THE App Of The Week
App of the Week is a new feature here on Faculty Focus written by Dave Yearwood, PhD, associate professor and chair of the technology department at the University of North Dakota. Dave is an avid collector of apps and is always on the lookout for new ones that can improve student learning or simply make academic life more organized, productive and fun. Through this column, he’ll provide tips for getting started, app reviews, best practices, sneak peeks, and more. Guest contributors will provide reviews as well.
CURRENT ARTICLE • February 22nd, 2013
The Doceri interactive whiteboard and screencast recorder app, like the Splashtop app I reviewed earlier, is useful to anyone wishing to remotely control a projected image from a connected computer, make screen annotations on what is displayed (you can make the annotations on a displayed image or a whiteboard), and send your creation for others to see. The thing I liked the most about using Doceri is the ease with which recorded audio and screen annotations can be made and the ability to send/post the finished product to a LMS or similar system for students to access. This app can save you the expense associated with costly classroom whiteboards and the controls in the app are easy to navigate.
OTHER RECENT ARTICLES
February 8 - ScreenChomp App Review: Recordable Whiteboard Provides Easy Way to Create, Explain and Share
ScreenChomp is a free, yet highly intuitive and powerful app that you and your students can quickly master. To use ScreenChomp you simply touch the record button; draw on the whiteboard using the available pen or markers; and provide a running narrative. ScreenChomp records your voice and drawing and then allows you to upload your creation to ScreenChomp.com. After uploading your project, you will be provided with a link which you can share via e-mail, Twitter, or on the clipboard. Nothing could be easier than that!
In preparing for my own dissertation research, I began getting electronic copies of journal articles so that I would not be burdened with lots of paper copies and for better file organization. I also did not want to read the copies while sitting at my computer but to use my iPad instead. While reading any journal article there is a need to markup the copy with personal notes, highlights, underlines, and other helpful markings so I needed a program that would allow me to do that on my mobile device.
Back in July I reviewed PickMeBuzzer and concluded that, while the app has a lot of potential, it needs some work to make it more intuitive and stable.
Well, after working with the PickMeBuzzer app designer, I can tell you that I am now very pleased with the app and have in fact used it a couple times in my class with great success. Here are step-by-step instructions for using it with a Jeopardy-like class activity.
November 16 - App Review: CloudOn
Cloud users have a variety of options for accessing content as well as the option of using any number of apps to create content, e.g. documents, spreadsheets, and presentations just to name a few. Many of the available apps in the iTunes store and Google Play even mimic computer application programs that most of us use on a daily basis and CloudOn is one such app.
What is the biggest frustration you have with your iPad? Oops, forget that I ever asked that question! Really, I think most individuals like their iPads. However, there are just a few things we all wished that Apple would include on the iPad, like a USB port to give us access to our ‘stuff.’ Everyone has, at some time, experienced one or two things on portable devices: 1. You never have enough memory, or 2. Your data is not all in the same place! For iPad users, unless you have access to cloud storage, there really is no convenient way (outside of using iTunes on your computer) to get data into your iPad to work on because of the lack of a slot or port that will allow you to access external storage units.
September 21 - App Review: Socrative
There is nothing quite like real-time feedback to determine if students really got it! Just about every faculty experiences that look—students’ eyes indicating that they understand or do not understand the explanation given or the conclusions just drawn. But how do we really know that our students are not merely acting the part when they nod in agreement, trying to get us to believe that they understand something when they do not? I have no idea what is really taking place behind those eyes or what is going on in a students’ brain so this is where Socrative comes to the rescue.
September 7 - App of the Week: Noteshelf
I have a lot of apps. That is not surprising because as anyone knows, few apps are capable of doing everything they promise much less doing everything well. So, given the number of note-taking apps I already own, why am I still looking for that perfect note-taking app? Well, I have a confession to make: my penmanship is not the best but, at least, I can read it and what I am really after is an app that makes my handwriting on the iPad look and feel like what I write using pen/pencil and paper. That, more than anything else, has been the biggest impediment to me making the switch to total electronic note-taking.
August 3 - App Review: Splashtop Whiteboard
I have been looking for a reliable iPad app that would allow me to remotely connect and control my PC or Mac and I finally found one that works well! The app is Whiteboard by Splashtop and the wireless connection between iPad and PC/Mac is seamless and dependable. Connection is a HUGE issue when working with wireless technologies because the last thing that any presenter wants is to spend time figuring out technical glitches. Configuring Whiteboard requires that both iPad and Mac/PC are connected to the same WiFi, which admittedly can be a problem on most campuses for security or other reasons. My simple work around is to use an ad hoc network (an Airport Express will do just fine) if all I want to do is have wireless control of my PC or Mac from the iPad. Another option is to use a MiFi assuming you have one.
July 20 - App Review: PickMeBuzzer
I enjoy working with students and believe that learning can be a fun activity. Today there are some interesting ways to introduce elements of fun in classroom activities using stand-along buzzer systems—wired and WiFi—but these can be very expensive and a bit bulky.