Friday, March 30, 2012

Reflection App - Share your iPad screen

The Reflection App is ideal for sharing whats on your iPad to a projector screen via your macbook, which makes it perfect for training, demonstrations and teaching, if other options are not available or compromised in your school. 
Simply install the App, select your Mac from AirPlay on an iPad 2, and the iPad's screen is instantly displayed in real-time on a Mac but still looks like an iPad frame. Reflection also supports mirroring which means full audio and orientation support. You can lock your orientation to landscape or portrait as appropriate.You may experience a degree of lag when browsing on Safari or viewing Youtube videos but this is acceptable, just work with it.
Currently, the Reflection App’s preferences are limited to selecting a resolution for your device and launching as a full-screen App. Recently the App updates have enabled the option to record your screen. Reflection is relatively inexpensive, and offers a simple option for screen sharing the iPad - a single-user license of Reflection sells for under £10.00 or 5 licenses for under £25.00  - click here. There is also the option of a free time limited trial before you make the purchase - try before you buy and let us know what you think.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Charging multiple iPads

Once again schools are looking to the new financial year (April 2012) and considering how they can most wisely spend their money and get the best value. As we all know, times are hard with reduced budgets, so 'big' ICT spends seem out of the question. If you are lucky enough to be considering purchasing iPads or iPod Touches then you will need a hub to both charge and/ or manage the purchase and syncing of apps and content from your iTunes account to the devices.

Check out the following solutions for charging multiple iPads and let the budget decide!

IKEA PS Cabinet
  • The cheapest solution I've been shown to date is obvious - simply charge your iPads via a multiblock power source and sync via iCloud- simples! - depending on how many iPads you have the total cost will be the number of multiblocks you need. Some users I know are using plate-racks (for draining after washing) to line-up and stand their iPads on for charging - check out your local Wilkos if you live in the UK.
    Other schools I know have gone down the 'build your own design' route using the IKEA PS cabinet, adding shelf dividers and securing multiblocks to the inside, another very cheap option for charging - syncing is achieved with the Belkin USB port as described next.
  • Belkin USB 2.0 Port which has 7 ports is available from Amazon for under £20 - currently unavailable - no guesses as to why!
  • Loxit sell a range of Trolleys and chargers for 16 and 32 iPads available from ict-direct for around £1400.
  • AT Computers sell the Kallysta KsyncMA16 charging/syncing product - not sure about pricing.
  • The Leba iCase can be purchased from Jigsaw which will Sync and Charge 16 iPads at a cost of £1325.
  • Ergotron Sync and Charge up to 48 iPads but have solutions for 10/20/30 iPads as well.
  • Griffin have brought out a MultiDock solution for 10 iPads which Sync and Charge for around £500, but also provide solutions for larger numbers of iPads.
  • Configurator is designed for class sets of iPads using a sync trolley  - and volume licensing.
  • Other schools sing the praises of Casper as a proper MDM solution which Lion Server is not.  The advantage with Casper is its education pricing:

    "Education Pricing - JAMF Software offers significant purchasing discounts to education organizations. The Casper Suite is licensed per managed Mac or iOS device, with a 100% discount off the license cost for both higher education and K-12 education. Education organizations pay only the per-seat Annual Maintenance costs, with discounts available for volume purchases. Additionally, every new sale of the Casper Suite is accompanied by a JumpStart, a two day on-site visit with a JAMF Software Field Service Manager to install the software and provide guidance and training to help your IT staff integrate the suite into your environment."
For more information contact me:

Friday, March 09, 2012

Reasons to use an iPad in the classroom

  • Personalised learning - the iPad enables anywhere, anytime learning. And if owned by a student, maybe through something like the iStudent programme, they can take their iPad home for continued learning.
  • Create your own learning needs - Work with developers to create the resources you need to get the results you want. The iPad is an interactive mobile device which can transform the way students learn.
  • Make it your Personal Learning Studio -  let it be what you want it to be...... David Hockney has made it his art studio - What will you do with your iPad?  Maybe you could make it your recording studio, science lab, language lab, video editing suite, games console or library?
  • No need to budget for expensive interactive whiteboards - Use AppleTV to turn the iPad into your next interactive projecting device. For just £79.99, this device enables your students to share (project) their work with the rest of the class right from where they are seated - interact directly using wireless and the touch screen on the iPad.  This also frees the teacher up to walk around the classroom and watch problems related to behaviour fade away!
  • Apps are a fraction of the price of traditional software.  Check out the App store to find out more.
  • Auto-Save - All files are saved  automatically, which means learners know their work is always safe.
  • iPad is an ‘anywhere, anytime’ learning device - ideal for all learning and projects that take place out of the classroom - a museum, library, school grounds, art gallery, residential visit. Use a MiFi and learners can access the web at all times anywhere.
  • Do you really need an ICT suite?  Investing in iPads means you bring the learning into the classroom. No timetabling required to ensure learners access computers, no more wasted time moving around the school.
  • Frustrated with poor battery life on your laptops?  iPads give you instant-on and all-day battery life and can be accessed immediately. Switched on at the press of a button, get online and find the information you're after in a fraction of the time it takes a laptop to log-on.
  • Computer Networks - Experiencing problems logging in at school?  Ever feel you have wasted lots of time because the network is down?  An iPad can hold all the Apps a learner needs and access to them is immediate, so virtually no time is wasted at all.
  • Heavily reliant on technical support in school?  The iPad needs little maintenance - installing Apps is easy and fast using a sync and charge device, case or cabinet with little need for any technical support - this puts the learner and teacher in control of their own learning and technology.

    For more information c
    ontact me:

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Submitting work on an iPad

For those schools introducing iPads into the classroom to support learning and teaching, one of the biggest concerns from teachers in schools is about students sharing their work with the teacher and how students will submit assignments for assessment. 
As far as I can see, there seem to be four key options for doing this across a range of Apps:
  • Lots of Apps do have a 'send as email' option, however most students will not have school email accounts, so emailing is ruled out altogether.
  • A second option supported by various Apps is to send to WebDAV.
    Dav-Pocket for iPad and iPhone, which is free.  It is very simple to use, fast and secure and links to your Google Docs account, which is a real plus for some schools.You can access your Google Docs via WebDAV without directly needing to use a Google Account. But first you need to authorise DAV-pocket to access Google Docs.
    To get started c
    reate a DAV-pocket account.
     successfully created, the link 'Authorise DAV-pocket service' will become available.
    Click to Authorise and you are taken to the Google Account sign in page. 
    Signing in is necessary to authorise DAV-pocket access to Google Docs.  Click 'Grant access' and now you are all set-up via WebDAV using your DAV-pocket account.
  • A third and very popular option is to use Dropbox -  this works well, it's free, fast, secure and for most teachers, intuitive to use. Where an App only supports the email option for exporting work, then you can also use account for the iPads.
    Although the students will not have direct access to the
    Dropbox account, they are able to send to an 'Attachments' folder in your DropboxThe teacher can then view and download work from Dropbox as required. In order to do this students will need to connect with Dropbox to get a unique email address and then start sending files - after a few minutes the files will appear in the Attachments folder, ready to be viewed as and when.
  • Ive just heard there is a fourth option, but Ive not tried this myself yet.  The Edmodo iPad app now enables students to upload media to their library and then send in as an assignment. This would allow for a great workflow for students to create a digital portfolio of all their work, which they can view from any computer or device.  Edmodo is free and many teachers rate it highly as a tool to support learning.
If you have any other suggestions I'd love to hear from you .......
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Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Saving YouTube Videos

When I'm working with teachers in schools I get lots of questions about how to save YouTube videos.  For many this still remains a mystery and is a major feat for the following reasons:
  1. Teachers are just too busy to spend hours online browsing and finding a solution for themselves
  2. YouTube is blocked in many UK Local Authorities so access during school hours is impossible
On top of this, most staff in school are not aware of the excellent range of quality videos that could infact be used in the classroom to support learning and teaching.
Personally, I like to use YouTube videos as lesson starters - for example, Ive used them to support instruction writing in Literacy.  I ask my class to write instructions for a friend to explain 'How to fold a T-shirt', and then they all try to read and follow each others instructions.  As you can imagine, this is quite hilarious to watch and the final look of the T-shirts? Well to put it politely - I definitely wouldn't wear one prepared by my class!

As a follow up activity I show my class a video on the same thing and we all have a go at folding our T-shirts using the video instructions. The difference is amazing! This really makes the children realise the impact that images and video can have on the end result - as long as its a quality video of course.  But in terms of learning and teaching it gets across the need for students to write clear instructions and whenever possible include appropriate images or video to support effective learning.

Another area I like to use YouTube is when discussing issues relating to Geography in the News, 'Global Disasters' or 'Extreme Weather'. YouTube videos are perfect for this, with lots to choose, from Volcanoes to freaky Arctic weather conditions to Tsunamis. Once downloaded the videos can be imported into movie-editing software and edited to make your own documentary, news report or advert.  It's so much easier than trying to shoot your own footage and is a great way to introduce digital creativity projects. Using existing footage will save you time, guarantee an outcome in the designated time, enable achievement and lots of smiles in your classroom. So if its something you've never tried yet then why not give it a shot!
So how do we go about saving YouTube videos? I'm the first to admit that it's certainly not obvious on the YouTube site - anybody would think they don't want you to download them....
Here are a few of my favourite ways of saving videos:
  • Zamzar
    Select the Download Videos tab and then follow steps 1, 2, 3 and 4
Watch a video tutorial here 
It's important that you download the latest Java or update your current installed version in order for this to work.
So which format should I download?

  1. - 3GP is for your cellphones, you can transfer it using the USB cord that came with your phone
  2. - FLV is a flash format that is now supported by most Media Players
  3. - MP4 is a video format with the best quality - works with Quicktime and other Media Players (SaveTube recommends you to download this format)

  • KeepVid
    Simply enter the YouTube video URL in the box and click the download button.
  • Save YouTube - in just 3 easy steps.
    Simply c
    opy-and-paste a YouTube video URL  into the box at the top of the page, hit Download, and choose the format you want the video saved as.
iCab mobile 
Saving YouTube Videos on an iPad
Unfortunately Apple have put a stop to this saving YouTube vids. to iPad functionality (Jan 2013) and Ive yet to find an alternative way..... 
If you're using an iPad then it's a completely different story.  This flummoxed me for some time because I wanted to use the YouTube videos in the same way I had been doing on my Macbook but I just couldn't find a way of getting the video onto my iPad in the first place.  

And then the iCab mobile App was released - a simple web browser for the iPhone, iPod Touch and the iPad. 
It provides some great features such as:
  • full screen viewing
  • tabbed browsing 
  • apply filters to block ads 
  • and a Download Manager that lets you download files directly on to the device.
Download the app from the iTunes Store and try it for yourself.

For more information contact me:

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

iBooks Author - create great books!

Create your own amazing books for the iPad using the FREE app iBooks Author, available for download from the iTunes Store. iBooks Author allows students of all ages to create beautiful multi-touch books - whether its storytelling your after, or maybe factual, report, recount, poetry, instruction or diary writing? .... and then watch the iBooks come alive on the iPad.
Actually building the book is as simple as drag and drop - add text from MS Word or Pages, drag in graphics, flash cards and movie files too, and the great thing for Education is that kids can preview at every stage and improve their work as they go.
When you're finished then export in iBook format and share with anybody using an iPad. And, if its something you're really proud of you could always go world-wide with it and publish it to iTunesU.
To help you get started O' Reilly Publishers have made available a FREE ebook 'Publishing with iBooks Author' - download it now!

...and there's even more - Widgets
In addition to the fantastic tools available in this app, iBooks Author also comes with six widgets to add interactive elements to your iBooks.  
Even better news is that this list of widgets is expanding all the time! If you have an idea for a widget let them know by sending them a message.

  • Class Widgets - No need to install anything, simply click on the Wizard and download an auto-generated widget.
  • Interactive timeline images - Make your own interactive Timeline 
  • Embed YouTube clips - Play YouTube videos fullscreen within an iBook
  • Embed Vimeo clips - Loads a streaming Vimeo video
  • Embed Google Maps (coming soon) - View a fullscreen map within your iBook
  • Live Polling Widget (coming soon) - Create a live poll within your iBook
    Why not have a go today at making your own book!
For more information contact me:

Get more from PurpleMash

Add-on Extras for Purple Mash

  • 2Simple French
  • 2Simple Spanish and 
  • 2Start English  
This means that you will always have access to these titles, without any further payments required whenever you renew your subscription for PurpleMash. And the big plus of course is that all of these activities can be accessed at school and home.......Why not add a PurpleMash link to your school website and increase the traffic to it at the same time - a great way for children to work from home and also get parents to visit your website for additional information!
2Simple Spanish  £200
Purple Mash Annual Prices for 2012:
  • Very small school <50 pupils £250
  • Small school 51-120 pupils £350
  • Medium school 121-400 pupils £600
  • Large school 401-600 pupils £750
  • Very large school 600+ pupils £900

Dont forget you can try before you buy! - arrange for a free trial of Purple Mash in your school.....

To arrange a 4 week FREE trial of PurpleMash or for more information contact me:  - 07976 411492

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Free Auryn Book Apps in March 2012

If you work with primary children then set a reminder to check Auryn's Facebook page every day in March.

To celebrate National Reading Month, Auryn Inc has decided to offer one title FREE every day, all month long in March 2012! I already have several of Auryn's book apps and I can really recommend them for young children.

So why not start making some space now on your ipad for the 31+ apps by Auryn:

Check out this link to their press release:

For more information contact me:

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Free File Conversion Tools

I come across lots of teachers that run into problems with file conversions.  In my line of work, I too need to have several options for saving or converting music or video files working on a Mac or an iPad but providing final projects which can be viewed on a PC in WMV format.  The key thing to remember is that it can be done, easily and for free.  There are several file conversion sites online available to you and Ive the listed my top three below that I use all the time.

For smaller file conversions try Zamzar (<100mb)  Zamzar is very easy to use and will convert the following files: image, document, video, music, e-book and miscellaneous in just four very easy to follow steps.

So, lets say for example you have downloaded a YouTube video but the download is in .flv format, and you want to share with your class via an iPad but .flv files cannot be viewed on the iPad. Simply convert the file to an .m4v file and on the iPad, open in iMovie from your Photo Gallery and you're ready to edit the movie or export as an .m4v type. It really is that easy....
  • Step 1 - Browse for the file you want to convert; 
  • Step 2 - Choose the file type you want to convert it to; 
  • Step 3 - Enter your email address and the final step
  • Step 4 - Click Convert to start the process. 
  • An email is sent to you with a link for you to 'collect' your converted file.
For larger files I like to use Handbrake 

This product offers a free trial and is also very simple, intuitive and effective - it really is a no-brainer!  Handbrake allows you to convert DVD, video and audio files.  
  • To get started, first of all you need to download the "Wondershare Converter Ultimate" application onto your computer, which is straightforward.  Then locate this application and begin the conversion process.
  • Step 1 - Import the file/s you want to convert; 
  • Step 2 - Select the output format you want; 
  • Step 3 - Start the conversion
  • But Handbrake offers so much more should you want it..... it is also a a basic video-editing package where you can trim, crop, adjust video and add subtitles or watermarks online. Have fun making your own movie trailers!
The third file conversion tool I like to use is FileWiggler 
for files of < 200mb

It works in a similar way to Zamzar, allowing conversion of audio and video files very quickly and like the others its free. 
  • Step 1 - Just upload your file; 
  • Step 2 - Select the format you want to convert to
  • Step 3 - Final step just hit GO! 
  • FileWiggler will send a link of the converted file to your email. It's that Simple! 
For more information contact me:

Thursday, March 01, 2012

The Raspberry Pi

Powered by Linux, costs a fraction of other computers, and now available as Raspberry PiThere have been rumblings about the very low cost, education-focused Raspberry Pi for some time, but this week "Pi" was officially announced to the world. Raspberry Pi devices come without the usual peripherals: keyboard, mouse, or monitor - but it offers other capabilities.......
The £14 Model A now includes 256MB of RAM while the £22 Raspberry Pi Model B includes an Ethernet port and two USB ports, among other enhancements. The Raspberry Pi has been designed to inspire schoolchildren and adults to program and learn this much talked about under-the-bonnet computing. 

Raspberry Pi
The Raspberry Pi Device
The aim behind the device is for the next generation to learn to control computers, rather than be controlled by them. And as the first versions go on sale there has been an overwhelming demand!

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