Livescribe Sky WiFi Smartpen Soars to the Clouds

On Monday, Livescribe will release a new and improved digital smartpen called Livescribe Sky WiFi which will forever change the way we take and access our notes. While I have been a big fan of the Livescribe Smartpen the one downfall was the synching which you needed to do with a USB cable. But that all changes with the introduction of the Livescribe Sky WiFi which lets you sync your notes directly to Evernote via WiFi. This truly is a huge paradigm shift- giving me access to my notes on just about any device that has a browser or the Evernote app installed. Similarly, I can now log into Evernote from any computer and instantly have access to my notes which is very powerful. This feature is a truly a game changer for taking notes, and will give students access to their notes from anywhere they are connected to the web.

Getting started and setting up the Livescribe Sky WiFi to sync with Evernote was a cinch. I simply turned on the Livescribe Sky WiFi and tapped Scan for Networks icon which was printed on the inside cover of the Livescribe Starter Notebook. The Livescribe Sky WiFi immediately located my protected WiFi network and I was able to type in the password key to access it on my pen. Once connected to my Wifi network the Livescribe SkyWiFi  prominently displays the Wifi icon on the OLED display to let you know you are connected. Logging onto the Livescribe web site from my computer, I was able to setup my pen to access my Evernote account. The website and directions were well designed and it guided me through the process. Since I did have an Evernote account I was able to log in with my credentials to link my Livescribe Sky WiFi pen. For students who may not have an account there is an opportunity during the setup process to sign up for a free account. Once I completed the setup, I was ready to try the Livescribe Sky WiFi out. I opened the Livescribe Starter Notebook and wrote down a couple of ideas and then tapped the tip of the pen on the Sync Now icon. Once I did that I was able to watch the display as it moved through the syncing process  Once the synching was complete the OLED display read Done Syncing. Now for the moment of truth, I opened up Evernote from my laptop and lo and behold there was my note sitting in my Evernote account in a notebook configured A5 Wifi Starter Notebook. Audio recordings made during the note taking process show up in the note as green ink. When you are ready to listen to you note simply click on the note from within Evernote and the Livescribe player will open in your browser to access and listen to the recording.

Livescribe has really streamlined the process making it now possible to have access to your notes from any device connected to the web. Syncing via WifFi with integration with Evernote really is a game changer for students who need access to their notes. I for one am excited with the new impossibles that the Livescribe Sky Wifi pen has to offer in terms of sharing and accessing notes via Evernote.

Snagit- Best Kept Secret for Mac & Windows

I have been a long time fan and user of Snagit from TechSmith, Inc for many years now and I am always amazed at the features. One of the newer features is the ability to capture video from your screen which has really come in handy lately as I am developing some eLearning modules. While many of us will  initially think of using Snagit to capture screen images the latest version of Snagit can capture video along with audio and System audio making it indispensable tool for instructors and eLearning developers who are looking for a quick and easy way to capture video off of the screen. I recently created a short video using GoAnimate and wanted to save it in MP4 format to insert into an Adobe Presenter 8 module I was creating. Using Snagit's new ability to capture the GoAnimate video was a piece of cake and the quality of the video capture was outstanding. So take a look at Snagit and see how you might use it- it is one of the best kept secret and is available for Mac and Windows. Here is the example of what was captured using Snagit


Funding Kickstarter Projects

Over the past year or so I have jumped in and helped to fund several Kickstarter products which has been a lot of fun. In addition to knowing that I am able to help fund a new product I also get the advantage of being on the ground floor when the product is released. This past year I have funded the Touchtype, a case for the iPad and Apple Bluetooth Wireless keyboard, the Elevation Dock for the iPhone and the Hidden Radio. All of the products have exceeded my expectations and have made using my iPad and iPhone a real joy to use. Spending time working and sharing with educators the potential for these mobile technologies, it is great to have on hand these innovative products to show and demonstrate.

The Touchtype is the perfect solution for individuals like myself that want to use a full size keyboard but want to also be able to store the iPad in convenient and light weight case. The design of the Touchtype is fantastic and is light enough so that you don't really realize it is in an enclosure. While I have used a Zagg Portfolio with my iPad, I find that it adds way to much bulk and weight for my liking. Having access to the high quality Apple Bluetooth keyboard is a real pleasure when I am typing and the innovative Touchtype design makes carrying around the iPad a cinch.

The Elevation Dock makes charging my iPhone 4S really simple. The Elevation Dock is beautifully designed and the phone fits into the 30 pin dock like a glove. The dock is made from anodized aluminium and has the Applesque finish to it. The Elevation Dock looks great on my nightstand and is the  perfect accessory for charging my iPhone. The Elevation Dock is heavy enough so that when you take your iPhone out of the charging base it does not life up from the nightstand. The look and fit is really incredible!

The Hidden Radio is a really fantastic Bluetooth Speaker with innovative design. Once you pair it to your device you can turn it on by simply unscrewing the top. This not only turns it on, but as you raise the cover of the Hidden Radio the volume increases. The Hidden Radio produces some great sound and the volume is extraordinary. Check it out for yourself-you will be glad you did!

Being able to jump in and fund these projects has been a lot of fun and the products were worth waiting for. So if you get the urge find out what is happening at Kickstarter! who knows you just might find something fun to fund!

GoAnimate - Engaging Tool for Creating Videos

I had the pleasure of  presenting with my colleague Dr. Patricia Schall today at the New Jersey Council of Teachers of English Conference which was hosted at the College of St. Elizabeth. It was exciting to be part of this conference since I usually present at special education venues. The keynote speaker Andy Cohen who heads up the Bridge Film Festival at the Brooklyn Friends School shared with us some of the video's that students who participated in the file festival have crafted over the years. It was truly inspiring to listen and to watch the stories unfold on the screen. Andy shared that students used many tools to create the videos and shared one of then called GoAnimate, which he demoed for us. When I saw the ease of use and the potential of GoAnimate I signed up for a free account and gave it a whirl. Even with the free account you are able to create animated videos that are sure to capture your audience's attention.

Using GoAnimate, it is easy to create eLearning assets and engaging materials that can be embedded into your website or blog. If you upgrade your account you get to select more move makers and the ability to upload to YouTube. Having tried GoAnimate I have to say wow! it is extremely easy and intuitive to use. Within minutes I had created my first animated video which was so easy to do. I am definitely going to explore the possibilities of GoAnimate and look to use it in my graduate classes for projects. I was anxious to share GoAnimate with you and so I am embedding a short but unfinished video so you get an idea of what is possible. I hope to complete this one so stay tuned! Enjoy!

Accessible Books by AssistiveTek on GoAnimate

Animated Presentations - Powered by GoAnimate.

Using Adobe Presenter 8 for eLearning

Having used Adobe Presenter 7 to create eLearning material it was exciting to learn that Adobe had released a new version of Adobe Presenter with a slew of new and exciting features. I have had a chance to work with Adobe Presenter 8 for the past two months to learn the ins and outs of the program and am really impressed with the product and some of the new features that have been added. Adobe Presenter 8 remains a plug-in for PowerPoint on the Windows platform which when installed appears as a new Tab on the PowerPoint Ribbon. Once you click on the Tab you will see a host of features that are specific to Adobe Presenter 8 that you can utilize. To get started with Adobe Presenter 8 just open an existing PowerPoint, click on the Adobe Presenter Tab and you can then bring in video, record audio and build an eLearning module complete with navigation and quizzes. Subject matter experts will enjoy the easy to use interface and be creating modules in no time. One of the real strengths of Adobe Presenter 8 is the intuitive interface which will ensure a fast learning curve.

As more and more students are learning online it is essential that as subject matter experts that we have easy to use tools to create rich online materials. Using a HD webcam you can bring in high quality video into your eLearning courses with Adobe Presenter 8 and display it on a slide or on the Navigation pane.  Adobe Presenter 8 lets you customize the Navigation pane and gives you control over the color selection. In the current version of Adobe Presenter 8 you can have the Navigation pane inherit the color and theme of your PowerPoint presentation giving it a lot of pizzazz and visual appeal. Narrating your presentation could not be easier with Adobe Presenter 8. When using the recording feature you can import all of your Slide notes and have them ready to access as you add audio to your eLearning module. If you have animations on your slides Adobe Presenter 8 makes it easy to synchronize the animations to your audio thus ensuring that the audio and animation matches during playback.

Adobe Presenter 8 has added a host of new features like Interactions, Characters and Scenes which will make your presentations more compelling and interactive. It is now easy to add a scene to your PowerPoint presentation by selecting from any of the built-in scenes provided. You can then overly that with characters that have added to Adobe Presenter 8 to give your eLearning module a polished and professional look. To add more interactivity into your module you can now select from several new Interactions that have been added to Adobe Presenter 8. When the eLearning module has been published students can interact with the presentation making it a more dynamic experience.

What has always impressed me about Adobe Presenter 8 is the ease of use and the way that it can wrap up your material up complete with navigation to make for a very professional looking course. Since so many professionals have legacy PowerPoint presentations-having access to Adobe Presenter 8 makes sense for those of you who are considering putting together online courses. Adobe Presenter 8 eLearning courses can be published to your Adobe Connect account,  or as a PDF that can be viewed with the Adobe Acrobat Reader 9 or above. Adobe Presenter 8 can also be viewed on an iPad using the Presenter App. Please note there are some limitations viewing eLearning courses on the iPad.

One of the most innovative new features in Adobe Presenter 8 is the addition of the Video Creator tool. Now it is possible to create highly engaging material with high quality video without the need for an expensive video creation application. Using a high quality webcam like the Logitech 920D-it is now possible to produce great videos right within Adobe Presenter 8. After hitting the record button you have the option to record within your PowerPoint presentation or you can use it to demonstrate any software application that you have access to on your computer. The editing tools are easy to access and use and the published video allows you to be on the right or left side of the screen as you demonstrate whats on your computer screen. Once you have finished creating your video you can easily output and share it via Vimeo or YouTube right from Adobe Presenter 8.

While creating engaging material for your online courses is one of the goals of Adobe Presenter 8, when it comes time to assess your students, Adobe Presenter 8 includes the ability to create Quizzes which can capture what they have learned. Adobe Presenter 8 supports AICC and SCORM making it easy to connect to existing Learning Management Systems (LMS). I have used this feature within Moodle which worked well and provided me reports as to how my students performed on the learning module. Adobe Presenter 8 allows designers and teachers to include True/False, Multiple Choice, Fill in the Blanks, Short Answer, Hotspots, Likert Scale, Matching and Sequence style questions. Adobe Presenter 8 will automatically create a summary slide to provide feedback and scores to the students.

Adobe Presenter 8 hits that sweet spot for individuals that are comfortable using PowerPoint and have made an investment in creating presentations over the years. Utilizing Adobe Presenter 8 gives them the ability to quickly convert their legacy presentations into interactive presentations that can be uploaded and utilized within a LMS or published to a server. Users will appreciate the easy to use interface and now having access to the Video Creator adds a new dimension to the program allowing users the ability to create high quality video demonstrations without the need for expensive equipment. You can download a trial version of Adobe Presenter 8 and kick the tires- you will be glad you did.