Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Twitter Template---Cool!

Lately I have been working with a class doing a "Living History" project.  They completed the project last year using imovie, garage band, powerpoint, etc.  This year we were looking in incorporate a twitterlike template that students would use.  Of course, it is not as authentic as actually tweeting, but I think it's the next best thing.

In the past we've used the Facebook template that was posted and that's been pretty successful.  I tried to emulate that type of format.  The idea behind it is that the kids have to try and really understand the details behind the events, decide what is or isn't important, and even find images that work with it. I said, it was created in Pages, and I'd be happy to share if your school uses this platform.  I'm new to this, so if  have  a suggestion on where to store  Box doesn't work because it doesn't like Pages. I can also email it to you.

If you don't have Pages,  I'd love some suggestions on how to convert it to another format and then I'll send it out that way.

Not often that you try and do something and it actually works the way you want it too!  Hurray!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

My thoughts about IOS5- from an average Jo-di!

Approximately two weeks  ago, I ran home from school to upgrade my Iphone have only had it for less then a year, so I wasn't about to go and buy the new phone.  It seemed , Siri was the only feature worth mentioning that I couldn't get with just the update, so it wasn't worth the money.

Before I begin this "review" I should acknowledge that my only credentials for writing this is that I love my iphone and use it all the time.  I use it for work, I use it for fun, I truly don't know what I do without it.  Most people who know me know that, so recently I've had a lot of people ask what I think of it and what features I like or don't like.  This is not a comprehensive review, just a list of the things I've noticed so far.  So, here it is....

What I like: 

Easy access to the camera feature:
I can't tell you how many times I've had the perfect shot, and lost it due to having to open my phone and find the camera app.  Now, all I have to do is double click on the home button and it pops up, even if the phone is locked.  Also, I've noticed that after you take a picture you can go right back to the camera when viewing a picture you just took.  In the last operating system, if you took a picture and then gone to look at it in the pictures app, you'd have to double click and return to the camera.  Now, it's right there ready to go if you decide you didn't like your picture and want to retake it. Makes it easier to get those Karate pics!


I can't believe I'm saying this, but at this point, about 90% of the people I text are (or could be, once I upgrade them) on iOS5. I love the fact that I can send them messages, photos, videos, etc without worrying about texting charges.  The truth is that the texting was never very expensive, but who doesn't like a "deal"?  I like the little ...'s that let you know they are writing back and I like knowing a message was delivered.  

Notification Center : 

I really have been enjoying the notification center.  I like the fact that I can glance at my phone without unlocking it and see what messages I have from all my different apps, missed calls, etc. It also like pulling down the "movie screen" to see what i have missed.  It really is convenient to see everything in one place.  Even cooler is that when you receive a notification while your phone is "locked" you just slide the little slidey thing to the right and it will open directly to that email, voicemail, text, etc.

As my boys would say "loooove it!"

Safari Fun 

I know there are tons of improvements to Safari, but the ones I have been enjoying the most are the addition of Safari Reader and Safari Reading lists.  
Since I have put my purchase of an Ipad on hold for right now, I find myself reading a lot on my iphone.  Sometimes the small screen can become cluttered, and the option of open articles or stories in reader is very convenient.  It is much easier on the eyes and less busy for me.  Likewise, I have been enjoying the ability to save pages or articles that catch my attention for a later time.  Sometimes I follow a link from a tweet only to find that it is a rather long article that I don't have time to read the whole article. I like the ability to save these types of articles in a reading list that I can return to at any time. It's kinda like a mini- version of google reader that is even more convenient!  Also, I like how twitter is integrated right into the browser so that I can easily tweet whatever resource I find.

More control over email formatting :

This one, actually I haven't played with much yet.  But I like the idea that is possible.  Now, you can correct spelling, format (bold, italics, underline) and indent the emails while you type them.  I think this would be something I might use more on an ipad because most of the time when I'm sending a message on my iphone it's a quick one that I just what to get out.  

Multiple Map Options 

This is a feature that the phone desperately needed!  I hated when I would put addresses in and I knew there was probably a better way but couldn't remember the exact street names.  I also think the design of the maps is sharp and easy to read.  


What I wish would get better: 

Location Based Reminders 
When I first heard about the location enabled "reminders" feature, I was super excited.  I liked the idea of setting a reminder to do something when I left school, or when I got to the grocery story. But, here's what they don't tell you: The location has to be stored as one of your contacts.  So, if I want to have a reminder to buy certain things from Dominick's, it has to be listed as one of my contacts.  To me, this seems silly.  Google Maps is already embedded in the OS, so I don't know why they couldn't just have the two apps talk to each other.  I am hopeful that this will be updated/changed soon.

I am pretty sure that this is different, but not better or worse.  In the past, if you wanted to zoom to shoot a picture, you would use the slider at the bottom.  Now it seems you can pinch to zoom, which is OK, but doesn't really add anything (for me).  One thing I really wish would be added (unless I am missing it) is the use of zoom on the video camera.  I really hate the fact that I cannot zoom with the native camera app.  I know that you can add an app like VideoZoom 2, but if this truly just a $.99 app, why doesn't Apple just include it in the OS?  

Twitter Integration 
As I mentioned above, I really like the idea of being able to find a resource and automatically tweet it out.  However, I wish they had a way to shorten the links.  With only 140 characters to use, each one is precious. I think this might be more twitter's issue than the IOS, but it would be nice! 

Stuff I haven't played with yet.....

I do have a full time job and three kids, so once in a while I can't be playing on my phone.  However, clearly there are people who can ;)

So, here are a few resources that I've found to learn about some of the other cool stuff the phone can do....

30 of the Best iOS Features - This page hits a lot of the ones I talked about but goes even further.  Since I have only an iphone (for now), those of you with an iPad might see some of these features more useful.

Hidden iOS features:  There are tons of these and you can find everything from LED alerts to creating your own keyboarding shortcuts.  Again, I haven't played with all of these, but I'm sure some of you will, let me know what you think! Here are some of the sites that have a good collection last thing for you lucky ones who did buy the Iphone4S (or even for us peons who are waiting) , this hilarious site called ShitSiriSays that will give you a few laughs!  

So, for now that's all I got!  I'd love to know what your favorite features or tips/tricks are.  I love my iPhone and it has become more and more essential to what I do

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Off the Grid...literally

I love summer!  It seems the time that I never have during the school year, I finally have during the summer.  Time to enjoy my family, time to clean my van, time to just be.  Yesterday I had an ultimate "time to just be" moment.  I turned on my Endless Boundaries podcast, took my bike to the "backhills" of Long Grove, and just started riding.  Just me.  Just me and my bike and some music in my ears.  No one talking to me,  no email in, no texts coming, no kids yelling, and no map.

Full Disclosure: App Was running in background...
just didn't look at it ;)
I didn't know where I was going, I just kept peddling.  One road would end and I'd turn on another one.  I felt different neurons starting to fire.  The ones that were slowly atrophying (do neurons atrophy?) started to light up.  Instead of pulling out my iphone and using the map app to find my way, I looked for landmarks like a small field of large, orangish flowers to show me where to turn.  I rode past a grandma and her granddaughter going for a walk.  I smelled some freshly cut grass, I felt the splash of sprinklers as I coasted down a hill past someone's house, I peddled past the Long Grove Country School wondering what the heck it could be.

Had those things always been there?  It made me think how many times I had my eyes pointed toward my iphone instead of these wonderful sites.  The horses and sheep grazing in the farm were a mere 10 minutes from my house, but I swear I had never seen them.  The hill I rode down started about 100 yards past the temple of my childhood, but I never realized the road even continued 10 feet past there.  What other things had I missed right before my eyes?

All these things went through my head as I listened to my music and continued to meander through these quiet streets.  Finally, I decided to break my fast from technology and stop and take a picture of the beautiful sites I was seeing.  I snapped this picture, and then went to snap another but "mother technology" knew better.  As I tapped on the home button, the message "Can't take picture, not enough memory available" popped up.  I took the hint,  put my headphones back in, and began peddling.

What a great ride!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Ten Questions to Ask My Blog

At the beginning of 2011, Edublog posted a 30 day challenge for blogging.  Either due to my procrastination, my family situation, or my juggling of my schooling, work, and kids, I did not begin this process at that point.  However, since attending ISTE in June, my interest has been peaked and I am going to make an honest effort at this blogging thing. .

In any case, the challenge had certain "assignments", and one of them was to create a blog post on the topic of Take on the role of reporter and ask your blog ten questions, documenting the responses from your blog.  

So, here is my response to that challenge:  


Reporter:  So- here we are on the 15th anniversary of the creation of All Things Reconsidered. In honor of the anniversary of its creation ATR has agreed to answer a few of our questions.  Good afternoon, All Things Reconsidered, how are you today?  Its great to finally meet you in person after all these years.  

ATR-  Great to meet you too.  But no need for the formalities, you can call me Rec.  No one has called me by my full name since 2016!

Reporter-  Then Rec. it is....So, Rec, what can you tell me about your long illustrious career? 

Rec-  Wow! What a big question.  Well, it just seems like yesterday when I began. The truth is, although I was not created until the summer of 2011, the idea was sparked with Jason Seiden's post about the stages of social networking.  Jodi (the blogger) told me that at that point she couldn't even imagine herself as doing more then lurking, but little by little she found herself wanted to add to the discussion.  

 Reporter:  Interesting.  But one thing doesn't make sense.  That post about the seven stages came out in 2007, you were not created until 2011.  What was the impetus for starting at that point?  

Rec: I would have to say it was ISTE 2011.  It was Jodi's second trip to ISTE, but the first one was kind of a blur.  The conference itself is very overwhelming, and after the 2011 conference Jodi found her head swimming with ideas.  Blogging seemed to be a good way to flush out some ideas and think things through, so she thought she'd give it a shot. 

Reporter:  Well, that makes sense.  So, what do you see as your biggest accomplishments? 

Rec:  Another great question!  It's interesting because at the beginning, the blog was just a sounding post.  It was a way for Jodi to process her thoughts and reflect on her beliefs.  But the most interesting thing happened, When others began to contribute by commenting, she really started to feel like the conversation opened up her eyes.  She found that the differing opinions made her see things from a different point of view.  

Reporter:  Just like your name, huh?  All things REconsidered? 

Rec: Exactly, I think that's the biggest point.  It's like the old story goes, the more you learn the more you find you don't know.  I think the title of the blog points out that upon open your eyes to other points of view or opinions, you are likely going to have to reconsider your own understanding and opinions.  

Reporter:  Oh, I wonder if you might help others to reconsider things too.  

Rec:  Exactly!  Part of the idea of moving from the "noob" stages to the "user" stages.  Kinda cool to be part of the vehicle. It took me a long time to get to that point, and I'm not even sure I'm there yet, but really it's the journey that matters. 

Reporter: True, so true....well, I'm embarrassed to say this but I seem to have left the rest of my questions at home.  I wonder if some of our readers might have some other questions to fill out the rest of the ten. 

Rec:  Awesome idea, I'd be happy to answer them.  However, one request....what I'd really love is to hear from other blogs/bloggers who have had something to share about their blogging experiences. I've created an AnswerGarden, and I'd love to get feedback.   Do you think that's possible? 

Reporter:  Perfect! Well folks you've heard it here. If you have any questions for Rec  feel free to comment here!  Otherwise, share your experiences in the following AnswerGarden

What is blogging about for you? What have you gained from it?... at

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Disclaimer, ISTE11

Disclaimer:  This metaphor is not meant to belittle any little children.  

            You know how sometimes you’ll read about kids who go away to a camp with  other kids who have the same issues, ya know like all the diabetic kids go away together, or the inner city kids, and they go away to just feel normal, or to realize that there are other kids just like them?  Well that’s how I felt while at ISTE this week.  During the school year, I spend so much of my time trying to influence change, or trying to cause shift, that sometimes I feel like the odd man out.  Like, I’m fighting against the current, gotta keep on keeping on.  But this week, I felt like I was moving with the current, like I could just relax and see where the current would bring me.  Like I could talk to people like me.  And it was a blast!   
            Actually, that’s not completely true.  The truth is that while I was there I felt humbled.  During my first digital storytelling session I walked in so proud of the project that I had done with my students and local senior citizens, but left in awe of the Cybersmart Africa project that was presented at the Digital Storytelling SIG.  I thought that the Digital PLN stuff that we presented at our poster session was pretty neat, but it couldn’t compare with Alan November’s reminders that we need to keep the global perspective in mind and see things from multiple points of view.
            But the funny thing is, as interesting as the concurrent sessions were, that’s not where I think I grew the most.  I grew while at the Google party and chatting while someone lent me an Iphone charger.  I grew while standing in line for coffee and talking to the Australian participant who responded that yes, he had come to the US for the first time, “just for this”.  I learned while eating lunch with my JHU colleagues (and now friends) while we discussed what our schools are doing and how similar and different they are.   I even learned about how much to be silly with planking. (especially after finishing your poster session).

And I learned so much about  the power of humanity and  social networking when I had random talks with my roommate who let me share her room even though we had only met once in person and randomly through twitter a few times this year.  The conversations we had about teaching, learning, and leading, were some of the best of the week.  And she even found me chocolate and a bag from the vendors.   Truly, it was the connections and the conversations that helped me to learn and grow the most
            I went to Philadelphia by myself, but once I got there I realized I wasn’t alone.  There were others who could “planked” around ISTE, loved Phish as much as technology, and really like me are discouraged at the status quo but excited about the potential future of education.  Thanks to everyone who inspired me, humored me, and engaged me.  Can't wait to do it again!