iPad integration in Biology Department laboratory courses

The Biology and Health Sciences Department at Pleasantville has been exploring ways to integrate iPad applications in the Biology laboratories in order to replace obsolete technologies and provide up to date interactive laboratory modules. Some of the programs that have been tested by Professors Krucher and Wier include Molecules and iProtein. Both programs allow the students to better explore the chemical and biological properties of cellular components that are being taught in Biology 101 laboratory modules.

In Biology 335, Cell Biology (Professor Krucher), as well as Biology 480, Research in Biology (Professors Krucher, Horne and Wier), a number of applications have been of great use. Some of these applications include:

iPathways– Allows for viewing cellular pathways with links to genes of interest and publications

Papers-One of the better resources to searching the primary literature with the ability to link and download research articles

Filterstorm2-An image processing program that is easy to use for editing data figures or preparing images for presentations. This program used in conjunction with Dropbox allowed for students to quickly transfer images taken in lab, upload them and then edit them on iPad or their iPhones. Below are a couple examples of figure made with Filterstorm:

Accessibility on Your iPad

Let me start off by saying VoiceOver is not an application, it is a feature that comes already installed on the iPad.  It is also the world’s first gesture-based screen reader for the blind.  Instead of memorizing keyboard commands or pressing tiny arrow keys, you can simply touch the screen to hear a description of the item under your finger, then double-tap, drag, or flick to control your iPad. VoiceOver speaks over 30 languages and works with all of the applications built into iPad, as well as many of the iPad apps already in existence.  To enable this setting all you have to do is go to your settings and in the general tab click on the accessibility button, then switch the VoiceOver feature on.

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February iPad Group Meeting

Below you will find some of the highlights from our February iPad meeting. We were so pleased to have Professor Elizabeth Berro and Professor Barry Morris as faculty presenters. They shared the many exciting ways in which they have used the iPad to enhance their courses. Chris Levy of ITS, presented the topic of Dropbox–iWorks integration.

Professor Berro’s experiences:

Professor Berro applied for a grant which allowed 20 of her students to receive iPads. The iPads are used to support interactive learning in the classroom.
Some of Professor Berro’s goals include :

  • entirely eliminating PowerPoint presentations
  • minimizing lecture time
  • enhancing group activities

iPad Application in NUR 422:

Apps Used:

  • Epocrates: reference for drug interactions
    • In-class application: research various drug interactions
  • Board Game Tools: timer, scorecard, dice
    • In-class application: used for in-class quizzes and exercises

Professor Berro collaborated with textbook editors to make the course textbooks available in ebook format.

  • In-class application: Students easily flip through the ebooks to look at diagrams and other important information. Continue reading

Features Of iOS 4.2

The recent upgrade provided by Apple for the iPad has made this revolutionary device more useful. Here are the features and recent changes.

  • The button that was originally used for locking your screen rotation is no longer used for that function, it is now a mute button. To lock your screen, you have to tap the home button twice and then scroll through your recently used apps, until you find an icon that resembles a lock. Tap that and you have now locked your screen!

  • One new feature now allows you to take screen shots on your iPad. By pressing the home and power off button simultaneously for a couple of seconds  you will hear a camera shutter sound, and this allows you to take pictures of the screen.
  • On this new operating system you can multi-task as well as create folders to help prevent clutter on your home screen. To create a folder, simply hold down an icon until all the icons shake, then put your finger on an app and then drag it on top of another app to create the folder. Folders are automatically named for you , but you can change the default name of each folder. The picture below allows you to see what the folder feature will look like while you’re creating a folder on your iPad.

  • Wireless printing has been added. Please note that only certain HP printers are compatible with this feature.  Click here for additional information.
  • Air Play is now available which will allow you to steam media wirelessly to a Apple TV.
  • A new feature called Find My iPad which is an app through Mobile Me, will allow you to find your iPad, iPhone or iPod anywhere. Click here for the link on this application.

Have you started using any of these awesome new features? What features would you like to have on your iPad?

Volume Apps Purchasing Now Available!

There are several apps now available at a discount through the Volume Purchase Program. ITS currently offers:
Wyse PocketCloud

If there are other apps that you would like, you can search to see if it is currently part of the volume purchasing plan through Apple by going to http://volume.itunes.apple.com/us/store and searching for your preferred app.

If it is available through Apple, please then contact the ITS Helpdesk for further assistance in obtaining the app.

Staying Connected

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The iPad blog is updated weekly, so please feel free to subscribe to this blog by clicking the RSS feed button. Subscribing to this blog will allow you to remain abreast of each new blog post.   You can click the RSS feed button located on the right side of your screen towards the top. You can access your subscription through your Internet Explorer browser if you are using version 7 or higher. It is also possible to view your subscription through MS Outlook and Google Reader.

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iPad Tips & Tricks

Now that you’ve grown accustomed to using your iPad, we would like to introduce you to a few tips and shortcuts that may enhance your iPad experience.

  1. Quick mute- Press and hold the down volume button to quickly silence the device.
  2. To highlight larger sections of text, tap any editable text four times to highlight an entire paragraph.
  3. To perform a soft reset just press the power and home button for a few seconds and the iPad will restart. To locate these buttons please refer to this post.
  4. To watch a video in slow motion simply pause the video then hold your finger on the forward or back button.
  5. To rearrange icons simply tap and hold the icon and move it around to a different location on your screen. Once you have moved the icon to the desired location, remove your finger and hit the home button.
  6. If you have scrolled down a lengthy page and you now wish to scroll back to the top of the page,    tap the title bar at the top of the screen.
  7. For security purposes if you would like to lock your iPad go to settings, then select “general” located on the left side of the screen. Next, select “passcode lock” in the right column and press the button with the text “turn passcode on”. A prompt will appear asking you to enter a four digit numerical pin. For more advanced security feature, you can choose the “erase data feature” as well. However, if you choose this option, all data will be erased off of the iPad if the pin is typed incorrectly 1o times consecutively.
  8. Spacebar trick- the iPad spacebar will create spaces based on the number of fingers touching the spacebar. For example, if three fingers are placed on the spacebar you will receive three spaces.

Have you learned any special tips while using your iPad?

Book and Magazine Publishing and the iPad

Well, I have had my  iPad for a little over three weeks now and I have to say, I love it!  At this point I am just trying to figure out how to use all of its features, buy apps that will work for my students and classes and letting my kids use it to read and play games-which, might be the biggest learning experience of all so far.  They just naturally get it!

My plan is to use the iPad to guide my students next semester as they intern and write their thesis papers.  My students work in both the book and magazine publishing industries and obviously, the iPad is having a huge impact on both industries.   I am hoping to get a few more iPads for students and faculty mentors to truly assist them in the classroom for next semester but at the moment, I am trying to get a real sense of what publishers are doing with this new technology and to develop my classes  with a strong iPad component/focus next semester.

The first books I downloaded were from rather large list of free books-Some of them were pretty great to have-like the iPad user guides and a copy of Henry Ketcham’s The Life of Abraham Lincoln.  There were a couple of free children’s books, like Bella the Dragon and Winnie-the Pooh and while my 8 year old loved making the pages turn, they really were just books on computer.  Then, I downloaded the Alice for the iPad app.  We all loved it and while I think books for children could be even more interactive, one can see the future when looking at this app.  What fun to make Alice grow larger and larger with a swipe of your hand!

Since this is my first “ereader” I was kind of excited and anxious about buying and ebook-I really wanted to get Keith Richard’s autobiography, LIFE, the kind of book I love to keep on my bookshelf.  Well, the price was right-$12.99-and I bought the electronic version.  The reading experience has been great.  I forget it is not on paper and I love being able to swipe through the photo inserts-and, my house won’t be bursting at the seams with books that I don’t really have a place for.  By the way, it is a pretty interesting read!

I still have more to do in terms of investigating what book publishers are doing but clearly; ebooks are here to stay-especially if electronic reading devices become more accessible to the masses (and not just the affluent or techies).

Regarding magazines—I was really excited about buying magazines on the iPad-to me is seems like the perfect medium and really a way to bring stories to life with layed content and vibrant photos and videos.  The first magazine I downloaded was Chris Anderson’s WIRED Magazine.  Since Conde Nast and Mr. Anderson in particular, are on the forefront of technology and one of the first to make their magazine truly “wired” I had great expectations.  While I found the content compelling, it really was just a magazine in an electronic format.  The next one I downloaded was the New Yorker-same thing.

Then, I downloaded the new edition of Martha Stewart Living Digital Issue-amazing.  This is what the iPad was meant for!  It is truly amazing and fully utilizes all of the technology available in the iPad-the cover is interactive (great to see a peony blossom), there are videos of Martha in her garden, 180 degree views of her garden, layers to the stories, a well organized toc, and a great interview with Martha about done by John Maeda, the President of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD).  It is a really interesting interview and gives some insight into what the future holds in terms of magazines.  I am also going to buy Oprah next to see what they did with their magazine.  I would be very happy to get only the electronic versions of both of these-to archive on my iPad instead of sadly sending them to be recycled.

My thinking after looking at what Martha did in relation to my students and classes is two-fold-1) I really want to reach out them and a Professor and as the Director of Corporate Outreach to get our students involved with the work they are doing on a deeper level.  We do have one graduate over there already so, that is an in but I have feeling that they would be interested in having our student work with them specifically on the iPad versions of their magazines.  2) The interview done by Mr. Maeda really made me think about our curriculum and what we need to be offering in terms of Magazine Production and Design.  While we are not a RISD, we do have the facilities and resources to “beef up” that aspect of our program by developing new courses that are specifically related to iPod apps.  Lots to think about

On another note, the same day I downloaded Martha, an interesting article was published in AdAge that stated that “Magazine apps aren’t big among consumers’ interests on the iPad”  The link to the article is below.


Other findings from the study showed the following:

People in the market for an  iPad aren’t all consumer technophiles: 45% own four or more other devices such as a DVR, an HDTV, a Smartphone or an MP3 player, but another 40% own just two or three and 15% own one or none. “It starts to indicate to us what the potential market is for these devices,” Mr. Shiffman said.

People expect to get new experiences from the iPad. “There’s an expectation that experiences will be different even with familiar media products and brands,” said Kelly Andrews, senior VP-research at MediaVest.

But consumers will tolerate misfires from marketers and media companies better than usual. They want to experiment with these companies, Mr. Shiffman said.

Advertising needs to appear in the proper context on an iPad, even more so than in print. When people can be so selective about the types of content they consume, the importance of fitting advertising with the context ramps up, according to Mr. Shiffman.

The audience with the most interest in the iPad skews a little bit male and toward 18- to 34-year-olds, but not overwhelmingly so, and tends to live in the largest cities.

So, that is where I am at right now.  I am going to turn my attention to features of the iPad that will help me teach and organize my classes next.  I love the Apps of the week featured in the blog and hearing about what everyone else is learning/doing with their iPads.