Top Hat – Student Response and Engagement System


Hello Mobile Technology Users!

In the meeting on Tuesday, September 17, we discussed a student engagement system called Top Hat. Students are constantly glued to their devices making it hard for professors to gain their student’s attention. With this application, professors no longer have to worry because Top Hat will allow students to stay on track and provide them with a  positive learning experience. It is not limited to one device, so students can bring any device they wish to class (laptop, tablet, etc). Top Hat has many exciting features that allows students to be more interactive in a classroom setting.  Professors can present information through demos, and then quiz their students on the material with over 7 types of questions. When the students answer the questions, their grades are automatically generated in the professor’s grade book in Blackboard.  Anonymous discussion boards can be applied so that students are not embarrassed to participate, and professors can see what topic the majority of the class does not understand.

The features do not stop there because Top Hat is constantly improving, and has recently added more features. They are integrating with Pearson textbooks so that it can automatically generate questions from the material in the textbooks.  Additionally, Top Hat can be integrated with Blackboard as well.  Nonetheless, it does not stop in the classroom; it can still be accessed after class to review the material, which if needed can be downloaded from the application.  Professors can even assign homework, too. Lastly, Top Hat offers Tech Support for professors and students. For more information, here is the link to the Top Hat site:

Furthermore, we are looking for users to test out this application so if interested please contact: Beth Gordon at or Martina Blackwood at for more information.

As always feel free to leave comments, make suggestions, or inquire about presenting at a future meeting.  The next meeting is on Tuesday, October 22, 2013 from 3:30-4:30 pm in  E319 on the NYC Campus and Miller 16 on the PLV Campus.

We hope to see you there!



March 20, 2013 iPad Meeting: Could the iPad be Facing Competition?

Hello iPad Users!


Today, during our iPad Meeting we were introduced to another kind of tablet, the Microsoft Surface Pro. Could this tablet be the future competitor of the iPad? We may not know, but this new device brings a lot to the plate.

The Surface Pro basically functions like a laptop, but is smaller and more portable. It has many great features like: Windows 8, 64GB to 128 GB of storage, HD Display, Pen Tool, Intel Core Processor, Wi-Fi & Bluetooth, 5 hour battery life, Two 720p HD LifeCams front and rear facing with True Color, USB and Mini Display Ports, and many Apps. Some additional features include keyboard. There are two kinds that a user can attach. One is touch sensitive and can also act as a cover for the tablet while the other one is similar to a regular keyboard that you would attach to the tablet. However, there is an on-screen keyboard as well.

The Surface Pro is touch-orientated, which is great for multitasking because it is easier to navigate between Apps. Additionally, it allows a user to place two open Apps side by side on the screen so that the user can view two things at once on one screen. The other cool thing you can do with the Surface Pro is draw or write on documents by using the writing tool (Pen). This is great for note-taking. Normally on other devices, when we draw or write it looks like a bunch of scribbles, but with this new device the writing looks clear and realistic. One useful program mentioned for note-taking was One Note. One Note automatically saves your work to the Skydrive, which is storage in the cloud, so the user does not have to worry about whether or not they saved their work. They also don’t have to worry about on what device they saved their work and where on that device the work is located. The great thing about cloud storage is that your work can be accessed anywhere and on any device, and shows when changes were made to a document. Other Apps besides One Note, like Word, can be used with Skydrive, too.  Lastly, there are many Apps that can be downloaded onto the tablet , but since the Surface Pro functions like a laptop a user can install any other program they want like they would on their desktop or laptop. The Surface Pro could be the replacement for laptops because of its functionality.

However, the Surface Pro, like any other tablet, does have its disadvantages. The number one issue being cost as it starts at $899.  Yes, many people would feel they can buy a laptop for this price, but since the tablet possesses similar functions of a laptop,  Microsoft feels it should be valued at the same price.  Though, if price is a concern, Microsoft has another tablet called the Surface RT, which starts at $499, but has less features and storage available. Both these products can only be found in Microsoft stores.  Another issue is the weight. It is two pounds, one more pound than the iPad, making it difficult to hold  for a long period of time. Though, it is more weight to lug around, the Surface Pro is still lighter than lugging a laptop around. Also, one more pound is not going to kill you, so don’t let that affect your decision about buying this product. The last issue is that the Surface Pro is not meant to be used for games. It does support minimal game use, but if this is the only reason you want to buy this device than you should reconsider. Games are better supported on an iPad. Whether Apple likes it or not, the Surface Pro sounds like the next best thing.

Also, during our meeting we discussed several Apps. Those being: Dropbox, Box, SpiderOak, 1Password, Evernote, Penultimate, and Video Pix. Dropbox and Box were previously mentioned in another blog, but I will briefly explain them again. SpiderOak is basically the same concept as Dropbox and Box, but is a more secure way to store your files on the cloud. Dropbox lets you bring all your photos, documents, and videos anywhere and share them easily. Access any file you saved to your Dropbox from all your computers, iPhone, iPad and even the Dropbox website! The App  lets you access your account directly from your iPhone. Open documents, images, music and videos, anywhere. Also, use it to stream music that didn’t fit on your device, to read PDF, Word or Excel documents on the go, or to access any other files you have stored on For more information on these applications, follow this link:

Another App were discussed was 1Password, which stores all your passwords in one secure place. 1Password for iPad can store website passwords, credit cards, secure notes, and more, and make it all available at the flick of your finger. Everything is protected with the last password you need to remember. When you touch a website login, 1Password takes you to the site and automatically fills in your credentials for you. You don’t have to remember your password or even the URL for each site. It doesn’t get any easier than this. Also, passwords are encrypted, so even if someone does gain access, you are still protected.

The next Apps discussed were Evernote  and Penultimate. Evernote makes it easy to remember things big and small from your everyday life using your computer, phone, tablet and the web.With Evernote, all of your notes, web clips, files and images are made available on every device and computer you use. You can take a photo, screenshot, or record some audio and save it. Save entire webpages to your Evernote account with the web clipper browser extensions . Share your notes and collaborate on projects with friends, colleagues and classmates. Penultimate is the original and easiest-to-use handwriting app for iPad that combines the natural experience of pen and paper with the flexibility and syncing of Evernote. Lose the paper, keep the handwriting, and remember everything.With Evernote syncing, your notes are searchable and available on any computer or mobile device you use. The last App discussed was Video Pix. VideoPix is a Slow Motion editor, Video Frame Grabber, and an enhanced video player all with a simple and powerful user interface. However, this App eats up storage,  but with applications like Dropbox you can store your work there. Also, these videos can be uploaded to Youtube, but be sure to specify that the work is being used for educational or personal purposes or you can face copyright issues.

The next iPad Meeting is on April 15, 2013 at 12:20pm- 1:15pm in the VC Rooms.

iPad 4 vs. iPad Mini

“What is the difference?” is the famous question many customers ask when going to purchase an iPad. One would say there is no difference; it is simply just a miniature version of the iPad with the same functions and performance. However, don’t let the smaller size fool you. Though both iPads deliver the iPad experience, there are some differences that people will overlook.

In this blog, I will help you better understand the differences of these products by discussing the advantages and disadvantages of an iPad and iPad Mini. However, some of these differences are based on user preferences, so you can decide what product is best fit for you. The iPad 4 is “bigger, faster, and stronger,” better for productivity, has better photo and video manipulation, and better for web browsing. It has a 9.7-inch “Retina Display,” (you can’t see the pixels) and has more than four times the graphics power. The iPad Mini, 7.9-inch screen, does not have retina display so you can see the pixels; the screen has the same pixel count as the first-generation iPad (1024×768). This means the graphics on the iPad Mini will have a fuzzy display.

Here’s a screen comparison to illustrate what I mean:









However, rumor has it by next year the iPad Mini 2 will have an even better retina display than the iPad 4. Next, the iPad 4 has twice the amount of processor power than the iPad Mini, and is much stronger as well. With the bigger display on the iPad 4, it makes it better for getting tasks done because an individual can comfortably view web pages without having to zoom in, like they would have to with the iPad Mini. Many customer reviews claimed that the iPad Mini was hard on the eyes. Also, the bigger display is good for software like Pages or Numbers because there is extra space to get work done and a great way to replace laptop use. The smaller display on the iPad Mini is fine for many tasks like watching movies, reading books, music, or playing casual games. Aside from productivity software, the bigger display really helps out if you are planning to do a lot of photo or video editing with the iPad, and with the retina display it allows the user to work with higher resolution photos.

Nonetheless, the iPad Mini does have its advantages as well, those being cost, size, and weight. The iPad Mini is small enough to hold with one hand comfortably, and only weighs 0.68 pounds compared to the 1.44 pound iPad. Many customers complained that the iPad is heavy, which makes it tiring to hold for extended periods of time. Additionally, with a smaller size it is a lot easier to type with, and many people have said this is helpful with emails. The iPad Mini is more mobile than the iPad, easily fitting into a purse or the side pocket of a backpack, making the iPad better for traveling, especially since one will not have to feel like they are lugging around extra weight. Furthermore, the iPad Mini even has access to Siri, Apple’s “intelligent assistant.” However, the number one reason to go with an iPad Mini is the cost. The iPad 4 starts at $499 while the iPad Mini starts at $329, which is $170 in savings or about one-third off the price. For those who want an iPad but feel the price is just a little too high, the iPad Mini is a good choice.

There is no clear perfect choice when picking out the right iPad. For many people, the iPad Mini will do everything they need an iPad to do and they will barely even notice the difference between the two tablets. For others, the bigger screen, sharper graphics and faster processor will make all the difference in the world.


November 28th iPad Meeting

Hello iPad Users!

During this meeting we discussed a new,  great App called Lecture Tools.

Searching for this great new App? This is what it looks like!

Student Overview

Lecture Tools is a student response system that allows students to take notes linked with the slides and videos presented in class, answer instructor generated questions, and anonymously ask questions to the instructor. Often students do not want to ask a question in front of their peers or even to their professor because they fear the embarrassment of asking questions, but with this application, as a student, the process of question asking can be worry free! Additionally, sometimes certain topics can become confusing to a student or a majority of students, but again students are embarrassed to express their frustration understanding a topic during class and will quietly go to the instructor after class. This application also allows students to flag slides right away so the instructor can see if just one student is having difficulty or a majority of students, and then can spend more time with the whole class on the topic or one on one with the one student who didn’t understand the material. After class this content can be accessed for review.

Instructor Overview

First, instructors can use the web application to upload slides and videos (such a Youtube) and add many different types of  interactive questions . This will make it easier to prepare the material that is going to be discussed in class.  Once uploaded students can then use the iPad app ( or web app) to participate in class.  Instructors can hide slides until they want to reveal them to the class, and then click publish so students can then see the slide that was once hidden. Nonetheless, students cannot skip ahead to view future slides. At the end of the lesson, the instructor will have a report card to see how much a student participated and interacted. The content will always be accessible to the students as long as the instructor wishes to keep it available. The Lecture Tools application has been independently shown to increase engagement, especially in large classes.

Here Are Some Demo Slides

This image shows a slide with content on the material being discussed in class.

Shows visual content within the slide.
Any kind of media can be used with the slides.

Interactive Questions

This slide shows a question being asked by the instructor in which the students can reply to the answer they think is correct.

Another visual content slide that shows the areas in North America that contain that type of rock.

Another interactive question in which this time one would have to tap the iPad to click on the part of the volcano they think is the crater.

Additionally, one of the neatest features of Lecture Tools is that you don’t need an iPad or even a laptop to respond to questions the teacher presents within the app.  As long as you link your account with your phone number, you can text the answer directly from your mobile phone.

There you have a brief overview of Lecture Tools! Hopefully we will be seeing it used at Pace in the near future!