University of Central Oklahoma

iPad Discovery

Discovering New Technologies for Academia

Cool website

This is not an app, but I came across this website today and thought I would share. Some of you may have already seen this tool on the web, but I had not, and despite the fact that I typically will not purchase access to websites, I think this is valuable enough that I might (it’s $19.95).

The website is called visualthesaurus.com and is a way to ‘see’ how words are connected. I am writing a paper and looking for different ways to describe concepts and so far have found this quite helpful. When you type in a word in the search box the website brings up terms that are similar and demonstrates linkages between the terms in a visual manner. If you want, you can select one of the linked words and a new set of words will appear that link to the selected word.

I looked to see if a specific app was available and it is not, but it does work beautifully using Safari. I can see using this for writing papers (as I am doing), but I can also see a use for this in the classroom for someone who is teaching students how to write, or for use in the nursing department to demonstrate the idea of concept mapping or even in the library when looking for search terms to find information on the library database. Hmm, I might take this to my research class.

Here is a screenshot of the website.

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New features

I just love it when something unexpected (that I like!!) occurs.

I have been using Noteability to write on pdfs and for journal writing. I was pleasantly surprised this evening when I opened the app to find that they had changed some of the features for the better. I had written last time that I wanted to find a stylus with a smaller, more responsive tip because I feel like I am writing with an eraser tip, but I have discovered that Noteability has an answer for that problem. If I open the magnifying window, I can write in the space provided and it gives more more of a feeling of using a pen or pencil. It took a few times to figure out how to wait when I had reached the end of the writing area so it would automatically move to the next space, but it was quite effective. I know that I had tried to use the magnifying box when I first got the app and couldn’t quite figure it out, but by the time I had spent several hours with the app last week doing some work I had the required ‘aha’ moment and figured it out. . .this evening the ‘aha’ was even bigger! The switch from typing to pen is more intuitive than in the past, and there is a copy and paste feature which I never noticed before.

If you have the need to handwrite on documents or just like to take notes by hand, this is definitely the app to have. I have gone from physically picking up the reports I complete to having them emailed to me. . .and this app has made it so I no longer have to print the report sheets and then scan them into the computer when I am done, I can now complete the report on my ipad and not only save paper, but the time it used to take me to scan and email the reports to the next person.

Now if it would only write my papers for me….

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Reflections

First, I still feel like I have a lot to learn about maximizing my use of the iPad. Probably the most helpful thing for me is using it as a reader for my textbooks and professional updates. I have a slight vision problem that makes reading printed materials an exercise in various reading glasses and lighting choices. The iPad let’s me carry all my books wherever I go and I can read them. This morning I had to supervise a group of students for 3 hours. I was able to monitor their activities and review literature for upcoming activities.

I am hoping to use the iPad this semester when I am at long term care facilities with my students. It will allow me to model the use of resource materials plus give me a mechanism for keeping track of their paperwork and performance.

I plan on doing more audio recordings for students and love the convenience of using the iPad for this. The super note voice recorder saves in a format that is easy to open on both a Mac and a pc.

Better stylus

I have been doing a lot of handwriting on my ipad and it occured to me that the writing tip of my stylus is similar to writing with the end of an eraser…the large surface is too big to have the same sensitivity as the tip of a pen and I find myself rewriting some of the comments because they are difficult to read. Has anyone come across a stylus with a smaller tip?

Top Ten Reasons to have an IPad

In the spirit of the new year, I have decided it would be appropriate to list the top 10 reasons I love my IPad!

10. It makes me look cool to the students!
9. I am really a geek (and always have been).
8. It is a great way to take roll (I can’t misplace the roll sheet).
7. I always have my files handy when I put them in dropbox.
6. I have access to all three of my email accounts when connected to the internet.
5. It is much lighter than my laptop.
4. I can get on webct where ever I am, and I don’t need a magnifying glass to see the words (important when you wear bifocals).
3. I have access to a camera and recorder when necessary.
2. I always have access to a “pen and paper” or word processing software to take notes!
1. It was free!

There you go, all the reasons I enjoy having an IPad! By the way… I love working for UCO!

iPad and thesis defenses

Last week I tried to go paperless to a thesis defense. Then I panicked and printed out parts, only to discover that PDF reader had a new features that allowed me to make notes. I ended up using the iPad the most.

The strange looks I get from colleagues when I use the iPad are interesting. They assume I am some super techie!

I have done a good sell for joining iPad Academy 2, however. Faculty are genuinely interested.