I’ll admit, I was skeptical when Livescribe asked me to review its new smartpen, says Christopher Dawson for ZDNet Education. Although I’d given high marks to their Echo smartpen in previous reviews (“Livescribe: Fixing note taking once and for all” and “Livescribe use models in special education“), that was back in 2010. Just a few months earlier, Apple had released its first-generation iPad to lots of hope for educational use cases but had hardly reached critical mass in schools. Now it’s almost 2013, tablets are everywhere, and most of us believe that a tablet or hybrid is the device of choice for most 1:1 applications. Tablets, in fact, are changing the ways in which we both consume and create content and the sophistication of apps for education is increasing at a blistering pace. So why would I possibly want a smartpen that writes on dead trees? No matter how smart the pen, that seems pretty old school, right? Not quite. There are some pretty great handwriting and notetaking apps available on both iOS and Android. Penultimate is my favorite, by far, and, along with ArtRage (both of which are iOS-only), gets more use than any other app or feature on my iPad……Read More
Podcast Series: Innovations in Education
Explore the full series of eCampus News podcasts hosted by Kevin Hogan—created to keep you on the cutting edge of innovations in education.
Social think tank on innovation in education
I was lucky enough to be invited to participate in Dell’s “Social Think Tank” on Innovation in Education today., says Christopher Dawson for ZDNet Education. We’ll be spending the day talking about how tech can drive new approaches to education. I’ll be tweeting and updating this blog all day as we move the conversation forward.
Update: 11:15 am EDT – How to close the learning gap: What is the learning gap? I would argue that it’s the distance between those students who learn in spite of the system and those who are stymied by the system. Arguably, you could also call the inability of those with poor conditions outside of schools to be able to navigate the system versus those who have the outside resources to make it through…
Will the new Kindles change the game for tablets in education?
The pundits have spoken. Amazon hit a homerun with its new Kindles. 8.9″ is just right. Performance is going to rock. Exchange support is top notch. And the pricing? It’s a game-changer, says Christopher Dawson for ZDNet Education. I’ve already had people asking me what I think of it for education. A fast, cheap tablet with easy access to more books than students can ever read, including a growing selection of electronic textbooks seems like a no-brainer, right? I wish. Unfortunately, Amazon’s ecosystem (or lack thereof) outside the land of Amazon is going to get in the way. In fairness, Amazon is getting closer, particularly in higher ed because the 8.9″ Fire HD really is an awesome form factor to toss into a backpack or carry anywhere and Amazon has quite a large selection of college textbooks ported to the Kindle. Amazon also has a growing number of Kindle textbooks for rent and your notes are retained even after the rental period expires. Of course, if your instructor picks a textbook that Amazon doesn’t carry, most likely, you’re out of luck. There’s no Android Play Store, after all, from which to download alternative textbook apps……Read More
Review: Adobe Connect 8 is the cure for Wall-o’-laptop woes and distance ed
Adobe Connect 8 is the gold standard for digitally-enhanced, multimodal instruction. And distance ed or virtual classrooms? Piece of cake, says Christopher Dawson, blogger for ZDNet Education. I reviewed Adobe Connect 7.5 last year from a higher education perspective, calling out its ability to co-opt and utilize that wall of laptops that greets too many professors. Monday, I looked at the next version of Connect more generally over on Between the Lines and was blown away by the revamped interface and utter ease with which Connect 8 could be applied in K12, higher education, and professional development. Adobe’s latest iteration of its interactive conference and meeting software is so good, I couldn’t help but imagine how it could drastically change a classroom as much as it could change a company’s business travel or conferencing solution. As with most Adobe solutions, cost will probably be the biggest issue. Connect can run as a hosted or on-premise application and is licensed in several different ways, most of which key to the number of concurrent users accessing Connect. Very large institutions could spend upwards of $50,000 on a solution with multiple servers, several concurrent hosts, and as many as 2000 concurrent student participants (business pricing is handled on a case-by-case basis; in general, educational institutions should also contact Adobe or a reseller to ensure that they buy an appropriately designed system). Obviously, smaller implementations will cost less and a school district could easily access hosted instances of Connect for under $2000 a year……Read More