Why Apple Products Are Still Best For Educators

People often ask me why I still recommend an iPad, iPod, or iPhone for educational use when the Android platform is growing everyday and Microsoft and Google both offer solutions for educators. Quite simply, Apple still offers the best and most comprehensive experience for both students and educators. And while there will be things that are cheaper and things that are sexy–for example, I love the HTC One phone–I realize that the things that I need to do are best done on my iPad. Two apps that are crucial to me Gradebook Pro and Explain Everything are only available on iOS. Really, do yourself a favor and check them out. It is not an exaggeration to say that they and the iPad have revolutionized my teaching.

So for now I am still an Apple advocate, but I am praying for a new form factor for the iPhone this year and I am eagerly awaiting iOS7.

Writing in a Digital Age

How many of us use the speech to text function on the iPad or our computers? I am really amazed at the fact that this is a wonderful technology that it seems that I rarely use. I decided to write this post today on my iPad using my voice. I think one of the problems is that as writers we think that we should only write using our hands or by typing on the keyboard. But we are in the digital age and, as we continue to think of what it means to do the digital humanities, we need to think about other means of composing.

As someone who has given a lot of talks and speeches, I know that a lot of what I talk about isn’t written down beforehand. I know the work and creativity that go in to making those speeches and presentations. Speech is a different kind of writing and with all of these new technologies it’s something we need to consider. How are we going to integrate voice into our writing lives? Try today to leave your self voice notes, if you have an apple or android phone. Explore programs like Dragon Dictation for your PC. Also, I think that speech recognition has gotten amazingly good and you can also use these technologies to have the iPad, for example, read aloud to us.

Here are some keys to using voice on Apple devices (because these are the devices I am most familiar with):

1. Speak your punctuation. Read your sentence and then add,.;!, etc. This way you don’t have to worry about actually putting in the punctuation.

2. Use the microphone button anytime you have the keyboard present. Use Siri to ask your questions in a Google search, for example. For things like the WordPress app, when the keyboard comes up simply only use the microphone function. Speak your tweets.


3. Turn on voice that will allow the iPad or computer to read any text back to you.
See this article

Telling Our Stories Digitally

Storify has been an interesting medium to play with in terms of trying to archive my scholarship. What I like about it is that more than just being simply a way of posting things to the web, Storify becomes a way of aggregating the ideas that you might have already been gathering on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or by taking pictures with your phone. Pinterest is similar, in terms of allowing you to create a visual pin board to gather your ideas all in one place, but Storify and its ability to help string a narrative out of what you are doing is really a step above.

I only use the iPad app for Storify and cannot speak of its ease of use on the computer, but the ability to drag and drop video or images and then to type text linking those images, web pages, and tweets mimics the way my mind works. Most of my “stories” I do not publish. I use Storify as a way to organize my work for my own sake–it helps me think as a digital humanist. As I continue thinking about ebooks, blogs, twitter, and the best way to archive and share information, I really am reminded that technology is a tool that is only as good as the story it tells.

You can follow my stories on storify.com/profclaiborne or click on the storify link above to see the story I wrote on HBCUs and the digital humanities.


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