Updated for iOS 7. Tools and APIs required to build applications for the iPhone and iPad platform using the iOS SDK. User interface designs for mobile devices and unique user interactions using multi-touch technologies. Object-oriented design using model-view-controller paradigm, memory management, Objective-C programming language. Other topics include: object-oriented database API, animation, multi-threading and performance considerations.
In the world of cloud hosted computing platforms it is fair to say that Amazon have taken the lead with their Elastic Compute Cloud (ECC). The newest contender to their crown comes from Microsoft. The Azure infrastructure provides a global backbone suitable for building, deploying and managing applications and services.
As a test of the suitability of Azure for these types of deployments I chose to deploy and build a new WordPress instance from scratch. This seemed a reasonable, albeit fairly simplistic, way of testing each part of the processes in turn:
- Implementing a new computing instance
- Installing a standard piece of open source software
- Transferring data to the new virtual machine
While Azure as a platform supports many more technologies including XML, ASP.NET and Node.js the standard WordPress combination of PHP and MySQL provides a test that will cover a large percentage of implementations.
The sign up process for Azure is reasonably simple for those with one of the many incarnations of a Live account. (If not creating a new account at outlook.com is fairly painless.)
Once logged in the sign up requires verification delivered via either a texted code of a phone call followed by payment details. Payment is only required where usage exceeds the fairly generous trial limits.
Shortly after you find yourself confronted with the management portal.
Azure instances fall into four general themes:
- Compute: including web services and virtual machines
- Data Services: including storage and SQL databases
- App Services
Creating a new instance of one of these is as simple as following the options. For this test I chose to create a new web service form the app gallery. This is a continually expanding set of pre-cast applications such as ASP.NET, Drupal and Joomla. Creating my new WordPress site is easy.
- Choose WordPress and click next
- Give the database a name
- Keep the default “Create new MySQL database” option
- Choose the region where the database is to be stored. For those of us in Europe that have to comply with data protection legislation this step should be given some serious thought
- Press the tick and off you go
The new web site is then created and made available. (I’ve skipped over the WordPress setup.)
I’m sad to report that that’s it. The new instance is made available and is ready to go right here
In some ways I would have preferred a longer, more tortuous set-up. As an IT guy I can always charge more for obfuscation but in this case that won’t be possible. The only thing that remains is to try the other facilities.
I look forward to it.
Having been teaching with a tablet in my classroom for nearly a year it has become evident that the market for Education apps still isn’t quite right. I think this is most evident in the fact that the course I run training teachers to use an iPad effectively in the classroom features almost no ‘education’ apps. I do one session (out of 7) that revolves around subject-specific apps, but other than this, the apps that are used on a day-to-day basis are commercial, and often free.
The key to successful technology integration in schools is to get the staff on board. To get the staff on board, you need to show them how much easier life becomes with the technology, as well as how much better/enhanced the learning can be. There will always be a core group of teachers who get on board without much fuss and these people are what keep you sane when you’re trying to push things forward. I will discuss the role of ‘champions’ in a future post.
Back to what we need to get devices functioning at a higher level in a classroom. My wish list includes the following:
Finding the best education technology tools is a time-consuming task. It may even be viewed as a chore (for some). Typically, one tracks down a handful of useful apps or web tools and puts them through their paces at home. Then you probably don’t use any of them because each tool took far too long to understand, use, become accustomed to, and actually implement in a classroom.
That’s why I was so excited to find this Symbaloo created by user lcobbs detailing 50 great classroom tools that are all easy to implement into just about any classroom. From Animoto to Prezi to Dropbox to Stixy (wait what?), there’s a lot to check out. Don’t know all 50 tools? I didn’t! Click on each icon to get an idea about each tool and learn more.
Google Docs is such an incredible tool for college students, offering collaboration, portability, ease of use, and widespread acceptance. But there are so many options, both hidden and obvious, that there’s a good chance you’re not using Google Docs to its fullest capability.
We’ve discovered 50+ great tips for getting the most out of Google Docs as a student, with awesome ideas and tricks for collaboration, sharing, and staying productive.
There are a couple dozen ways to ‘use’ technology in education. There are also a couple dozen ways to integrate technology in education. Think those two things are the same? Think that throwing a few iPads and a few Edudemic blog posts into a classroom is the best way to launch a 1:1 initiative? In case you couldn’t guess, it’s not. So here’s a hypothetical to clear up my rhetorical questions even more:
Class discussions that can occur any time of day and students engaged in that discussion. It took me a while to get my head around ‘online’ discussion and I used the experience of other teachers in my school who’d tried it. I currently use this with my Independent Directed Study students (Japanese language) and will be expanding it to my Year 4 students next year. What to consider? Here’s a few of my thoughts:
Up until now, if you wanted to send content from a website directly to your Kindle for later reading, you had to install a browser extension. Now, however, you don’t necessarily have to if the site in question has implemented Amazon’s new “Send to Kindle” button. Made just for web publishers and WordPress bloggers, you can already see it on The Washington Post, TIME and Boing Boing websites. Publishers can design how they want the button to look to a certain degree via limited customization of the font, color, size and theme. Like all the other Send to Kindle shortcuts, all readers need to do is select the article they want to ship over, hit the button and they’ll see it on their favorite Kindle reader, be it the app or the device.
The app store is loaded with options that allow students to create content on their iPads. From comic strip creators to mind maps, video editing and publishing, screencasting & digital books, the options for individual student creation are expanding.
However, collaboration between students is often a critical component of any classroom activity or project and increasingly there are options available that allow for collaborative efforts across iPads.
Below are six ways to support collaboration between student iPads that cover the spectrum of creation options that range from text to digital storytelling to video creation.