Let’s face it. Sometimes less is more. If one app can do the job of two or three others, then one app will often be a better choice. It takes up less room on your device, you don’t have to remember how to use as many apps, and it’s generally just more efficient. So, when Google updated the Chrome app for iPad and iPhones, I was intrigued to notice that they had included the ability to scan QR codes. Here’s how it works.
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The recent release of iOS 10 unlocked a creative coding opportunity for iPad classrooms called Swift Playgrounds. It’s an iPad app that lets you solve interactive puzzles that are designed to help you learn the basics of how to code in a programming language called Swift. It is aimed at students aged 12 and over and is part of Apple’s Everyone Can Code initiative. So, if you are looking for new ways to start coding with students, this could be a great new platform for you to explore. Here’s what you need to know.
What is Swift?
Swift is an open source programming language that was developed by Apple engineers and released in 2014. It was created to help developers build apps for iOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS. Swift has its origins firmly rooted in another programming language called Objective-C, but Swift is generally considered to be more concise. The app, Swift Playgrounds, was developed to help introduce a younger audience to the finer points of programming with Swift, and to help foster a new generation of programmers for Apple devices.
Getting Started With Swift Playgrounds
Swift Playgrounds is only available for iPads running iOS 10 or later. You also need at least an iPad Air, or an iPad Mini 2, because these are the oldest devices that are capable of running the app. The iPad 2, the iPad 3, the iPad 4 and the original iPad Mini are not compatible Swift Playgrounds because they either can’t be upgraded past iOS 9 or lack the hardware necessary to run the Playgrounds app.
Once you launch the app you will see lessons at the top of the screen and coding challenges underneath. If your students have never programmed with Swift before, the lessons are the best place to start because they introduce you to the basics that students will need in order to attempt the challenges.Read More »
Hot on the heels of the recent updates to iOS versions of iWork and iLife, Apple have today announced some new features for their iWork for iCloud suite of online productivity tools. Recently I wrote about how educators could share and collaborate in iWork for iCloud, but as useful as this was, there were still some areas where you would hope for some improvement. Today, Apple addressed some of those issues.
The biggest changes are in relation to collaboration on documents. You can now see who is collaborating on a document with you, and where they are in the document. You can also jump to where a collaborator is in the document by clicking on their name in the collaborator list. In addition, printing and folder support has been added.
Of course, Google has had these features for a while now, but Apple’s willingness to play catch up is clearly evident and hopefully a sign that they are looking to match or better the best that Google has to offer. A full list of changes can be seen below:
Pages, Numbers, and Keynote for iCloud beta:
- Collaborator list: View the list of collaborators currently in a document.
- Collaborator cursor: See cursors and selections for everyone in a document.
- Jump to collaborator: Instantly jump to a collaborator’s cursor by clicking their name in the collaborator list.
- Collaboration animation: Watch images and shapes animate as your collaborators move them around.
- Printing: Print your documents directly from the Tools menu.
- Folders: Organize your documents in folders.
Numbers for iCloud beta:
- Reorder sheets: Change the order of the sheets in your spreadsheet, right in your browser.
- Links: Create links using the HYPERLINK function.
Keynote for iCloud beta:
- Skip slides: Right-click any slide in the navigator to skip it during playback.
Source: Apple via Engadget
Google has updated its iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch version of Google Drive with a clean new interface and a few new features ahead of the impending introduction of the new iOS 7 operating system for Apple’s mobile devices. So, what’s new and what’s still to come? Let’s find out.
What’s new for educators?
Visually, users will notice an immediate change in the layout and feel of the new Google Drive app. It now mimics many of the features you find on the Android app and you can view your files and folders as a list or a grid. The details panel is all new, and includes an image preview of your file at the top. From this panel, you can now copy the link to any document so that you can paste it into another document, app or email. Finally, there is an update for Google Presentation files. You still cannot create or edit these files, but there is a new viewer complete with speaker notes, a slide sorter view, and a true full screen mode.
What teachers still need
We badly need support for tables. Why has this taken so long? Android users have it, but iOS users can’t view or edit tables and this can be a major inconvenience. I’d also love to see more sharing options. Why can’t we share documents as “anyone with the link”? Better still, why can’t Google Apps for Education users have domain sharing options to share files with everyone in their organization? And what about Google Presentations or Google Forms? Can we expect to see those added any time soon?
Overall, I love the update. I like the cleaner look, the ability to copy links and the nice new viewer for Presentations, but Google Apps for Education users will continue to seek further updates to increase efficiency with Drive on the iPad in the classroom. Let’s hope that comes sooner, rather than later. In the meantime, be sure to check out my guide to a Paperless iPad Classroom with the Google Drive app. It has been updated to include screenshots from the latest version of the Drive app.
So, here I am again. The first post of a new blog, and a new adventure starts right here, right now. It’s my (welcome) return to blogging.
I’ve blogged before on Weebly, WordPress and (briefly) Blogger, all under the banner of The Education Technology Blog, but now I have my own name at the top of the page, and it feels right. The kind of content I will post here will likely be similar to what I did before on previous blogs – technology tools for teachers that are designed to advance and enhance teaching and learning in the classroom.
What will that include? Well, iPad apps, Google Apps, Web 2.0, mobile learning tips, 1:1 deployment strategies, and more will no doubt quickly populate the posts on this blog, because these are the tools and ideas that the teachers I work with are desperate to hear more about, and these are the things that I am most passionate about as an educator.
Consequently, if you like what you see here, feel free to follow me on Twitter, or subscribe to this blog, and together we can work to make a difference for 21st century educators everywhere.