Tag Archives: Dropbox

The survival of higher education by Steve Wheeler

‘The Survival of Higher Education’ by @timbuckteeth

I’ve been following and talking with Professor Steve Wheeler for several years now, and have had the honour of presenting at his Pelecon conference and sharing the billing at the eAssessment Scotland conference.

Steve often writes individual posts or, like recently, he writes a series of post with common themes to expand or challenge a certain approach or concept of education – his 2010 series on ‘Distance Learning / Distance Education’ initiated some interesting discussions. Steve has, this time, been looking at the survival of Higher Education – please read all of Steve’s posts, you know you’ll be the  better for it.

I’ve linked to Steve’s original work here, as well as my response I posted to his website – I concentrate on  specific aspect of his posts/series, but please be sure to read the full posts so my comments (and the quotes) are not taken out of context:  Continue reading

VideoScribe HD App

VideoScribe HD App

VideoScribe HD AppVideoScribe HD (iPad): I’ve enjoyed watching videos from RSA Animate, as have others, that take an audio track (usually a presentation or speech) and animates the drawing of concepts and take-away quotes. The best of these is the speech of Sir Ken Robinson ‘Changing Education Paridigms’.

“Award winning software, Sparkol VideoScribe is a completely unique way to create engaging animated videos quickly and easily. Often called Whiteboard animation or sometimes Fast Drawing, VideoScribe replicates the stop-motion capture style of drawing that’s so popular on commercials at a fraction of the cost.”
VideoScribe HD (£3.99)

Advertised features of the App include (and are also available on the PC/Mac 7 day free trial):  Continue reading

The future of books

Textbooks: paper or digital?

The future of books

The question as to when (or if) paper textbooks will be replaced with digital editions keeps cropping up, and I was asked this again on twitter today by @SteljesEdn: “Are textbooks coming to the end of their life? what do you think”: read the discussion we had on the link.

So, will they? I don’t think so, not any time soon at any rate. The digital editions of textbooks currently available are little more than a PDF of the printed version, and for publishers that literally provide a PDF and call it an eBook .. shame on you! An eBook doesn’t have pages as the text is defined by the eReader device or software and can be altered by the individual: you cannot change a PDF text size except by zooming in/out.

In order for digital textbooks to really surpass the paper editions they need to offer more, and by more I mean embrace the technology and have embedded video, links, question & answers, and even link (in real-time?) readers from all over the world.  Continue reading


Question – what app could you NOT live without?

AppsWhat App could you NOT live without? Whether it’s Dropbox for collaborative working, Angry Birds for brainless relaxation, WordPress for your blogging activities, Keynote for presentation creation and delivery, Blackboard Mobile Learn for course/material management, email or calendars  for normal work use, or something else entirely … what App do you use the most or consider the most important in your working/daily life.

I’m not limiting this to iOS ‘apps’ but please consider any ‘tool’ you use on a mobile or tablet device.

Leave a comment below and share your App and reasons for it. If you’ve already written this up then link to your post and share your thoughts and preferences with us.


‘PlainText’ App

PlainTextPlainText (iPhone, iPad): I’ve only just downloaded this app but I can already see the benefits of being able to makes notes and work on documents and store/transfer them through Dropbox.

“PlainText is a simple text editor with an uncomplicated, paper-like user interface. Unlike the default Notes app, PlainText allows you to create and organize your documents in folders and sync everything with Dropbox”

PlainText (Free): https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/plaintext-dropbox-text-editing/id391254385

I have used the default Notes app since first getting an iOS device some 4 years ago and it was only down to the recommendation of Alan Cann (@AJCann) that I thought to try/find something better – PlainText was one of his strong recommendations.

Here are my notes:

  • When you first start the app there some handy hints and tips, read them!
  • It’s as easy as using Notes or anything else to write or take notes, but  the clean and uncluttered (apart from the adverts, more on this later) makes it nice to use.
  • Continue reading

Nominations Open – The 2012 Edublog Awards are here!

Nomination(s) for the 2012 Edublog Awards #eddies12

Nominations Open – The 2012 Edublog Awards are here!November can only mean one thing … EduBlog Awards (and you thought I was going to say “nearly Christmas”, right?). Nominations are open for the 2012 Edublog Awards, and here are mine:

There are many reasons for the choices above, and they are in no way a slight to everyone else in my network – you are all fabulous and bring so much to my day, individually and as a group, but I had to choose one of you in each category to reflect all your wonderful work.

OK folks, let’s see what & who you like this year … click here for the Edublog 2012 nomination hashtag: #eddies12 and make you own nominationnoon the following link: http://edublogawards.com/2012/11/13/nominations-open/

PS: if you feel generous and want to nominate me, how about the “Best EdTech Blog” or “Best Individual Blog”categories … please?

Making Smartphones work

I love my smartphone, my iPhone. In addition to this, I love my iPad, but I’m not as enamoured by it as I am with my phone. Since I got my iPad I have found myself using my laptop even less (it’s only 2 years old so not, by any means, old or slow or a cumbersome weighty block of plastic with a tiny screen). But they could both be better.

Considering how I (we) use these new mobile devices I am surprised that there is less integration between apps. Let me explain:

When I click a link in an email it opens up the Safari web browser. Simple and easy to understand. But when I click a link in an email, or on a webpage, to a Facebook update, to a tweet, or to something on LinkedIn or something else that I use an App to manage, the Safari web browser is used. I don’t use the browser on my phone (or iPad) to use those services, use the app I’ve installed and configured for my account(s). I am not logged in to the website version of those services (and many others) but I am logged into the App.

Why can’t the OS be configured to allow it to ‘learn’ from the apps I have installed. Let’s have them learn that a link to something on Twitter (tweet, profile, hashtag, etc) means I want to use the App and not the web browser?

Perhaps this is just ‘limited’ to iOS devices? Perhaps to get what I want I need to think outside the ‘Apple’ box and go Android or Windows … ?

Or have I missed something so fundamental to iOS and it can already do this? Comments below please if you agree with me, have a handy hint to help me sort this out, or just want to gloat because your (smart)phone already does this.


Dropbox App

‘DropBox’ App

Dropbox (iPhone/iPad): This is one of the best apps I’ve been using for the past few years. I used to take a USB stick around with me, from office to home, to conferences, to presentations, and everywhere in between. Now I don’t need to.

“Dropbox is a free service that lets you bring all your photos, docs, and videos anywhere. After you install Dropbox on your computer, any file you save to your Dropbox will automatically save to all your computers, your iPhone and iPad and even the Dropbox website! With the Dropbox app, you can take everything that matters to you on the go.”

Dropbox Free : http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/dropbox/id327630330

While installing the apps on laptops and desktops helped taking files between various locations, it’s the ability to access them through both iPhone and iPad apps that has made the difference – uploading pictures I take on the phone when I’m out and about, sharing files and presentations with other Dropbox (and non-Dropbox) users, while at conferences has been brilliant and hugely useful. All the files I need are securely (see below) stored and accessible.

You get an initial and free 2gb of online storage but you can increase this 250mb for each introduction you make (that is taken up). If you have an education email address this is 500mb each. I have been working and using the free version for a couple of years now and finally succumbed to paying the $99/£63 for the 50gb upgrade … 4gb just wasn’t enough in the end!

Dropbox is a great tool to mix your desktop work with your online/mobile work, read files (Word, PDF, PPT, etc) you’re storing online, showcase photos, watch video, etc all from Dropbox.

The options along the bottom of the screen (from the iPhone version of the app) allows you to favourite a location to make it easy to find at speed, to upload a file/photo from your device, and the settings list (log in/out if you have multiple accounts).

Dropbox is also an extremely useful tool for collaborating with colleagues. By ‘inviting’ them to share a file or folder (and register if they are not already Dropbox users) you will each have access to the same file so, if one person updates it, it is synch’d with the edition stored in your colleagues Dropbox area!

It is worth noting that not everyone is as enamoured with Dropbox – in 2011 Dropbox suffered a security breach (Znet & Ed Bott and TechCrunch have both written about it), so read the reviews carefully before deciding.

Enhancing Dropbox with ‘Dropbox Forms’ #Dropbox

If, like me, you are a user and fan of Dropbox then you’ll be looking for ways to enhance how you use it. There have been some excellent guides on how to use and abuse it (links below) but here is another great way … Dropbox Forms!

Here, watch this:

Jotform Dropbox Video from Interlogy Internet Technologies on Vimeo.

As the promotional blurb says:

“Create a dropbox form and we will create a folder named Jotform in your Dropbox. When you get a new upload, it will be there instantly. No mess, no BS.”

So, how can I use it? Well, I’m not advocating using it instead of a VLE, but those who don’t have or use their VLE you could set up the form for students / peers / etc to upload files? I’m sure there are other uses beyond this, and some might even be better than Google Docs (?) … if you think of anything, please share using the comments below.

Further Dropbox resources:

Dropbox: save and share files across the Internet

Last year I left my 4gb USB stick in the socket of a PC that was sat on the floor (I know, silly me, but I was in the middle of a presentation). As I walked past I clipped the stick and bent the ‘sticky-out’ bit right back … damn!

The case broke and my heart sank – I use that for work and personal files to transport them between work and home (and friends, etc). I got home and was about to drop it in the bin when I thought I’d plug it in and see if it still worked. It did!

I taped the case back up, bent it straight again, and have been using it regularly since then. Until last week when something broke. And that was that (I’d expected it for a while so I’ve been using my iPod and iPhone for data back-up of the really important stuff).

So, instead of buying another I looked at online storage solutions and came across Dropbox. The free account gives you 2gb of online, secure storage (which you can get an additional 250mb for if you follow the simple steps during install and setup).

So now I have an online storage solution, available on work and home PCs, and on the iPhone (although I really only use this option to review files, other mobile devices are coming soon), and I can easily share and store files or folders with colleagues, friends, etc.

Here is a presentation I’ve put together on how to install and use it.

Dropbox – Save to the Cloud