A while back I reviewed Reflector and found it to be the most amazing method to mirror your iPad in the classroom, or anywhere really, because of its ability to record, host multiple iPad feeds, record voice narration, resize, show device template art, and so much more. I still stand by that review, there is nothing better than Reflector to mirror your iPad, except, well, Reflector updated.
First, the new Reflector update will be unveiled in mid August. The new update will include features like YouTube Live Streaming, webcam sharing, Bluetooth Reflector Director, Student Discovery, an improved user interface and Reflector Student Support. This update will be free.
That’s right Reflector will be seeing an update in mid August, bringing it to Reflector 2.1, and there are several cool companion apps available to make Reflector even more useful to teachers.
Next, Reflector has just released Reflector Director, which is a powerful remote control for the Reflector app. This iOS app allows a teacher to control the settings for Reflector anywhere in the room. It’s a paid app.
Last up is Reflector Student, which will arrive late August or early September. It will be a free app that allows students to pull the content that is being shared on the big screen to any mobile device. Sounds very cool.
Book Creator is an essential app for teachers and students that allows users to create gorgeous books right on your iPad or tablet.
I love creating iBooks using iBooks Author on my Mac, but I also love having the ability to build and publish with Book Creator directly from my iPad. Book Creator is a robust app that allows you to add text, video, music, art, and narration to create. It’s easy and fun to use.
You can submit your finished book directly to the iBook Store or Google Play Books from the iPad. Book Creator uses the international ePub3 standard. You can share pages from your book to Twitter and Facebook to share what you have created.
One of the greatest features of Book Creator is that it is a great app for any age. It is powerful enough for college students and professors to use, yet easy enough for a kindergartner to create. I use it in my middle school and recommend it to students and teacher in all levels.
Another great feature is the “combine book” feature that allows students and teachers to collaborate on one project. Each person can create pages for the book and then combine all the pages together and edit together for publication. This is ideal for class projects.
Students love to create and Book Creator allows my students to really use their various talents and limitless imagination. I believe Book Creator to be ideal for all subjects areas and grade levels, and an essential app for every iPad. I just absolutely love it.
Book Creator constantly updates the app with new features. In fact, Book Creator 4.0 will be out in the next month and the update will inlude Comic Book templates that will allow writers to make entertaining comics to share and publish.
What’s new in the upcoming Book Creator 4.0:
- Choose between a standard book or a new comic one. When you start a comic it’s the same Book Creator you know, but everything’s slightly more super!
- Adding text gives preset comic styles
- Speech bubbles, thought bubbles and other shapes can now have text added straight into them – just tap on the shape.
- New comic backgrounds for your pages
- New comic icons for audio and video
- Great fonts licensed from Blambot studios – as used in Marvel and DC comics.
I love using Dropbox to store and share important files. Now Dropbox has made it even better and easier in a new update by adding three new features: File Requests and the Dropbox badge.
Dropbox is free and a must for every computer, tablet, and phone. It’s an absolute essential.
You can sign up here for free.
Learn about the new features from Dropbox here:
With file requests, you can request and receive files from anyone, and they’ll go right into the Dropbox folder you specify. Here’s how it works:
- Get files from anyone: Anyone can send you a file, even if they don’t have a Dropbox account
- Easily receive large files: Unlike most email attachments, you can receive files as large as 2 GB
- Keep your files handy and secure: Submitted files are accessible on all your devices, but just to you — people who send you files can’t see those uploaded by others (unless you choose to share them), and can’t access your Dropbox
The Acorn app is an interesting way for people to invest for very little cost, and now the app is making investing absolutely FREE fro students. Very cool.
The app works having the user connect the program with a bank account. It keeps track of your spending and then asks you if you would like to invest the spare change by rounding up purchases and sending the spare change to an investment portfolio of your choice. You can choose low, moderate, or high risk. The company even sends you tax information at the end of the year, and the best news is you can pull your money amount at any time without penalty.
For the average user the cost to invest is $1 a month for accounts under $5,000 and .25% for accounts over $5,000, but now this fee is waived for students.
I think it would be great if Acorn would extend this opportunity to teachers as well.
Here’s the video to explain how it works.
Last Thursday Apple launched its 2015 Back to School Promotion. This year’s promotion is unlike anything we have seen in the past.
The 2015 Back to School Promotion offers a free pair of Beats Solo2 wired headphones with the purchase of a new Mac.
A customer qualified for the promotion can also pay $100 to upgrade to a pair of Beats Solo2 Wireless Headphones that are valued at $300.
The deal will begin online on August 6, but the promotion has started in Apple’s retail stores and authorized campus stores. The promotion will end online and in stores on September 18th.
In the past Apple has given $100 gift cards for the Mac purchases and $50 with a purchase of an iPhone or iPad. This year its just for the Mac purchase and only the headphones. There are no Back to School promotions for iPhones nor iPads. Still, the headphones are awesome and probably something students really want, plus purchasers benefit from the education discount pricing for the Mac.
(Hmmmm. Why no promotion for iPads since iPads are becoming Apple’s focus in education.)
You can read about the promotion on Apple’s “Current Rebates” page.
In this episode I interview Erin Olson. Erin’s work as an educator has been recognized by CNN, The New York Times, and more. Erin is a former middle school teacher and a former high school English teacher and now serves as an Instructional technology consultant. Erin has been nominated twice for a Bammy. Erin advocates for the power of student contribution, explaining, ‘I do not want my students to be the best in the world, I want them to be the best FOR the world.’
Apple’s new iOS upgrade will certainly provide a smoother and faster overall experience for all users, but several new features will be particularly beneficial for iPad use in education.
Notes app received a great update. Notes may not be one of your primary apps, but now it was some muscle behind it to make it much more useful in the classroom. You can now add checklists, photos, and sketches inside your notes. A three finger swipe to the left will undo the last stroke, and a swipe to the right will bring them back. (There are also undo and redo buttons built onto the screen.) You can now access Notes in the Share Button in many of the apps to save attachments to Notes. And with the new Split View feature you can access Notes from within whatever app you are using.
Slide Over will now allow you to open a second app without leaving the one you are currently using. This is great. Now you can write down some notes or type a document without leaving the app you were using, and then slide it away to return to the app you were originally using.
Split View (available on the iPad Air 2) will allow you to have two apps open and active at the same time. Unlike Slide Over, with Split View both apps are active at the same time.
Picture in Picture will scale down a video or FaceTime call to a corner of your display while using another app. Simply press the Home button while you are watching the video or making the call. You can keep watching a movie while replying to an email. A student could watch a lecture and take notes, or write a paper at the same time.
Turn Your Keyboard into a trackpad to move a cursor around. iOS 9 will allow you to have a cursor!
Apple has added many multitasking features in iOS 9 that will help teachers and students.
Better Battery Life is reported as well which is always good.
I have been fascinated by the idea of having a drone at our school for some time, and as the ease of use increases, and the prices decrease, the possibility for schools to utilize drones has finally arrived.
I have been researching drones for education for quite some time and plan to write about how they can be used to benefit school districts in future posts. My research has led me to several amazing candidates for the perfect drone for school systems, but one, I believe may very well stand head and shoulders above the competition. It will be unveiled May 30th, 2015.
The drone I believe may be the solution for schools is The DJI Phantom 3 Drone.
This interview with Kaci Heins is a lot of fun and very inspiring. I love her motto, “Dare Mighty Things” and I believe after listening to this episode you will be inspired to do just that in your classroom and life. Wired Educator interviews Kaci Heins about her accomplishments and recognition by NASA as a 6th grade educator and how she and her students sent a balloon and a GoPro Camera to the edge of space, and more!