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March, 2011:

Facebook in the Classroom?

This week, Emerging EdTech posted an article with examples of how instructors are using Facebook in the classroom. Interestingly enough, it is becoming a rather common tool in higher education–some professors are even using it in place of Blackboard! The original article can be found here, and Edtech also created a video blog companion to the article, shown below:

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.

Professors Review their First Year with the iPad

April marks the one-year anniversary of Apple’s release of the first generation iPad. The Chronicle of Higher Education posted this article on Sunday, which asked six Chronicle writers (who are also professors, assistant professors and librarians) about their experience with the iPad within the first year of its release. The writers discuss the ups and downs of owning and operating an iPad, as well as the different ways they use their devices. An interesting read for faculty members interested in using the iPad or any tablet computer to aid their teaching.

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!

Becoming “100% paperless” in the classroom

In higher education, faculty and students alike go through a lot of paper in the course of a school year. Paper is used every day. Long reading packets, writing notes and to-do lists, and hand-editing draft after draft of a paper make up only some of these activities and tasks. David Andrade, an edtech blogger and teacher, published on his blog Monday a list of tools he has been using on his way to becoming “100% paperless”, both in school and at home. Becoming paperless is now a possibility, thanks to technology, and can save both energy and money. Here are the top tools David Andrade recommends:

  1. Scanner – the first step to transforming paper documents into electronic ones.
  2. Evernote – a helpful tool (most popular in its “app” form, but a desktop download is available) used for taking notes by capturing information in nearly any form. Also allows the user to search the text.
  3. Google Docs – cloud computing that allows you to create, edit and share office work (text documents, slideshows, spreadsheets) all online.
  4. Google Calendar – tool that allows you to create and share both group and individual calendars.
  5. Google Tasks – a virtual to-do list that pops up in the corner of the main page of Gmail.
  6. Use an electronic grade book – that is, if your school isn’t already. Andrade points to Engrade, an online service for just this. It’s free, and also allows students and parents to view grades.
  7. PDF Tools – instead of printing, use PDF tools to convert files, mark them up, edit them, and even convert them to another format later. This is especially useful for long papers and packets.
  8. Student online services – there are many tools to help students become more organized- tools that track assignments, help them take notes, set a schedule for the week, and more. The names Andrade drops are Notely, Soshiku, Dweeber and TrackClass.
  9. Smartphone (+camera) – a smartphone is a great tool for paper-free work. A smartphone allows the user to work anywhere, anytime. The reason a camera-equipped smartphone is preferred (although a vast majority of smartphones do have built-in cameras) is because it makes capturing information very simple…just take a photograph! There are a few programs (such as Evernote, which I mentioned before) that will even allow you to search the text of your photographs!
  10. Websites and blogs – a website and/or blog is an easy way to share information and communicate with other people.
  11. Digital textbooks and reference sites – save paper, money and make your bag lighter!
  12. Tablets, computers and netbooks – If you’re reading this, you probably have access to at least one of these things. Although they may be “obvious” technologies, tablets, computers and netbooks are essential in going paperless.
  13. Digital assignments instead of paper – Andrade suggests to assign digital projects or assignments instead of paper-based. Instead of paper assignments, have students contribute or post on a blog, webpage, or a Google Docs document. Assign digital creation projects- such as video or a slideshow presentation.
  14. Electronic bulletin boards and digital displays – instead of using paper to post announcements on a bulletin board, switch to digital! Use an electronic bulletin board or an electronic display- like a digital photo frame!