Monthly Archives: June 2012

Explain Everything…first impressions.

There are quite a few apps around offering to act as mini-whiteboards/PowerPoint substitutes/presentational devices. For quick one-offs I like educreations for its simplicity, but for something a little more sophisticated which leaves you with various options of format for saving (and leaving you in ‘ownership’ of your products) ‘Explain Everything‘ seems to be a particularly good option.

As ever, I tried to overcomplicate things at first by trying to create something Pixar would produce, but then calmed down a bit. The usual functions you would expect: line drawing, typing, shapes, insert images, simple animation etc are there, along with voice recording. (My only dislike is being unable to disconnect the mic which seems to be leaving some clicks and buzzes on the sound track, but perhaps I’ll find a work round in due course).

Export is available in a variety of formats, and I look forward to use it as we try a little tentative ‘flipping’ of the classroom and for students to present their findings.



1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Schedules and quick polls

Created using Skitch by Evernote.


I came across this really useful site when a friend used it to collect people’s menu choices for his birthday party. It looks great for finding good times to meet with people by giving a range of options and letting people show those they can meet. It can also be used for polls. The replies are collated into a table and an alert sent that a reply has been made. There’s even an opportunity to leave comments.

The basic version is free and there is an option to go ad-free in the premium edition.

It is so easy to use I can imagine my student using it to conduct quick surveys as well as it being great for me.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Some good advice on introducing Twitter from syded


A number of solutions have been suggested to remove these barriers and are proving fruitful alongside our iPad trial:

  • Allow time for twitter professional development with any presentation immediately followed up with individual trouble-shooting and support
  • Create a ‘ring-fenced‘ twitter trial zone. In reality this is a number of protected twitter accounts that follow each other with no fear of external input
  • Provide staff with a mobile device with easy access to twitter
  • Publish case studies and evidence of twitter enhancing learning for students. Staffroom information gleaned from a twitter source is particularly useful
  • Interact with any new colleague on twitter to encourage repetition of ‘good practice’. Simply conducting a twitter chat can illustrate how easy the process can be
  • Encourage the following of hashtags to illustrate the variety of language used by members of the twitter community

The desire of twitter educators to introduce the medium to colleagues is fuelled by the very reason they are so keen on the medium. The collaborative nature of the twitter community directly complements the sharing of good practice within an establishment.

If I’m honest I hope we are successful in introducing as many colleagues as possible to twitter. Professional development doesn’t get much better?


The ring fencing seems like a good first step and goes beyond my earlier post’s suggestion of some inconspicuous mutual following.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Poetry Creator at a price?

From Evernote:

Poetry Creator at a price?


 This ‘free’ app works like a set of fridge magnets. There was something similar on Teach it called Word Quarry(?) which allowed you to take words from any source and reassemble or create. So far so good. Apart from the fact that this app doesn’t seem to have that easy import features and instead offers to sell you words. For money. I think I’d rather pay once for an app than be offered bits to buy along the way!  I can’t quite see for which audience this is intended….

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Adding graphics to posts – this time using Skitch

Created using Skitch by Evernote.


Being new to iPad, I’m having to think of how to add graphics and things to the Blog. I used to simply attach them. This is via Skitch, and is tagged using hashes in the subject line …. I hope.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Tweet not the poor desk – trying to set up a PLN on Twitter

I’d dismissed Twitter as a forum for the egocentric; I couldn’t see the point of announcing to the world that you were drinking coffee. We went thought the same thing with ‘I’m on the train’ when mobile phones were popularised.
However, I need a place to keep track of all of the useful sites I come across and started to use Twitter a few days ago as an alternative to bookmarks. Gradually I’ve started to follow a few people, and now reading what is thrown up on Flipboard has become part of my daily routine.

It occurred to me that what I was finding might be useful to colleagues in the Department, and so I’m going to try to see if we can create our own little PLN to share what we find. My hope is that by starting in a supported way, that colleagues will then branch out on their own to explore further areas of interest. We’ve all just been issued with iPads and so this seems like a good time to capture the interest and enthusiasm currently being shown. Like most teams, we have a broad range of experience, so I hope that this isn’t ging to be too much too soon.

Here’as the quick invitation sent out to the group:

Twitter – a modest proposal

How do you find useful advice? How do you share things you’ve found?

I want to propose that we create our own Personal Learning Network (PLN) as we get started with iPads. This way, we can quickly and easily share our ‘finds’.


Make a Twitter account. I suggest we use staff initials plus ’eng’ as a name (eg XXXeng) to make us easy to find but fairly anonymous..

Download the Twitter app for convenience.

What happens then?

If we then ‘follow’ each other, we can share anything we come across on the net.
If you see something you like, use the share icon and select ‘Tweet’. Add a couple of lines to tell us what it is and then send.

Already a Twit/Tweeter?

If you are already a Twit/Tweeter … then you can decide for yourself if you keep a separate work profile or if you want to let us follow you.

Of course, if you also sign up to Flipboard then all of these words of wisdom from your colleagues can come flying directly to you in the format of a glossy magazine! We may never need another copy of ‘Hello’ in the Department.

I thought about the naming system after I’d been playing around with this for a few days – by which time I’d already started an account. You can follow me at @AlCass2 where I’ve already put some useful stuff relating to Twitter, iPads, Language Study and more.

I’m sure we’ll refine this idea as time goes by but it seems like a good place to start
Ali Cass
June 2012

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

How to remember…and another way of collecting resources to share

From Evernote:

How to remember


I really liked the way this was presented. The advice is useful too!

I’m trying to think hard about how I can easily share bits and prices I come across. Posterous has always been a kind of personal memory board to record useful resources or thoughts and so on; the fact that others can read it has been secondary – but rewarding.

Now, I seem to have three audiences: me; anyone else wiith similar interests in education; and colleagues starting on the iPad trial.

So I am thinking about easy ways to pass on useful links. I’m just starting with Twitter @AlCass2 which I think will be useful for passing on links, whereas Posterous allows greater comment and a place to share new material.

Managing the URLs is problematic and I’m trying out mailing links to a dedicated Evernotes notebook , where I can hold them until I either tweet or post them to Posterous. I’m hoping that this will make things more manageable and keep a record of what is where and be more aware of trends.

By creating a notebook (in this case called alclinks) for these possible links, I can email directly to the notebook by adding @alclinks into the Subject line. This saves looking for the notes later. I can email to Posterous using my Evernote email – because Posterous is clever like that!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized