Google Search App Updated With Advanced Voice Search Similar to Siri

Google just updated its iOS search app to include advanced voice search. The new feature is similar to Apple's Siri. Click here to download the free app. With the Google Search app you can ask questions by voice and get spoken feedback. The Google app is very quick and the voice recognition is accurate. It is almost indential to the voice search included in Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. It is able to answer a broad range of questions and always has Google search results to fall back on. The Google app cannot read text messages, call people, set reminders, dictate notes, set alarms or be used from the lock screen like Apple's Siri. The Google app is still great for asking questions and getting good answers. Also for people without Siri the Google app is a great alternative. 

Watch the video above to see Google voice search in action. Click read more below to view screenshots of the Google Search app in action.

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"The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia" A Great Movie About Dyslexia

A new movie called The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia is going to premier Monday, October 29 on HBO. I was lucky enough to go to a screening last week and would recommend it to anyone with HBO. The film gives a good overview to dyslexia and leaves viewers on a hopeful note. A large part of the film focuses on a dyslexic teen's journey through high school and into collage. The film also follows other dyslexic students and their parents. The film features a number of famous dyslexics and Dr. Shaywitz, a nationally renowned expert on dyslexia. I hope The Big Picture will help educate and empower people around the country.

Click read more below to view more videos from The Big Picture.

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Flipped Classroom Mini-Conference

Click here: REGISTER soon, space is limited!
Want to learn more about Flipped Learning? Or, if your students don't have access to at-home Internet (or you don't have support from your admin to flip), learn how to differentiate using video in your classroom! Come to the ICE-CAP Fall Mini-Conference on Flipped Classroom! Sessions are available for beginning and advanced users, including beginning to flip, creating  screencasts, tools for curating video and resources to find already-created and curated video!

Saturday, November 17, 2012: 8am-12pm
Phillips High School
255 E Pershing Road, Chicago, IL

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Apple Announces iPad mini

Today, Apple announced the iPad mini a 7.9" iPad running iOS 6. The iPad mini is cheaper than the full size iPad with a starting price of $329. The smaller size and lower price could make the iPad mini perfect for teachers and students. Like the full size iPad the iPad mini includes a number of great accessibility features including VoiceOver, Speak Selection, Siri, Assistive Touch, Guided Access and Zoom. These accessibility features makes the iPad mini great for all types of people.

The iPad mini includes a FaceTime HD camera, 5 mega pixel rear facing camera and A5 processor. The 5 mega pixel camera allows OCR and scanner apps to work well. The iPad mini also includes the lighting connector that is smaller and easier to plug in. The iPad mini will be available for pre-order on October 26 and for sale on November 2.  Click read more to view more photos of the iPad mini.

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Instapaper Updated To Include Dyslexia Friendly Font

Recently, the popular app Instapaper was updated to include a dyslexia friendly font. Instapaper allows users to save content from the web to read later. The font called Open-Dyslexic has increased weighted bottoms to help reduce letter swapping. It is great to see app developers starting to include dyslexia friendly features. Maybe Apple will include a dyslexics friendly font in the rumored iBooks 3 app at tomorrow's special event. Instapaper costs $3.99 in the App Store. Click read more below to view screenshots of Instapaper.

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100% Netflix Videos to be Captioned by 2014

Netflix and the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) have settled a lawsuit regarding captioning of streamed movies. Netflix agreed to have 100% of streamed movies captioned in 2014. The agreement is good news for deaf movie watchers everywhere. The settlement may help compel other movie streaming services to add captioning. Captioning is necessary for deaf and hearing impaired movie watchers.
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Ariadne GPS App Review

Ariadne GPS is an app for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch that allows people with visual impairments to navigate their surroundings. Ariadne GPS app is best suited for the iPad and cellular iPad because those devices have the most accurate location information. The app is fully compatible with VoiceOver allowing visually impaired users to use all features of the app. Ariadne GPS helps the user explore their surroundings by using the GPS of your iOS device to convey information about location, direction of travel and nearest favorite locations. The app can enable blind users to navigate streets, transit systems and even large buildings. When traveling on a train or a bus a blind user could set Ariadne GPS to alert them when they were getting close to their stop. A blind user could also program there classroom locations into the app in order to help navigate a large school building. As a user walks with the app can read street names and numbers. iAriadne GPS also has a map mode which allows a visually impaired user to access maps with VoiceOver.

Ariadne GPS is made to integrate perfectly with VoiceOver. It is a really well thought out app that solves a complex problem. United States users may find some of the labeling odd because the app is was designed over seas. For example street addresses are spoken with the street name and then the number and city.

Overall the $5.99 Aridane GPS is defiantly worth checking out. Click here to view it in the app store. Click read more below to view screenshots and videos of Ariadne GPS.

App was provided complimentary to reviewer 

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Workflow Apps to Manage Student Work

For those who are looking to manage workflow of student iPad work (i.e., students turning in assignments and teachers giving feedback on said work) and investigating apps/services to help them do so, here is an article I wrote for Appolicious that might help you out!

Apps that are compared:
  • Google Drive
  • Dropbox
  • Showbie
  • eBackpack

Links and detailed information about each are provided in the article. Thanks for reading :)!
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Apple To Hold Special Event On October 23

colorful design with white apple logo at bottom

Apple issued invitations to select members of the media for an October 23 special event. The event will begin at 10 AM pacific. Apple is rumored to announce a new smaller iPad dubbed iPad Mini and possibly updated Macs. If the rumors are to be believed an iPad Mini could be a great device for education because of its smaller size and rumored lower price point. No matter what Apple announces on the 23rd chances are that it will have accessibility features to make it usable for those with disabilities. Check back on the 23rd to learn about Apple's announcement and the accessibility implications.
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iOS 6: Do Not Disturb Mode

A new feature in iOS 6 called Do Not Disturb is great for people with ADD or people who just do not want to be disturbed by calls, texts, emails or anything else that pops up on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. Do Not Disturb blocks all notifications and calls. To enable Do Not Disturb go to settings and then turn on Do Not Disturb. To scheduled Do No Disturb mode to turn on at a certain time, go to notifications and then Do Not Disturb. It is a great feature for teachers and students so they can use there devices as educational tools without being distracted by notifications or calls. When Do Not Disturb Mode is on, a moon appears next to the time. Do Not Disturb allows users to allow calls from certain contacts or allows repeated calls to come through. Watch the above video to learn more or click read more to view screenshots.

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Anything you can do, Kindergarteners can do better

Recently I've been spending more time in Carrie Both's 1:1 iPad kindergarten classroom. I was so excited to observe how easily these students were able to navigate around an iPad. Not only were they able to easily find, pick up and turn on their device (using a numeration system and strategic placement around the classroom), but they also could do everything from create screencasts to use the AppleTV to mirror their work to a projection via AirPlay.

Carrie Both is a veteran Kindergarten teacher who is in her first year of full 1:1 iPad use. Last year she shared a rotating cart and explored best practices as part of a pilot. She has been incredibly brave and persevering, overcoming obstacles and pitfalls to forge her way towards a redefined classroom. What impresses me most about Carrie is that she is one of those teachers who everyone would say "had it all figured out." She was a "master mentor teacher" - in fact, she was my mentor years ago. And yet she continues to push herself to take risks, venture into uncharted territory and learn new skills. She's a great model for all educators - beginning and seasoned - to learn that they are never done learning. (Check out her blog here!)

*Note about the iPad cases: We bought the Speck iGuy cases for our kindergarten class. While perfect in terms of grip, color, size and durability -- they do NOT fit in the Bretford PowerSync Cart. In retrospect, we should have gone with something less bulky! If money was no object, we'd have gotten these Kraken cases which also cover the screen.

** Note about the second video: Willie would have definitely been able to type out the word "medium" without my help... had I not distracted him from hearing the directions to copy the word from the AppleTV projection at the front of the room. Alas, my avid recording of his iPad awesomeness prevented the poor boy from seeing the slide and following along with his class. My apologies to Willie and Mrs. Both! 
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iOS 6: VoiceOver Compatiblity with Maps, Assistive Touch and Zoom

iOS 6 the latest operating system for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch includes new VoiceOver enhancements. The enhancements allow VoiceOver users to use zoom, Assistive Touch and maps simultaneously with VoiceOver. These new features are built into iOS 6 so there are no additional downloads. Watch the above video to learn more about VoiceOver improvements in iOS 6.
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Goo-Goo for Google

This week I had the pleasure of participating in the Google Teacher Academy in NYC. I walked away with a Google Certified Teacher pin, but the real prize was the mind blowing learning. These two days were a whirlwind of information and collaboration... I was truly humbled by the braintrust that surrounded me. Below are a few tips and tricks that I learned from my colleagues there:
  • Rosetta Stone, who? Forget about language learning programs! These Google Chatbots will make you fluent in over 20 different tongues. Simply add the chatbot to your chat list and create a chat between yourself, the chatbot and your foreign-language-speaking friends. The chatbot will translate everything you say as soon as you say it! 
  • Connect with your world! Harnu is a global discussion board / bulletin board on which you can post messages anywhere in the world. Discuss world events, sports, music, and pop culture - and have your discussions translated for ease of use. A great way to expand your students' horizons and collaborations.
  • Make free art online! deviantART is an impressive site that allows you to draw, doodle, sketch, shade and more... all on an online canvas, and all for free. The tools are surprisingly varied and advanced - and so are the possibilites for student use.
  • YouTube's Movie Editor Did you know that YouTube had its own movie editor? Reminiscent of some features from Apple's iMovie, the YouTube movie editor provides some free tools for kids to become movie makers and post their work online.
  • Manage projects - both for your students AND you! Trello is a great virtual task manager for your students' projects as well as your own. Organize project members and even integrate Google Docs! Super cool!
  • Google Art Project Field Trips If you haven't had the pleasure of checking this out, please do. The Google Art Project not only compiles great works of art from various museums and collections around the world, but also integrates Google Maps so you can get a "Street View" of the inside of the Colosseum or Chicago Art Institute. Yes, you can get a walking tour of these famed sites. From your computer. Take your kids for a tour!
This are just a few of the many ideas I walked away with... still need to digest and process. I'll continue to share as my mind has time to catch up with the learning!
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Assistive Touch Improvements in iOS 6

Apple's iOS 6 improves on the Assistive Touch feature that was originally introduced in iOS 5. Assistive Touch allows people with physical disabilities  to use an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. People with physical disabilities may not be able to use two fingers to pinch or to zoom, or may not be able to double tap a button, but Assistive Touch makes these tasks easier. Among the improvements are quick access to Siri, multitasking and screenshots. Assistive Touch still gives users the ability to make custom gesture. Assistive Touch now is compatible with VoiceOver so you can use both features at the same time. To activate Assistive Touch go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Assistive Touch. Click here to learn more about Assistive Touch. Watch the above video to learn more. Click read more below to view screen shots.

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How to Use iOS 6 Speak Selection With Highlighting

Apple's newly released iOS 6 includes a new improvements to Speak Selection that highlights words as they are read aloud. Click here to learn how to update to iOS 6. The new feature is available on any iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch running iOS 6. To access the feature go to settings > general > accessibility > speak selection. Once enabled simply highlight any text and press speak to have the text read with text-to-speech. Speak Selection is great for people with dyslexia or for reviewing documents.
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