14 way to Use your iPhone or iPad Better

Level tool on iPhone

Level tool on iPhone

Although the tips are demonstrated with an iPhone, most of them also apply on the iPad (not 7, 11 nor 13). I encourage you to actually try each of the demonstrations yourself, using your iDevice. I’d love to hear which one is the most useful to you. Tell me in a comment or in the hallway. I never knew that you could use the timer to stop music, a podcast, or whatever you’re playing! I also didn’t know about using the compass as a level.


Bonus: Enable the “.” shortcut to automatically enter a period using a double space.

Try the "." shortcut too

Try the “.” shortcut too

And now, for the 14 tips, from PandasCanEatYourTech:

Manage you Google Account with My Account

Screen Shot 2015-06-02 at 09.30.34

Google has introduced a new page to let you manage your security and privacy settings across Google products in one place.Google settingsThere is an incredible amount of information on the various pages hyperlinked, and it can be a bit overwhelming if you are not technically inclined. I suggest completing the Security Check-up and Privacy Check-up.

The security check-up checks your recovery information, connected devices, account permissions and gmail settings. The privacy check-up checks your Google + settings, phone numbers, Youtube settings, account history and Ads settings.

Move E-mail from one Google Account to Another

Follow the instructions in the video to move your email from one Google Account to another. Note that the process takes a little while depending on how much e-mail you have in the initial account. This process will continue to work until your initial account is closed/deleted. If you prefer written instructions, check this page by Google Support.

Note that you can decide if to keep messages in the original e-mail account, and how to organize transferred mail (into a folder and/or into archives).


Thanks to @blacklinemaster for the video recommendation.

Keep a Record of your Edublogs blog


There are several reasons why you may want to keep an archive of your posts on an Edublogs site. These include:

  • you’re leaving a school and will lose access of your site
  • you would like to keep an archive of your year
  • You would like to collate a series of posts for your eportfolio

It is a good idea to export your Edublog site as an xml file. This will allow you to upload your posts to a new blog e.g. a free one at http://www.wordpress.org or http://www.blogger.com (make sure that you register/login with a personal google account, not your work account). The xml file will contain your posts and comments. When you import the xml file into a new blog, the new blog will try to make copies of your media from your old blog; this means that the old blog must still be online. Note that this process sometimes fails.

Whether or not you’re successful creating a new blog that’s an image of your old blog, you may be interested in accessing your old blog as an ebook. It is not possible to “read” an xml file. If you want to read your posts without creating a new blog, it is a good idea to create an ebook from your posts. I have tested* the following sites with okay results (details follow):

  • http://www.blogbooker.com/ saves in pdf format with good formatting; book in chronological order; includes images and links to online video/sites
  • http://bloxp.com saves in epub format with no media and little formatting; book in reverse chronological order; embedded media ignored. Limit of 250 posts.
  • http://blog2book.pothi.com/app/ saves in pdf format with images; book in reverse chronological order; embedded media ignored; 100 posts limit within the given time range; only includes posts within the last year.

If you’ve embedded media in your blog by uploading them directly to Edublogs, you may want to download them. This is also important if you haven’t imported your xml file into a new blog or if you had any problems copying the media into the new blog from the old blog. Since you uploaded the media to your blog in the first place, you probably have it saved on your computer (and have backed it up). If that’s not the case, you can use DownThemAll on Firefox. It’s the best tool that I’ve found for this purpose. Even if you’re a devout Chrome or Safari user, pull out Firefox for this task.


How to Download Media with DownThemAll

  1. Install the DownThemAll addon to Firefox
  2. Log in to your Edublogs site dashboard and go go the Media page
  3. For each of your media pages:
    1. Go to Tools | DownThemAll Tools | DownThemAll!…
    2. Go to Pictures and Media and press Start!
    3. The files will be saved in your default downloads folder. I suggest creating a folder and moving all your blog backup items (including the media) into that folder.

* I tested all three options about a year ago to assist teachers who were moving. I  checked the documentation to confirm process/features.

QR Code Generators and Readers

A QR codes is a 2D barcode that acts as a shortcut to all types of information. A QR code can link you to a video, a website, text, photos, maps, or any other type of information that is online. Text can also be embedded into a QR code.

To use QR codes, you need one of two tools: a QR code generator and/or a QR code reader. A QR code generator is used for creating a QR code while a reader decodes the QR code to access the information that it links to.

4 QR code generators

  1. QR4 lets you create QR codes for many different types of information, and to add a label to the QR code. This is my favorite QR code creator but there are ads on the page, which causes me to hesitate to share it with students.
  2. No frills website to quickly create a QR code in black and white.
  3. QRstuff is free to use and you do not need an account to generate a QR code, which can be colored. QR codes have unlimited lives. Accounts give you additional features such as analytics.
  4. Visualead leds you superimpose a QR code on a photo. You must have an account to use it, and the free account only lets you make 3 QR codes.

2 QR code readers

Both the QR code readers on this list are free. The links are for iOS; similar apps exist for Android.

Comparing Picasa Web Albums and Google+ Photos

You search for Picasa web and click the first result, but instead of the interface that you’re used to, you see a new, unfamiliar page. What’s going on?

Google has integrated Picasa Web Albums with Google+ Photos. When you upload a file to Picasa Web Albums, it also shows up in your Google+ Photos and vice versa. Similar, if you delete a picture in one place, it is also deleted in the other.

google+ photos

Google+ Photos


Picasa Web Albums


In Picasa Web Albums, you can set the permission for your photos and albums as one of three visibility options: Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 11.16.14


I have two albums that are public, one with limited visibility and one private one. See what my albums look like when I am logged into each account:

Albums when logged in to Google+

Albums when logged in to Google+

Albums when logged in to Picasa Web

Albums when logged in to Picasa Web

People who visit my Google + Profile page can only see my public albums:

Google+ Public page

Google+ Public page


To include slideshows to your blog posts, you may upload your photos to either Google+ or Picasa Web Albums, but you must get the slideshow embed code in Picasa Web Albums.

Need help with another step? Post a comment and I’ll be happy to create a blog post for your situation.

Stop Pretending in Education

In education, we have to stop pretending that

  • learning happens in straight lines, neat boxes and perfect circles
  • the adults have the answers, independent of conversations with children and communities and can effectively impart the answers to children
  • technology programs are naturally innovative and transformative
  • we are preparing students for their life and its okay to ignore who they are right now
  • learning can happen even when there is no engagement and fun

Scott McLeod challenged others to participate in a conversation on how to #makeschooldifferent with the prompt “… we have to stop pretending”. In this challenge, I’d like to invite @jmikton, @sbradshaw, @BobsPragueBlog, @elizabethperry and @njtechteacher to participate.

Growing up Online

Digital by Steve Jurvetson CC Licensed

Digital by Steve Jurvetson
CC Licensed

The idea that this generation is growing up online may be cliched, but you only have to visit the Facebook feed of one of your friends with young children to note that children have an online presence before they have much (any) choice about it. Facebook recently added a feature called Scrapbook, which lets you give children under 13 an official presence on the site.

Two things happened today to float this issue to the top of my mind again. In a workshop on Design Thinking and Tinkering with Liz Perry, someone proposed that tinkering and hands-on/active play is vital in schools because too little of it happens at home, and this is often because children are given too much access to technology. Then on my walk home, I listened to an OnBeing podcast conversation between danah boyd and Krista Tippett titled “Online Reflections of Our Offline Lives“. In particular, danah talks about how our current social and family structures, and fear mongering make it hard for children to meet friends to play with and explore (in) their physical world. She contends that even if a parent gives a child the opportunity to do so, it’s meaningless if the child’s friends aren’t also allowed to, and this pushes social activity online. She emphasizes that children are learning behaviors from us, and we serve as models for them of the kinds of activities that they can/should engage in. She advices parents to build a network of adults in a child’s life that the child can have access to for support, help, encouragement, modelling to replace the missing social connections that were traditionally available through nearby family, church, and other networks.

danah talks about the three C’s to consider in digital citizenship: conduct, content and contact. The part that worries parents (and educators) the most is conduct. But what conduct are we modelling for children? What do we expect them to learn from news, reality shows, backbiting and gossip amongst parents, politics and advertising? Drama and interpersonal conflict is rife in amongst adults in our world and from that, children learn the flair for drama, as well as self-bullying. danah sites research that she and Elizabeth Englander did on ask.fm which shows that cruel questions asked by teens are often answered by the questioner to build drama online. danah talks about the fact that teens explore identity online, and that their use of media shifts over time. When people engage online, there are some things that they have control on, and some things (such as search results and archiving) that they do not. If we want children to think creatively and critically to made decisions about their online life, what questions can we ask them to facilitate this? How can we do this questioning in a way that’s nonjudgemental and open to encourage children to think in ways that can result in transformative action?

As a technology instructionalist, I’m wondering how much technology use is too much, and what is developmentally appropriate at different age levels. I’m also wondering about how we can improve our use of technology to mitigate some of the negative impact of our current use. When I look at the creative thinking spiral by Resnick, play and share are key components. This makes me wonder how social is play, and what does online play offer? Children can play alone, but in a constructivist framework, socializing and sharing are important components.

What questions are you grappling with about helping our children navigate the three c’s of contact, content and conduct online? What have you found to be successful with children at various developmental levels?

The Kids Should See This – 10 Ways to Use Video in the Classroom

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The Kids Should See This is a site Rion Nakaya and her two children. Ms. Nakaya explains that she created the site to inspire inquiry and wonder. Visit the site for “smart videos for curious minds of all ages” (quote on site).

Video is a great addition to the classroom. Use it as a hook or tuning in activity, or in a number of other ways. Here are some ideas:

  • lesson hook
  • writing prompt for fiction or nonfiction
  • response in discussion forum or on blog post
  • trigger for creating wonder questions
  • springboard for teaching research skills
  • inspiration for kids to create their own video
  • inspiration for service learning/social activism
  • learn vocabulary
  • entry into creation – have students add on to the story/event

Know that the videos are hosted on external sites, but embedded on the site. Notice that children can click on the word YouTube in the video and get on the YouTube site. When using The Kids Should See This (or other YouTube videos) with students, be sure to let them know to practice safe and responsible use by watching the video as it is embedded, and not clicking on YouTube.

Here’s a cool video from the site on the Moser Lamp (which I just happened to learn about recently at a presentation on Kiva U).

Prioritizing the Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship

Source: http://www.fractuslearning.com/2014/09/09/digital-citizenship-poster/

Mark Ribble contends that there are nine elements of digital citizenship. He invites schools to prioritize the nine components, and consider how they relate to the context and environment of the school. Looking at the nine elements, I tried to prioritize them:

  1. Digital Etiquette – acceptable standards of behaviour online
  2. Digital Access – students have access to technology as they need it throughout the day
  3. Digital Literacy – learning about technology and using technology meaningfully and successfully
  4. Digital communication – sending and receiving information electronically
  5. Digital Rights and Responsibilities – freedoms and responsibilities extended to everyone in the digital world
  6. Digital Health and Wellness – staying healthy physically and mentally within the digital world
  7. Digital Security – electronic precautions for safety
  8. Digital Law – electronic responsibility for actions and deeds
  9. Digital Commerce – buying and selling goods online

However, I’m not comfortable with this sequence because some of the elements go hand in hand. So I decided to organize the elements into tiers:

Tier 1 Tier 2 Tier 3

Digital Access

Digital Etiquette

Digital Literacy

Digital Communication

Digital Rights and Responsibilities

Digital Health and Wellness

Digital Security

Digital Law

Digital Commerce

I’m still not pleased with this organization. You should consider ergonomics (health and wellness) whenever using digital devices, for example, and make sure that media used in projects is creative commons licensed or from the public domain. So maybe the model is less about tiers and more about layers.

Maybe the way to approach digital citizenship is to introduce students to all the components, then to add another layer to deepen understanding of each element as is relevant to other units and lessons in the curriculum. The intent is not to cover digital citizenship and be done, but rather to incorporate digital citizenship into teaching and learning in the classroom, as is developmentally appropriate for students.

How do you approach digital citizenship in your classroom or school? Do you use the 9 elements framework or another framework?


For more information on the 9 elements, see http://www.digitalcitizenship.net/Home_Page.html.