Testing New Tools for Doing Good Work

Archive for March, 2012|Monthly archive page

ESPI at work: The power of Keynote | Edenspiekermann

In Mac Desktop, Presenting, Teaching on 03/28/2012 at 9:45 am

The power of Keynote for more than presentations

You probably don’t think of yourself as a designer. You may think of yourself as a teacher or professor or an administrator, or perhaps some combination of those. Think about it though: if you ever use PowerPoint, or Word Art, or if you create anything else that requires visual elements that are more than plain text, that makes you, in that role at that moment, a designer. You are a designer. So, Designer Person, how would you like a tool set that makes that easier and more intuitive and so so much better looking?

I thought so.

If you’ve switched to using a Mac, you have access to that tool set in Keynote. The post I link to here is written by a web designer who describes his switch from the complexity of Photoshop and the rest of the Adobe Creative Suite to the relative ease of Keynote for many kinds of design work, from layouts and graphics for presentations to interfaces for desktop and mobile apps. Keynote makes better use of imported and embedded objects and can output or export to more formats that are more useful in more situations. And if all you do want to do is make presentations, after your initial moving-from-PowerPoint adjustment period, you will slap your own face at how great your work has become. Read this post and take a long look at Keynote. You’ll be glad.

ESPI at work: The power of Keynote | Edenspiekermann.

Via Daring Fireball.

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Salt Lake Tribune: Seminar on Accessibility with Apple Devices

In iPad, Mac Desktop, Special Education on 03/26/2012 at 10:14 am

Apple builds in accessibility on so many levels. Image courtesy Apple Inc.

The The Salt Lake Tribune covered a seminar on accessibility on Apple devices. Did you know your Mac or your iDevice can read its screen to you? Zoom in so even very visually impaired people can take and edit photographs? Read on:

At Salt Lake seminar, visually impaired learn how high tech can unleash creativity

In this day and age, creativity — verbal, written and visual — often comes with the aid of computer technology and, once achieved, that creation is shared and spread through social media.

Perez’s presentation focused on accessibility features on computers and iPhone, iTouch and iPad devices from Apple. Perez does not work for Apple, but his efforts to share his knowledge of the accessibility features and associated applications earned him the title of Apple Distinguished Educator.

Via Heng-Cheong Leong’s My Apple Menu.

TidBITS: Hey, iBooks, Where Did All My Books Go?

In iPad on 03/26/2012 at 9:53 am

iBooks on iPad - your books may disappear! Be careful...

Matt Neuberg’s books disappeared when he moved to a new iPad. Matt writes for the fine and venerable TidBITS site, and here explains some troubling and baffling behavior on his new device:

The trouble is, of course, that Apple is wrong. Books are not like songs in the iOS universe: the entire analogy is artificial, and breaks down when confronted with practical reality — as it did in my case…. The upshot is that I lost my books, and if you’re managing books manually, you might lose yours too, unless you’re careful. Plan ahead.

Via Heng-Cheong Leong’s My Apple Menu.

iBooks 2—much more than meets the eye? | Tapity

In Mac Desktop, Strategy, Teaching on 03/23/2012 at 1:41 pm

iBooks Author

App developer Tapity posted this on their blog a few days ago. Tapity developed the Grades 2 iPhone app, which “shows students what they need to score on their upcoming assignments, tests, and finals in order to get the grade they want” and which earned Tapity an Apple Design Award last year.

Here Tapity thinks aloud about what the iBooks Author app means outside the world of textbooks. Thoughtful:

iBooks can compete with all published books, and anyone can be an author and a publisher at virtually no cost. Whoah. No publisher in between author and customer. Whoah. Did you get that?

In our view, iBooks 2 + iBooks Author + iBookstore = a new Wild West of publishing. And not only that, with interactive widgets, iBooks can also be a much less expensive way to create certain kinds of iPad applications, particularly ones that are primarily about presenting content. And not only that, iBooks could become a platform for publishing all kinds of other highly-interactive crazy stuff, from fancy ads to annual reports to digital album extras to college course catalogs to user’s manuals to movie promos to…you get the idea.

I can see students doing reports, even theses and dissertations (eventually), with this tool. I can also see this as a viable presentation software. Oh Apple, what don’t you disrupt?

via Shawn Blanc.

Rob Weir: YouTube to the Rescue | Inside Higher Ed

In Strategy, Teaching on 03/22/2012 at 9:16 am

YouTube can work wonders in a classroom
Rob Weir, at Inside Higher Ed’s Instant Mentor Blog:

Professors are in the decoding business; we teach students textual analysis, the application of theorem and theories, how to evaluate ideas, how to synthesize, etc. To this list add visual literacy. It’s too often a buzz phrase in education, but it doesn’t change the fact that professors are uniquely positioned to show students how to think about images, production values, and message manipulation in sophisticated ways. It’s rather sobering to see how much students are amazed when we take a video and begin to deconstruct it for embedded messages.

Weir provides more than tips for linking to YouTube in presentations. He suggests teaching strategies and even how YouTube led him to start making his own videos. Read the entire essay YouTube to the Rescue.

Student Tablet Use Is Up, Survey Finds | Inside Higher Ed

In Strategy on 03/16/2012 at 8:56 am

A Tablet Computer

Nancy Keita of Academic Assistance sent me this link from Quick Takes at Inside Higher Ed yesterday:

Student Tablet Use Is Up, Survey Finds.

Tablet ownership is increasing among college students and high school seniors, according to a survey released by the Pearson Foundation. Among college students, ownership is now 25 percent, up from 7 percent a year ago. Among high school seniors, the figure is now 17 percent, up from […]

I believe that by tablets, it’s reasonable to assume they mean iPads.
Read the rest of this item at Inside Higher Ed.

Mac OS X Keyboard Shortcuts

In Mac Desktop on 03/13/2012 at 11:34 am

The keys that do the magic

I love keyboard shortcuts. Yes, they take a while to learn, but what’s worthwhile that doesn’t take some time? A minimal investment in learning some of these will shave seconds off your work, and those seconds will rapidly accumulate and become hours of time saved. To that worthy end, a link to Apple’s official Mac OS X keyboard shortcuts page.

President Becker says “iPad”

In Strategy on 03/08/2012 at 12:11 pm

GSU President Mark Becker

GSU President Mark Becker in his March 5 Newsletter:

In addition, tablet devices, like the ubiquitous iPad, promise to revolutionize “textbooks” and the delivery of academic content.

iPads are apparently here – in people’s hands, in the culture, in institutions – to stay. I don’t think they’re just another device, and what’s coming up at GSU and universities and professions around the world is not just another technology initiative. This is perhaps tectonic.

Apple: App to Configure and Deploy iOS Devices

In Administration on 03/08/2012 at 11:25 am

The icon for Apple's Configurator application

Mac Rumors links to a what looks to be a great new tool.

Apple has released a new tool called Apple Configurator which allows anyone to mass configure and deploy iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch in a school, business, or institution.