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Back up, share and access files with Dropbox

How many times have you taken the extra steps to email yourself a document? How many times have you left your flash drive at home? Do you remember what it felt like the last time you lost a precious document on accident and had no back-up for it? For those who see these as all too common occurrences, we have a service to bring to your attention:

Dropbox is a totally free web-based file hosting service. It offers 2GB of storage and anything you upload will be instantly accessible on your other computers or smartphones (as long as Dropbox is installed on those devices). All you need to do to upload a file is drag and drop it from your computer into your Dropbox folder.

One of the more valuable features of Dropbox for instructors and academic professionals is the ability to share certain folders with anyone, whether or not they are on Dropbox. More information can be found about that here.

Dropbox is also one of many “cloud storage” services on the web right now. If for some reason you find Dropbox is not for you, give Amazon Cloud Drive, Google Docs, or SugarSync a try!

Using the iPad 2 in Education

The iPad 2 has been released and has many new and upgraded features- most notably two built-in cameras. But is the iPad 2 really that different from the first generation iPad? How can we utilize these features in a way that can be beneficial to education? Here at Learning Technologies, we’ve come up with a few new things you can do in the classroom unique to the iPad 2:

Photo courtesy of Blake Patterson

Screen mirroring: With the first generation iPad, screen mirroring (making your iPad simultaneously viewable on a larger screen, such as a projector or television) was technically do-able, but often tricky and unreliable. Now, the iPad 2 fully supports screen mirroring, which is ideal for presentations, movies or sharing interactive apps with the classroom. To do this, however, you must buy the AV adapter, available through Apple. The current cost is $40 USD, not including tax.

Portable video production: With the addition of a camera to the device, as well as the release of iMovie for the iPad 2, the device has become a tiny video production studio! On it, you can shoot, edit and upload your video project. Although the quality may not be as great as (although still impressive) what you’d get on a professional camera, many accessories are available to enhance the production value.

Cutting out the Evernote middleman: Evernote is one of the most popular note taking tools- and for good reason! Evernote allows you to create notes using text, photos and audio. Additionally, the search feature enables text recognition of the photos you upload. When using the Evernote app on an iPad 2, you can now snap a photo on the device, which automatically inserts it into your note. With the first generation iPad, you could only add photos that were on the iPad already. An ideal use for this would be snapping shots of the white board before information is erased or taking a photo of a handout, rather than taking the paper copy.

Front-facing camera: Not only does the iPad 2 have a rear-facing camera, but a front-facing one as well. Using apps like Skype and FaceTime (a built-in app on the iPad 2), the front-facing camera can be used to video conference, record lectures, or save your guest speaker a trip.

Edudemic Will Help Fund Your Educational Technology Project

If you’re an instructor with a great idea for a educational technology tool, but don’t necessarily have the funding to start it up, look no further than Edudemic Projects. The popular ed tech blog has recently developed this program to give instructors and education professionals a new and easy way to seek money for their academic technology projects.

Here’s how it works: you must first apply on the Edudemic Projects site. You’ll be asked a few questions about yourself, your project and the funding it will require. You will find out if you have been approved roughly 1-3 days after you submit the form. If they approve and decide they want to help, you will receive your own Edudemic Project web page, which will look something like this.

After your page is up and running, you will have until a certain date (you’ll specify in your application) to raise donations for your project. The only catch here is that you must raise at least half of your proposed funding needs. If you pass the halfway point, what you collect goes straight to you. If you don’t pass it, the money is returned to the donors. Additionally, every penny you collect can be used towards anything relating to your project. Some other crowd-funding sites have limits on this, but with Edudemic Projects, it’s up to you!

This seems like a very interesting idea, and it will be exciting to see these projects grow!

ipadio: Podcasting from your Cell Phone

ipadio (pronounced eye-paid-ee-o) is a podcasting tool that lets the user call in from anywhere in the world to record a podcast, or in this case, a phonecast. Phonecasts you record are directly uploaded to your channel, or Phlog. You can share your phonecast, embed it, comment on it, convert it to text, or set a location for it using Google Maps. If you set up an account and make your phonecasts public, users can follow you and you can follow other Phlogs.

PodcastingWhat makes ipadio and phone podcasting so interesting is how the creation of the content is very simple, yet the finished phonecast can reach global audiences. While browsing the list of popular and recent Phlogs, one will notice the incredible variety of Phlog types and topics–online newspapers, personal/social, business/leadership, sports, entertainment, and of course, schools and education.

Phonecasts are used for a number of things in education, only a few include foreign language vocabulary, student assignments, and class blogs for parents. Although higher education doesn’t seem to have a large presence at the moment, ipadio and/or phonecasting in general is a tool worth getting acquainted with. If you have wanted to start podcasting, but just really weren’t sure how to start, phonecasting is a simple and easy way to begin.

If you would rather upload an mp3 file, for editing or quality purposes, that option is also available on ipadio. There is also an ipadio app available for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.

McGraw-Hill and Pearson Invest in Inkling

Inkling, a popular company specializing in eBooks, announced on March 23rd a new partnership with very big names in education. On the Inkling blog, CEO Matt MacInnis* had this to say:

Today, we announced new depth to these relationships. Both McGraw-Hill and Pearson, two of the largest educational content providers in the world, have invested in Inkling, signaling a strong endorsement of our approach, our technology and, most of all, our team.

In addition to these investments, we also announced some significant content commitments, including the following:

• The top 100 undergrad titles from McGraw-Hill Higher Education.• The top medical reference titles from McGraw-Hill Professional.
• A full MBA curriculum from Pearson Education.
• Top undergraduate titles from Pearson Education.
• A full medical education curriculum from Wolters Kluwer Health.

This is quite a big step forward for Inkling, and it will be interesting to see where these partnerships take them in the near future! Will students begin to more widely accept eBooks and eReaders as reading devices, now that there are more textbook titles available?



*If you’re wondering, yes that is the same Inkling representative that was quoted in our article on eReaders a few weeks ago!