Category Archives: iPads

Andrea Hornick’s Journeys – Digital Media Meets Fine Art with WIC iPads

Andrea Hornick – an artist, shaman, and Fine Arts Lecturer in Penn’s School of Design – recently used WIC’s iPads in the Classroom Program to create an immersive art gallery experience.

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Continue reading Andrea Hornick’s Journeys – Digital Media Meets Fine Art with WIC iPads

Upcoming Events for Faculty

I wanted to spotlight three events of interest to Penn faculty and graduate students:

On Monday, April 11, Jamie Marie Estrada and I will hold a half-hour online discussion on the Philosophy of Social Media. (Register!)

On Wednesday, April 13, our panel on Library Resources for Faculty organized in collaboration with PASEF and ASEF-PSOM includes Will Noel, Dot Porter, Rebecca Stuhr, David Toccafondi, Sarah Wipperman and myself. Topics include liaison services, rare books, learning spaces, online persona and iPad apps. (Register!)

On Tuesday, April 26, our Engaging Students Through Technology Lightning Round 2016 is co-sponsored by camra, the Center for Teaching and Learning , the Graduate Student Center,  the Penn Language Center, the Price Lab for Digital Humanities,  SAS Computing and the Weingarten Learning Resources Center (VPUL) (Register!)

Speakers include:

  • Stefanie Alfonso on interactive e-guides
  • Etienne Benson on Using Processing in Humanities Classes
  • Rick Berman on WordPress for City Design
  • Lillyrose Veneziano Broccia on Project-Based Differentiation Via Canvas
  • Caroline Connolly on Poll Everywhere for In Class Polling
  • Delphine Dahan on Using LockDown Browser
  • Julie Davis on WordPress for Prints
  • Amy Durham on In-class Quizzes and Games
  • Andi Johnson on NVivo
  • Ethan Mollick on Looking Glass
  • Kris Rabberman on Voice Thread
  • Ana Reyes on Immersive Terf
  • Arjun Shankar on film and multimodal pedagogy
  • Catherine Turner on Topic Modelling Tool
  • Ben Wiggins on TimelineJS

Join us this April as we celebrate WIC’s 10th Birthday all month!

Top 10 Free Travel Apps for Winter Break & Beyond


This week, I’ve  personally put together 10  free travel apps that I think will help ease the hustle and bustle of traveling this holiday season. Planning a trip is a  great way to take a break from studying for finals. Whether flying or driving, these apps will help you focus on being there, not getting there. Continue reading Top 10 Free Travel Apps for Winter Break & Beyond

Customize Your iOS Device to Fit Your Needs

iOS accessibility features are often regarded as tools exclusively for users with disabilities and sometimes portrayed as “secret” or “hidden,” but they’re really not!

As universal design plays an increasingly important role in our engagement with the complex digital world, iOS accessibility features are a prime example of how our technology devices can be tailored to fit our needs.

Graphic of iOS accessibility features categories

Many times our tech tools are not always customizable but rather come one-size-fits-all. Those users who cannot adapt, sometimes require supplementary assistive technology, which is often very expensive and challenging to learn how to use.

However, Apple includes accessibility features built in on every device that are designed to support ALL users. These features are found in Settings under General. Scroll down to Accessibility.

Here are some suggestions for you to trick out your device 😉 :

Control your device with your face! Yes, really. This is a screenshot of where Switch Control is located on an iOS device.

Located under Switch Control, add a new switch to allow your device’s camera to track your head movement. By shaking your head to the left or right, you can execute a range of actions such as adjusting your volume, navigating to the home screen, and summoning Siri. After selecting “Switch Control,” choose “Switches” and “Add New Switch.” The camera source will allow you to assign actions to left and right head movements. Don’t forget to actually turn on Switch Control after everything’s set up!

This is a screenshot of where Invert Colors is located on an iOS device.Increase the screen’s contrast to give your eyes a break.

Ever feel like you’ve been staring at a screen for too long? At the end of a long day of researching and writing on a computer, the last thing I want to do is stare at my iPhone’s brightly lit screen. Turn on “Invert Colors” on your device to avoid the glare and enjoy a new aesthetic.

Let Siri read that article for you! This is a screenshot of where Speech is located on iOS devices.

Activate Speak Screen located under Speech, and swipe two fingers down on any speakable content. It works great with Safari and book reading apps. You can also adjust the speaking rate, choose different languages, and highlight content.

This is a screenshot of where LED Flast for Alerts is located on an iOS device.


Use your device’s camera to get flash alerts

Ever wish your call, text, email alerts were a bit more noticeable without having to rely on your iPhone’s sound, vibration, or screen light feature? Turn on LED flash to receive a distinct but unobtrusive notification.

Learn to use your device free from distractions. This is a screenshot of where Guided Access is located on an iOS device.

New to iOS? Guided Access will allow you to practice using the apps on your device. To encourage focused learning, Guided Access limits the distractions by turning off the extra options and locking the user into the app of choice.

Want to learn more? Join me for my Accessibility on iOS workshop on December 1st! And, of course, not everyone uses an iOS device, so stay tuned for later accessibility posts on other operating systems!


Productivity Apps for Your Sanity!

selfie of writerHi folks! My name is Meaghan Moody, and I’m a new graduate intern at the Weigle Information Commons. As I embark upon both my first semester of graduate school and of my WIC internship, I realized I was in dire need of some productivity tools to manage the mayhem.

I know it feels like the semester only just started, but midterms are bearing down on us, and it’s time to finally buckle down and get things in order.

Here are a few helpful productivity apps to aid you in this endeavor. The best news? They’re all free to you via the App Store and/or Google Play Store!

Available For: iOS, Android, Mac OS, and Windows

This easy-to-use organizer will allow you to keep track of your assignments as well as everything else in your life. Make a multitude of lists and keep them orderly and at your fingertips. You can also easily share your lists with others and sync them between devices.

  • Pocket: Save Articles and Videos to View Later Pocket Logo

Available For: iOS, Android, Mac OS, and Windows

Instead of leaving a million windows open in your browser or inundating your email, save articles and media to Pocket! This handy app will organize it all for you, allowing you to revisit your articles and media at your leisure.

Available For: iOS, Android, Mac OS, and Windows

Sometimes it’s easier to tackle your assignments if you work on them in increments of time. With Pomodoro, you can  time your tasks and breaks. Set the timer for thirty minutes and dedicate yourself to the books, and when the timer rings, enjoy a break!

Note: There are several variations of this app available. I have linked to a free lite version via the App Store.

Available For: iOS, Android, Mac OS, and Windows

Described as a “scanner in your pocket,” Office Lens allows you to keep track of documents, whiteboard notes, and even the scraps of paper from the bottom of your backpack! Printed text will become searchable, and you can convert your uploads to Word, Powerpoint, or PDF.

As always, we here at WIC are here to help you out! Check out our reservable study rooms and booths AND our awesome workshops. Don’t see a workshop on something you would like to learn? Request a custom training session!

Italian Madrigals on WIC iPads

manuscript copy
Image from event website

When Professor Mauro Calcagno submitted a request to borrow 5 WIC iPads, I figured it was for his students to use for coursework, which is typically the case with our iPads in the Classroom Program. However, I was intrigued to find out that the iPads would be used by the Penn Madrigal Singers to perform digital editions of 16th-century composer Luca Marenzio’s work. I was lucky enough to attend the event last week, which was organized by the Penn Music Department, the Center for Italian Studies, and the Penn Libraries’ Kislak Center, and co-sponsored by the Digital Humanities Forum. It was so fascinating to see both the digital humanities project that Mauro and his colleagues are working on and the fantastic performance by the Penn Madrigal Singers!

Continue reading Italian Madrigals on WIC iPads

You do you.

kelliThis guest post by Kelli Liu, a sophomore from southern California majoring in biology and Apple campus representative, describes her thoughts on software upgrades.

Like many people, I am a creature of habit and I often find myself resistant to changes unless I find them absolutely necessary. This aspect of change is extremely applicable to my life when it comes to updating my life technologically. Everyday I am bombarded with my apps, email, and softwares notifying me that my current version is outdated and that I must update immediately. However, I often become really comfortable with the structure of a software, app, or email format that I am using, and I find that often times when I update I regret the decision immediately. New updates are certainly nice and more developed, but sometimes they are not better for me. Continue reading You do you.

Backyard Brains in the Classroom

This spring, BE 310, Bioengineering Lab II, took on a project to combine robotics and biology, using WIC’s iPads and cockroaches. Using a hardware set and an app from Backyard Brains, students in the class taught by David Meaney and Susan Margulies used their own muscles and brains to drive the muscles in cockroach legs.

When Sevile Mannickarottu first approached us with his idea, we were surprised to learn about this use for iPads. Fortunately, it was easy to install the free app on 12 of our iPads. Continue reading Backyard Brains in the Classroom

Gadget Day – Wed. Dec. 11, 2013

Join us in the Weigle Information Commons Seminar Room for a fun day of exploration! Please live-tweet with #gadgetday
Please register for individual sessions below. We will live-stream and record many of the presentations. (Our thanks to SAS Computing for helping make the live-stream possible.)

Grading on the iPad
9:30am – 10:00am
Join Catherine Odson, Courseware Support Librarian, and Judith Currano, Chemistry Librarian, for a demonstration on how to grade efficiently using a variety of iPad apps including Canvas. Designed for faculty and instructors.

Staying secure: Two-step authentication
10:00am – 10:30am
Join Melissa Muth from ISC for a discussion and demo of two-step authentication. You can enable this for your penn data through ISC. You can also enable two-step access to your Google data. Bring your cell phone and your questions!
Scanning Handwritten Surveys
10:30am – 11:00am
The Weigle Information Commons plans to offer access soon to Remark Office scanning software. This software allows you to scan in large numbers of hand-written surveys and forms. Multiple-choice questions can be automatically coded into spreadsheet form, and hand-written comments are scanned into a file-tree for easy access. Penn HR has used the software for several years now, and it offers potential for research data analysis. Facilitated by Anu Vedantham, WIC Director with a vendor webinar connection.

3D Video Camera
11:00am – 11:30am
A hands-on introduction to the Fujifilm FinePix Real 3D W3 Digital Camera. Take 3D video and photos and view them in 3D right in the camera itself without any special glasses, or output for viewing on a 3D tv or on a regular monitor with red/blue glasses. Presented by David Toccafondi, Vitale Digital Media Lab Coordinator.

11:30am – 12:00pm
Duolingo is a free web and app based language learning program that uses gamification to combine social media with language learning. We’ll be talking about pros and cons of gamifying language learning. Presented by Tayarisha Poe, Vitale Digital Media Lab Consultant.

Mobile Technology Trends
12:00pm – 12:30pm
Catch the latest and greatest Mobile Technologies, including the latest device releases from major manufacturers, updates to Android, iOS, Windows Phone, BlackBerry OS and trends in the mobile sector. Ted Moskalenko from ISC Client Services will provide analysis and recommendations for both first-time and veteran users.

Mobile Technologies – Play and Share
12:30pm – 1:30pm
Whether you are due for an upgrade, looking for your first smartphone, or in the market for a tablet, this is your chance to see what devices are available to choose from. Facilitated by Ted Moskalenko from ISC, come with your questions, recommendation requests, or your own device if you need help! We will provide a variety of tablets, smartphones, and more. Ted plans to bring along:

  • iPad Air
  • iPhone 5C
  • iPhone 5S
  • iPhone 5


  • Surface Pro (old model)

  • Galaxy Note 2
  • Galaxy Note 3
  • Galaxy Note 8
  • Galaxy Note 10.1 (2012)
  • Galaxy Gear
  • Galaxy S4
  • Nexus 10

  • Nexus 5
  • Nexus 4
  • G2


  • Kindle HDX
  • Kindle Fire 9 HD

  • Moto X
  • Droid MAXX

ASUS Nexus 7 (2013)
BlackBerry Q10
Nokia Lumia 920

Multi-person Touchscreen PC
1:30pm – 2:00pm
Neil Roper from Computer Connection will show a new product from Lenovo that allows many people to touch and interact with a large-display tablet.
Google Glass
2:00pm – 2:30pm
Google Glass is an amazing device. You can speak a command to take a picture of what you are looking at. You can record and share what you see. You can translate your voice as you talk.  Join us for a rare look at this new wearable technology. Evan Bayless, Penn undergraduate, will share his experiences with Google Glass.

Live Manuscript Videos
2:30pm – 3:00pm
Join Mitch Fraas, Interim Director of the Penn Digital Humanities Forum, for a guided tour of the Vitale Special Collections Digital Media Lab (Vitale 2) in the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts on the sixth floor of the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center. The lab includes a powerful ceiling-mounted video-camera to enable projection and digital zoom to compare digital and physical aspects of objects.

How to use an iPad to cheat at drawing

One of my favorite uses for tablets is drawing.  It’s a similar experience to a pen and paper, but with all the bonuses of the digital world.  You can take a photo of a building and quickly draw labels on different parts or highlight certain areas.  You can add annotations or notes to photos, graphs, and graphics for a presentation.  You can draw something that would’ve ended up a mess of eraser marks if you had attempted it on paper.  You can even trace a photo of your friends and turn them into line-art cartoons (even if people tend to ask you what that squiggly pancake is when you doodle a cat on your notebook).  It only takes the same manual dexterity required to write a sentence legibly, I promise.

To make a line-art cartoon from a photograph on a tablet, first you need a drawing app with layers that lets you import a photo layer.  Translation for those of you who don’t speak photo-editing software, the free app Adobe Ideas works nicely.  This is a Pinterest board of examples things people have made using this app and these kinds of techniques.  If you prefer a different app, though, the directions that follow will work for pretty much anything with layers and photo import capabilities.

Continue reading How to use an iPad to cheat at drawing