Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Google Drive on the IPad: App vs Browser

Using Google Drive on the IPad can be a bit confusing -- there are several different ways to access it, and each has its own pluses and negatives.  After searching the web for a basic guide that could walk me through the App versus access through the web browser versus web in Desktop Mode, I decided it was time to create one.  So, if you're looking to improve your experience with Google Drive on the IPad, I hope this PDF will come in handy.  I've included screen shots below, and you can access / download it here.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Boston Bruins I.C.E. School

While happily watching the first Bruins game of the season Saturday night, there were a few ads for the new Boston Bruins I.C.E. School. Curious, I hopped online and navigated my way to the I.C.E. School program website. It offers some pretty great FREE curriculum materials for grades K-8. There is an online form you must fill out in order to access the materials.

As you can see in the screen shot below, curriculum resources are sorted by  grade and subject. Sherwood teachers can find ELA, Math, and Science material while Oak teachers can access Math materials, many of which could also be used in 8th grade Science classes.

In addition to the core classes, there are also curriculum materials available for French, PE, and "Miscellaneous" materials that focus on teambuilding and school climate. Why should you consider the curriculum created by the Boston Bruins I.C.E. School? It makes learning fun and relevant, especially for students who are hockey fans!

Here is a sampling of the Bruins I.C.E. School curriculum...

Grade 6 ELA

Lesson 1:  Hockey -- The Basics
Lesson 2: The Bruins in Action
Lesson 3: Perspectives in Hockey
Lesson 4: Accuracy in Reporting
Lesson 5: MVP
Lesson 6: Bruins Hall of Fame

Grade 7 Math

Lesson 1: Rate of Speed 
Lesson 2: Reaction Time 
Lesson 3: Building a Stadium 
Lesson 4: Passing Angle 
Lesson 5: Goalie Angles 

Grade 8 Math

Lesson 1: Area and Volume of a Cylinder
Lesson 2: Using and Applying the Pythagorean Theorem
Lesson 3: Investigating patterns of association in bivariate data
Lesson 4: Investigating patterns of association in bivariate data
Lesson 5: Understanding the connections between proportional relationships 


Lesson 1:  Countries and provinces  (nationalities, languages)
Lesson 2:  Verb : “ĂȘtre”
Lesson 3:  Adjectives
Lesson 4:  Colors
Lesson 5:  -er verbs
Lesson 6:  Hockey terminology - nouns
Lesson 7:  Reading comprehension and Composition

Saturday, January 5, 2013

How to transfer photos and videos from your iPad

Despite all of the apps out there, one of the iPad's greatest features is its camera. Newer models have front and rear-facing cameras that let you take some pretty impressive photos and videos*. All of this media lives in the device's "camera roll" and can be shared with others through email, text messages, Facebook, and photo stream to name a few. Sometimes though, you may want to share many photos, or you may want to transfer all of the photos and videos on your iPad to your laptop. In order to do this, we need to get a little more creative.

*When I talk about "photos and videos", I am referring specifically to the pictures and video you take using the iPad's camera function. The steps below to do not apply to pictures and videos created with an app such as iMovie.

Apple makes it easy for people to sync their photos and videos on the iPad directly to their computer's photo library using iTunes. Unfortunately, this option will not work for you if you are using a school-issued iPad. Shrewsbury teachers are not allowed to plug their iPad into a computer because it will cause management problems. This is a necessary step to set up the syncing process. We must go to Plan B.

Apple's iCloud is a neat feature that lets you store your stuff online. It lets you access your music, documents, photos, calendars, contacts, and more from whatever device you are on. Once iCloud is set up, it automatically syncs things between your iPad, iPhone, and computers.

Take a photo with an iPad, and it will show up on your laptop.
Download a new app on an iPhone, and it will immediately download onto your iPad! Watch the video below for a better sense of how it works.

How to set up iCloud on different devices:

iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch:

Mac laptop or desktop: 

Windows PC:

Dropbox is a free service that lets you sync files across all of your different devices. It is similar to Google Drive and used by a lot of people. I use it as a way of backing up my files and giving me access to my stuff from anywhere. It's much better in my opinion than backing things up to the school server because you can access files in Dropbox from any computer. 

Click on the links below to read some previous tech tips that pertain to Dropbox:

Battle of the cloud storage (April 24, 2012)

Dropbox introduced a new feature earlier this year for their iPad/iPhone app that lets users sync all of the photos and videos in the "camera roll" into their Dropbox account. It creates a new subfolder called "Camera Uploads" in your main Dropbox folder. The media gets synced each time you open the Dropbox iPad or iPhone app. 

In order for this to be really effective, you should have Dropbox installed on your iPad and your laptop. Personally, I do not like iPhoto very much and much prefer having my pictures end up in a Dropbox folder on my computer instead. 

I use Dropbox to sync pictures and video on both my iPad and iPhone so I have everything on my school laptop and home PC, Even if you use Dropbox for nothing other than syncing your photos, I think it's well worth it. The image to the right, for example, is a screen shot I just took of my iPhone. It quickly synced to my laptop, and I was able to post it here within thirty seconds.

Photosync ($1.99) is an app for the iPad/iPhone that lets you easily transfer photos and videos to and from your computer. It also lets you transfer between iOS devices, or you transfer to numerous possible "web services" including Dropbox, Google Drive, Facebook, Google Plus, Flickr, Picassa, etc. If you are looking to transfer files to your computer, there is a free utility you should download to make it easier.

Unlike iCloud and Dropbox, the syncing does not happen automatically. You choose whether to sync all files, just new files, or you can choose which photos and videos to sync. 

I have played around with this app to transfer some pictures and videos to Dropbox, Google Drive, and Flickr. Each time, the app was able to sync with my other accounts flawlessly. I had to log in to the other accounts and give this app permission to access my files.

Which option should you use?

There is no clear winner, but I have tried them all and prefer Dropbox. This could be because I was already a Dropbox user and comfortable with it. I like having everything in one spot so having all of my pictures in iCloud is not an appealing option for me. I do like iCloud for other things, just not syncing my photos.

Photosync is a nice "one size fits all" app if you like to transfer photos to numerous destinations. Like I said, I have used them all so if you are interested in trying any of these, let me know and I can help you get started. Also, if you know of any other ways to transfer photos and/or videos from your iPad, please  share them.