ICT related news and ideas

Posts tagged ‘ipad’

remote control

mzl_hofjqivhWhen the machine you are using hasn’t got all the capabilities you need, what do you do? Well, go and use one that does. And when it’s not where you are? No problem, access it via remote control. We have grown used to this in a desktop / laptop environment, but it works for devices such as the iPad too. With a view to extending the otherwise rather ringfenced capabilities of said device, I thought I would try out some possibilities in the form of PocketCloud, LogMeIn and TeamViewer.

The last mentioned we can pretty much discount immediately, as it worked once then turned flaky and resisted all efforts to get it to work again. In any case, it was perhaps less impressive than the other two contenders. The basic premise is the same in all instances: download the app to the iPad and another program to the machine you want to control, set up an account (or use your Google one for PocketCloud) and make the connection. In all cases this was very straightforward and I was remote controlling within minutes.

In all honesty there isn’t much difference in terms of functionality, and both PocketCloud and LogMeIn do what they say on the tin. There are some small adjustments to get used to, such as using two fingers to scroll rather than one or double tapping and holding before you drag an object on screen. Pinch and zoom works just fine in both instances, and the overall experience is good. So you really can do whatever you like on your iPad. Sort of. At a distance.

In the end it comes down to the detail. PocketCloud wins on the toolbar front, as its clever toolbar can be hidden or on display as required. 1-0 PocketCloud. Both keyboards are perfectly useable. The LogMeIn one has a toggle button to acccess arrow keys and F keys, but PocketCloud rather trumps this by having an excellent keyboard (with optional input area) plus a mouse button that pulls up all the usual keyboard shortcuts. 2-0 PocketCloud. Both have a floating mouse that allows for accurate onscreen action, but the LogMeIn version is just that – a mouse – whereas PocketCloud give you not just a rather better designed tool (try it and you’ll see what I mean), but the shortcuts mentioned above along with a brilliant button that allows single fingered scrolling. Plus quick pull-up of the keyboard. 3-0 PocketCloud.

And the winner is …….. well, clearly PocketCloud, isn’t it? Hmm. One thing I haven’t mentioned is that, while LogMeIn doesn’t mind where it goes, PocketCloud is frightened off by network scenarios, where the machine you want to control remotely is hidden behind a proxy server. Wyse have said that this will be fixed, but no sign of them living up to their word, which was given quite some time ago.

So, for networks, you are stuck with LogMeIn (other tools are, however, available), which will be perfectly serviceable. But, if you can, go for PocketCloud, which – for me at least – is a clear winner. In fact I am using it right now in writing this post. ‘Nuff said.


iPads versus textbooks – the numbers

Came across this rather nice infographic which compares the relative costs of deploying iPads to replace textbooks.

Ok, the statistics and the numbers are US-based, but we can assume some degrees of similarity in translating them for the UK. Interesting and food for thought as the debate develops.

iPads vs. Textbooks
Created by: Online Teaching Degree


Hands-on learning

I was interested recently, as I am sure a lot of us were, to read about developments in gesture control technology, which will soon see us control a wide range of devices, and not just our games consoles, by hand and finger movement. Some of the headlines rather exaggerated the matter by suggesting the imminent demise of the touchscreen. Well, I suspect that’s probably not true, and a good job, too, as I think the touchscreen is set to be one of the important keys to effective learning.

How so? Well, one of the the thorns in the side of so called e- learning has long been that the traditional read > write notes > remember sequence has struggled to retain its effectiveness in the transition from book and paper to the computer screen. This is because we are at heart tactile, touchy feely creatures and making notes by using a keyboard can’t quite replace the hands-on feel of pen on paper. The keyboard still separates us from our on-screen source of information.

Which is where the touch screen comes in. Just look at the success of the Kindle, which allows you to retain the sense of handling your reading material, or the iPad and its various imitators, on which the reading experience is made more immediate and engaging than on a traditional screen simply because you are in physical contact with it. And these tablet -style devices have the capability to make our note taking experience just as involving just as soon as they get their handwriting recognition properly sorted out. It’s still not great, but it must get better. If I can do it on my Windows 7 powered touchscreen netbook, you ought to be able to do it on an iPad!

Learning is certainly set to be revolutionised by tablet-style devices over the next few years. And my hope is that they will allow for the reinvention of effective learning by note taking and so finally put paid to the argument that you can’t learn properly by reading from a screen.

Plus ça change …..

With all the brouhaha over the last twelve months about the various incarnations of tablet-style devices and their application in the classroom, it has actually been quite interesting to note that the ‘device’ that appears to win most favour with students themselves is the strictly old-tech mini whiteboard. They just love using these within the context of a lesson and their inherent flexibility offers lots of scope to do so. Yet isn’t the mini whiteboard just the slate of the Victorian (and earlier) classroom in another guise?

Since, however, we are, at KEVI and elsewhere, seriously pondering the introduction of mobile devices into our classrooms, I found this potted history of the pad / slate / tablet a helpful and clear illustrative account of how we got where we are today.

History of ed tech
Courtesy of: OnlineSchools.com