I am a big Evernote and Remember the Milk user. I keep Evernote as mostly just a clearinghouse of all my notes I take at meetings, along with passwords and settings for a variety of applications. It works for me. Not perfect (oh, how I miss you Sandy…), but it does the job. What I would like is something built into Android. Yes, I will admit to the Apple fanboys out there that some, I repeat some, of their built in things work. Looks like, with the release of Google Keep, Android may finally get some of those things built in. If they can make it work, as the video shows, this could definitely go a long way to bringing Android on par for productivity with iOS. I am going to try it and see how it works. If I can abandon Evernote and RTM, that would be huge!
We recently had our CTE (Career Tech Ed) Department purchase five Samsung 7.0 tablets. They asked me to load some apps, so I explored the Play store. With CTE, you have such a wide variety of areas. You have your business courses. You have your technical courses, like masonry and welding, and then your agriculture classes. So I explored around and found a decent set of apps. One thing I do not do enough is just explore the Play store. Lots and lots of good apps, and adding new every day.
For our business teachers, I installed a series of MS Office tutorials. While not the most interactive thing, I figure they use this and the tablets would be a good way to review. Interesting that some of these are Goodwill Foundation apps.
For our technical, tools are always a good thing. Smart Tools offers a great series of things like rulers, levels, sound tools, and more.
Of course you can always use the camera and other built in tools. But the point is you really can load anything for any area. We hope to now get them to use these more interactively. Small steps!!
I really believe in teaching students about developing code, especially with mobile apps. You figure a kid designs a popular app, charges $0.99, and make a nice little allowance. In our school district, our Career-Tech track offers computer programming courses. In Computer Programming II, they begin Visual Studio to design games for Xboxes. How awesome if we could have an alternative, to teach kids to develop for Android. Of course, the complaint would be there are no curriculum, like Microsoft gives freely for their Visual Studio.
But alas, MIT comes to help. On their http://appinventor.mit.edu/teach/ website, they provide step by step directions and modules to go through app creation. You setup the App Inventor, then begin developing your first app. Best of all? The cost–free under a Creative Commons 3.0 license.
THIS is what we need to see in schools. Let’s train these kids with a RELEVANT skill. Microsoft Office? No, that’s past. Let’s get them designing apps. Hey, they could even develop one for your school district.
So in the previous post we discussed Chromebook’s rise in popularity. Now, take a look at this video and see if this doesn’t excite you!
Think of how you use a computer. What do you use most? Apps like MS Office? Application specific things like video, CAD, or something else? I will guess that most of you use the browser the majority of the time. Maybe all the time. That’s what makes Google’s Chrome OS on the Chromebooks so interesting. You really do not have anything but the Chrome browser. Then factor in a decent price, $200-500 for 2 to 4gb, you can definitely see the possibilities in schools. We decided to investigate them more. We used a couple, but just recently decided to go with 20 more of the Samsung version. Of course they are back ordered until the end of the month. Seems even Google did not anticipate their popularity. A recent Google blog posting (http://googleenterprise.blogspot.ca/2013/02/a-look-back-at-2012-expansion-of.html) reports that over 2,000 schools now use large numbers of Chromebooks. Not sure if our 20 counts are large numbers, so I doubt we are included in the 2,000, but I definitely continue to hear buzz about these. So much so that our state Department of Public Instruction continues to look into making them work with their various testing applications.
Now we hear more manufacturers coming out with their own versions. Samsung was the first with a couple varieties. Acer, I believe, was also one of the originals. Now we hear about models from HP and Lenovo. Higher specs too, as much as 4GB of RAM. Pretty remarkable in such a short amount of time too. Really, you may not even need that, as you just run a browser, so the low end specs, of which we purchase, should work fine. Exciting times, that is for sure!