Category Archives: For Students

iPod Touch alternatives

A family member asked for an iPod 5 for her birthday with a you-don’t-need-to-buy-anything-else clause invoked. So, just out of curiosity, I looked up the prices. Wow. What a sticker shock. You think I’d be used to that by now working around Apple products for so long, but $300 is not a cheap device.

I remembered when I bought my first Virgin Mobile phone, I decided to buy it from a local store and check out Android before switching to a pay-as-you-go provider. I realized I had a pretty good competitor to an iPad for much cheaper.

Today I checked out the LG Venice from Boost mobile and the Samsung Galaxy Victory from Virgin. Both have wifi, of course, as well as 5mp cameras and decent video recording. The obvious turn off is the unknown market place for Android apps, but I think that’s only because it’s unexplored in most education circles. I’m pretty confident though, that with a good MDM solution, like Meraki, you could easily save some money in your schools or even at home if you decided to give your kids Android devices instead of iPod Touches or iPads. The market is so huge, it’s hard to pass up not shopping around.

Link: LG Venice –
Link: Samsung Victory –


Posted by on May 5, 2013 in For Home, For Students, Uncategorized

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Valve unveils Steam for Schools, Portal in the classroom | TekGoblin

Learning with video games!

Link: Valve unveils Steam for Schools, Portal in the classroom | TekGoblin.


Posted by on June 27, 2012 in For Students, For Teachers

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Using iOS apps to help treat autism

The U.S.-based organization Autism Speaks estimates there are hundreds of apps built for use on iOS devices, specifically for autism. A search of the Apple iTunes store brought more than 580 autism-related apps, while an Android Market search for autism apps yielded about 250 results.

“The more we dig, the bigger the rabbit hole is and we’re starting to think tech is a really big key for how we can develop therapies quickly,” said Marc Sirkin, vice president of social marketing and online fundraising for Autism Speaks.

Link: Using apps to help treat autism | Macworld.


Posted by on February 11, 2012 in Digital Kids, For Home, For Students

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Your Day At School: Lifehacks Class

Yesterday we taught a class about a few online websites and tools that make our lives easier. Here is the Google Doc we used to present and a little info about each one. It was a quick class, just enough to peak people’s interest in the tools, not how to use them completely.

Link: YDAS – Cool Stuff


Posted by on November 1, 2011 in Digital Kids, For Home, For Students, Google, Life Hack

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10 Cool Google Reader ‘Send To’ Buttons You Can Use to Post Feed Content to Friends

Google Reader has changed once again, this time adding the ability to share links to other kinds of social websites like Facebook and Twitter. Now you can also add your own, with the help of this article.

10 Cool Google Reader ‘Send To’ Buttons You Can Use to Post Feed Content to Friends.


Posted by on November 1, 2011 in Digital Kids, For Home, For Students, For Teachers, Google

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Google Docs Improvements Coming

Keep an eye on Google Docs. It’s about to get overhauled with a better word processor, faster spredsheets, a collaborative drawing tool. It should be live now if you click on on the ‘Editing’ tab.


Posted by on April 12, 2010 in Digital Kids, For Home, For Students, Google

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Getting The Newest Technology In The Classroom

I’ll be the first to admit, if being on the technology staff isn’t proof enough, I love new technology. I like the advances that technology makes and what it allows us to do easier or more of. I like that we can do things we normally don’t do or do it in places we usually don’t. I think in the name of technology, almost any new product is an investment in the greater good for us all.

But what about teachers? We spend millions of dollars on classroom technology and even have staff dedicated to looking at new technology, evaluating it’s usefulness in the classroom and even creating sample lesson plans to use with it. We are digital salesmen. We see a valuable experience in something and practice it, offer it, and teach it.

One has to wonder what the saturation point is or if there even is one. Is it correct to think that too much technology isn’t a problem but on a case-by-case basis per teacher? Is it up to the teacher, administrator or IT department of any business or school to decided how much technology is right for getting the job done? Does the saturation point constantly move as new technology is adapted to?

I quickly evaluate someone when I talk to them and decided if I should introduce a new technology to help alleviate a problem. Is the person I’m talking to more worried about getting the job done at that moment or trying to figure out a way to do the job better? How do they react when I bring up a new website tool or piece of equipment? Do they ask me if there is technology to fix the problem and if there is, how many steps does it add to their routine?

And what about the human element of learning or teaching by computers? How does that affect students relationship skills or work ethics? If a child can always create a slide show presentation because the tools are easy to use, how will that student cope with not being able to consistently produce equally comparable results when using household objects to create the science project they need to turn in. The direct analog of computer tools (glue, scissors, paper, markers, etc.) are never as easy to use as the font menu or cut / paste in PowerPoint. Will the student and parents be less able to work on a project together if the student is used to using Google to find out how to do things on a computer instead of being able to communicate an assignment and their ideas and plans to a parent to get the science project built?


Posted by on February 15, 2010 in Digital Kids, For Students, For Teachers, offline

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Google Wave and What It’s Good For

This morning I got an invitation to try out Google Wave. It’s a new collaboration tool that goes far beyond anything online today. To say that it is like anything we currently use would be doing it an injustice. But also, it’s not for everyone.

Google Docs is online collaboration for word documents, spreadsheets and presentations. It’s contained in those abilities. Google Wave is more open to being a completely editable form of communication. If you send me an email in Wave, which itself is called a ‘wave’, I can respond to your wave (called a ‘blip’), edit your wave, upload pictures and movies to it, add other people to see it and all work on it together. Work on what? Anything you want.

The apparent obstacle in this “preview” that I’m in is that only people with Google Wave accounts can see or email each other. I have a separate email address, but it’s pointless for me to try to use this with anyone else.

To get a better understanding about Wave, here is the Google Help page about communicating in Waves.

Google Waves Best Use Cases – Wave – Lifehacker.


Posted by on October 14, 2009 in Digital Kids, For Home, For Students, For Teachers, Google, Online

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Quick Google Docs Update

Google has been busy this Summer, updating features on Docs just in time for the new school year. Adding an equation editor to Spreadsheets, subscripts and superscripts to Documents as well as translations services.

Also to note, Google Sites (their webpage buider/hosting site) now supports posting Docs to your website as well as Calendar, Maps and Picasa (photos). Create a webpage and post a presentation, a photo album or a custom Google Map in minutes.

Here’s mine.

And be on the look out from Microsoft’s version (hey, they’re not ALL that bad) of Docs called Office Live. I’ve just barely scratched the surface with it, but as long as it’s free…


Posted by on September 29, 2009 in For Home, For Students, For Teachers, Google, Online

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Digital Kids – Blogging

Dr. Fenn showed an interesting video at the end of her convocations today for the county employees. It was about letting kids experience the freedoms they have with new technology at school in a way that educational and “cool”. Things that they are already doing at home for fun have been a constant brick wall to break through for teachers.

The video listed a bunch of technology very quickly without any real way to use it. Hopefully, this blog will act as a sort of conduit for that.

Let’s take, for instance, blogging. Kids are blogging all the time but there are two fundamental problems with how they are doing it now. First of all, they are doing it on unprotected forums like MySpace and even Facebook. They need to be taught how to write in public spaces like that, especially high school kids who will accidentally divulge personal information. They need to be taught about internet safety in a way that won’t scare them away from having an online presence.

Secondly, they need to have a purpose to what they are writing about. “Homework” is probably the most uncool way to make kids use technology. It’s a quick, false front that they see through right away. Instead, have them talk about “homework”. Professional bloggers cover things like current events to bring viewership and $$$ to their site, but what makes blogs personal and, honestly, worth reading is when they detail their experience doing what they’re doing. A group of JMU communication majors and food lovers started a blog called JMU Eats. It is pretty successful and they probably got a grade for it (though they didn’t advertise it if they did). Today’s internet is built on common interests. You just have to help the kids find theirs first.

There is also a local community center online where students can see other local blogs.


Posted by on August 21, 2009 in Digital Kids, For Students

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