So you use a variety of Android devices. It only makes sense to use Google Books to access content. Google Books has come out with some new features, including read-aloud. Check out the video for more!
Yup, it’s that time of year…lots of countdowns and looks toward 2013. We definitely enjoyed a good year with Android in 2012. Finally got some decent devices. From the Samsung Galaxy Tab series to the Amazon and Barnes and Noble lines, and finishing with the Nexus 7 at year’s end. In our schools we use these for any number of reasons, productivity with our Principals to the Wireless Generation assessments with the Nexus 7. So much so that we purchased 200 of these devices. So going forward, where will 2013 take us?
1. Google coming out with a purchasing plan for schools. Right now, that’s a big reason for schools not to go with Android. Apple has its licensing/mass purchasing program to a science. Even Barnes & Nobles has a way to use purchase orders to purchase content for nooks. Google, not so much. In order for these devices to really take off, there needs to be some program. And not just buying gift cards. Hopefully Google has something in place soon!
2. A mobile device manager that allows more control. We are looking at a variety of MDMs to keep track of our devices. Meraki has a nice one (free!) and we have been looking at AirWatch, Symantec, and others. We will need to choose one and go with it in 2013.
3. Devices. What will CES, the big consumer show in January share with us? The Nexus 7 definitely fills a nitch. What will the next device built on it show us?
Image from http://www.soft9000.com/blog9000/index.php?entry=entry111111-090652
Sort of related to my previous post, we continue to open more and more sites in our district as we see the need to provide students and teachers with authentic experiences online. In our district we continue to face challenges to opening Twitter. Seems some folks just want us to block everything. They are doing inappropriate things, so let’s block it. Are teachers monitoring? Are students receiving discipline? Nope. So we ban it all, then we see things like students losing scholarships when they post racists things or other controversial items. Do we TEACH online safety and etiquette? Do we check on students/children? No. Let’s ban it all…
Image from: educationrethink.com
The recent events at Sandy Hook Elementary sadden us all. Many are asking and investigating their schools to see if this type of thing could happen. Yes, it probably could happen in most schools. Unless we put bullet proof glass in everywhere, keep students off playgrounds, and commit a bunch of equally drastic investments, these types of things can happen. But we know, even though the media blows these up, they are rare, and schools are safe. In technology, there are many things we do behind the scenes to make things safer. One is just by having easy access to surveillance cameras. From my desk I can access cameras at every one of our schools. So can our superintendent, assistant superintendents, local law enforcement, and principals. I and they can rewind footage and send out messages. We can access all computers remotely. I can check the hard drives, I can actually remote to them and watch them live on my computer, my tablet, even on my phone. We routinely check student and staff internet traffic. Besides these spot checks, we can always run extensive reports when a principal or guidance counselor may suspect something further with a student. We also put certain ‘key’ words in to get alerts when certain words are searched for, as a trigger that we may need to search further.
We use many other things as well, from keycard door locks, to other crisis measures, all to keep children safe. Will this help in every case? No, but then you are seeing this violence in public places. We can implement more and more safety measures, and we will, but like filtering software, people who truly want to get around things will. Each situation is unique, and we try to design for that, but we are only as safe as those in place. We need to TALK with our students and children. You see a common thread with all these incidents–a loner, very bright, less than stellar home life. In schools and at home the conversation needs to begin about working to make sure children receive attention. Make sure the receive support if needed. We are continuing to place so much importance on material things that we continually ignore the important things–family!
Oh, sweet, sweet day. While not too large of a coup for Android and other open platforms, we definitely appreciate anytime when we find out Apple loses some of the ‘common sense’ patents. So many sources (I got mine here: http://www.androidpolice.com/2012/12/07/uspto-preliminarily-invalidates-the-steve-jobs-apple-touch-heuristic-patent/) report that the US Postmark and Trademark Office invalidated some existing Apple patents. It seems that, at least preliminary reviews are invalidating the ‘Steve Jobs patent,’ that discussing vertical screen scrolling with your finger. You know, pretty much the ONLY way you could navigate on a touch screen. While not too big of a deal in this case, I am very excited at the action taken, as it proves the USPTO finally will begin to look at some of these ‘common sense’ patents. Really, to issue patents on scrolling with your finger? Or, as I hope, the rounded corners. What does scare me, is that this is only the beginning. If Apple loses this, they will of course appeal, as far as possibly the US Supreme Court.
For schools, I do like this. Not everyone wants to use Apple and their way of doing things. Some of us want to hack and build our own meaning and understanding for our users. Android, and not Apple, allows us to do this. Plus, I see an awful lot of monopolistic behaviors out there. Hopefully this signifies the beginning of scrutiny paid to Apple.