Draw Something

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Draw Something is currently famous among iPhone/iPad users. The app allows users to showcase their artistic skills by drawing something and let your friends guess what your drawing is. It’s very creative and engaging. Some of my friends did very well and i was amazed by their talents!!

I, on the other had, suck at drawing. I consider myself very creative, but when it comes to finger drawing, I’m not good at all. You know… So far all my friends successfully guessed what I drew. So, it wasn’t that terrible haha!

This app is free! You should try it! It is very fun!

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Apple TV

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Apple TV is not a television that is made by Apple company. It is rather a streaming media box that allows you to transmit multimedia files, such as video clips, music mp3, and YouTube video, from your computer, iPhone, and iPad.

The 3rd generation of Apple TV has just released a few weeks ago. It is very similar to the 2nd generation, but it support high definition upto 1080p.

Luckily, I am able to own one of the new Apple TV by using my AMEX reward points to purchase. So, yeah…I got it for free!! You can buy one for $99. I really recommend the Apple TV for those who already own apple products like iPhone and iPad. It is convenient to stream or share the content on your mobile devices to the television. It is very tiny and easy to setup!

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The New iPad

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Apple has surprised everyone by calling the latest version of iPad as “The New” iPad. People wonder why not iPad 3?? Well, in my opinion, the New iPad is not much different from the iPad 2. It will be even weirder if they call it iPad 3 but it looks almost identical to the iPad 2, except a few upgrades inside. The new one is slightly thicker than the old one too.

However, it is good to know that Apple has dropped the price for the iPad 2 16GB (now only $399). Engadget did a great job comparing both of them on the website. Click here to see the comparison. You can Pre-Order the new iPad now!

Are You Ready for iPad 3?

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There are so many rumors about iPad 3. Many people have been convinced that iPad3 will be released soon (around the end of March). Wired.com wrote an interesting article to lay out all the rumors about the iPad3′s specification. It has been reported that iPad 3 will have bigger resolution, better camera, 4G connection, faster processing time, and much more. It is very promising!

You can read about the latest rumors on the Washington Post. Mashable.com even reported that iPad owners already rush to sell the devices ahead of iPad 3′s arrival.

You can also watch the news about the iPad 3 reported by The Wall Street Journal:

Should I Switch to a New Facebook Timeline?

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I noticed several of my friends of Facebook are hesitate to switch their Facebook interface to a new Facebook Timeline. I certainly understand that most people are afraid of changes. They don’t’ like to learn how to operate all the new features and settings that Facebook has offered. They don’t want to feel frustrate because they cannot find things on the new interface.

From my point of view, the feel and look of the new interface is totally overwhelming, but it impresses me in a good way. I like the fact that the new interface is utilizing the space of the screen by diving the timeline into two columns (left and right side). Personal information, pictures, friends are better organized. Basically, the look has changed but it is somewhat very similar to the old interface. It is not too difficult to figure things out. I love the Cover Photo and Activity Log feature. For those who are not sure about the size of the cover photo, it is 850×315 px. The privacy setting has also been improved. You can manually configure your privacy setting for each post and it is very easy to do that.

Some examples of my Cover Photos are below. They placed very nicely on my FB profile page.

So if you ask me if you should switch it, of course, I’m going to say “YES, you should do it!” I have the introduction video from Facebook for you to watch. Take a look for yourself! I think later on all the FB users are forced to change it anyway. So, why wait for it? Let’s change it today!

OS X Mountain Lion

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OS X Mountain Lion

Mac OS X Mountain Lion is Coming this summer!! This OS X could come with the new version of Mac Book Pro too!

To get a sneak peek with all-new features, please watch the official video from Apple below.

As you can see, features are much inspired by iPad! You will get iMessage, Notification Center, Reminder, and Note. Now you can send unlimited messages to iPhone, iPad iPod touch, or Mac from your Mac. Super cool!!


However, please keep in mind that some of Mac might not be able to upgrade the OS X to Mountain Lion, reported by Gizmodo.

Images from Neowin and Apple

Interesting Pinterest

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Interesting Pinterest

What’s Pinterest? I think of it as a storyboard to help me organize ideas and brainstorm. The board allows me to add pictures, quotes, hyperlinks, and video clips on the board based on the categories that I have created. It is somewhat a social interaction tool as you can view, comment, like, and follow other people’s boards. The Pinterest’s web interface is awesome. It changes the way people view things on the screen. Pinterest allows you to view multiple categories and items at the same time.

You can join the Pinterest by requesting the invitation since it is not entirely open to the public yet. I believe it takes less than 24 hours to get the response from the Pinterest team. They will give you a specific direction of how to sign up an account.

How to add stuff to the board? It’s very easy. You can install the plugin to your browser. Once you install the plugin, you just need to click Pin It button and select whatever you want to pin on your board. Pinterest also provides users with a video tutorial of how to use Pin It button. Please take a look at the video below.

You can do so many things with this virtual board. Here is an article providing you tips for using Pinterest in a classroom. Click here

 

The infogrpahic below displays everything you need to know about the Pinterest (Source: Mashable)

A Box in a Cloud

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A Box in a Cloud

Many people send an e-mail with an attached file to themselves for storage purposes. This has become old-fashioned. Storing files in a cloud has become popular and much easier. Thanks to Dropbox cloud services for giving away 2 GB storage space for users. And, thanks to Box.net for offering 5 Gb storage space. Both services are FREE!! But, of course, you can upgrade the services if you need more storage.

 

Now, the question is…which one is better? Dropbox vs. Box.net!

I’ve been using Dropbox for over a year while using Box.net only a few months. I like them both. I can access to my files on both of cloud services via my mobile devices. They are pretty easy to use. I prefer Box.net over Dropbox because Box.net offers more storage. And, Box.net offers a plug-in for Microsoft Office suite. You can directly upload a file through Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. This is very convenient!

I still use both of them. If you really are interested in comparing between both services, I found a website that provides you a very detailed information. The author broke down the comparison into several interesting points, such as file restrictions, team collaboration, and enhanced features. Click here to view the article.

 

 

 

 

 

 

No Clicks for Clickers

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No Clicks for Clickers

For our weekly ILC staff training today, Gurupreet conducted a training session on how to setup and use Clickers in a classroom. Those who have been in a dog/cat training before might have thought a “clicker” as a device that makes a clicking sound, and you use it to train your pets, shape their behaviors, and teach them new tricks. For those who are not sure what it is, please watch the video below to see how a clicker can be used to train your dogs and cats.

I love clickers! Enzo responded very well with the clicker. I have been constantly using the clicker as positive reinforcement to provide him with instant feedback (reward).  Basically this takes advantage of the fact that dogs learn by the immediate consequence of their actions. What this means is that if we provide and control these consequences we will in fact be controlling our dog’s behavior. In clicker dog training the sound of the clicker becomes associated with receiving a reward (i.e., Classical Conditioning). When Enzo hears the click, he will expect a treat! This becomes very useful when Enzo ran out in my backyard, and I needed him to come in the house. All I had to do was push the clicker, he would run for his life to me, and he surely expected a treat.

Clickers for dog training

Enzo Ferrari

Nevertheless, Gurupreet did not demonstrate how to use that kind of clicker…. Ha! The clickers we learned today were remote personal response systems using infrared or radio technology to transmit and record student responses to questions. Clickers look like small TV remote control devices. Instructors will have a receiving hub connected to a computer in front of a class. I ran across an article about the Clickers. If you are interested to read about the application of Clickers, please click here.

Clickers - Response System

I remember that 4-5 years ago I were asked to lead a project called Workshop Collaboration Tool (WCT). I assisted in designing the graphical user interface, developing the program algorithm, installing and testing the tool, and managing the project. I worked closely with a programmer to develop the tool. The purposes of WCT are to use in conferences or workshops where participants provide feedback to presenters or facilitators, work collaboratively on policy development, and make decisions as a whole. The WCT allows participants to submit questions during a presentation. Presenters can ask participants to answer questions, vote, and rank items. The tool also displays the results at the end. The WCT was used in several conferences and well received although several areas needed improvement.

The WCT shares the same concepts with the Clickers, except the Clickers can operate only basic functions. For example, students can press either numbers or letters on the Clickers. Students cannot elaborate more on their responses and answers. Students will have to discuss verbally as a group. But, I do like the fact that it is easy to create questions in Microsoft PowerPoint and operate the Clickers. That statistical results display very nicely. However, during the training we ran into a huge problem when starting a set of question, all the Clickers could not connect to the receivers. We could not do anything. We did try to turn it on and off several times, but no luck–no clicks. Oh..well..we definitely need to test them out again and find out what the issues are. It is possible that it is the software issue.

 

Last week I found a new tool, called “SoapBox.” It is very interesting. SoapBox has all the WCT’s features and more. Although SoapBox is pretty new and still a beta version, it has great potential. Students can access the tool via the Internet, smart phones, and mobile devices. I would love to test it out. You can view demo videos of SoapBox below.

All and all, I like Clickers’ concepts and simplicity, but I prefer to use some kinds of tools that can handle more than just yes/no answers, polls, and basic responses. It would become more effective tool if students can post questions anytime they want during a lecture or presentation, they can elaborate or describe their responses or answers, or they can rank items. Also, the tools should be easy to operate and access. With those features, it would be such fun and engaging learning experience for students.

When Did You Join Twitter?

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When Did You Join Twitter?

I have been thinking about conducting a survey about the use of Twitter at the University of South Alabama for a while, but it was quite difficult for me to do everything by myself. My friends and colleagues do not appreciate Twitter much. Some of them have an accounts, but tweet only a few times and never tweet again. Some of them don’t even care for it.

Thanks to Sylvia who starts to appreciate Twitter! She reads and tweets regularly, and she is interested in conducing the survey with me. Yay!! So, we have been working on questionnaires for a week or so. We should be able to collect data soon. Our survey focuses on the use and popularity of Twitter at the USA, and then we want to create an inforgraphic.

An Example of Infographic

And  then I asked myself when I joined Twitter? Hmmm I forgot and I could not find the joining date under my profile! Well, I used google to find a tool to answer my question. It’s very easy. If you are like me wondering the date you have joined Twitter, go to http://www.whendidyoujointwitter.com. Type your username and click “Find Out!” button.

I joined Twitter since March '09

Wow.. it has been two and a half year since I joined Twitter! I have quite an experience with Twitter. Just like any relationship, I have ups and downs with Twitter. I can see why people stop tweeting after they have joined Twitter only a few weeks or months. Twitter has no fun if you cannot interact with your Following and Followers. You can follow people as many as you want, but it doesn’t mean that those people will follow you back. It is like one-way communication when you follow a person, but that person doesn’t follow you back. You can only receive information or tweets from that person, but that person will not see any tweet updates from you unless he/she visits your profile or timeline. Guess what? It  has no fun for stalking people or one-sided love relationship.  People might say they enjoy reading Following’s tweets, but I wonder….for how long?

What I am trying to say is that Twitter will become more enjoyable when two-way communication has occurred — a good balanced number of Following and Followers. And, it’s not easy to gain numbers of Followers because it takes time to build your own Twitter fan club who enjoy reading your tweets. I probably will blog about ways to increase your Followers next time I blog about Twitter. Basically, the more people follow and read your tweets, the higher chance you get mentioned on Twitter if you tweet regularly. That’s how 2-way communication, interaction, and engagement have occurred, and the number of Follower comes into play.

So, it will be interesting to see how Twitter has been used at the USA, how many people heard about Twitter, but never used it, how many professors currently use Twitter in their courses,  how many students enjoy using Twitter, etc. I’m looking forward to the results!

OK… don’t forget to FOLLOW ME!