Have You Flipped? Your Classroom That Is

There was a lot of buzz at ISTE 2012 with regards to  the "flipped classroom" and how it can be implemented in the classroom. Many educators who were talking about the change in how instruction is being delivered were excited by what they see happening in their classrooms. For those of you who may not be familiar with the term "flipped classroom" -it is when the instruction takes place outside the classroom thereby giving teachers ample time to differentiate instruction and have students apply their skills during classroom time. Many teachers who have moved to the "flipped classroom" model are creating short instructional videos in a number of creative ways using a host of different hardware and software solutions.

While at ISTE 2012, I had the opportunity to meet with Shane Lovellette, Product Manager for Camtasia Studio 8 who walked me through some of the new features that is found in their recent release of Camtasia Studio 8. Camtasia Studio is one of the leading screencasting applications in the marketplace and provides teachers with a rich set of tools to create instructional videos that can be played back on all platforms. Camtasia Studio 8 was rewritten from the ground up to take advantage of multiple platform play back and now with the new Quizzing feature it is a great way for teachers to assess students as they are watching the videos. All of the results of the quizzes are automatically linked to your Screencast account ensuring that responses are accurately reported and available to you in a user friendly format. Having access to Camtasia Studio 8 and a Wacom tablet will give you the tools you need to create instructional videos that your students will be engaged and able to learn from. Techsmith has created a great resources for educators looking to learn more about the flipped classroom.

There are certainly lots of way for teachers to create videos for the flipped classroom and another one of my favorite ways to do this is with the Livescribe Smartpen. Using the Livescribe Echo Smartpen teachers can simply record their instructional videos by writing in a Livescribe notebook as they are talking through the steps of the problem or lesson. The Livescribe Smartpen will automatically synchronize the audio and ink and allow students to watch the video as if they were sitting next to their teacher. The process of creating the pencast is straight forward and easily accomplished. Pencasts can be viewed on multiple platforms and be shared to iOS devices to be played back. The Livescribe Smartpens are certainly a great way to create content for the flipped classroom. For more information about how to get started with Pencasts please take a look at a post I did last year. Pencasts are also easy to embed into websites, wikis, and learning management systems (LMS) giving student access to the material whatever platform they are on.

While at ISTE 2012 I had a chance to stop by Improv Electronics, the developers of the Boogie Board and Boogie Board RIP. I have always found the Boogie Boards to be a very enticing and engaging tool for writing, drawing and doodling. Using the Boogie Board RIP and the Companion Desktop software along with Camtasia Studio, Jing or Screenr, teachers could create on the fly videos for their flipped classroom in no time. Here is an example of how to create a video using the Boogie Board RIP and the Companion desktop software. At the show, Improv Electronics announced that they would soon release new companion software the would allow your stored files on the Boogie Board RIP to be saved to your Evernote account. This is a huge feature and one that will certainly have educators looking at the Boogie Board RIP more closely once it is released. Evernote has become an integral piece of the educational marketplace with more and more schools and students using it to save notes, images and audio. The integration of the Boogie Board RIP and Evernote will certainly make this an enticing offer and one that I'm sure teachers will look at as a way to move notes to a digital platform in an inexpensive and convenient package. Improv Electronics also announced the availability of the MyScript plug-in this fall that will allow for hand writing recognition of notes recorded on the Boogie Board RIP. 

For teachers who have an iPhone or iPod Touch (4th generation) you may want to take a look at the Swivl a truly innovative way to record video without the need for a camera person. the Swivl is a small motorized turret that can follow you as you move around the classroom simply by holding the marker that ships with the product. The Swivl gives you the freedom to create videos on the fly that can be started and stopped from the marker Additionally, the marker serves as  a high quality digital recorder that guarantees no matter where you are in relationship to your iPhone or iPod you will deliver high quality audio to the device. Using the Swivl is really a breeze to learn. For more about the Swivl you can read a review that I recently posted. The Swivl is an easy and effortless way to capture high quality video in the classroom and gives you the freedom to move around. Using the Swivl would be another great way to create content for the flipped classroom.

ISTE 2012 was filled with great tools to allow teachers to quickly create content for their flipped classroom. Depending on your level of expertise there are entry and advanced tools for you to access to let you begin to experiment with the flipped classroom methodology. To learn more the flipped classroom you may want to take a look at this book which was recently published: Flip Your Classroom: Reach Every Student in Your Classroom Everyday. If you have any questions about how to create material using these tools for your flipped classroom please feel free to contact me via email. If you are looking for a workshop on content creation for the flipped classroom, please feel free to contact me. I am available for workshops and teacher training on these tools.

Off to ISTE 2012 in San Diego

It's hard to believe just how quickly the school year has flown by and I am once again getting ready to travel to the ISTE 2012 Conference in San Diego, CA. This promises to be a great conference with the buzz about mobile learning and the flipped classroom. I for one am looking forward to meeting up with friends and colleagues and sharing ideas about how technology can enhance the lives of the students we work with. Of course there is always the Exhibit Hall which is packed with new and exciting gadgets and gizmo's which is always a blast to go through. I'm sure we will be seeing lots of iPad apps and accessories being hawked in the Exhibitor Hall along with interactive technologies that can help engage the students in our classroom. While I'm at ISTE please follow my blog for my thoughts about the conference and some new an exciting products that will be launched. You can also follow me on Twitter at #assistivetek

If you are attending ISTE 2012 Conference look me up- it would be great to meet and get a chance to talk!

Launching the AssistiveTek Minute

I am excited to announce a new feature on my blog today called "The AssistiveTek Minute." Each week, I will highlight a piece of assistive or educational technology that I have found to be innovative and useful in the classroom. This week in the "The AssistiveTek Minute," I highlight the Franklin AnyBook Reader an easy to use reading tool to engage students in the reading process. 

If your company is interested in sponsoring the "The AssistiveTek Minute then please get in touch with me- it is a great way to get the word out about your company and products.

The video was produced using an Apple iPhone 4S and the Swivl

Swivl-The Hands Free Way to Record Video on Your iPhone

I would like to thank the folks at Satarri, Inc for sending me the Swivl to review, which arrived this past week. The Swivl is an innovative product for the iPhone 4, 4S and iPod Touch 4th generation that lets you capture video without the need for a camera-person. The Swivl is comprised of two different units-the Swivl base and the Marker. The Swivl base is a motorized turret that houses your iPhone and allows the base to communicate with the Marker which can follow your movements as you record. Set up was a breeze at the company provided a Quick Start Guide that got you up and running quickly.

Quartet Kapture
To get started I downloaded the free Swivl app to my iPhone 4S, placed the provided batteries (nice touch) into the Swivl base and Marker and then seated the iPhone on the Swivl base and plugged in the connector. I powered up the Swivl base and the Marker, opened the Swivl app and hit the record button to start the video recording. As I moved around the Swivl followed me which made recording a snap. The actuators in the Swivl base are very quiet and barely perceptible. I should note that the Marker in addition to being used as a way to track your movements, includes a high quality digital microphone that is used in the recording process. Once you have finished recording you can quickly upload your video to YouTube directly from the Swivl app which makes this a great tool for bloggers, educators, or anyone that wants to incorporate more video into the work that they do. Having the freedom to move around while doing your videos and not be constrained is really a fantastic feature. The Swivl is easy to use and I know that I will be doing more video blogging with it in the future. So if you find yourself wanting to do more video work and you usually work on your own, this is the perfect gift for you. You can purchase the Swivl on the Swivl website or on

Below is the video that was captured using the iPhone and Swivl with Medium Video size setting in the Swivl app. The Notes for this video were captured using Quartet Kapture, a digital flip chart capturing tool. For more information about Quartet Kapture click here. Please let me know how you might use Swivl?

Naked Flex Mount for the Apple iPad

Always on the look out for new and innovative products, I came across the Naked Flex Mount from a company in Florida called Seasucker. By Naked, the company means that you don't need a special bracket to mount the iPad with. The Naked Flex Mount utilizes two special 4 1/2 inch vacuum mounts that adhere to any flat surface. The  Naked Flex Mount Kit includes 2 - 4 1/2 inch mounts and a flexible arm that allows you to position your iPad in just about any position. The Naked Flex Mount System is easy to use and because of the way it works, there is no reason to worry if Apple changes the design to the iPad that it will make it unusable. 

So how does it work- very simply set one of the  4 1/2 inch vacuum mounts on a clean surface like a desk and press the finger pump a couple of times to create an incredibly strong vacuum seal. Next screw in the flexible shaft provided and attach the other 4 1/2 inch vacuum mount and attach it to the back of the iPad and press the finger pump. That's all you need to do. The  Naked Flex Mount gives you tremendous flexibility and is ideal for mounting on wheelchair trays, desks, and other surfaces. The  Naked Flex Mount comes with easy to use directions and a carrying case.

If you are interested in learning more about the Naked Flex Mount let me know and I would be glad to do a webinar with you over the web. Seeing is believing.

AssistiveTek, LLC is an authorized reseller of the Naked Flex Mount and Purchase Orders are accepted. The Naked Flex Mount/With Travel Case is $104.95 plus S/H. AssistiveTek, LLC carries the full line of iPad Mounting kits from  Seasucker

Some Useful iPad Accessories for Travel

Traveling light is always one of my goals when I travel and with the summer months ahead I will be on the go so I decided to take a look at some handy accessories for my iPad. As much as I enjoy using my iPad, I do find typing with the virtual keyboard to be an annoyance when I have to do a lot of typing. I have looked at several of the portfolio solutions but find the small keyboards get in the way of my typing. Having purchased an Apple Wireless Keyboard some time ago, I decided to see what accessories I could find that would make traveling with the keyboard easier. While at the Apple Store in New York, I came across the Incase Origami case which not only provides the keyboard with some protection but with its unique design it serves to prop your iPad at the right angle making it a great solution for on the go.
Using the Incase Origami case is a breeze-just snap your Apple Wireless keyboard into the base and fold back the wings which makes for a great stand. The Incase Origami also serves to add a layer of protection to your keyboard when packing it in a bag. The Incase Origami cost me around $29 dollars which I picked up from Amazon. When I go out to the ISTE 2012 Confernce I will be traveling with my iPad and the Incase Origami keyboard case to test it out. In fact, I am using the Incase Origami setup now to write this blog with Blogsy.
For those of you that have an Apple Wireless keyboard and an Apple Smart Cover you may also want to take a look at the Waterfield Keyboard Slip. The Waterfield keyboard Slip is a well constructed case that you can slide your Apple Wireless keyboard into to keep protected. It is made of a high quality and durable balistic nylon material that snuggly houses your keyboard. If you want to throw you Apple Wireless keyboard in a bag and feel more secure that it is protected then this is the way to go. Using th Waterfield Keyboard Slip and the Apple Smart Cover is another great way to travel with your iPad.
If you are looking for a really easy way to travel with your Apple Wireless Keyboard then you have to take a look at the WINGStand Portable Stand which clevely attaches to your Apple Wireless Keyboard giving you a light weight and portable solution. At $14.95 this is a great solution which you can throw into your bag-to use simply slide the WINGStand Portable Stand to your Apple Wireless Keyboard and place your iPad in the stand. It is that easy and a very elegant solution. By the way you can also use the stand with an iPhone as well - so it is easy for the stand to do double duty.

I hope you have a chance to get away this summer and if you are traveling with your iPad and decide to invest in any of these solutions I would be interested in your feedback.