Sam Harrelson



Sam Harrelson

Reality Shifts Aren’t Novelties

Fantastic post that answers many of the “iPad is a fad and has no place in our schools” critics…

TeachPaperless: Novelty, Huh?: “As for the specific case of the iPad, it’s hardly an ideal device if you are looking for a catch-all. I’m especially concerned about the closed nature of the system and the emphasis on sales at the app store and on iBooks. But it is a device that speaks to several of the important features of our time, most importantly: mobile and accessible instant Internet connectivity. And I would argue that to see the iPad as a fad is to miss the bigger picture: the iPad only exists within the context of a mobile-connected world. That mobile-connected world is not a novelty; that’s a paradigm and a reality.”

Go read the whole thing.




iPads and Classroom Essentials

This is a wonderful walkthrough by Fraser Speirs on how his school (Cedars School of Excellence in the UK)implemented an “iPad for Every Student” initiative and some of the resulting reflections the school has made.

I’m prodding my beloved Spartanburg Day School to do the same (at an annoyingly daily rate, I’m sure).

However, I was arrested for a moment when I came to this passage in the post…

An iPad for every child | Tablets | Macworld: “We are now at the stage where the iPad is embedded in the way we do business at the school. When we first started, we thought we could guard against misuse by threatening to take away the child’s iPad for a day or so. It turns out that doing so would now completely break the school day for that child. We might as well make them sit in the hallway and face the wall for the entire day. I did not expect that we would reach that point so soon.”

I hadn’t really considered how integrated a tool like an iPad could become to a classroom or a school. I have a “class” iPad that we use but we’ve only begun to scratch the surface of its possibilities and being that there’s only one to go around, it’s more difficult for students to dig deeper than note taking or quick reference searches with the device (although more and more students are getting iPads and bringing them to school).

However, I’ve purposely gone half the year now without renting the “laptop carts” which carry 18 white Macbooks for class. I have a very liberal policy when it comes to technology in my classroom (allow iPods, earbuds, iPads, mobiles… and even Androids to be used at a student’s discretion), but I don’t want the students to feel as if the laptops are a crutch to fall back on when we need to find material, make a connection or prove a point.

I guess that’s the same reason I keep a “mimimalist” look to my classroom with as few things on the wall etc as possible. It’s a science lab, but we’re just meeting in that room temporarily. I don’t want my students (or myself) to get fooled by the notion that the room itself is where science happens. Instead, I want them to look out the window at the beautiful dogwood just outside my classroom and realize that is their true classroom where all the lab supplies lie.

Everything in my classroom is very modular and utilitarian. The laptops could certainly serve as part of that utilitarian design, but I’d rather let student discretion and need drive the decision to use the web or an IM or a text message rather than saying, “Today, we will use the internet!” for a lesson.

I’m moving to a larger room next year with proper lab tables, gas lines, a chemical closet (and even an office). It will be interesting to see if my thinking changes then.

Regardless, I wonder if/when my dream of having iPads deployed across our school happens if we’ll have the same sudden realization about their essential nature to our character as a school. I also wonder about the ramifications if that does happen?




Keynote and Learning Experiences

The new beta functionality of playing Keynote presentations anywhere (well, anywhere there’s a browser, iPad, iPhone or iPod) is major for me…

iWork.com – The Great Wall

Most of the lessons or quick points I want to cover with my students are done on Keynote. We’ve always been able to watch them over the projector at school, of course. I’ve also uploaded the slides to the iWork.com beta site.

However, they were never able to play the presentation and get the full experience of the transitions and effects.

Now that has changed. Plus, with more and more of my students getting iOS devices, they can have that same experience in a mobile or tablet context.

That’s awesome.




I Love Dan Bricklin’s Note Taker HD App


You can use Note Taker HD to take notes, sketch diagrams, quickly and easily jot down names, phone numbers, to-do items, directions, and more. Pages are flexibly organized by date/time last modified, tags, favorites, and more, with thumbnail images of part of each page to help you find them later. Pages may be grouped together as multiple “sheets”. You can also email one or more pages as a single PDF file. VGA output is supported with zoom and pan.

I’ve been using Bricklin’s Note Taker app on my iPhone since last December, but the Note Taker HD app on my new iPad is simply extraordinary.

I cannot wait to get into the lab with my 8th grade students and jot down notes and observations that we can use to better communicate their findings in our Physical Science class next year.

Thank you again for all you do, Dan.




I Totally Just Tried to Scroll Up by Touching My Macbook Pro’s Screen. iPad Has Changed Me.




My Laptop’s Operating System

I have a school issued (white) MacBook 13′ that I’ve been using the last few weeks when I need a computer (besides my iPhone). It’s great that we have MacBooks for teachers and students. However, since we are also transitioning to Google Apps (thankfully) and everything I do is mostly cloud-based, I don’t see much of the shiny Mac OSX operating system.

Instead, this is what I see and use as my main operating system (Firefox).




GeekToMe 6: Freemiums and Netbooks

Affiliate Marketing Legend and all-around geek Todd Crawford and I are back with episode six of our weekly podcast, GeekTo.Me.

We had a ton of fun doing the show and it’s (in my opinion) our best show yet. We definitely keep getting better and better (and geekier and geekier) every week.

So, if you’ve got the stomach for some heavy geek lifting, give it a shot.

The show runs about an hour.

http://www.hipcast.com/playweb?audioid=Pfe44ba46557327b5b5fb78d62425141cbF98QFREYmN9&buffer=5&shape=6&fc=FFFFFF&pc=CCFF33&kc=FFCC33&bc=FFFFFF&brand=1&player=ap24

MP3 File

Show Notes:
Freemium vs Premium
Google with OpenID
Google Notebook, Evernote or BackPack?
Netbooks vs iPhones
Mac Adoption with the Kids
iPhone App Restrictions
Android
Windows 7: Will It Save Microsoft?
Linux Desktops and New Ubuntu
Google Maps on iPhone
Hulu
Mint.com and Stupid web2.0 names
eCommerce is Big in Japan
Todd’s Picks: Fring, Panolab, Classic eBook Reader
Sam’s Picks: Everest, VoteReport

GeekTo.Me 6: Freemiums




Todd and Sam’s Geeky Podcast

Todd Crawford and I recorded our first (in a series) of weekly podcasts focused on all things geeky (gadgets, web2.0, new sites, etc).

The show runs about an hour and I thought it was one of he best podcasts I’ve done in a while.

http://www.hipcast.com/playweb?audioid=P3b69097de17a55471ec5e2b493ca1b5ebF98QFREYmN2&buffer=5&shape=6&fc=FFFFFF&pc=CCFF33&kc=FFCC33&bc=FFFFFF&brand=1&player=ap27
MP3 File

Here are the topics:

– New iPods (and 2.1 software)
– iPhone apps
DropBox
Yammer
BearHug Camp
chi.mp
– Netbooks and the culture of streaming
– Macbook Batteries
– Two Fingers

Give it a listen and let us know what you think. Shows will be published every Friday and run about an hour in length.