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→
As a language teacher, I believe that practice is very important for language learning. However, the language that I am teaching, which is Cantonese, is not a written language but a spoken one. It’s very hard for learners to practice speaking skills on their own because they might not know whether they are saying it right. I find using iPads (and other mobile devices) can solve this problem and eventually increase learning efficiency. There are some good apps that provide users with daily new words, sample sentences, and some other useful expressions such as “How much is this?” and “Where is the restroom?” Learners can download these apps on their iPads or smart phones, listen to the recordings of the words and sentences, and even record themselves. This enables learners to get language input and produce output wherever and whenever.
With a strong belief in practice and technology, I reserved 16 iPads from the Weigle Information Commons and used them on the first day my class. It was fantastic! First of all, the iPads “wake my students up” and draw their attention quickly. At the beginning of the class, we were reviewing the syllabus and I could tell some students felt a little bit bored. However, when I took out the iPads, the students were really surprised and I heard them saying: “Wow!” Apparently, they felt really cool, having the iPads in a language classroom. Second, students had a hands-on experience with using the apps. After they tried all the fancy and interesting functions in the app, they then could decide whether to download it on their own mobile devices.
Overall, it was a great experience. The staff of the Weigle Information Commons are very supportive and helpful. I really appreciate their help and I plan to use this service again.
We are happy to announce that our ITAs are back! The Library ITAs (Information Technology Assistants) can help with a range of technical assistance including wireless connectivity, basic productivity tools in MS Office, library technology items and mobile applications, etc. You can find our friendly ITAs available for walk-in assistance in Booth 1 near the entrance to the Weigle Information Commons:
Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 4 to 7 pm
You may have noticed over the past few weeks some changes to our WIC staff page. Anu blogged recently about new faces. Each desk intern has listed the programs, tools, and computer languages we are most comfortable with. Though we all like to think of ourselves as well-rounded in our tech skills, each intern has their own unique strengths in web and software topics. We welcome you to consult the page to see which of us might be best to ask about a particular topic.
We have just added to the page our desk intern calendar. Consult this to check when the “Excel Intern”, or the “Prezi Intern” is next staffing the desk.
How should I use technology, in my classroom and outside my classroom, to engage my students?
How should I manage the technology (laptops, smart phones, tablets, etc.) that my students bring to my classroom?
The symposium includes a faculty panel, a student panel, lunch, discussion and hands-on sessions for Assessing Tech Projects, From Idea to Reality, Prezi for Presentations and iPads for Class Projects. Registration is open for Penn faculty and instructors. Interested graduate students can email firstname.lastname@example.org to be included on a space-available basis. Register now!
For the past 3 years, the event has filled up quickly and we hope for a similar great turnout this year! In case you have to miss the event, we will video-record the faculty and student panels and make the videos available on our website in mid-November.
Also, we are recruiting students to speak on the student panel – click here and share your contact info if interested.
Our iPads just returned Wednesday night from their first classroom loan to the Integrated Studies Program under the care of Lisa Messeri and Devin Griffiths. The first year students used 28 iPad2s to create videos. Working in pairs, they interviewed each other about the topic of identity. The iPad’s iMovie app enabled them to edit videos right on the device. Students shared their final projects with classmates through the Media Server run by SAS Computing which connects to Blackboard. We are relieved to have this first loan go smoothly and feel more ready to take on future class projects.
How does the iPad-Loaning Program work?
Faculty contact the WIC staff and we brainstorm about good project uses for the iPads. We can add apps to meet disciplinary needs, and we can load PDFs and other documents on the devices before the project. Our goal for the pilot is to explore how iPad2s might work in course contexts at Penn. Typically iPads will be distributed and collected at a class session by WIC staff. While out on loan, students are welcome to use the iPads freely, connect them to personal iTunes accounts etc. Our iPad cart wipes out all personal and course info prior to the next loan.
What’s up next for the iPads? The Big Apple.
Students in a freshman writing seminar are taking the iPads to a conference in New York City. They will play a scavenger hunt game, using the iPad to take notes during sessions, snap photographs and interview presenters.
Thinking about reserving the iPads for an upcoming class project?
Check out the iPad pilot website and stop by to look at the devices in the Weigle Information Commons. You can email us to set up an appointment. The calendar is wide open after November 1.