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Showing posts from January, 2012

How to Wirelessly Project Your iPad

As more educators and other professionals pick up iPads for use in the classroom or office, the need to share one's screen via projection becomes more important. Teachers want to use educational apps to improve instruction while corporate users want to be able to share their screen during presentations. Wired connections have existed since the release of the iPad, but the natural next step is a wireless connection. After the jump, I'll discuss some of the possibilities both wired and unwired to get your iOS screen onto the big one.

SMART Notebook Lesson Upload: Geometry Tic-Tac-Toe Review

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I've made it a goal to get more involved with lesson development using SMART Notebook with ETHS teachers that have the interactive whiteboards in their classroom. Several faculty members have taken me up on my offer to help plan, design, and implement Notebook lessons for their curriculum, and I'll be sharing our products here, though you can download the actual files from my website or on SMART Exchange.

The first lesson collaboration stemmed from a task to create something that would make reviewing for final exams a bit more engaging. I chose a Tic-Tac-Toe review game as the foundation, and the lesson featured nine review problems from an early unit in Geometry. To take advantage of the SMARTBoard's interactive features, I had students drag and drop equation elements to label a figure (an important part for starting math problems) and then to setup an equation (the next critical step). Students then use inking to solve the problem. The lesson was received well in class,…

How to Upgrade Your Cell Phone While Still Under Contract

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Article first published as How to Get a New Cell Phone While Still Under Contract on Blogcritics. 

 On one hand, I can't believe it's been almost two years since the 2010 Summer Free Agency where I was contemplating several phones in an event that paralleled that of a certain famous basketball player. On the other hand, I can't believe that I'm still under contract for my beloved Droid X. I haven't even reached the early bird upgrade discount set for March 2012. In the meantime, I see many of my friends and families toting around new devices and more importantly blazing along at faster 4G LTE speeds. I couldn't take it any longer, yet I didn't want to break contract or (gasp!) pay full retail price on a new phone. Read on after the jump to find out how I upgraded my phone and how you can do the same, all without breaking your contract or your piggy bank.

Chanatown Gives 2012

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2012 is here, and the giving continues. I'm pleased to announce that I've dispersed the next round of donations through my semiannual giving campaign. The most recent amount went to the Garfield Park Conservatory. On June 30th, a severe hail storm hit Chicago (one of the loudest I've heard in my three decades of living here). Unfortunately, one of the victims of this massive storm was the Garfield Park Conservatory. That evening, the roofs of the beautiful Fern Room, Show House, Desert House and nine propagation houses were severely damaged. For more information about the storm damage or to donate directly, please visit the website.

The Best Free Apple iPad Apps of 2011

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Article first published as The Best Free iPad Apps of 2011 on Blogcritics.

With hundreds of thousands of apps available for Apple's iPad, there are sure to be plenty of quality ones to be had for free. Nevertheless, despite Apple's closed market and quality control, bad apps are commonplace and especially so among those that are free. Below, I present a list of some quality free apps. Those new to the iPad are encouraged to take a look at last year's lists as well (Best Free Apps of 2010 and Best Paid Apps of 2010), and if you have a few bucks leftover or an iTunes gift card from the holiday season, be sure to pick up something from the Best Paid Apps of 2011 as well.

The Best Paid Apple iPad Apps of 2011

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Article first published as Best Paid iPad Apps of 2011 on Blogcritics.


As we usher in 2012, it's amazing to consider that it's only been two years since the original iPad was released (April 2010), and 2011 marked the introduction of the iPad 2, the lighter, more advanced version of Apple's "magical device". Two years' time has also brought hundreds of thousands of apps to the App Store and with such a large array of programs to choose from (both in terms of quality and price), it's nice to refer to end of the year lists to build one's collection of must-have and yet-to-discover apps. As I did to end 2010, I'm preparing two lists - the best paid apps and the best free apps of the year. Some may be updates while most will be new programs entirely. Hope you find something new and useful for your iPad from 2011.