Google graphical maths calculator; Open Explorer Builder; Aust. Post Digital Mailbox

Google graphical maths calculator – now in 3D & animated!
In December, Google added maths graphing functionality to its search results (as does WolframAlpha search engine). You type basic and complex math functions into the Google search box and Google creates the graphics – from basic charts to more complex graphs.
Now the graphical calculator is 3D and animated! (30 March). Search for the maths equations & see them animated in 3D. Works with Chrome & Firefox browsers.

Australia Post Digital MailBox
Coming in 2012 – a secure online mailbox that you can access anytime anywhere, on your favourite device. A free personal management app with 3 powerful functions – receive mail, pay bills and secure storage for documents. “Read and print your mail, set reminders, pay bills and store important documents such as tax records, a copy of your passport or anything else you would like to be able to securely access from anywhere”. The storage facility could be useful for teachers & students, especially in schools where Dropbox is not accessible. It also fits well with BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology).

Scootle tool: Open Explorer Builder
Interesting to see the various resources added to Scootle under “Find by Australian curriculum”. In some areas, the Open Explorer Builder tool is highlighted (eg. In Learning Paths – Cell division – Yrs 11 & 12). You can create an interactive multimedia project presentation or unit of work, alone or with others. Start with an image. Then add audio, other images, Flash video, link websites. Add captions or text. Publish your work as an Open Explorer. (Adobe AIR app must be installed first. Then download Open Explorer Builder. Files created are saved to local drives. Published versions can be saved as AIR apps to the desktop or as Flash objects for the web).

Scootle – digital learning resources

Scootle is a resource for teachers to learn, teach and collaborate using digital curriculum resources from The Learning Federation.
You can browse by curriculum areas and year levels.

Who can access Scootle?
Anyone can use Scootle’s search and browse tools. Access to other features of the site is restricted to teachers and students in Australian schools. Login access is provided to teachers through their jurisdictions. For more details and contact information, go to the Accessing Scootle tab on the home page. Teachers in ACT government schools can contact ACT DET Learning Technologies Section.

Australian Curriculum resources
Digital learning resources for the Australian Curriculum will be located in Scootle and can be accessed via the tab on the home page. Currently, these resources are for K to Year 10, but more will be added as the senior years are developed.

Resources for Years 11 & 12
You can choose year levels when searching for resources in subject areas. Science has quite a few resources for college years, English not so many.  Some resources for younger years would be good for SIEC, Connect10 & ESL. All areas will build up over time!

Learning Paths
Once you have your login, you can create Learning Paths and make a list of digital resources for your class to use. You can search other Learning Paths created & shared by other teachers. Students are given PINs to access Learning Paths.

Scootle – great for digital resources!

iPads; iTunes accounts; Configurator; iBooks Author; Gmail

Gmail accounts & iTunes

This year we bought 30 iPads to use with our introductory English classes. The ACT Dept of Ed requires each iPad to have its own iTunes account and each app must be bought individually for each iPad. Thus comes the challenge of creating 30 email addresses in order to set up 30 iTunes accounts.

Google only allows you to set up about 4 Gmail addresses at one time (I think you can set up more the next day). A solution is to set up one Gmail account. Then when you are using this Gmail address to set up an iTunes account (or other class account), just use use the + sign to create the other account names. You don’t actually create these + accounts in Gmail, they just link back to your original account. Gmail ignores any letters & numbers after the + sign and sends any email messages back to the main account.

eg. Create Gmail account Your first iTunes account becomes, your second iTunes account becomes etc

We soon found out that you couldn’t complete the iTunes setup unless you provided credit card details or an iTunes card…..that’s our next step. And our very secure wireless network isn’t kind to iPads – it keeps prompting for internet passwords etc But one day….soon…

Apple Configurator

Released 7 March, Apple Configurator makes it easy for anyone to mass configure and deploy large numbers of iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touches in a school, business or institution. Up to 30 at once can be set up & apps installed. Download the Configurator app from the Mac App Store. Very useful for schools where students do not have their own iPads, but use a class set. However, in Australia at present, you can only use Configurator to install free apps (we don’t have the Volume Purchase Program for paid apps yet). It is also good for updating the iOS on multiple iPads.

 The Apple Volume Purchase Program (VPP)

Released in the US in July 2011 – no news yet as to when it might come to Australia…..would be great though. VPP allows schools to purchase iOS apps & books in volume (for iPads, iPod Touches, iPhones) and distribute them to students & teachers.

 iBooks Author

Free app from the Mac App Store; released Jan 2012. Make stunning multimedia interactive ebooks easily – only for the iPad. Write in it directly or import from Word or Pages. Add photos, movies, music, quizzes, diagrams etc. Add interactivity using widgets. Export your work in the .iBooks format, drag it into iTunes & sync it. Also, any PDF on the iPad can be sent and read in iBooks.

 iBooks textbooks for iPad

In January, interactive textbooks from McGraw-Hill & Pearson (mainly science; created with iBooks Author) were available in Books in iTunes US for $14.99. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt are also creating textbooks. None of these interactive textbooks are yet available in iTunes Australia. The price is right – perhaps we will get them soon after publisher negotiations?

 iPad apps – useful sites – A very comprehensive resource; many links re iPads; apps in subject areas. – Informative site by Catholic Office, Parramatta, NSW. App toolkits for primary, secondary, special ed, subject areas. – Many links to other sites with reviews & lists. Ed. apps review: a community effort to grade ed. apps.