Sunday, August 18, 2013

Managing USB cables: Classroom iPad Cart

This may not be a tip for everyone but it if you are using laptop carts to store and charge Apple iPads, this is what I have tries to organize my charger cables.

Researching the topic was not easy. Googling the topic USB cables and about any type of search I could dream up was pointless. I have learned to use YouTube to search for "how tos". 

However, the best solution I could find for how to wrap up or roll these Apple lightning cables was to use a $4 cable gadget. I liked it, but I have 650 iPads. 

So, this nylon strap may be the best. 

I tried rubber bands, but they dry out during the school year and have to be replaced. Baggy or twist ties was suggested. However, the wire in these ties requires too much time to attach. 

Nylon zip ties are strong and easy to apply. The photo below illustrates what it looks like. 

This looks better than the rubber bands I used in this cart. 
I need to rework this cart. Remove the rubber bands and then tie them with the nylon ties.
Here's the video: It shows how to pull the cable in its factory wrapper so the nylon zip tie can be attached.

Here is what the cables should look like in the cart.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

iPad Carts

, originally uploaded by The Blake Slate.

Middle School 1:1 program is moving from MacBooks to iPads. More later...

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Mako shark attacking a PelagicView dredge

My daughter shared this cool video with me through Facebook this morning. This is really cool. The guys that shot this video used a GoPro Hero 3. The music track is awesome. Play this on your TV is possible.

Monday, June 03, 2013

Sharing resources

I remember teaching when I had used the day textbook for so many years, and answered the same questions by students that I even had the page numbers memorized. "Yes Larry, the answer to that question is correct and we talked about it when we covered acids and bases in Chapter 12 and its on page 215." My students would shake their heads and mumble "dang, he has the whole book memorized". 

Back then, with 4X4 classes, teachers taught the same content twice in the year. That was fine, but it was repetitive. 

Today's classroom has changed. Students still use textbooks. However, iPads and MacBooks in our 1:1 classes enable learners to access video clips, tutorials, collaborative chats, and Skype sessions with experts. 

We started in 2008. One of the first tools for sharing we trained teachers to use was Delicious. Great tool. However, it faded in popularity. Some complained it was too much to worry with. Some said it was filling up their inbox. Whatever reason it is not used. 

Many of our teachers are Pinterest users. They share jewelry, Bible quotes, and receipts. However, social media is not without issues. Personally, I never got into Pinterest. I tried it one time on my phone to help locate resources for using iPads in our school. It is additive and there are many Pinners. 

However, it's not something I would want to explain to a 6th student. I have students that would spend the entire school year on Pinterest repinning bulldogs or rap stars. My concern is that Pinterest is not a classroom-friendly site. 

Much to my surprise, their is a site that combines the functionality of Pinterest with the power of Delicious and supports the classroom. is promising. I set up my account and tried it on an iPad mini and iPhone. They need a mobile app for the small screen. It works ok on the iPad. 

Give it a try. Post your comments here. 

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Closeup Image Tip for iPhone 5

image 2: closeup photo
Making closeup images (ref image 2) has been a challenging skill to master with my smartphone. I have been Googling the web for tips on how to create good closeups. I do not want to buy a lens for the phone's camera. I would never have it when I needed it.

image 3: AE/AF Locked
One trick I learned about was to lock the AE/AF by just holding my finger on the screen for several seconds. A box (ref image 1) will appear on the screen under your finger. When the lock feature is turned on, that box will flicker and the words "AE/AF Lock" (ref image 3) will appear on the bottom of the screen above the home button. A single tap of the screen with your finger unlocks it. The trick to making better closeups is focal point. If you hold your hand in front of the smartphone's front lens and hold your finger on the screen just right, the camera will focus on your hand. When the camera's AE/AF in the locked state, you can move the phone's camera lens in the correct location near the part of the plant of object you want to take the image of and make sure its focused by moving the camera to the correct distance way from your subject and it will be in focus.
image 1: that box will blink
when AE/AF is locked

The hard part is to be able to see the screen in adverse lighting conditions. If you want to get technical, try this tip: I am experimenting with holding a ruler and measuring the focal distance from between my hand initially prior to AE/AF locking. Then, moving the ruler to try and measure the distance between what I want to photograph and the camera lens.

You just have to practice. I am still learning. Auto focus is not always my favorite feature.

+Michelle Li , +Anthony Martin