Friday, March 02, 2012

UCET Presentations 2012

This year I am in charge of the Over the Shoulder area. Our OTS provides 20 minutes sessions that are held in the vendor area. So all of my presentations are OTS sessions this year. My first session on Friday is The Portable Studio in which I will talk about creating photography and video setup that is portable and usable.

My second session on Friday is iPhoneography. In this session I will discuss photography using the iPhone and recommend several apps for great and fun iPhoneography.
My first session on Saturday is on iBooks Author. I will show a few examples of iBooks that have been created and then do a brief demo of iA.

My first session on Saturday is on iBooks Author. I will show a few examples of iBooks that have been created and then do a brief demo of iA.

My second session on Saturday is on The New iTunesU. In this session I will talk about the changes in the way K12 institutions can set up their own iTunesU  site and show examples of some sites that have already been setup. I hoped to have our district site up by now, but we are kind of in limbo with Apple in the approval process.

This is the course created by ADE's in PA that I shared in the session

So that is what I am doing at UCET 2012. It will be a great conference. I am so glad to be part of such a great organization.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Apple on the Horizon

(Originally posted on

 In the Apple world there have been and will be some fairly major announcements. Some like Mountain Lion were announced last week. Others like the iPad 3, will be forthcoming in the next few weeks or months. Some I am hoping for may not be coming at all. The next few months will tell. 

So, what do we know? Last week Apple announced the next iteration of OS X which will be called Mountain Lion. The most common question I have answered about this in the last week is what other cat names are left. I am having a hard time coming up with anything besides Calico or Tabby. Anyway, back to Mountain Lion. For me the most notable change in this new OS is the dropping of Mac from the title of the OS. This can mean a lot of things, to me, it means the merging or the movement towards one OS is that much closer. I am probably wrong , but that is what this change signals to me.
So that is the takeaway from Mountain Lion, what is added? Basically what is being added is OS X versions of iOS apps to sync better with iCloud. Those apps include, Notes, Messages, Reminders, Sharesheets, Twitter integration and the big one, AIRPLAY.
Airplay on the Mac will be huge. A huge trend in the iOS world, as you can read about here at EdReach,  is the use of the Apple TV and a HDMI-VGA converter (if needed) to mirror the iPad screen through a classroom projector. We have many instances of this running in our district right now. With Airplay on the Mac the same will be possible from a MacBook or iMac. The thing is, you won’t have to have a VGA cable and the appropriate dongle to display the contents of your computer. You will be able to mirror your content through the Apple TV to your projector. This could save the cost of running a VGA cable from the projector to a port on the wall. Of course this is somewhat network dependent, the better your wireless infrastructure, the better it will work.
The other apps are great too, don’t get me wrong. They will sync via iCloud with the same apps on your iOS devices. I look forward to these changes as well, but AIRPLAY is the selling point for me. Mountain Lion will be available sometime this Summer, I would plan on August, but possibly sooner.
So that’s what was announced; what about upcoming announcements? Signs, and by signs I mean internet rumors, are pointing to an iPad 3 announcement coming the first week of March, possibly the 7th. I am not going to indulge in guessing what the new iPad will bring as far as improvements, but it will be better, faster, stronger. Maybe is should be the $6,000,000 iPad. Other rumors point to the fact that supplies of the current Apple TV seem to be constrained. This could mean that there is a new Apple TV (and no not the TV, TV) coming with the iPad 3 or soon after. It could also mean that schools are buying them up faster than Apple can make them right now. If there is a new Apple TV coming, I have no idea what the improvements might be. Given the size reduction between the 1st and 2nd generation it may be the size of a matchbook though.
What else will be coming? I don’t know, but would certainly expect a new phone sometime this year. I would also expect updates to current computer hardware. So there will be things going on throughout the year.
Oh yeah… one more thing. A couple of weeks ago, we talked about the demise of the white MacBook for even the education channel. We wondered what Apple would consider the replacement for this machine to be. We have the answer now and it is the MacBook Air. Great machine, not sure how great for education. Certainly lightweight, good battery life, but storage for video, photos, etc. not so much. I know Apple will say that is what iCloud is for, but that isn’t enough for schools. Here’s hoping Apple has something else up their sleeve’s for education.
There will certainly be things coming that I haven’t mentioned, and maybe some that I have will not come to fruition, but this is the beginning of the Apple announcement season and that makes it one of my favorite times of the year.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

One more thing... One more really big thing!

I offered my opinions on last week's Apple Education announcement on the Macreach podcast. Although I felt the things announced were okay, I saw a lot of holes that needed to be filled. The big thing that I missed was something that was not explicitly stated during the announcement. It was hinted at, but not a lot of detail was given. 

That thing was the change in how content can be provided to and through iTunesU. The change in this process is the earth shaking thing to me. When iTunes U was first opened up to K-12 only state agencies could sign up. If a district or school wanted to publish through iTunesU they had to go through the state LEA. Now with only 13 or so states participating that left a lot of educators with no chance to publish on iTunesU. 

That all changed last week though with the announcements and this is the filler for many of the holes I saw. Now any district can set up their own iTunesU site to publish content and courses. It can serve as an LMS for districts. 

I am very excited about this as we have been struggling to get content onto iTunesU for 3 years. This will make it much simpler to do, and give us more for serving content to and from our schools.

Here are links to the pertinent information. Get your district and school going on iTunesU.

The All New iTunesU

iTunesU Support