Saturday, September 1, 2012

Back in the iPad 'saddle' . . .

First, let me declare myself - finally - savvy to a vision for how this great iPad tool can also be my 'friend'.  In spite of my reluctance/distrust/frustration - and all the other scary self-admissions I've made to myself over the summer - I now have gotten a glimpse (read 'a clue') about negotiating a truce with my fears and suspicions.  Here, simply, is my breakthrough revelation: for me, the iPad will be less a creator of content and more of a delivery device.

You'd think I could have gotten there a lot sooner.  I keep thinking that too.  However, a grand coincidence occurred this summer: my classroom got 'smart'.  With the support and technical expertise of Instruction Media Services (shouts out to Patrick, Robbie & Justin), I now enjoy other "delivery tools" - a 52" monitor, the necessary HDMI cabling for my laptop AND an all-important Apple TV.  Now, with this toolbox installed, my iPad is at last a communication tool!  I can still draw on paper (and I'm learning SLOWLY how to do some of this digitally as well, thanks to a handful of apps I have already named in an earlier post) and scan that content; I can find plenty of images via the internet and get them up on the monitor; and, I can make choices between my laptop and iPad about which "tool" will provide the smoothest (read: easiest) delivery of stuff that I can now offer my classes.  (As a novice, I am also learning how some content can only be delivered via a laptop.)

In that collection of "stuff," one application is also my new best friend: the Prezi Viewer (a shout out to the FTI '12 team who made this little FREE app known to us attendees back in May), which is a collaborator with Prezi Desktop: "a cloud-based presentation software that opens up a new world between whiteboards and slides.  Prezi Desktop allows Prezi Pro or Edu Pro subscribers to create and save zooming presentations on their own PC or Mac systems" (from their website).  The IT team made it possible to get me an Edu Pro subscription at no cost and off I went: on the Prezi 'zooming canvas', I have been able to create presentations on my laptop that make Powerpoints (only completely deliverable by laptop) look a bit stale...AND my iPad, connected to my new classroom monitor through the Apple TV, now can 'view' these presentations (stored online by Prezi) and allows me to interactively control their delivery.  Here began my happy conversion . . .

I also want to thank all of you who, through your testimony, have given me some 'it's-going-to-be-okay' confidence as I broke through my wall of fear/distrust/etc.  I've read and re-read postings whenever I needed reassurance, and - although the slow learning-curve of my Spring '12 semester kept me a bit disoriented - I am also happy to admit that those of you praising Good Reader and the Presentation Clock got me to think outside of my frustrations.  (I may even get around to trying Gradebook Pro next semester!)  I'm now on my way to understanding - again FINALLY! - how a tool doesn't have to reinvent the work...just help it along.  Thanks to all your articulate testimony; I look forward to contributing a little of that myself in the months to come.

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