click here). A huge advantage of ShowMe is that it’s free! Functionally, it’s essentially the same as Doodlecast, although there are fewer editing options. Click here to see a ShowMe created by one of my World History AP students. On the other hand, a major downside of ShowMe is that the only way to share these screencasts is through posting on their website, This means that if seizes to exist, student work will be gone, too. With Doodlecast, students can save their videos to their iPad camera rolls, and then upload to myMitty or Youtube.

If you’re considering trying screencasts in your classroom, you might want to start with ShowMe because it’s free. If it goes well and you’d like to be able to save videos in the long run and provide more editing options for your students, then you could ask your department chair to have Doodlecast purchased for your students.

I think creating screencasts has a lot of potential across disciplines. How might you use these in your classes?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Using Guided Access on the iPad

Using Guided Access on the iPad

Link to video on iTunes

Here is how you would explain to your students how to initialize the "Guided Access" mode on their iPad :

1.  Open "Settings"
2.  Go to the "General" tab
3.  Tap "Accessibility"
4.  Tap "Guided Access" (under 'Learning')
5.  Turn "Guided Access" ON
6. Tap "Set pass code".  Type "1,2,3,4” (or whatever you'd like they pass code to be, but make it easy).
7.  Make sure "enable sleep" is OFF.
8.  I would also make sure that "Auto correct" and "Check spelling" are turned OFF when using Guided Access:  go back to the first page of the "General" settings, tap "Keyboard", turn "Auto correct" and "Check spelling" OFF.

When you are ready for the students to activate the "Guided learning" mode, have them:
  1. Open MyMitty to access the quiz.  
  2. Once it's open, have the students press three times the "Home" button and the window will shrink.
  3. Have them draw a rectangle around the URL window and Google search window (make sure they're completely covered in grey).
  4. Finally, have them press the "Start" button.
  5. Also, make sure the “motion” button (bottom right) is “OFF”. If left on, the student can move the iPad from “landscape” mode to “portrait” mode and this will turn “Guided Access” off.

When they've completed the assessment and want to quit out of the "Guided learning" mode, they need to click the "Home" button three times again, enter the pass code , and tap "End".

I would suggest have the students do the set up earlier (maybe the day before), so that all they need to do is open the assessment and then start the "Guided learning" mode without having to do the set up.