I apologize for not writing more posts this semester, but I have been swamped with work and play 🙂
I just received the new wi-fi Livescribe smartpen called SKY today and I promise to write a blog post soon about the features and how I plan on using it. Wi-fi opens the potential of the smartpen to be even smarter!! I can’t wait!
I have been using Doceri 2.0 along with the Mobi 360 w/ clickers in my math classes and plan on updating all of you on how well that is going (it is going REALLY well, by the way) and how I have used them with my students.
I recently wrote about Doceri 2.0, which comes out today ( July 24, 2012) at noon PST in iTunes stores! The old version is called Doceri Remote, which was version 1.2.2 but the new version will just be called Doceri and will be version 2.0.
I thought I would follow up with a review of their “goodPoint” Intelligent stylus. The stylus has a chord which plugs into the headphone jack; this allows it to be controlled in Doceri 2.0.
I normally use the Wacom Bamboo stylus, which I love, but I thought I would give this “Intelligent” stylus a try.
I tried both with Doceri 2.0, and I have to admit the extra features in the goodPoint stylus were really nice to have when creating animations! The main features I appreciated were the fact that you can get a very fine point that is consistent, and that it allows you to rest your hand on the screen while writing with it. The back of the goodPoint is also an eraser. I would have used it more, but I kept forgetting it was there, since I have never had a stylus with an eraser before.
To get a better feel for how it compared with my Wacom Bamboo stylus, I compared them with 4 of my favorite iPad apps.
Here are some screen shots comparing the two different stylus brands (2 screencasting apps, and 2 note taking apps). You decide which has the better handwriting – some are close and some are not. Sorry my handwriting is not great, but some apps do help it along more than others!
From within the Doceri application on my iPad:
Doceri goodPoint stylus wins here!
On the top of the screen, I tried to use the Wacom Bamboo stylus with my hand on the screen, but I could not. Having to write with my hand not on the screen definitely made my hand writing worse (OK, it is not great anyway, but it was harder to write that way, and not as clear). With the Doceri “goodPoint” stylus, I was able to rest my hand on the screen while I wrote, which was much more comfortable! The writing was smoother as well.
Before I found Doceri 2.0, I was using ScreenChomp as one of my favorite screencasting apps on the iPad. Here is a comparison of Bamboo stylus and the Doceri stylus using ScreenChomp:
Close, but since I can’t rest my hand on the screen with either, I would prefer to use the Bamboo stylus here (only because it does not have a chord).
As you can see the writing is similar using both (maybe a little better with the Doceri stylus?), but in both cases I was not able to rest my hand on the screen and still have the application let me write. For me, that is a huge deal, as I am much more comfortable writing like I do on paper, with my hand on the surface while I write.
Next I thought I would compare my 2 favorite note-taking applications on the iPad (that allow me to hand write).
Handwriting is close, but Doceri wins since I don’t want stray marks on my screen.
The good news was that the application allowed me to rest my hand on the screen while writing with both the Bamboo and the Doceri stylus, but as you can see in the screen shot above, the Wacom Bamboo stylus created extra marks when I did this, while the Doceri “goodPoint” stylus created no extra marks. The hand writing seemed fairly similar to me, but it was nice not having to worry about marks when I set my hand on the screen with the Doceri stylus.
Finally, another note-taking app for the iPad I really like is called PenUltimate. I thought I would compare with that app as well:
This app allowed me to rest my hand on the screen with both the Bamboo and the Doceri stylus. However, Doceri stylus wins again, since I don’t want stray marks on my screen.
If you don’t mind the stray marks and some apps not allowing you to rest your hand on the screen, then the Wacom Bamboo stylus is a great choice. However, given that I definitely prefer to place my hand on the screen and I don’t want any stray marks, then I prefer the Doceri goodPoint Intelligent stylus over the Wacom Bamboo stylus.
*Just a point of clarification: I was told by Doceri that the goodPoint stylus should really not do ANY better or worse than the Wacom (or any other stylus) for stray marks in apps other than Doceri. The fact that it did for me is probably just a coincidence. They agreed, though, that when using it in Doceri, the palm rejection is a major difference when using the Doceri stylus!
I got back from ISTE, overwhelmed with all the new and amazing tools and apps I learned about! Luckily the great folks at Doceri let me play with their beta 2.0 version (which should hit iTunes stores soon) and that made for an easy decision for me to start right there.
I get to use the iPad classroom (25 student iPads, 1 teacher iPad, and an Apple TV!!) to teach Intermediate Algebra in the Fall, so my focus at ISTE was to find iPad apps that allow students to create, not just to consume. I hit the jackpot with the new version of Doceri!! Not only can I create lessons, but the students will be able to create animations and videos as well, right from their iPads.
The new version of Doceri (2.0) should hit the iTunes app store soon, and it is a HUGE update!
The new features I am so excited about are 1) it allows you to work directly from the iPad (without needing to connect to a computer), and 2) it now records your pen strokes allowing you to easily create animations and videos directly from the iPad! INCREDIBLE! You can even edit your animations and upload your videos to YouTube!
OK, before I get too far ahead of myself (I am just so excited!), here is the new opening screen on the iPad:
(By the way, I did get permission from Doceri to blog about the new version before it hits the iTunes store!)
**UPDATE! Doceri 2.0 will be in iTunes stores July 24, 2012!!!
As you can see, Doceri 2.0 can now be used from the iPad alone, and even use Airplay if you are presenting (or just use the iPad at home to create a lesson!!!).
Starting a new project gives you a blank screen, which you can change to any color, use one of their backgrounds, or create your own. They have included many helpful math backgrounds, along with maps, as well as colors and textures.
After you choose your background, you can start writing on the screen. What you see at the top of the image below is the new RECORDING menu!!! It records your writing strokes. You can go back and edit them, speed them up, or slow them down. You can even add stops and new slides to your project. The record button on the top left allows you to record voice as well (while writing, or narrate even after you are done writing).
After recording a video, you have several options for exporting (on the right) to Facebook, YouTube, email, and to your images folder on the iPad.
You can also open your recordings on your iPad with any app loaded that will play a .mov file, including Dropbox and Evernote, so you can access your recordings from any device! (I also have TechSmith’s Fuse app installed on my iPad, so it found that app and listed it as well.)
The folks at Doceri created quite a few sample projects to help give ideas on how this new product can be used. Here is a screenshot of one of their videos (of course I chose math, but there are many other types as well):
*Once Doceri 2.0 hits the iTunes stores, you can pay for the ability to remove the Doceri watermark, and even add your own watermark.
Like the original Doceri Remote app, Doceri 2.0 can connect to your computer to share screens, but now there is a MUCH easier way to connect:
If you have an iPad2, just point the camera at the QR code and you are automatically connected! I tried it and it worked amazingly well. Once you are connected to your computer, you can use your animations and videos to present a lesson to the class, or create one while you are presenting!
**I am using the term “animation” for those projects that do not contain sound. All writing into the application is recorded and can be shown as animated or as still shots. These can only be played from within Doceri. Once you add sound, then a .mov file is created, so I am using the term “video” for the animations with sound added.
Here is the “official” list of updates for Doceri 2.0 (from Doceri):
What’s new in Doceri 2.0
You can now prepare Doceri Projects on the iPad without being connected to a Doceri Desktop AND you can present without a Doceri Desktop via Airplay. Audio recording has been added to create high quality screencast videos based on Doceri projects. In addition, more sophisticated drawing and authoring tools have been added, as well visual file management, improved placement of project timeline controls for easier presentation, and improved screen update time for remote desktop control.
Screencasting with Doceri
Create a live screencast as you present, or create, edit and perfect your project in advance and add an audio voice over later
Choose to save audio or delete and re-record without impacting your Doceri project
Videos may be shared via YouTube, Facebook or email and/or saved to the Camera Roll and any app that responds to video
New Drawing and Authoring Tools
New line tools (with snapping), geometric shapes (rectangle, ellipse) arrow tool and a new pen tool with realistic ink flow
Easy access to six user-defined favorites from the available drawing tools
Place photos from Camera Roll, Photo Stream or another application at any point in your project
The new lasso tool allows you to cut, copy, move and paste drawing objects
Choose between patterns, colors or create custom backgrounds on any slide in your project
Direct Controls for Keynote and Powerpoint
Launch a PowerPoint or Keynote presentation and use Doceri’s one-touch controls to advance your slides
Annotate over Keynote or Powerpoint (or anything shown on your desktop), creating a multipage Doceri project while keeping your original presentation file intact
Completely Revamped File Management
Doceri files can now be stored on the iPad Duplicate, merge projects, and transfer to and from your desktop
Combine, resize and share screencasts to Facebook, YouTube, Camera Roll or email with a simple drag and drop
Full implementation of cross application file sharing allowing “open in” function to copy files in and out of Doceri
USING EMBEDDED PDF PENCASTS FOR DISTANCE EDUCATION
I had a college professor contact me recently to show me his embedded pencast PDF (text embedded in the background). It was so fantastic, I asked him if I could write about what he is doing with his smartpen in his distance education classes for English.
Here is a link to open the pencast PDF he sent me. He used it to give a student feedback (he asked the student for permission for me to post this):
Now that you are as impressed as I am, here is a little bit about the gentleman who created the pencast.
Timm Hackett is in the English department at East Carolina University. Rather then me telling you about how he uses the Livescribe smartpen, he has given me permission to share his story with you (he obtained permission from his students to quote them as well).
The Livescribe pen has been a part of my English Distance Education courses at East Carolina University since October 2009. The pen has not only given me the ability to communicate with my students on a more personal level, but it has also allowed me to be more efficient in my teaching. What started out as a way to capture my own notes for writing turned into the most requested method of teaching from my DE students.
DE classes have always tried to emulate face-to-face classes; however, even the most advanced uses of technology fall short of their intended effect. Podcasts are wonderful for audible learners, but disregards students who may be visual learners. Videotaping classes requires a great amount of preparation, sufficient bandwidth and storage space on both the professor’s and student’s side, and cumbersome equipment. Even when faculty use such technologies, the outcome is less than adequate. This often leads to more work for the professor and continued frustration for the students. More often than not, a professor will fall back on what one graduate student described as a “document dump” into Blackboard or Moodle.
This is where the Livescribe can alleviate many of these issues.
Larissa Putnam, a student in the ECU Wells Fargo Partnership East Program (http://www.ecu.edu/cs-educ/partner_east/), stated, “What Distance Education students often feel is lacking in their overall experience is a sense of community and connection; however, putting a voice, and handwriting to a name really personalizes the lecture format in a way that a typed document cannot.”
Even when the pencast is not a lecture, but comments on the student’s own writing, it succeeds in providing feedback to the student. Frank Campione, a junior studying for his BSBA in Information Technology struggled with one aspect of composition. Even after seeing comments in the Word document, Campione still was unclear on the concept being taught. However, after combining his document and a PDF pencast, he wrote “[The Pencast] has an added bonus of giving distance education students more personal input from their professor, something that is lacking in some distance education classes.” One of Campione’s classmates, Paula Daughtry, a student studying Special Education, went a step further in her praise for what the Livescribe pen provided her: “”I really liked how you were able to write and speak concerning my paper. Yes, this is perfect for DE students like myself! I felt that I had a face-to-face meeting.”
Using the technique of the embedded PDF pencast has increased the value of the Livescribe Pen. Now, a professor can print pages of a digital text and embed audio comments directly into the pages, make annotations and audio comments directly onto a student’s paper, and share these PDFs with an entire class. This allows the DE students to listen to or watch a pencast, and even print the document when they are finished.
Perhaps the best comment received was from Vickie Willis, another student from the ECU Wells Fargo Partnership East Program. She wrote, “I liked the Livescribe pen and pencasts so much that I went out and bought one and hope to incorporate its use into my own classroom one day. I believe it will be a great tool to help students struggling, especially with math, by viewing a pencast explaining mathematical computations.”
I am so inspired by Timm’s latest email to me:
“After finding your site and the instructions on using embedded PDFs, I have been asked to present on the Livescribe four times this year. Two have been to my University as a whole, one has been to my own department, and in two weeks, I will present to the Atlantic Coast Business, Marketing, and Information Technology Education Conference in Raleigh. “
What an amazing difference the Livescribe smartpen has made for Timm, and now he is making a huge difference by sharing his experiences as well. If you would like to find out more about him, Timm’s website is: http://core.ecu.edu/engl/hackettt/.
The final project I had my Math For Elementary Teachers do for the course was to create an interactive Hyperstudio Project.
The projects are too large to be viewed well inside my blog, so I have created a website to house them. The website is best viewed using Safari if possible, if not, just ignore the browser warning, as I have used a beta version of Hyperstudio to export them into HTML5 .
I have many of my student’s projects posted on a THIS WEBSITE. Enjoy!
Recently I learned how to embed text behind a Livescribe pencast and it has changed everything!
I created a short interactive worksheet to show what can be created with this process. The following is a screenshot of the text embedded pencast because I cannot embed a PDF file (yet) into a website. A link to the actual pencast PDF is below the screenshot.
If that does not work, I put a link on my website for you to click on OUTSIDE of WordPress (I have some issues with opening PDFs inside WordPress – if anyone can help me to embed
a PDF in WordPress or a website I would really appreciate it!)
As listed in the pencast, the steps to embed the text in the pencast PDF are as follows:
1. Print off the text file onto Livescribe dot paper (I used college-ruled dot paper in my printer)
2. Record a pencast on top of dot paper that has the text printed on it (the text shows you where to write!)
(sorry about the poor photo quality)
3. Connect your smartpen and upload your pencast as a PDF (use the “Computer” connector)
As you can see in this screen shot, the pencast looks pretty strange without the text behind it!
4. Save the original text document as a .jpg (image file) – to do this you must first save it as a PDF and then you can use Adobe Acrobat Pro or the free online utility Zamzar (www.zamzar.com) to save your PDF as a .jpg file
5. Open the pencast PDF in Adobe Acrobat Pro or PDF Pro (http://epapyrus.com/en/) so that you can add a watermark to the PDF file
6. Add your .jpg text file as a watermark to your pencast PDF and re-save the PDF
7. The new pencast PDF can be viewed by anyone with Adobe Reader 10.0 or higher
Please add comments on this blog if you know of other free ways to save a text document as an image file and also if you know of other (especially FREE) programs that allow the user to edit a PDF.
Please send me the projects you make – I would love to see them!
I downloaded the latest version of Livescribe desktop to try out the NEW connectors. Livescribe just added Microsoft OneNote and Google Sites to their list of connectors! Download the lastest desktop at: http://www.livescribe.com/en-us/starthere
Here is a screenshot of a Google website I created. You can use the launch-line feature and write the words “Google Site” (the pen recognizes the words you want pretty quickly – or you can make a short cut like “sites” for it)
Every time you sync a new pencast to Google Sites, it creates a new webpage on your site and embeds the playable pencast on the page. You can rename and edit the page any way you would like after the pencast is uploaded. What a great way to share a test key or answer student questions so all students have access to it!
The other new Connector is for Microsoft OneNote. I have read a lot of feedback from folks REALLY wanting this connector. Since I use Evernote (a LOT), I haven’t really played with OneNote, but this gave me the perfect excuse to crack it open and start playing!
After syncing your pen using the OneNote Connector, when you open up Microsoft OneNote you see two things:
1) A rough screen shot of your pencast, and
2) An embedded Pencast PDF file that holds the entire pencast (includes both synced audio and animation)
If you double click on the PDF file in the upper right, it opens Adobe (10 or higher) and shows you the actual animated pencast. This pencast is still in your OneNote notebook, but can also be shared with others.
The PDF pencast comes with a player that allows you to play, stop and scrub through the pencasts as you want.
You do not have to use launch-lines to use the connectors – they also show up in a menu on the left side of your Livescribe desktop:
All you need to do is sync your pen and then drag any “page” from your notebook onto one of the connectors – and you are done!
I already use the other connectors all the time, now I have even more choices to make my life easier.
I am looking forward to being able to create a Google Website that houses all the pencasts I upload for my students, so I can just post the link to the website for my students, rather than having to embed each new pencast I make manually. This update for Connect is extremely helpful for me and will save me a LOT of time this semester!!
Loving all the new updates from Livescribe as they listen in on what their users really need “now”. I can’t wait to see what is next!
While reading through posts on Google+, Facebook and Twitter by my PLN, I came across this valuable new FREE app for the iPad! I use TechSmith products (Camtasia, Snagit and Jing) all the time on my laptops, but always wanted to have the same functionality for my iPad. Not only did TechSmith follow through, but they made it FREE!
They have given us 12 colors to choose from (but I would like to see a slider for SIZE of the pen at some point in the near future!), an eraser and a record button – yes ScreenChomp will record a video of you writing and speaking at the same time!
When you save your file you have the option of saving it to the “cloud” by hitting the ScreenChomp.com button or sharing it on Facebook.
After saving your screencast, you have three options for sharing: You can copy the link, email it or Tweet it! Here is a link to the actual video I just made. I need to find a way to embed the video without having to go through another application. Suggestions?
I think this will be a GREAT way to answer student questions from my iPad! I just have to create a quick screencast on my iPad and then send it to them. Can’t wait to try it out!
When I was at ISTE this past June, I had the good fortune to visit the Explorelearning booth. I have seen some of their online math and science interactive simulations (called Gizmos) on their website before, but this time I really wanted to dig deeper.
I obtained a teacher subscription to their full site where I can create classes, and then add the Gizmos I want to each class. The Gizmos even come with lesson plans and teacher created activities! You can add your own classroom ideas to a Gizmo as well.
I set up my first class: Math For Elementary Teachers. I then started adding some Gizmos for my students to view.
On the Explorelearning website the Gizmos are sorted by grade level and topic. The first one I chose was an interactive lesson on factoring numbers.
A student can start with any number on the board they want, and then start factoring it by dragging the circles that are factors to the board. There are great “how-to” videos that go with every Gizmo, in case the student (or the teacher) does not understand how to use the simulation.
When a student has run through the simulation as many times as they want, they can take the assessment at the end. Some questions are visual, based on the Gizmo (like the example below), and some are numerical to see if they can go beyond using the Gizmo.
I will have my pre-service students evaluating and choosing their favorite Gizmos for different areas of Elementary mathematics this Fall semester. I can’t wait to see their reactions to these amazing math and science simulations!
I was so excited to see a new window show up when I upgraded to Windows 7…it is called the Math Input Panel. With a name like that I had to be excited before even trying it out!
I immediately started playing with it and was surprised and VERY happy to see how easy it was to handwrite math and have it insert the typed version into my Word document! It does not always pick the correct letter or number, but you can easily edit an individual symbol.
I have tried writing some algebra, and it does a great job with that as well!
I am excited to see more tools for my students to be able to use to ‘write” math on their computers as well. Although Word comes with Equation Editor, my students do not know how to use it. Now, students can easily handwrite their math problems and have them typed up!
For students with disabilities – or anyone who wants to have the math read out loud to them, Word can then take the file that has the math equations embedded and be saved as a MathXL document. MathPlayer should then be able to read the math out loud….I will try that next and see how it works out!