Friday, June 28, 2013

ISTE Keynote by Adam Bellow is a Hit

This was a highlight of the ISTE conference for me! Adam Bellow (@adambellow) speaks from the heart and shares his inspiring message that "You're Invited to Change the World," with all of us. Take a few minutes and enjoy his fantastic, inspirational presentation. He is introduced and begins speaking at the 22 minute mark. Posted by Ann Feldmann @annfeldmann1

Windows 8 Tablet- WHAAAAT? A Guest Blogger and Reviewer

At ISTE13 Microsoft gave away free Windows 8 tablets to educators who had their requested paperwork filled out.  It was a brilliant marketing move by Microsoft.  Teachers were clamoring to get their free tablet.  Rumor had it that 10,000 tablets were given away!  

Now if you ever check in from time to time to read our amazing blog here at TT4T, you know that we love Apple products.  We are a huge advocate for their devices, laptops, and availability to apps.  So I was reluctant to spend too much energy trying to get my hands on the Windows 8 tablet.  However, it was free and we always say, “If it’s free it’s for me!”  Plus, I can now speak intelligently about the comparisons.  So I did what any good tech person would do- I “gave” it to my kids to set up, experiment with, and analyze.  They were excited to play with it.  I am pretty sure they were so excited because it is new and different, but here is the breakdown by my son.  He is a 12 year old super savvy tech guy if I may say so myself.  

The basic features:
It has the menu button and the search button, options button, share button, devices button on the keyboard and one home touch screen button on the screen.
The tablet is very convenient you can fold it up and take it with you to places. You can change it into desktop view by going to the home screen and then it should be the 1st tile on the bottom left corner. It can go from being a tablet into being a computer in less than a second! The windows 8 tablet does use internet explorer.

The Not- so- Cool

The keyboard: The keyboard is not the easiest to type on. It hurts your hands after a while of typing, but I have realized that it just takes awhile to get used to and after that it is really easy to type.

Available apps : It does not have google apps and it doesn’t have as many apps as I am used to.  For example, I tried to get Google Drive but all that came up was Google Drive Viewer which does not allow you to write anything but only allows you to look at Google docs you have made previously.  You cannot install Minecraft fully.  You can only get the app and play locally without logging into a server.  

Desktop View: Because it is a Microsoft product, it uses Bing for its weather and search engines.  Personally, I do not like Bing and would prefer Google but unfortunately you cannot change the search engine.

The Cool Features

It is cool for me because it is new and different compared to what I usually use.
I like how you can change the background color and design and choose  a picture or design for your start-up screen. It looks cool and it is very different from Apple operating system.

On an iPad you usually pinch or swipe to get to different screens, but on the tablet you can press buttons on the keyboard to get to different screens.  There is also a way to get to options and setting by swiping on the right corner to give you options.  It is kind of like pulling over a hidden tab on the right side of the tablet.  

Sam Krzystowczyk

Some of my observations while watching him try to work was that he was frustrated with the feel of the keyboard and the speed of the device when switching wifi networks.  The interface is very different than the iPad and he was also frustrated when certain gestures unexpectedly caused an app to close or a screen to change.  He also noticed that the auto correct was not “automatic” so he had to be more diligent in his typing.  

When I asked Sam, “So what is it good for?”  He stated “surfing the web and gaming.” My 15 year old spent two hours on the tablet gaming.

My last question was, “As a student, what could you do with this?”  and his reply was “Not much.”

Food for thought....

p.s. I am totally biased as I clearly stated from the beginning.

Written by Jennifer Krzystowczyk
With Sam Krzystowczyk

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Summer Learning - Happened so fast..

Now that the school year has ended and teachers are so excited to be on vacation, it is time to relax and rejuvenate, right? Right! But it is also a fantastic time to focus on your professional learning! I know many teachers who use summer as an opportunity to take classes, read professional books, and work collaboratively with their teammates. Here are a few other ideas for how you can take advantage of summer learning while also working on your tan!

1.) Develop a Professional Learning Network: Using social networking tools like Twitter, Google+, Feedly, and many others, you can connect with teachers around the globe who are doing amazing things. Read about what they are doing, participate in conversations with them, read articles recommended by colleagues, all from your mobile device on your back deck, poolside, or green lawn!  Check out Cybraryman’s list of Twitter Hashtags to follow.

2.)  View some amazing Google Hangouts On Air for free learning opportunities!  Here is a great resource to peruse through.  Connect to a Google + Community like Edudemic.

3.)  Attend a local Edcamp in your area.  Edcamps are usually held on weekends and are free of charge.  Edcamps let you choose the topics being covered and its a great place to network with other professionals.

4.)  Follow some amazing educational blogs.  This is the 2013 best edtech blogs honor roll, as well as some of our favorites:

5.)  Finally get that class website going for free at!   This site gives you tons of great looking templates to work with. No HTML knowledge is required.  And best of all it is free for educators.

6.)  Find some great YouTube Channels to subscribe to. This is a great way to learn new skills on practically any topic.  Subscribing to a channel gives you instant notifications when a new video has been added.  Check out this #tt4t YouTube channel for a multitude of ed tech video tutorials.  Also click to see some amazing TED lessons for your students using the Flipped Classroom idea.

7.) Think of a place where you can read quietly, soak up the sun, and turn on that mobile device for some unique learning opportunities.

Return in the fall with some great new skills and feel invigorated by the fact that you cared enough to dig a little deeper with your knowledge even on your “time off”!  So if you choose to do any of the above suggestions this summer, congratulations!  You’re a leader, you inspire others with your knowledge, and your students will be better for it!  

Written by Jenny Krzystowczyk in Conjunction with Guest Blogger Dave Zukor