Fall 2015 Mobile Tech User Group Meetings

We hope everyone had a enjoyable summer and is looking forward to the exciting semester ahead.  The mobile tech meetings for this semester are scheduled for the following dates and times:Pace_app_tap

  • Monday, September 21st 12:10pm – 1:10pm
  • Tuesday, October 13th 11:30am – 12:30 pm
  • Wednesday, November 18th 12:10pm – 1:10pm*
  • Tuesday, December 8th 12:10pm – 1:10pm

All meetings take place in E319 on the New York City campus and Miller 16 on the Pleasantville campus, *EXCEPT for the November meeting which will take place in Miller 21.  Note that this location change only applies to Pleasantville.  As always, all are welcome to attend. If you would like to suggest future meeting topics, please comment below.

Kaltura At Pace

kalturaVideo is becoming bigger than ever, especially in higher education.  With many products we run into storage limitations, collaboration issues, integration hurdles and so on.  Kaltura looks to take these needs head on and offer us a robust media solution.

Yesterday we had an online webinar for our monthly user group meeting.  The topic was Kaltura, a new service that is coming soon to Pace.  Our presenter was Ken Taylor, Director of Education, Mid-Atlantic U.S. for Kaltura.

Ken spoke to us about the different features that Kaltura will bring to the table.  First some background; Kaltura is a streaming video service with over 300,000 web publishers integrated into Blackboard.  You can upload videos into Kaltura directly through Blackboard, and make them available to your students in any Content Area, within a Media Gallery, or as a component of an assignment, test, or quiz.  Essentially you can upload, share, and manage content within groups, with your students (and vice versa) and so much more.

Kaltura has this direct connection with Blackboard which allows for easy usage and integration for faculty, staff and students.  It brings flipped classrooms, distance learning, BYOD and more to life and provides a truly enriching experience to its users.  Kaltura is a solution for many user case needs: lecture captures, teaching and learning, media repository & archiving, and group collaborations to name a few.  In addition to higher education, Kaltura has many enterprise, media and numerous brand name clients (HBO, Philips, Nestle).

If you are interested in hearing more about Kaltura, please check out their website here.

If you are interested in using Kaltura as an early adopter at Pace, please leave us a comment here, contact your school IT director or email: acadtech@pace.edu

OpenStax

stax

Want access to free textbooks?  Enticing, I know…

Our first meeting of the Spring 2015 semester included a presentation by OpenStax.  OpenStax is an innovative and (free!) way for students and faculty to utilize and acquire textbooks that align with most courses at the higher education level. With students spending so much on textbooks semester to semester (amongst other living expenses), this is a welcomed change to the textbook market and a way to save students a few bucks in the process.  There are a few different ways to acquire the textbook including the Apple iBookstore, a PDF copy and more.

How is this possible you might ask?  The initiative is lead by Rice University and continues to be made possible through philanthropic donations.  The plan is not to change to a pay model at this time, so this looks like a really intriguing option and a good marketing tool as well.  Click here for more information.

The requirements for creating a book have to meet a certain formula, e.g. taking into account the number of courses offered and number of students taking them.  So some areas, such as Communications, are not included.  But the selection is quite impressive ranging from Physics to Economics to Psychology and more.  books

Check out the selection by clicking here and let us know which books you find to be the most useful.

If you have interest in OpenStax, please take a look at their website, leave us some comments or contact someone in your IT area to discuss this further.  You can also check out the latest news here.

In the meantime please check out this YouTube video with some further information: Open Stax

Spring 2015 Mobile Tech User Group Meetings

Welcome back as the January Intersession is now well underway.  Our blog celebrates a milestone as this is our 100th published post.  Once the Spring semester begins, our mobile tech meetings will resume, following the dates and times listed below.mobiletechnologyusergroup

  • Tuesday, February 3rd 12:30pm-1:30pm
  • Thursday, March 5th 3:30pm-4:30pm
  • Tuesday, April 7th 3:30pm-4:30pm
  • Thursday, May 7th 3:30pm-4:30pm

These meetings will take place in Miller 16 in Pleasantville and and E319 in New York. Everyone is welcome to attend, so we look forward to seeing you there.  If you have suggestions for future meeting topics, feel free to leave a comment below.

December 9th, 2014 Meeting Recap

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.

PollEverywhereLogo

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.

November 6th, 2014 Meeting Recap

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.  iBeaconIt’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:

NewiOS8

  • 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.

iOS8

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.

ePortAmanda, 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.Green_ePort

Please follow the ePortfolio blog here: http://eportfolio.blogs.pace.edu/

Please contact the ITS Academic Technology Dept for any questions regarding ePortfolio: acadtech@pace.edu

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 rmiller@pace.edu

 

Fall 2014 Begins…Adobe EchoSign Takes Off?

Welcome back everyone!  Today was the first meeting of our Fall 2014 semester.

ESOur 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.

MobileDevice

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: rmiller@pace.edu

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!

Spring 2014 – Final Meeting

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.Capture

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!

April 9th User Group Meeting

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.

artProfessor 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.

Collab

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!

March 6, 2014 Mobile Technologies User Meeting

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!