Blog

Air Server: Wireless Mirroring for Your iOS Device

What you Need:

  • iOS Device
  • Computer (PC- XP Not supported/Mac) Connect to projector
  • Install Air Server on your computer 
  • Internet connection to activate software
  • Wifi connection on computer and iOS devices

Want to show the class a great app or stream your lesson on your smartboard while walking around the classroom? AirServer is here to help… AirServer is desktop software that allows you to project your iOS device. You can mirror your iOS device as well as multiple iOS devices that are connected to the same network through the AirPlay support in the Control Center. They provide you with a 7 day trial version just to test it out and make sure it works with your system. To purchase, a standard license (3 computers) is $14.99 and educational license is $11.99. Bulk licenses are also available.

Screen Recording

On a Mac you can also screen record if you want to provide a reference for your students who may need to re-listen to your lesson. This is also a great resource for flipped classrooms. This feature is the works for PCs.

So You Have a Whiteboard! Don’t Reinvent the Wheel!

Many times using a new whiteboard may seem like a daunting task and it turns into a glorified video projector or another board to write on. The whiteboard can open doors to making a teacher’s life so much easier with some time invested in exploring the following resources. Most whiteboard products sponsor sites to allow for activity exchanges. These activities are created by fellow teachers and can be adapted to meet lesson needs. There is no need to start anything from scratch. Most likely someone has already created a lesson for what you need.

Smartboard’s activity exchange is called Smart Exchange and has a wide variety of lesson topics and grade levels. To download free lessons you will need to create an account.

Promethean board’s activity exchange is called Promethean Planet. Again, you may browse for free lessons but download with an account set up.

Mimeo system’s activity exchange is called Mimio Connect.

There are also many third party sites that create interactive activities for whiteboards. Check out some of these:

Scholastic has some free content but also sells bundles of literacy based lessons. These are compatible across devices. Activities are available in social studies, language arts, science and learning games.

Gynzy although not a free resource ($99/ year) does provide you with a free trial basis to try it out and see if the content suits your needs. They are browser based and allow you to save your favorite tools and lessons for easy access. They are also working on making their content tablet accessible although this is not yet active.

Read Write Think has a great variety of interactive literacy based activities that can be used up to high school grade levels.

SwiftKey Note as a Free Alternative to Word Prediction Apps?

Screenshot

SwiftKey Note (free) was just released and in this iOS version (universal) provides the writer with a standard keyboard and 3 word prediction choices above the keyboard as well as intelligent auto correct. Word prediction is a great option for students who struggle with spelling. SwiftKey is quick and integrates with your Evernote account seamlessly. Notes can be inserted into your currently existing notebooks and tagged.

Analytics

In addition, SwiftKey reported adaptive learning based on words you frequently use. It would be interesting to test out with student and see how good this works for phonemic spellers. Also, analytics are available within the app to let you know how much support was used. Interesting data for teachers.

Although this app does not come with auditory feedback for words and sentences, the built in speech to text accessibility feature works great.

Currently there are multiple apps (iWordQ and Co:Writer) that help struggling spellers with word prediction skills however these apps range in pricing from $17 to $25. It would be interesting to see if this app can support learners as well?

Text Prediction Options for Google Docs

For those familiar with assistive technology software a common solution for struggling students involves the use of writing with auditory feedback and text prediction. With the increased integration of Chromebooks into the school, two companies have started integrating these options into Google Docs. Although not as robust as their desktop counterparts they are a good start. One drawback involves the long word bank list and need to click to enter a desired word into the writing passage. Both extensions can run on Chromebooks or on a Chrome web browser and have a 30 day trial available. Google App for Education and single annual licenses are available.

1. App Writer Cloud by LingApps. App Writer is also available as an iPad app. A variety of languages are available for purchase with a good quality voice for auditory feedback. Performance however is affected based on internet speed connection.

2. Read&Write for Google by TextHelp. This app also provides users with the ability to highlight text within the document and collect these highlights into a separate file. There is also a dictionary and visual dictionary option available.

Boogie Board Sync

Well I finally got my Boogie Board Sync and it was well worth it. The board functions as a digital pen and paper. Frustrated by using a stylus on a tablet and all the issues with placing your palm on the screen are not an issue here. The board allows you to draw, write and scribble using the enclosed stylus and then either save your creation on the device or sync and send to Evernote. Files may be saved as images or PDF files. Also if you set the Sync folder to sent to your Dropbox account, your notes are now cloud based and easily accessible.

This is a great solution for a disorganized person like me. I can now write my notes and have them available anywhere I need them. I will further test out if the handwriting recognition in Evernote can be read from Boogie Board files.

The Boogie Board can also be used as a whiteboard alternative. With the free tablet app or PC/Mac application you can then project your drawings and writings in real time. Notes can then be saved and shared. This can be a great resource for the students who did not get lessons the first time around or missed notes.

Solution to the Youtube Blocking Firewall

Ever wish you could just show that really great Youtube video about Martin Luther King but alas the school’s firewall blocks your good intentions? Clip Converter (http://www.clipconverter.cc/) to the rescue! This web based tools lets you quickly and easily enter the URL for the Youtube video, select the desired conversion format (usually MP4) and watch as it creates a downloadable file. Your video can then be viewed with any of your media playing software or added to your Notebook file or presentation.

Picto

Picto4me is a lovely addition to the Chrome Webstore. This app lets you create communication boards as well as run a browser based player that can be switch accessible. There is also a scan based on-screen keyboard however the generated text at this point cannot be copied or used outside of the main window. Great image library and also allows for URL images.