Got Social?

Share your screen live with Screenleap

Screenleap allows you to share your desktop with one or more people, over the Internet, in real time.  There are many applications for this in a variety of fields, but I’ll focus on education for this brief entry.

Imagine you are teaching a hybrid or online statistics class and you wanted to show your students how to do something in real time using SPSS or some other statistics program.  You could have the students visit a web site address that Screenleap provides you and anyone you give that URL to will be able to see all or part of your desktop.  All you have to do is click the big green SHARE YOUR SCREEN NOW button (seen in the image above).

The next thing you might see is a pop up letting you know that certain things might need to be configured on your computer and it provides you with the instructions on how to move forward.  Depending on how your computer is configured, you may not see the notices this pop-up refers to.  For instance, since I’d followed similar instructions in the past, and also have my computer all patched and up to date on the software versions, I did not have to follow the instructions.

The next screen you see is the important one.  You will see a small pop up with a drop down option and two buttons.  The two buttons allow you to pause or stop sharing your desktop, so you remain in control of what others see all the time.  The drop down allows you to share a portion of your screen or your entire screen.

As you can see in the picture above, I’ve chosen to share only part of the screen, which is within the green frame on the screen.  You can adjust the size of the frame height alone, by dragging on the top or bottom line, width along, by dragging on the left or right line, or equally on all sides by dragging on any corner.  This way if you don’t want your viewers to see your entire desktop, but only the part you are showing – the SPSS window in my example above, you – again – can control that.

What I’ve shown in the picture above is what you will see when you are ready to start screen sharing.  You can either give your students the URL that Screenleap provides you or you can have them enter the code provided if they go to the Screenleap web site.

This is a very simple way to share your screen with one or more.

Writing Apps and Styli

Back on June 14th I posted the following question to Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

“A colleague is using Penultimate (iPad handwriting app), anyone else have suggestions?  How about stylus suggestions?”

This blog posting has a dual purpose, first to continue my ongoing war with social media and two to compare different writing apps for the iPad and styli so I can decided which to get.

By way of refresher, even though it appears in the last post, here are my stats with the social media in question.

  • Google+ - I have 181 unique profiles in 13 circles and 244 people have me in their circles.
  • Facebook – I have 283 friends.
  • Twitter – I follow 525 and am followed by 974.

Of all of my recent postings, this one got the best response and across a broad spectrum, so lets look at both the number (first) and then the details.

  • Two (2) people responded on Google+, representing 0.8% of those who have me in their circles (although I made the post public as well)
  • Three (3) people responded on Facebook, representing 1.1% of my Friends list
  • Three (3) people responded on Twitter, representing 0.3% of those who follow me

Once again, Facebook had the best response rate (and most in-depth conversation), followed by Google+, with Twitter bringing up the rear, again.  The interesting news in this is that there were even any response from Twitter, which is a change.

Now, to the content, and I’ll not differentiate where it came from.

Three people mentioned PenUltimate.  One said s/he used it along with Evernote, the other two said they used others but had tried it out.

Two recommended Noteshelf, both very highly.  One of whom said he also liked Notability because you could add audio but it was Noteshelf’s organization he liked.

One recommended NotesPlus but said he also liked Noteablity and PenUltimate.

As for styli (I supposed I could write styluses, which some dictionaries list as acceptable, but the correct form is styli) – Bamboo got two recommendations.

Ayl Slim got one (its slimmer than all others), Boxwave got one (a glowing one in fact), and Motive Stylus got one, but it came from the vendor via Twitter, so, I’ll have to take that one with a grain of salt.

I decided to look online for comparisons.  I’m certain Mashable has done something (in fact, they’d not – at least not that I can find easily).  I’m sure there are others, also.  As I don’t want this to turn into a lit review, I’m just going to post some links here, you’re welcome to read them if you want.  I don’t vouch for any of them and, in fact, I’ve not read them prior to posting this.  I just did a Google Search and added the ones I thought, at quick glance, looked useful.

Once I’ve decided which one I’m going with, in each category, I’ll report back.

Writing App Reviews



Gamifying Education

I think you should watch the following…

…and then come back here to add as a comment about what you thought.

There’s 100XP for the first person to do it and 25XP for everyone after.  An addition 10XP if someone comments on your comment on it.


I’ll start a leader board as my next post.




An interesting side thought. My good friend Chris Alvino “liked” my Facebook post directing people to this blog. On Facebook, Twitter, and in Google Plus I wrote “Connect Penny Arcade and Gamifying Education. Ready. Go.”

So Facebook people can “like” or “share” my post. Should they go on the leader board? Someone on Twitter can reply or retweet. Should they go on the leader board? Those on Google + can +1 or Share what I posted there, should they go on the leader board?  I say yes  Should the credit be the same for everything?  I guess, for now.  Should a “like” be worth more than a “tweet”?  No.  Should something posted on Facebook be worth more than something on Google +? No.

Online Free Voice Recording Tool

I have a faculty member who teaches a language and she would like her students to have a conversation in the target language while recording it and then be able to send it to her.

We talked about Skype, and there is a great PC tool called Pamela that can record Skype, for free, under 15 minutes, and then the resulting file can be sent to someone.

We also talked about whether the students had smart phones.  My iPhone has an iTalk app that lets you record something and then email the file.

What we’re really looking for, thought, is a web-based app that two students, in different locations, can sign-in to, record a short conversation, and then have a file created that could be sent to the instructor.

If you can think of a tool like that, please leave the name in Comments below or email it to me.  If you don’t have my email address, you can find out how to contact me here.

Introducing my new look

Since moving blogs over to my own domain I’ve been using the default theme until I found one I liked.  I’ve posted to my social networks a couple of times to see if I could get some recommendations, to no avail.

The Emerging & Instructional Technology Lab, of which I am the Director, is moving its web presence from a wiki to a workpress site.  As part of the process, one of our talented student assistants searched out some themes for the new site.  Although for now we’ve decided on a different theme for that blog, there was one I like a lot and decided to make it the theme for my own blog.  Thanks Kevin!

Feel free to let me know what you think.

iPad Apps

A friend posted something to Facebook about her musing over buying a Kindle or an iPad.  Given the two are so totally different, it was easy to advise her:  If you want a device to read something on, and that’s pretty much about it, go with the Kindle.  If you want to do more, via apps, then the iPad is the choice.  An interesting discussion among her friends ensued hashing around on some finer points, but mostly everyone who responded agreed that she should probably invest in the iPad.


I don’t see tablets as toys.  I see that many people use them that way, but many also do not.  So, let’s try to agree that the iPad is a device, nothing more, how you USE the device depends on how it would be categorized to you (and others who use it in similar ways).  A parent gets one for email, web, movies or shows, but to keep mini-me happy, sometimes you open a game app and let them play (like, in the car).  Its a device.


I promised my friend I would post to my blog what apps I have on my 1st Generation iPad Wifi.  Quick history, I got mine on day 1, which JUST SO happened to be my birthday (define providence?)  I bought the smallest drive and not on 3G.  I do not currently own a laptop and so I use my iPad for a few things at work but it is my mobile technology of choice for my doctoral work at NYU.  I do have a desktop, and I do use that a lot, but for mobile devices, its my iPad.

Two main apps for schoolwork: DocsToGo Premium and iAnnotatePDF.  DocsToGo lets me interact with documents (create, edit, etc…) and iAnnotatePDF does exactly what you’d think from the name, plus much more.

I have foursquare, HootSuite, Facebook,, Twitter, LinkedIN, Flickit, Echofon, and Google+ in a folder called Social.  I’ve stopped using foursquare (grew bored of it), use HootSuite for all the Twitter accounts, Don’t usually do Facebook on the iPad or my iPhone, but I use the app when I do (meh – expected more from the app), don’t use the Twitter app, don’t usually connect to LinkedIn on the iPad or iPhone, used to use Flickit to upload pictures, have stopped uploading so …, Use Echophone when I only want to see @aj_kelton, don’t use the Google+ app often.

In a folder called Travel I have: Weatherbug, and TWC (they use different station points), Maps, which is an awesome tool for finding things (and built into the iPad OS), Boingo’s Wi-Finder (I subscribe to Boingo, don’t use it often but it pays for itself every time I do.), and an AWESOME traffic app called INRIX.  I have the free version.  I find it especially helpful in the NY/NJ tri-state area and in the City.  Its usually spot-on accurate and, its freaking free!  How cool is that?  :-)

In a folder called Utilities I have: Calculator XL, BatteryLife, Find iPhone, Translator, Convertor, iHandy Level, Flashilight, and Speed Test.  Most are self explanatory, and there may be other apps that do the same thing that you like better.  I find BatteryLife  particularly useful on my phone, don’t really use it on the iPad.  If you subscribe to (transitioning to iCloud), you could have a tracking service for the iPad and iPhone.  It works quite well.  iHandy Level is free, and a good thing to have when you need it.  I find it more useful on my phone.  Speed Test is also handy, if you can what your upload/download speed are and how long a ping takes.

I do have a folder called Games.  I don’t consider myself a gamer, so I very rarely use any of these.  Some I prefer to play on my iPhone.  So, for games I have: GF All-Stars, Jenga HD, WTD, BClassicLite, Morocco, Magic8ball, Cubes Lite, Anaconda, Dragon’s Lair, Mirror’s Edge, AngryBirds Lite, Robot Rampage, Tree Planter, Cut the Rope, HornetSmash, Blimp, and Time Killer.  Nearly all of them I downloaded because someone suggested I do\.  I play Anaconda a lot, and I’ve gotten addicted to Robot Rampage, thanks to my advisor {shakes fist at Chris], I was mildly into Mirror’s Edge for a very short time, but then I got stuck and just don’t have the time to invest.  The most interesting one to me is The TimeKiller, by SAS.  Read the story here. Its fun.

In my Entertainment folder I have: Pandora, Shazam, IMDb, iTunes (Store), YouTube, Music (my iTunes), Videos, Starbucks, and Urbanspoon.  No surprises here.

Under Communications I have: Skype, LucyPhone, Dragon Dictation, NumberGuru, Tungle, Messages, MagicJack, Flipboard, Contacts, and a delete duplicate contacts app.  I rarely use Skype from the iPad, NumberGuru does reverse look up on a phone number.  Very cool app, and free.  Tungle I use because my advisor uses it, so that’s how I book time with him.  Its fine, its a good program, and it does sync to my gCal.  The MagicJack app is worth having.  Just like Magic Jack, it lets you talk free across the country.  Flipboard I don’t use, but I know people who do and like it.  Contacts is contacts but, a word of warning, if you have the iCloud service (or and you sync over multiple devices, if you don’t have the settings just right, you WILL get duplicates.  I had way too many of them.  Had to get a duplicate contact deleting program.  It worked as it said it might, but I was disappointed in the end.

Under Gadgets I have GiantTimer (very cool, useful, and free), iBannerHD (also useful but not frequently), Mappiness, which I don’t do anymore, and a QR app, which is useless to me since I have a 1st Gen, so no camera, but I have my apps synced and so it came over from the phone.

In Finance I have Bank of America, Capital One, an app called CheckPlease (for dividing the tab or figuring the tip) and a very cool program called GroceryIQ.  I use it mostly on my iPhone but its great for keeping a shopping list, you can scan in the bar code and it will add it, a number of options, and I think it was free.

Under Productivity I have Blackboard Mobile Learn (yuck!), Kindle (love it), iBooks, Dropbox (could not live without this cloud service.  If you don’t have an account, they are free up to 2GB I think, use this link and get 250MB of extra space for free (and I get 500MB), Evernote (never use but know folks who do), Wiggio (tried, meh), ShowMe (cool app, was in beta, think its out now, no use for me but I could see it big in some types of courses or levels), Keynote (much prefer over Powerpoint, but Mac only except on the iPad), WordPress (all of my blogs are WP (the one you’re reading now, and this, this, this, this, and especially this), so this gets used a lot), Inkling (interesting, will be awesome as the library grows), Eventbrite (used for ELD11 and will use again for ELD12 – one of the best designed apps I’ve ever seen), RememberTheMilk (still the best to-do list out there, I think, even though I’m not using it for a shopping list anymore, ironically), and BookMyne, an app I can use to interact with the MSU library.  Its a great app, very helpful.

I have the mail program to read my main Google email account, to which all of my other accounts are forwarded.  There are some things that can’t be done on the iPad that can on a computer, but it is good enough for 99% of the use cases.  I also use Safari as the web browser.

whew [wipes brow]

VeriziPhone vs iPhone (2G)

My great friend Anthony Fontana is visiting for a couple of days and he’s staying with me.  He is proudly showing off his new iPhone from Verizon, subsequently called the VeriziPhone.  Since my iPhone was stolen a few weeks ago I’ve had to revert back to using my old 2G iPhone which I got the January after the original came out.

We decided to use to test the speed of the networks.  Now, this is REALLY not a fair test.  Anthony is on a brand new iPhone 4G and I’m using and I’m using a pretty old phone.  We’ll have to try this test again in June when I have some other visitors thanks to the Emerging Learning Design Conference*

So, this was the response from Anthony’s test:

Test Date: Feb 12, 2011 7:43 PM
Connection Type: Cellular
Server: Newark, NJ
Download: 0.83 Mbps
Upload: 0.69 Mbps
Ping: 211 ms

And here was my test:

Test Date: Feb 12, 2011 7:40 PM
Connection Type: Cellular
Server: Newark, NJ
Download: 0.05 Mbps
Upload: 0.03 Mbps
Ping: 1025 ms

Clearly a HUGE difference, perhaps even more than the old network/new network can account for.  We’ll have to try this again with similar phones.


* Make sure to check out the Emerging Learning Design Conference, scheduled for June 3rd on the campus of Montclair State University.  The line-up of speakers is amazing and the price, which we’ll be announcing in a few days, is going to make the a can’t-miss event.  Go to the Registration page and sign up to get notified when we open conference registrations and you’ll get a discount code.

Word Lens

In the last 24 hours I’ve seen the new iPhone app Word Lens come across my radar twice.  Once in a mention from a friend on Twitter and the second time on the blog that the chair of our Sociology department puts together. BTW, I read Jay’s postings with regularity and enjoy them, he does a great job.

Anyway, back to Word Lens, which is produced by a company called Quest Visual.  I was very interested in this.  As many of you know I interact in the Brasilian community a great deal, with ties in Brasil both personal and professional.  My Portuguese is okay, but it would be great to have some help sometimes – especially in stores or reading the paper.  So I decided to check this out.  The only language they have right now is Spanish, but I’m sure they will be adding more eventually (although my guess is that Portuguese would not be next on the list).

I started reading through the reviews and ran across a post from someone who was complaining on the bait-and-switch introductory price.  I always take at face value what I read in these comments, so I decided to pursue it myself.

Let me first say that the video they’ve produced for this product is quite impressive.  If this product performs as well as it says, it’s going to make a big difference for folks who live or visit multi-lingual communities (namely, Spanish-speaking at this point).  My concern was not the product so much as a business practice.

I visited the web site and sent my question to the email address listed.

Hello, and congrats on the recent publicity for the product.

Although Spanish/English is a great start, clearly you’ll be adding languages.  When the time comes to do that, will there be a charge for those who have already paid for the app (albeit the “intro” price)?  Also, aside from the sign up cost (the $5 currently), should I expect any other costs moving forward.  This was mentioned in at least one review I read, although I wasn’t really clear what the reviewer was talking about.

Thanks for your work and for your response.

Within (a very impressive) three minutes I received a response.

There is no charge for the app itself — you can pick and choose which languages you want.  Dictionaries you buy will be updated for free.

— john deweese, quest visual

Ok, so, this really didn’t answer my question, not directly.  And the more I looked at it, the more I thought the answer was a bit dodgy.  So I decided to write back to get some clarification.  What I wanted to know was, will new dictionaries cost money to update (which I think he is saying yes to above) and would there be any other expected expenses once I buy in initially.  Of the apps I have that I’ve paid for, I’ve never been asked to pay more money later on for added functionality.  Granted, I don’t own a ton of apps, and none that do what this app does, but I do own other translator apps and none of those, or any other apps for that matter, have ever come back and asked me for more money when they add functionality.  I have apps for both my iPhone and iPad, both of which are my main interaction devices, so this was something I thought was significant, especially in my own consideration for purchase.  So, I wrote

Thanks for the quick response.

My understanding is that the only dictionary available at this time is Spanish/English.  So, when Portuguese/English comes out, will I have to “buy” that dictionary (as you say below) and then updating the app with the dictionary I bought will be free?

My bottom line question is, once I buy the app, should I expect any other costs as you add functionality (including dictionaries).

thanks again,


This time the response took over 21 hours.  Now, don’t get me wrong, a response from a company within 24 hours may seem pretty good (although it should not – we should expect responses from online, technology driven companies fairly quickly), but these guys set the bar high by responding in three minutes.  Time zones often restrict response time, so I didn’t expect three minutes again, but the much longer time this time let me know that he was most likely checking his response language.  My guess would be that they don’t want people to know that there will be more charges down the road, since that might stop people from trying it now.  Just a guess, that is, until I got the response.

That’s correct, individual language packs will be offered separately for purchase, and once you buy them, you can update those for free.  The only additional charges we will ask for is for fundamentally new features, and additional individual language packs.


John DeWeese

Ok, clear as day.  So, added languages are not considered a “functionality” but  a “pack” that will get added later.  This makes a bit more sense, and I’m not placing judgement on this practice (although I’d prefer to not see it roll that way), but they should make this clear someplace so people know.  I’m not saying it needs to be in the app store, but it should be on their website.  If someone clicks BUY in the app store without checking things out, they get what they get.  I don’t always check the developer’s web site, but that is a decision I make at the time of purchase, as I did this time.

I must commend John for writing me back so quickly and then writing me back again, providing information I’d guess he’d rather have not been providing.  Kudos on that front, now if only they’d take that honesty to their site (and if they did, I apologize for missing it, but I did look).

I think they have an awesome product.  I think it’s a better business model to sell higher and not nickel/dime your customers later on.  I may even end up buying this app, just to check it out to see how it works – especially since its only $5 right now.  I just wanted to put out my experience so others can learn from it and make their own decisions.

Academic iPad Wiki

I’ve been seeing many resources floating around already regarding the use of the iPad in education. I decided I wanted to start keeping track of those. Then I thought that it might be a great idea to get other to help, with the benefit that they would be able to see the resources also. So, I decided to start a wiki – which allows anyone and everyone to edit and add their resources.

The site address is:

It is open for everyone, to see or edit, so please share the link with folks. If you have any resources you’d like to share, please do – I’m sure everyone will be most appreciative (especially me. :> )

Once again I amm laying in bed watching the d bulls play and working on things that I woud normally need to be sitting at my defsk to do. I was never one to feel comfortable using a laptop in bed.

Facebook krocks on the iPad