Tag Archives: iPad




In comparing the products, this is how I would juxtapose them.

Twitter is to iPod Shuffle, as Instagram is to iPod Nano, as Tumblr is to iPhone, as WordPress is to iPad.


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Which iPad App do you think is better for education?

The iOS home screen.

Which iPad App do you think is better for education?

This list was compiled at an IB regional conference in the Hague by Fons van den Berg and Mark Pentleton
Basketball Score Board HD can be used to count points and iFlip Timer for iPad is showcased as a good timer



Posted by on November 8, 2011 in Education, Technology


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Topic Selection for Mini-Dissertation

This blog post explains the process I went through to choose a topic for a mini-dissertation.  The purpose of this assignment is to reflect upon my method, to focus on grammar and citing, and forces me to deliberate upon the choices I am making.


Today’s students are at an advantage over teachers in relation to technology.  They are described by Marc Prensky (2001) as digital natives, who were born with it surrounding them, versus educators who are considered digital immigrants, because they have not had it around them their whole life.  Given this information, educators still need to enable young learners with the best possible tech solutions.

Problems in technology facing the learner from an educators point of view include, but are not limited to: time constraints; availability of technology; prior knowledge; teacher’s ability and acquaintance with the technology; class size and class differentiation, which affects teachers ability to work closely with students in need of help; and outside elements, including physical surroundings, classroom management of the teacher; and more.

Robert C. Wicklei amasses 580 other issues in the paper “Identifying Critical Issues and Problems In Technology Education Using A Modified-Delphi Technique”, where he separates the difficulties into Present issues, Future issues, Present problems, and Future Problems.

This study focuses on one specific element, not addressed in Wicklei’s study, with regards to technology and early years.  The issue focus is:

“How can primary education professionals use iPads to help students of early ages with fine motor skills?”

In tackling this question there need to be certain assumptions.  The first is that students understand cause and effect.  At a young age, students might not realize that if something takes place, a reaction to that occurrence is likely to happen.  For example, a child needs to understand that a button click will turn the device on and a certain swipe of one or two fingers will render certain results.  If this is not the case it needs to be taught in order for the study to work.

The second assumption is that students want to use the iPad devices.  “The iPad made its debut on the electronic market in January 2010. But it was not available to the public until April. Since then, its popularity has skyrocketed.” (Ybarra, 2011)

The third assumption is that primary education professionals will use this technology.  While I am working at the school I can see to it that this occurs. I hope the legacy continues when I leave.  In order for it to do so, I anticipate proving the worth of iPads to educators.  This, in turn, will hopefully promote their use within the community.

The fourth assumption is also my hypothesis.  It is that iPads help students with fine motor skills.  I need to research tools and analysis techniques that will be used to prove this conjecture.  If the hypothesis demonstrates that it will be too difficult to substantiate in the constrained amount of time, I might need to restructure it.

Problem in relation to current specialization

The brushed aluminum back of the iPad Wi-Fi

Image via Wikipedia

Currently, I am a technology integration specialist working with Primary teachers and students from Preschool (age 3+) to grade 6.  My school administration has asked me to research the question “How can primary education professionals use iPads to help students of early ages with fine motor skills?”  The time allotment and dates for this research will be determined collaboratively with classroom teachers.   The applications to focus upon are yet to be chosen.


Approximately 40 students aged 3-7 in Preschool, Prep and Grade 1.  Students are from middle-upper class families and must hold an international passport, apart from a Turkish one.


Students, as of last year and previous years, in Preschool, Prep and Grade 1 have been going to discrete technology classes.  The school has decided to incorporate technology into classroom teaching.  I will pilot a study using two iPads with groups of eight to sixteen students in which I examine the ease of use, the differences between laptops and desktops, the excitement factors and the ability for gain with fine motor skills.

I plan to work with classes who are in session and pull out select students in order to record and examine results.  The classes may be technology classes, or they may be other classes; for example: math, science, language, etc.


There are limitations with resources, with only two iPads available for use at a time.  This might skew results because a more individualized mode of instruction will be applied during the study versus real life situations.  Small group settings work more efficiently than large class sizes. “(a) a significant benefit accrues to students in reduced-size classes in both subject areas and (b) there is evidence that minority students in particular benefit from the smaller class environment…” (Finn & Achilles, 2011)

Reason for passion about this topic

I have six reasons that I am passionate about this topic.  They are as follows:

  1. iPads are easy to use“The iPad and the iPhone, on the other hand, are easy to use. Much like the original iPods, they’re simply intuitive. The app store is easy to navigate. The OS, while locked up for most end users, is pretty well stable and won’t break.” (Warbiany, 2010)
  2. iPads are fun“The smartphones don’t disappear into our children’s rooms; rather, it is the iPad that our children (and our spouses) have decided is fun enough to grab.” (Trautschold & Mazo, 2011)
  3. iPads have a certain status attached to them our parent demographic finds appealing – This could be a study unto itself, but I am assuming our parent demographic is largely made up of a well-to-do crowd correlating the fact that tuition costs between $20,000 – $35,000 USD per year.  “As expected within the classic early-adopter profile, we identified a male skew in the 35-44 age group among these early users. In fact, among all users, men outnumber women 2:1. Given the economy, people with higher earning power were probably the first to buy the iPad” (Hung, 2010)
  4. iPads are sturdy, if hard cases are bought for them“If you get an iPad, make sure to buy a protective case for it.   [However, c]ompared to the iPhone, Apple’s latest tech toy is more prone to easy damage. Its well-coated screen is literally scratch-proof… an average-weight adult can sit on the iPad without inflicting any damage.” (Moynihan, 2010)
  5. iPads support education“In a highly-controlled scientific study, ACU students who used an iPad to annotate text performed at a rate 25 percent higher on questions regarding transfer of information than their counterparts who used only paper.” (Abilene Christian University, 2011)
  6. Apple supports education with hardware solutions “Apple iPad Learning Labs… The cart can store, charge, and sync up to 30 iPad devices and has room for a MacBook computer…” (Apple, 2011)

Critical Thinking Path to arrive at this choice

The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts decorated ...

Image via Wikipedia

As noted in the “Thinking outside the Box” discussion, the process I embarked on first utilized brainstorming with nine revisions to arrive at a color coded, connected, and refined scope where I determined that I would focus on iPads in education to help students of early ages with fine motor skills.

The process involved jotting down thoughts, organizing them, color coding for easier recognition of groups, connecting concepts, reconstructing layouts, making additions and subtractions to initial ideas, and finalizing structures to manageable results.

After this process was complete, I researched scholarly fields to find what, if any, empirical evidence was available.  Very little research has been conducted, probably due to the timeframe for which this technology has been available.  The iPad has only been available to consumers for over a year.  Academic studies and ideas surrounding this technology are sparse to non-existent.  Therefore much of the research will be generated or done using blog and website cross-referencing.  The cross-referencing should ensure that sources are producing unbiased, non-promoting results.

The idea about the use of technology in education is based on the behaviorism idea that “[i]nnovations that were a part of programmed instruction include recognition that effective nonhuman mediated instruction could be developed and that evolution and revision of the materials through an empirical test of their effects could improve the effectiveness of instruction” (Smith & Ragan, 2005)  Using iPads with this intention fits tightly into this notion.

Ultimately, my intention is to examine further implications intended for nonspecialist audiences.  I plan to view my results alongside other similar studies looking for corollary evidence substantiating and articulating my hypothesis that iPads help students with fine motor skills.  With this verification, I plan to identify best practice through an Instructional Design lens.


Abilene Christian University. (2011, September 19). ACU Research Sheds Light on Mobility in Teaching, Learning. Retrieved October 23, 2011, from Abilene Christian University :

Apple. (2011). Apple in Education. Retrieved October 23, 2011, from

Argyris, C., & Schon, D. A. (1974). Theory in Practice – Increasing Professional Effectiveness. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

Dr. Suzanne Dunn, D. C. (2011). Creative Inquiry: Thinking Outside the Box. Retrieved October 19, 2011, from Creative Inquiry:

Finn, J. D., & Achilles, C. M. (2011). Answers and Questions About Class Size: A Statewide Experiment. American Educational Research Journal , 173 (12), 1468-1474.

Hung, G. (2010, May 6). Apple iPad User Analysis. Retrieved October 23, 2011, from Y! Mobile Blog:

Moynihan, T. (2010, April 5). iPad stress tests: Don’t drop it, and buy a case. Retrieved October 23, 2011, from MacWorld:

Olsen, L. (2011). Creative Inquiry: Pre-Writing Techniques. Retrieved October 19, 2011, from Creative Inquiry:

Paul, R., & Elder, L. (2001). Critical Thinking – Tools for taking charge of your learning and your life (2nd Edition). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

Prensky, M. (2001, October). Digital Natives Digital Immigrants. Retrieved October 23, 2011, from,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf

Smith, P. L., & Ragan, T. J. (2005). Instructional Design (Third Edition). Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Trautschold, M., & Mazo, G. (2011). Games and Fun – Chapter 22. Retrieved October 23, 2011, from

Warbiany, B. (2010, April 5). Is The iPad Too Easy To Use? Retrieved October 23, 2011, from The Liberty Papers:

Wicklei, R. C. (1993). Identifying Critical Issues and Problems In Technology Education Using A Modified-Delphi Techniqu. Journal of Technology Education , 5 (1), 54-71.

Ybarra, M. (2011, January 19). iPads instead of textbooks: College students enjoy new technology. El Paso Times . El Paso, Texas.


Posted by on October 23, 2011 in Education, Technology


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Gone are keyboards: Surface Computing


Schools are eager to become 1:1 with laptop programs, but they are wrong with this kind of thinking.  Gone will be the days of mice and keyboards.  The 5:1 and 4:1 classrooms are those of the future for tech-heavy, well-endowed and ‘lucky’ schools. What do these programs consist of? Let’s look:

  1. Projector / with Mimio, Smartboard, or Promethian – no keyboards
  2. Wacom Tablets and All-in-one Multitouch Computers – no keyboards
  3. Surface Computers, like Windows / Samsung Surface Computers – no keyboards
  4. Tablets, like iPads, Samsung Galaxy Tab, Asus Eee Pad, Motorolla Xoom (My choice) – no keyboards
  5. Smart phones using Swype technology– no keyboards

And maybe a notebook here and there with a keyboard for my grandma.  But let’s be done with the rows and rows of computer desktop classrooms.


I am hoping that provocative questions like these are proof enough:


What does this mean for schools and educators?  This means:

  • Different ideas for the budget.
  • Continued training for teachers about how to use these devices.
  • Technology Integration Specialists, instead of classroom technology teachers
  • Allowing students to bring their devices to school
  • Supporting student devices, both physically, through networking and academically, with authentic connections to lessons
  • Everyone needs New ways of thinking.

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Google to teach speaking


You might not sound as smart as you think, especially if you consider how you sound in a foreign country.  Maybe you think your pronunciation is great, but you can’t understand why no one gets what you are trying to say.  There are things that you can do to practice.  One of the best sources I have recently been referred on to was Rosetta Stone (RS).  The reason I like it is because the software ensures reading, writing, connecting thoughts, listening AND SPEAKING!

It does not translate words for you.  At first I thought this was a silly way of learning, but after going through the RS system for a while I realized that building upon reference ideas and then repeating them was a great way to learn.  The drawback, however, is the cost.  (£149.00)  In that case, I have a workaround answer for you, but I will get to that after I have shown you proof that the RS system works.


While researching for proof that Rosetta Stone was the best way to learn online or off out on the market, I found some contrasting evidence.  Some people spoke very highly of the product, such as these reviews:

Without a doubt the highest praise went to the ease with which reviewers were learning. Courses were described as being instinctive and natural, even though many had been skeptical about there being no English on the Rosetta Stone software. A lot of learners said that their children were also following their course and were enjoying the quizzes and games. Rosetta Stone seems to be engaging for any age group. The pace seemed to be appropriate, and many users liked a feature of the CD-ROM where it automatically started each session with a quick review of what was previously studied.  (

Rosetta Stone helps you learn 31 various languages spoken all round the world. It dishes some different and interesting techniques to get accomplish to the languages you want in your armory. People who want to study languages difficult to understand for fun or individuals who loves incomprehensible languages, should also give Rosetta Stone a try.  (

However, this review was only a partial glimpse:

Some people will get benefit out of Rosetta Stone. I can see how it would happen. I did indeed learn something from this program, including having my first ever conversation in Dutch, which gave me an enormous boost of confidence.(

A further read of this same reviewing would show you this review as well:

Injecting this confidence is something that Rosetta Stone does very well but to be honest the time would have been much better spent on other tasks.  (

With that said, I have to personally say that I can see the benefit and enjoyment factor present with the RS method.  If you have time, it is worth giving it a try to see if the slightly expensive system is worth it to you.  If not, read on and maybe I have some alternative solutions.


There are many free websites to learn another language.  A good example of an English site for this is  Like most, it allows you to read, to write and sometimes even listen, but the sites do not include speaking.

Along comes Google!

I figured this out when my wife, who is not a native English speaker was trying to use the Google VoiceSearch found when you are using Chrome as your browser.

She was having the toughest time.  It was a little funny, especially when I heard what she was trying to say and what was coming up on Google.  For example, she might try to say, “Samui, Thailand” and it comes up, “Simile Highland”.  It takes some practice.  Sometimes it is even necessary for me, as a native English speaker to hear what she is saying and tell her to say the word(s) with more enunciation or inflection on a certain part.  How Google works well, is it confirms automatically where I might say to her, as her teacher, that she is saying something incorrectly, but she doesn’t hear it herself.  She might insist she is saying it correctly, but I have no proof.

Well, now I do.

This Google App is available on iPhones, iPads and I am sure lots of other devices.  Because of this, it means teachers can carry it around for students who are trying to pronounce something for immediate confirmation about whether what they are saying is said correctly or not.

All-in-all, I love the idea.  I hope to apply it through technology integration in classrooms, by carrying around a smart phone and pulling it out when the need is there.

Who says we should ban phones in schools?  With enough ingenuity there are plenty of authentic applications for them.  Now, if I can justify spending $15,000 for Microsoft’s MS Surface Table to the school, that would be neat.


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I wonder when they will start making this?

The three coolest things I have seen lately are the Fujitzu 4 in 1 Bento Box, the Sixth Sense by Pranav Mistry and this concept phone, which is pretty slick.

All three devices are moving away from the touch keyboard the way we know it.  As I mentioned in the Bento Box article, I like the tactile feel of a nice keyboard, but I was sitting in an ISTEC meeting the other day taking notes on my iPad with the touchscreen keyboard, and I felt this was something I could get used to.  This would especially be true if it was not something that I was brought up with.

I was talking with a PYP computer teacher the other day and she was saying that little kids seem to have a much faster learning curve on an iPad versus computers with a traditional mouse and keyboard.  This idea led me to thinking about a question posed at the ISTEC meeting, “What are fundamental skills that all students should have by the time they graduate from high-school?” and a group member thought one part of the answer was “touch typing skills”

I wonder if this will actually be a skill set in the future.  I guess we will have to just wait and see.  In the meantime, I can’t wait to add more new gadgets that make my jaws drop when I see them to this list.  Enjoy the earlier jumps and the following video.


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Necessary tricks for the iPad

The following list are some not-so-obvious iPad tricks that everyone should know about:

  • Screenshots

    To take a screenshot, simply press the “Sleep/Wake-Power” button along with the “Home” button at the same time
  • Turn off Programs running

    Double click your “Home” button. After doing this you will notice a bottom display arise. Press and hold an icon. They will all start to jiggle…They will also have little red “x”s in the top-left corner. Press these in order to shut off programs that are running in the background. This will save on battery life.
  • Combining programs

    To add programs to a cluster like you see in the picture above, Click and Hold a program until it start to jiggle. Drag the program on to another icon. It will automatically create a cluster and will try to name it for you. You can rename it if you would like.
  • Selecting

    While on text, if you would like to select, copy, cut, paste: double click on the text you would like to affect. It will automatically ask you if you would like to do any of the above mentioned tasks. If you would like to select more, drag the little blue dots to the left or to the right of the word until you are selecting precisely.
  • Undo

    Just Shake it! Ha ha. Neat.

Posted by on April 17, 2011 in Technology


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