Dec 18th, 2014 by Hayden McClure
On December 9th we had our third and final user group meeting of the semester. Heather Askildsen and Megan Burke from ITS presented Poll Everywhere, an exciting online interactive audience response system, while Jermain Smith from the School of Education showed us the “gamification” of learning by providing examples of two companies on the cutting edge of this new approach.
Heather and Megan demonstrated some premium features of Poll Everywhere and discussed how it could be implemented in an educational setting. For those unfamiliar with the tool, Poll Everywhere is a web-based application that allows presenters to create polls and have their audience respond with a smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer. The company offers a limited free version of this software, with the ability to purchase a subscription for some premium features. Heather and Megan played a short video, which provides a good overview of the tool. They provided several suggestions for the various ways in which instructors might be able to utilize this tool in the classroom. Finally, their presentation concluded with a chance for attendees to participate in a live test.
Some of the ways Heather and Megan felt that Poll Everywhere would be helpful in the classroom include:
- Taking Attendance – Professors have the option of creating a free response poll in which all posts are time stamped, so instructors know who got to class and when.
- Checking for Student Understanding – Professors can make multiple choice polls and gauge how many students feel they understand the concept. If some students are struggling to understand, then professors can use that feedback to focus the lecture better.
- Encouraging Students – Professors have controls with the software of what they want to display to the class. If they think a student posts something exceptional, they can call it out. If a student sends something that is inappropriate, they have the option to block that content.
For more information on Poll Everywhere and to play around with the free version, you can head on over to their official site and try it out for yourself. If anyone uses this tool, it would be nice to hear your thoughts and comments on this service. If you have found innovative ways to use it in the classroom, feel free to share those too.
Jermain, Director of Technology for the School of Education, presented two companies that are combining modern technology and games to improve educational experiences for students. The first company he introduced us to was Wavicle through an introductory video. This company offers game based learning solutions and can help educators build game based courses that engage students in new ways. The second company he presented was TeachLivE, which was developed in conjunction with the University of Central Florida. This technology has already been implemented within the Avatar Labs for the School of Education at Pace. This resource can be used to help train student teachers in speaking with students and classroom management skills. Essentially, prospective instructors speak to an animated classroom and the students react and perform in real time. Jermain played a video of a student teacher interacting with these avatars to help illustrate how his department was using this software.
A big thank you to Heather, Megan, and Jermain for taking the time to educate us in these exciting new technologies.
Wishing everyone a peaceful and relaxing break. We will be having our first meeting of the Spring Semester, sometime in February. Please stay tuned to the blog for the date and times for our spring meetings. As always, feel free to comment below, we would love to hear your thoughts.
Nov 14th, 2014 by Hayden McClure
The following post written by Dr. Claudia Mausner details her experience using the Glogster application in the classroom:
An Example of a Student Created Glog: Full PDF of the Glog (pictured below)
My friend calls me the technology wiz who really dislikes technology. I accepted the iPad loaner challenge, recognizing that it behooves me to join the 21st century and explore the world of tablets. I attended the monthly user group meetings and learned about the Glogster app from Education department professor Peter McDermott. My understanding was that students could use this website to create multimedia posters online. Little did I know introduction to this app would mushroom into a major class assignment!
Each semester for the last few years I have arranged a Sustainability Tour on both NYC and Pleasantville campuses for my videoconference course ENV 235, Sustainable Living in Our World. This year I would be unable to attend, as I was organizing an environmental conference in Washington, DC. I wanted to be certain that students participated in the tours despite my absence and I also wanted students to share experiences with their classmates on the “other” campus. My “aha” moment came when I realized students could create posters with Glogster and, to increase the excitement level, I could turn the assignment into a contest. One of the students needed extra credit and thus volunteered to create a Survey Monkey questionnaire allowing her classmates to rank the posters and provide evaluative comments anonymously.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about technology, it is to expect the unexpected. The complexity of this assignment grew at every step. I hadn’t realized that Glogster required the professor to open an account, but when students couldn’t access the software I went ahead and purchased a relatively inexpensive 1-year account that provided space for 30 student posters. Only to learn after-the-fact that a more limited free version was also available. In order to post the completed glogs on Survey Monkey they would have to be in PDF format, but Glogster is designed for online use only. With guidance from the company helpline, I downloaded freeware from Bullzip to convert the glogsters into PDFs. Since the Sustainability Tour posters were beautiful and students spent far more time on the assignment than I had anticipated, I decided to have them printed. The posters were hung and admired at the new Environmental Center in Pleasantville during a recent party introducing the new Environmental Studies and Sciences Department.
All of my original goals were met, and then some. Students loved using Glogster. The full version has many exciting tools, including built-in survey software. Students did not include videos in their multimedia posters because this was not compatible with Survey Monkey, but in the future that would certainly be an option. There was 100% attendance for the tours despite my absence, and I could determine by reviewing the posters that they listened and learned. And students had an opportunity to share their experiences with classmates on the “other” campus. New technology has many challenges and can often be time-consuming . . . . but it offers incredibly rich surprises to strengthen the learning experience in wonderful ways!
Nov 7th, 2014 by Rich Miller III
Today we had our second user group of the semester. Our presenters were Devin McLaughlin from Apple and Amanda Villavicencio from ITS. Both presented on some very interesting topics.
Devin has been with us before and always gives a nice presentation. One of the very cool things that he introduced to us was the Apple iBeacon. It’s a Bluetooth enabled device that essentially provides location based information that you can access through your other iDevices. Devin gave the example of recently leaving his iBeacon in a checked bag on a flight and being able to track its exact location once he (and it) was on the plane in ‘proximity.’ Quite a cool feature and something he thinks many will start using in all sorts of different ways as far as location based offerings are concerned.
Here is some more information about the iBeacon.
Devin went on to discuss iOS 8 and the new features that it comes with. Some of the highlights include:
- Screen capture between an iOS 8 device (with a lightning connection) and your Mac (running Yosemite). Essentially you are able to perform an audio/video recording using QuickTime.
- The introduction of new 3rd party keyboards. The most popular is Swype (currently free, normally $0.99) and another is Swift Key. These are what many Android users are already used to and a welcomed addition to the standard Apple keyboard.
- Having the Continuity feature which allows you to start a task on one device, and continue/complete it on another.
- The ability to make and receive calls on your other devices (as long as your iPhone is within Bluetooth range) as well as pickup an iMessage or even SMS text message conversation on another device that you started on lets say your iPhone.
- Specific to EDU, the introduction of extensions which allows iOS 8 users to reach into another app and access documents. Also a direct connection with DropBox via iCloud drive which is very useful for lots of users of these two services.
- For managing apps, e.g. with volume licensing, there is now the option of assigning and revoking access. So this is something that may work well in the EDU field (and other fields of course) where shared iPads and apps had become quite costly.
- The Apple TV now has the ability to talk to your devices via Bluetooth instead of the complications of having to be on the same network. This could be a game changer for using this tool in higher ed spaces. The Apple TV was designed to be an at home product, but as Devin mentioned there are so many uses for it, especially in the EDU environment. With this new option it may open the door for increased usage.
There is so much more out there now with iOS 8 and the new Yosemite OSX. Please let us know if you know any other tips and tricks below.
Amanda, one of the ITS eTerns, discussed the many changes that ePortfolio just had over the past few months. There is a new option for changing your layouts and making your ePortfolio more appealing. More on the new layouts can be found by clicking here. Amanda referred to it as a “pyramid” when showing us her showcase page which started with her most current accomplishments as a Graduate student and went back through Undergraduate and High School as well which was very cool.
Some other additional features include:
- The ability to embed PDF files, not just upload them.
- A new editing menu which stays with you as you scroll down your pages for easier accessibility.
- A more responsive design for mobile editing. You no longer need to be on a computer for the this, you can now edit with your smart phone, tablet, etc.
- Badging has been introduced and is a way to show off accomplishments in a digital fashion.
- You now get a warning when you are about to delete a journal, so there won’t be anymore accidental deletions!
- There are now quick links on the dashboard page which allow you to quickly create something or share something in a simpler fashion.
Please follow the ePortfolio blog here: http://eportfolio.blogs.pace.edu/
Please contact the ITS Academic Technology Dept for any questions regarding ePortfolio: email@example.com
Thanks to both Devin & Amanda for their informative presentations.
We look forward to seeing you at our last meeting of the semester on Tuesday December 9th, 2014 at 12:10pm in Miller 16 (PLV) and E319 (NYC). As always please feel free to leave comments below and if you have any ideas or would like to present at an upcoming or future meeting please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Oct 7th, 2014 by Rich Miller III
Welcome back everyone! Today was the first meeting of our Fall 2014 semester.
Our topic was Adobe EchoSign presented by yours truly. For those who have never heard of it, Adobe EchoSign is a robust e-signature platform that is entirely cloud based. It allows users to send and receive documents for signature all electronically. It has simple functionality, is efficient, and allows for document tracking and metrics.
Ever send that form to get signed and it got “lost?” Ever send something via snail mail and have it take days to get to its desired location? Or maybe the form is still sitting in a pile with a few hundred more on someones desk. EchoSign can eliminate the back log of paperwork and we hope eliminate the need to print paper forms as well. We are not only going green, but we are able to efficiently establish a new protocol for the way we do business at the University.
EchoSign allows a user to initiate a document and send it to “x” number of users to sign. Once you fill in the appropriate fields (email address, attach the document, designate locations for signatures, etc) – very similar to sending an email – the software does all the rest automatically for you. You will simply receive the signed document back once all parties have signed it.
No account? No problem. Not everyone needs an account to sign (however you do need an account to originate). If you are asked to sign something, simply follow the instructions in the email that you receive. You can sign anywhere and anytime. You can even sign on a mobile device while using your finger as a stylus.
Dyson is currently finishing a pilot of 8 months of usage. The document processing and turn around time has been exceptional and the metrics back this up. Documents that used to take days take hours…Documents that used to take weeks now take days. The difference is night and day. Once we are able to upgrade to the next level we hope to roll out this tool to other users within Dyson and ultimately the University. Stay tuned for more updates about this exciting tool and please feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions or wish to see a more detailed demo: email@example.com
Please contact us if you have any topic suggestions or would like to present at one of our upcoming meetings. See you at the next meeting on November 6th!
Aug 25th, 2014 by Rich Miller III
Below is the schedule of meetings for the Fall semester. All meetings occur in Miller 16 (Pleasantville) and E319 (New York)
- Monday October 6th 12:10pm-1:10pm
- Thursday November 6th 3:25pm-4:25pm
- Tuesday December 9th 12:10pm-1:10pm
*Please note the date change for the December meeting.*
All are welcome to attend. If you are interested in presenting on a topic please leave us a comment below. We look forward to seeing you.
Aug 18th, 2014 by Rich Miller III
The Mobile Tech User group sent out a survey to its users to gain some end of the year feedback. Thank you to all that responded. Here is some of the pertinent information that came from it. Also, we take a look at some future topics that may be presented during next semesters meetings.
The survey consisted of 12 total responses. 9 faculty and 3 staff responded.
All 9 faculty have said they have used some form of the technology we have discussed in the meetings in the classroom.
All 12 respondents felt that the meetings were at least somewhat useful (3), useful (7), or very useful (2).
8 out of the 12 respondents at least read this blog occasionally.
Reasons that respondents felt that the blog was helpful:
- Get information if they missed a meeting
- To help discover new technologies, tech trends and get ideas
- Learn how others are using technology in the classroom
- To read reviews of applications for their own potential usage
Respondents felt that this content would be helpful on the blog going forward:
- Talk about items that there wasn’t enough time for during the actual meetings
- Tech trends
- Anything regarding integration of technology
The biggest suggestion for future meetings was regarding the potential for online attendance for the user group meetings.
Some proposed topics for future meetings include:
- Top Hat
- Free versions of student engagement systems
- Gamification – tests as games, synchronous mobile applications and gaming for educational purposes.
- EchoSign – e-signature tool and app
- eTexts and OER
- Apple updates from our Pace Apple representatives
- Apple’s new operating system
- Online office hours
- Virtual science labs
The schedule for the upcoming Fall semester meetings will be posted very soon. We hope everyone is having a great summer.
Jul 7th, 2014 by Rich Miller III
Our final Spring 2014 semester meeting occurred as the semester was winding down in May. Time really does fly.
Our presentation was from Dr. Barry Morris. He is a Professor of Communication on the NYC campus. He shared with us some very creative videos that his students made in his course. They were related to a tool called Duolingo. Duolingo is something that allows you to learn new languages. The best part? It’s free and they claim it always will be. That’s always a plus; here is some more info on how that part works and keeps it free vs. a paid service. The fact that you can take it with you on the go as well as utilize offline lessons is another big plus. There was a study done to gauge its effectiveness. The results can be found here. Some pretty impressive stuff and the reviews of this tool are very solid. This is definitely a resource that I wish I had when I was in high school and college and learning a foreign language.
Click here to get more info on their website. Click here to download their app from the Apple store. Click here to download their app from the Google store.
The semester is over, but technology keeps on evolving. There are rumors of iWatches, iPhone 6′s, iPhone Airs, Android watches, iOS 8 and more. The tablet market is definitely advancing very quickly and new apps are being developed and released daily. It’s an exciting time and we hope you will stay tuned to our blog. We hope to see you at our fall meetings. More to come in an upcoming blog…Happy summer!
Apr 17th, 2014 by Rich Miller III
Our recent meeting consisted of two main topics: using the iPad in the Art classroom as well as the use of Blackboard Collaborate on the go.
Professor Jane Dickson first discussed with us how she uses the iPad in her classroom. She primarily uses Google searches to find different historical pieces of art to show to students as they are working during class. She also will use the iPad to locate other historical pieces of art that some of the students art reminds her of so she can show them the comparisons. It also allows her the freedom to feed the students more information on the fly and then allow them to come back later on and look up more historical information that may peak their interest regarding a specific work of art or artist. In addition to Google image searches she also uses different artist websites, institution websites, etc. She hopes to continue to use the iPad and expand her usage to best meet the needs of her students.
Our second presentation was by 2 of the ITS e-Terns from the Academic Technology office. They presented on Blackboard Collaborate. Collaborate is an online learning and collaboration platform allowing faculty and students to meet from anywhere…anytime…and be able to do just about anything. Their focus was on the use of Collaborate as a user and on the go, which many of us are these days. Because of a robust app, you are able to join Collaborate session from your smart phone or tablet anywhere you have an internet/4G type connection. They demonstrated the use of two way audio, the recording feature, instant polls, chats, and more. You never have to miss a class or meeting session again with the option to login using this app. Check it out in the app store.
Our final meeting of the semester is on Thursday May 8, 2014 at 3:30pm in the VC rooms. We hope to see you there. If we don’t see you, best of luck as the semester winds down!
Mar 7th, 2014 by Kyle Eng
Hello Mobile Technology Users! It is that time again, time for our monthly meeting! In this meeting we had one of our Environmental professors, Claudia Mausner, come discuss her experiences using an iPad for her classes. Also we discuss the Surface RT and how it can be used daily. So sit back and enjoy this meeting recap. Then decide which tablet may be right for you…
First we had Claudia Mausner discuss her first time using an iPad. At first she said that her experiences with an iPad was not pleasant. She felt that the iPad was not user friendly. But as the semester has progressed on, she has now become accustomed to the iPad and what is has to offer. Claudia has been able to use the iPad to record videos for her students at the Wasterwater
Treatment Plant. Here is an example of it via Youtube. Feel free to check it out and spread the word! Let’s make this go viral.
Next she discussed what other things she has used. An app that she has used is SmartOffice 2. SmartOffice 2 is the equivalent to Microsoft Office Suite. Claudia discussed that she was able to type documents, take notes and easily save it to her DropBox account or just send it as an email. She said that it was extremely functional and something she has used on a daily basis since using the iPad. For more information about this app, head over to the App Store for SmartOffice 2 .
In the end Claudia has felt that the iPad has really helped her throughout the semester and she has really gotten used to it. Of course there are some minor things that still bug her, but overall her experience with the iPad has gotten better and now she has fully gotten the iPad experience. Has this convinced you to get an iPad?? If not read all about the presentation of the SurfaceRT below.
Next we discussed the SurfaceRT. First we discussed Microsoft OneNote. OneNote is an application that comes installed on Surface RT, Surface Pros and all PC (Laptops and Desktops). OneNote is a great application that acts as your binder with many different dividers. OneNote allows you to keep many “Notebooks” that allow you to keep notes. The great thing about this application is the functionality. It allows users to use their hands as their note taker. You can use your hand to highlight, cross, or just write like you would on a paper. Also this allows you to type like a regular keyboard. Finally we discussed the SurfaceRT itself. The SurfaceRT has great features, including acting like a regular PC and having the full Microsoft Office Suite installed. But the main downsides are the lack of apps (but they are coming) and also you are unable to install your own programs outside of the Windows App Store. The SurfaceRT currently runs for $350. For more information about the SurfaceRT and other great features head over to Microsoft’s SurfaceRT site.
We hope that we see you for our next meeting on Wednesday, April 9 2014 between 12:15-1:15. Remember the meetings are located in E319 on the NYC Campus and Miller 16 on the PLV Campus.
We hope to see you there!
Feb 28th, 2014 by Kyle Eng
Man has it been a busy couple of weeks of new technology news! You have to love this industry as things are changing everyday. Recently there has been big news of a purchase of an extremely popular application and the one question many iOS users are asking: is Microsoft Office Suite finally coming to iOS?
Most recently there has been huge news of a very popular mobile phone application called WhatsApp? WhatsApp is an application that allows users to communicate with friends and family without having to use your short messaging service (Or the thing you call a texting plan). You can text your friends or start a group chat on the go. All you need is a wireless connection (or a smartphone) and you are good to go. This has become an extremely popular app with over 300 million users daily. Not only can this be easily used but this is free! But here’s the catch: Only the first year is free and the years after you will be paying .99 per year.
Still not a bad deal for those who want to text or chat on the go but don’t have a text plan on their mobile phones. WhatsApp is available on all platforms. For more information head over to the Apple App Store, Google Play Store or the Windows Phone Store. Chat on! The rumors are also floating that they may add a voice call feature.
There have been a lot of rumors recently regarding a possible question many iOS users want an answer to…..Is Microsoft Office Suite making it’s way onto iOS?! Well let’s clear one thing up, yes and no.
Yes Microsoft is currently in the process of coming up with an application for iOS users who want to edit their essays on PowerPoints on the go. But there may be a long wait for this. We still don’t know when exactly Office will arrive on iOS or Android devices but we do know that Microsoft is working on it.
Well that’s the latest big news in the technology world! Told you it was a busy couple of weeks! If you have any stories that you want us to write about feel free to leave us a comment. Also our next Mobile Technology User Group meeting will be happening on March 6th, 2014 @ 3:30pm in E319 in NYC and Miller16 in PLV. We hope to see you there!