Tag Archives: ipod

A little nature, tech and creativity

While on vacation this summer, we took some time to visit the Hopewell Rocks. We have been there before, and certainly looked forward to the return visit as it is an amazing place. On this particular day, we arrive about 2:00 p.m. to observe the water at high tide, then returned at 6:00 p.m. to explore during the low tide time of evening. I am still astounded at the 41 foot vertical difference in the high tide, low tide water heights.

High Tide

Low Tide


While walking around, a number of us noted a bird screeching from high up one of the rock cliffs. It turned out that the bird was a baby Peregrine Falcon, almost old enough to fly. Unfortunately, I did not have a high powered camera with me, and the lighting was somewhat on the dark side, so it was time to get creative.

The following 3 pictures were taken using an iPod touch ‘looking’ through a set of binoculars. Considering the distance, lighting and make shift approach I was able to get some interesting shots.

Falcon 1

Falcon 2

Falcon 3


Creating Art with the iPod

My daughter really enjoys creating works of art. She has a wide range of interests ranging from painting to paper mache to origami to crafts of all types. She has been having a lot of fun checking out draw programs for the iPod Touch. Some favorite art apps are:

iBurn – draws with flames, has options for mirroring to create symmetric shapes

Doodle Buddy – drawing program, has a good smudging feature

Glow Coloring – drawing program with florescent colors, has a stamping feature

TrippingFest Lite – allows drawing by pattern – great for symmetry, example patterns include polar, random shapes

Meritum Paint – simple drawing paint, lines are feathered like spilt paint, can draw with 2 fingers at once

Spawn Lite – random bouncing lines that explode in fireworks shapes

Dash Of Color – loads an existing picture to a black & white version, you can add colour highlights

SketchMee Lite – takes an existing picture and coverts it to a version based on chalk or pencil lines, then you add a new color scheme

PaintMee Lite – similar to SketchMee, but uses ‘paint’ rather than lines

Adobe Photoshop – photo editing on the go

Sample Art Gallery:  Pictures are names to reflect the app used to create them


Doodle Buddy

Glow Coloring

Tripping Fest Lite

Meritum Paint

Spawn Lite

Dash of Color

Sketch Mee

Paint Mee

Online forums for iPods in the Classroom

As momentum continues to build for the use of mobile handheld device in the classroom, it is important for teachers, IT leaders and administrators to share:

  • projects and activities
  • curriculum context
  • instructional strategies
  • learnings: what worked, what should be changed, what to avoid
  • best applications
  • best practice for maintaining a class set of iPods

One of the areas that interests me is the overall direction that people tend to take with these projects. In my mind, many of the available applications fall into the ‘drill and kill’ repetition category. Extensive use of drill based software in is opposition to the ISTE nets standards being adopted in many Boards. The ISTE Nets standards for students promote foundational ICT skills in the areas of:

  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Research and Information Fluency
  • Critical Thinking, Problem Solving and Decision Making
  • Digital Citizenship
  • Technology Operations and Concepts

I hope that professional collaboration and sharing will keep the use of  mobile tools in the classroom pointed in a positive learning direction. Certainly, having a room full of students with mobile learning devices in hand will fundamentally change the way one teaches. Perhaps learning about what this new teaching model looks like and defining best practices in this arena are a key component of moving forward. Lets not repeat mistakes and reinvent the wheel over and over. Share and collaborate!!!

I have list four online forums that I initially started reading in the summer. I have joined each one and now read them regularly. I hope you find some of the information and collaboration opportunities worthwhile.


iPod Teachers
iPods in the Classroom
iPod for Educators
iPod Touch Schoolwide Implementation on Classroom 2.0

~ Mark

Strategic IT: what’s on deck for 09/10

A new school year launches into high gear today as all of our students return to class. Based on our successes and planning last year, I fully anticipate an exciting 2009/2010 school year. Predictably, there will be thousands of things that happen in every IT department from day to day operations, planned projects and dealing with that unexpected situation or challenge that jumps out to push back against even the most thorough plan.

An overview of major projects on deck for our Board includes:

  • maintaining and refining our new active directory domain structure
  • expanded use of our new enterprise management tool (imaging, software & patch deployment)
  • deploying our OSX/XP dual boot Macs with blade server back end
  • school network upgrades
  • starting our network access control project
  • starting our new wireless project
  • new library resources and process
  • greater use of Adobe Connect
  • moving forward with Digital Citizenship initiatives
  • iPods in the classroom projects
  • hosted web pages for teachers

Of course, this list does cover all of the work, but sets a solid agenda to keep moving major initiatives forward, particularly in the instructional area. I will share updates as we work our way through the project list.

On a more personal note, I will be

  • participating in an inter-Board  PLN project with Will Richardson
  • further developing my PLN
  • completing some course work
  • collaborating with education professionals

Best wishes to you for a successful school year.

~ Mark

Blogging with iPods

In our Board, we have had many literacy and writing successes with students involved in the blogging process as part of their course work. Teachers indicate that students:

  • are more engaged
  • are more likely to participate in the class activity
  • demonstrate improvement in their writing skills
  • are more likely to enter into dialogue about their reading materials

All of these success indicators point to involving more teachers and students in incorporating blogging as a literacy strategy. In order to achieve growth in this area, staff and students need to have sufficient access to technology to facilitate the blogging process and at the time you need it. 

Possibilities: Meeting this need becomes a key ingredient in the success formula. Along with some other staff at our Board, I have been looking at affordable ways to do this. One option would be to use an iPod touch (with classroom wireless access). There are currently 3 applications available for the iPod – WordPress, Blogwriter Lite and Blogwriter.

Software Application Cost: WordPress and Blogwriter Lite are free applications. Blogwriter is $1.99 CDN.

Other factors: Of course, training, assessment, support and sustainability are components of this picture too.

I am going to spend a little time reviewing and testing each application to see how feasible this approach might be. I will share what I learn in a future post. Off to start experimenting and learning about blogging with iPods.

~ Mark

iPod Resource: iLearn 2

The great thing about traveling the ‘blogosphere’ is that you are constantly learning. The learning takes many forms: new resources, new sites to bookmark and revisit, new sources of information, new people to add to your PLN or RSS feed. There is constant reinforcement of the rich content, thinking, sharing and collaboration that occurs in our online world. 

During a recent blogosphere trip, I came across references to iLearn 2, so I bookmarked it and have gone back to revisit the site a number of times. iLearn is organized like an online book which can be viewed in magazine, presentation or paper views. Contents of iLearn 2  include:

  • a 21st century learning framework
  • ideas for choosing a particular iPod model
  • mobility in learning
  • podcasts
  • slideshows
  • video
  • text files & eBooks
  • internet usage (iTouch browser)
  • a comprehensive list of applications with brief descriptions organized by subjects
  • digital storytelling
  • lab management tips 

In my view, iLearn 2 is is an excellent resource and I recommend that you take the time to have a look if you are using or planning to use iPods in your classroom. Enjoy the learning.

~ Mark

iPod Adventure

What not to do with your iPod …. the adventure begins.

You may have followed my earlier posts about setting up my MacBook Pro to run multiple operating systems. I finally landed on using VMWare to allow my computer to run Windows Vista, Windows XP and Linux and have been merrily computing along since setting this environment up. 

Two days ago, I was taking advantage of my multi OS setup. On the OSX side, I was charging my iPod Touch and downloading updates from iTunes. On the multitasking side, I was running Windows XP, setting up Band in a Box and Powertracks for some work at CATC By the Water (see yesterday’s post)

Things were zipping along on all fronts when an unexpected adventure started. When the iTunes download completed, my iTouch ‘woke up’ from its peaceful charging state and iTunes initiated the software installation process. At the same time, Windows XP initiated its ‘found new hardware’ process since I had not used my iTouch with XP before. In effect both operating systems, OSX and XP, started reading and writing information to the iPod at the same time. I was presented with new screen on my iPod that I had not seen before (not good) and iTunes was prompting me to reset the iPod’s state to factory defaults. 

The bottom line: this simultaneous dual access corrupted the data on my iTouch. Now I had an opportunity to learn about the reset and restore processes. Fortunately for me, this three step process worked flawlessly: 

1. Restore iPod to factory default settings (like a new out ‘of the box’ iPod) to reset the iPod operating system

2. Choose the restore from iTunes library option (recovers music, videos, podcasts etc.)

3. Resync updates and prior purchases against the iTunes store records.

After about an hour, I had my iTouch fully operational and in the state before I started my adventure. The only manually steps I needed to complete were resetting my security password and reentering my WIFI network settings (access keys). Hats off to the Apple developers for having a clean and reliable process for for restoring iPods. 

Back in business, and multitasking with a little more knowledge 🙂

~ Mark

iPod Roundup 2

Earlier in the summer, I posted ‘iPod Roundup’, a collection of resources and ideas for using iPod technology in the classroom. Since then, I have run across a few more sites and blog posts related to this topic. The resources are listed below.

The Digital Backpack:  voice recorder ideas

Teacher Magazine:  Adding a ‘Touch’ of Technology

Newhartford Schools:  iPods in the Classroom

School CIO:  Getting Started with iPods in the Classroom

My earlier post:  iPod Roundup


~ Mark

Skype in the classroom

I have used Skype for both personal and work related projects, so I have a good feel for the capabilities of the application. Over the summer I have been following a few interesting blog and Twitter conversations about using Skype as a collaboration tool in the classroom. A few of the posts referenced using Skype with iPod Touches and iPhones. Interesting reading!

I checked the Skype website, and sure enough, they had posted information about releasing a client for the iPhone and iPod Touch through the iTunes store. A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that the new Skype client was available on the main iTunes store in the U.S., but not the Canadian one. After watching the Canadian iTunes store for a few days, no client was posted. I decided to contact Skype directly to gather some additional information. On August 10th, I received the following response from Skype support staff:

Thank you for contacting Skype Support.

We apologize for the delayed response. Due to a recent increase in
inquiries it has taken longer to respond to you.

Thank you for your understanding and patience.

The Skype for iPhone application is not available for use in Canada at
this time. There is an ambiguous restriction in one of the
standards-based technology licenses, and we are looking into it. The
issue is not related to Apple, nor is it specific to Skype.

Best regards,

Skype Customer Support
Visit http://www.skype.com for latest news, updates and tips.

For Canadian customers, it looks like the availability of the client will be caught in a holding pattern for the foreseeable future.

~ Mark

iPod Roundup

As we cross the midpoint of the summer, my thoughts turn to projects for the next school year. One of our initiatives will include more extensive work with iPods in the classroom. I have been checking net based resources over the last month and thought I would share some of the links in today’s post.


iPod Touch: School wide Implementation Classroom 2.0

on Ning: iPods in the Classroom

on Ning iPod Teachers

Why iPods? K-12 project

Classroom project (with commentary) iPod Touch Project

iPod Touch Classroom Mobile Learning

iPod survey Google spreadsheet back end

Interactive multimedia iPods and whiteboards

The Wired Educator: iPod in every classroom

The Wired Educator: iPod Touch in the classroom

David Warlick: a blog post

Ed Tech Bytes: Managing a Class Set

Enjoy the reading!

~ Mark