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/.
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!
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!
Reaching Different Learning Styles Through Technology
As you can probably tell, I have 2 passions that drive my teaching….technology and helping students.
My latest journey has been traveling down a path to find ways to help reach the different learning styles of my students. In turn this will help make my math courses more accessible to students who require either text, speech or visual aids because of physical or learning disabilities.
I started with the Livescribe smartpen to turn student notes into animated text with sound. Then I tried to transcribe the text from the pencast using Dragon Naturally Speaking ,which works GREAT if I am speaking into my computer, but the student pencasts don’t pick up my speaking as well because I am walking around the room, so I am not near the pen most of the time.
Since Dragon cannot transcribe the text WHILE I am teaching from the Mobi software, then I needed to find a way to record my speaking during class and then download it into my computer so Dragon can create the transcript. I spent some time today looking for options that would not require me purchasing a hand-held recorder.
I have a Plantronics Discovery 975 bluetooth headset that pairs with both my computer and also with my Droid X cell phone. I use it with my computer and Dragon to ‘speak text’ into many programs on my computer, including Word and email (I still need to try it with MathType!).
I thought I found the perfect mobile solution…to be able to walk around the room and teach while wearing the bluetooth headset, but have the audio transcribe directly onto my phone! I purchased the Droid version of Dragon called flexT9 …great idea and it works perfectly…except flexT9 does NOT support bluetooth headsets yet. I can still use it for transcribing speech to text on my phone, but I have to be close to the phone mic. It is an amazing app for $4.99!
I started looking for a voice recording app for my Droid that would support bluetooth.
I found Voice2Do (FREE). It is the ONLY voice recorder I found that supports bluetooth. I recorded a short message from my bluetooth headset to my Droid X (which was across the room) and then emailed it to my computer (to email the .wav file you must purchase the professional version). Finally, I had Dragon transcribe the audio file and it worked GREAT!
I plan on playing with it for a couple more days and then trying it out in my classes. My goal is to have the Livescribe pencast student notes and the Workspace board notes for visual learners, but then take the audio for the lesson and create a written transcript, which can also be read out loud by most computers, for students whose learning styles require reading or hearing the information.
I will post a link when I get it all put together.
I was asked by Livescribe if I would give my testimonial as a college instructor using the Livescribe pen for my math classes. I had so much fun making the video with the team!
Amazing how they can shrink 2 hours of “discussion” (with many retakes I might add!) into a minute and a half of produced video!
They interviewed 7 people in different professions to show how each of us enhances our work with the help of our Livescribe smartpen.
To see all 7 videos, go to the Livescribe Home Page and click on my photo on the bottom of the page. (OK, I share the photo with three other people, but I made the home page!)
I still own my original 1 GB Pulse and now the new Echo smartpen, and I am so thankful for having such great technology to teach with! I am also finding great ways to use my smarpens in everyday life, too!
Here are a couple of examples of how I used it online:
Ex 1) I taught an online session on how I teach with technology in my classroom. One of the examples I used was to have all my students using fraction pieces while I taught with them from the front of the room.
So the students can see what I am doing with the pieces, the Ladibug document camera can show my hands moving the pieces live during class, projected onto the screen. (These still images and the video below were all taken by the Lumens DC265 Ladibug!!)
To demonstrate this to the participants online, I was able to share my desktop in the session, and show the document camera’s live feed running on my computer screen!
I was even able to toggle back and forth between the Ladibug document camera’s view, and the other programs I was running on my computer to teach the session!
Not only can you show what you are holding and teaching with live through the camera, but the Ladibug HD 265 also records video and audio! Here is the same lesson above, but the video version, which I can now post online for students to see.
Ex 2) I was creating a video for my students on how to use the graphing calculator. I no longer need to capture the screen of the calculator using special software!
I can show them which buttons to hit and the screen, all at the same time!
I can even zoom in on the screen so they can see a graph more clearly:
Or zoom in on the equation used to create the graph…
All of this can be done live during class, or I can record the calculator lesson directly from the Ladibug camera and then post the lesson to my website!
Above you can see the menu that “floats” on my desktop when I am using the document camera, making it very easy to switch to any other program or back to the document camera, also allowing me to zoom, take still images and video with the camera!
I can’t wait to teach my Math For Elementary Teacher’s class in a few weeks! No more overhead projector, no more graphing calculator overhead…just the document camera to show all the manipulatives and the calculator both as I teach, and as online lessons for outside of class!
* I used Jing to crop out a graphic from their website!
Yesterday I finished grading a test that the students did poorly on. I wanted to show the students that the questions were ALL really covered both in class and on the homework, so I went about making a key to the test using materials from both! This is where Jing entered the picture…
Jing is an amazing FREE online application that you download to your computer for taking screen shots of part or all of your computer screen. It will also capture video with sound! I use it all the time when students email me with questions from the homework. I will open up their HW question on my computer, crop only the portion I want and write the answer on it (Jing allows you to annotate before saving your screen shot!) and then paste that back into my response email to them. I can even record my voice and send them a link to the recording that has me working out the problem! Back to the test key…
Well, I was so discouraged yesterday after grading their tests that I
1) scanned in my test key and made a PDF
2) opened up the online homework assignments from that chapter (I use course compass)
3) opened up ALL the daily in-class lessons from that chapter. I was able to save every example I did in class because I teach my courses with an eInstruction Mobi, and use their Interwrite Workspace software, which allows me to save my entire lesson for each class!
4) I then proceeded to crop each test question and place them onto a blank document, followed by my written solution, and then followed by EVERY related question cropped out of the homework, in-class lessons and also any online examples that I created.
I don’t think my students will question that every single question on the test was both taught in class and assigned in the homework now! It at least made ME feel better!
Here is one question from the test key:
The five page test became a twenty-three page online answer key, thanks to Jing!