What My Droid Does – Part 3

I get it now.

I understand why everyone has been so obsessed with their iPhones for the last couple of years. But I am also happy that I can do everything that they have been able to do, and in some cases… I can do it better. One of the videos that I show when I facilitate workshops on iPod Touches in Education is this one. I find it amazing that these young women were able to create such wonderful music and I have been enjoying listening to my own children create their own music with my iPod Touch and now with my Droid using the following music apps.

  1. Strings – Guitar Solo Lite
  2. Piano – Piano Play
  3. Percussion – Hit It! Lite
  4. Wind – Magic Flute
  5. Tap Tap Revenge – There’s talk…Join the Facebook Group to bring TTR to Android Phones

Here are some other apps from the Android Market that I have found useful. I wanted to share them here.

Scan2PDF Mobile
“Scan2PDF Mobile is a  new software release which uses your mobile phone to scan documents and convert them to PDF files. It all happens on your phone allowing you to scan documents anywhere – as long as you have your phone. Think of it as a document scanner/fax machine that you always have with you!”

Google Voice
If you really don’t understand the benefits of using voice, please read this article from MacWorld.  If you want to use your Google Voice number full-time from your Android phone, here’s some tips on how to best go about it. Incidentally, all Android powered phones come pre-installed with the following Google Apps:

  • Quick Search Box
  • Gmail
  • Latitude
  • Google Contacts
  • Google Goggles
  • Gooogle Voice
  • Maps
  • Google Talk
  • Finance
  • Google Calendar
  • You Tube
  • Buzz – (We’ll talk about this in my next post.)

Swift

I also have marveled at how effortlessly folks have Tweeted from their SmartPhones including the fast posting of pictures and video. I started off a couple of months ago using Twidroid but have happily switched to a different Twitter app called Swift.

With this app I can easily follow @Mentions, Direct Messages, the timeline of my friends as well as search Twitter and check out profiles. It’s easy for me to share a picture via Swift as it’s integrated with my camera. Plus I can select which hosting services I want to use for pictures and videos that I take and want to Tweet.

If you happen to be looking for something cool and creative to do with some of your pictures, you might want to take a look at PicSay for the Android phone. You can use it to color-correct pictures, add word balloons and all sorts of effects. The paid version has a few more bells and whistles, but I’ve been happy with the free version so far.

What apps have you been using with your Android phone? Please share them with me here. Thanks.

What My Droid Does – Part 2

On January 5, I sat waiting for the live feed from CNN on the new Nexus One, but all I got was this Twitter update. Bummer. I was able to watch the recorded video a bit later and read about the phone to determine if I had made the wrong decision purchasing the Motorola Droid rather than waiting for the release of the Nexus One. I remain happy with my decision.

Here’s what my Droid does:

I recently uninstalled Skype Lite on my Droid as all it let me do was chat. That was nifty for about a week. But what I really wanted to be able to do was use the features of Skype. I started searching and found Fring. You have to check this out!

Fring allows me to call and chat with my Skype contacts using 3G or wifi. I have the option to add additional accounts as well including AIM, Google Talk, Twitter and Yahoo, but as of today I have kept it just to Skype and it is working very well.

Source: http://www.geardiary.com

The next app I wanted to write about has been around for iPhones and iPod Touches a while now. I was excited to see that there is a Bump app in the Android Market. Before I explain what Bump is, let me just say that the applications are compatible from iPhones to Androids, so Bump away.

Bump was designed so that people can easily swap contact information. There is no longer the need to manually type in someone’s cell phone number or any information. All you need to do to use Bump is for both users to have it installed. (It is FREE). You literally bump phones (but not too hard – just ask the folks I hung out with last summer at BLC09).

Make sure to install this app before your next conference, convention or social gathering.

I mentioned Twidroid in my first post about the Droid. I don’t think that this application could be any easier to use. (Of course this is coming from someone who Tweeted from a Blackberry.) I can:

  • easily follow the hyperlink in a Tweet
  • easily RT (re-tweet someone)
  • look up someone’s profile
  • send someone a direct message
  • attach a photo or video to a Tweet
  • Search by hashtag
  • save a search and then revisit it another time
  • view lists I subscribe to
  • check out the Twitter Trends

There are more features available if you purchase the Pro version, but for right now, this version suits me just fine.

Something to look forward to:

Tether – formally Tetherberry is working on an Android app. You can sign up for their Beta here http://www.tether.com/android-beta. This is something that I miss and am looking forward to being able to tether my netbook to my Android when I need to.

What My Droid Does – Part 1

My goal since I purchased my Droid at the end of November has been to use it productively. But let’s face it. Most people ask me what I can do with it? It’s pretty much been a conversation of how it compares to a Blackberry or an iPhone.

Here’s what my Droid does:

I’ve downloaded and installed the UStream app from the Android Market. Since I already have login credentials for UStream, all I had to do was type in my username and password on my Droid and I was live on UStream. It couldn’t have been easier. I contemplated inviting my Twitter network to see my dog, Jazz, but thought perhaps another time.

After I was done experimenting with UStream, it occurred to me that many people prefer using Qik. I checked and there is an app for that in the Android Market.

More and more educators are using Evernote. This is also available in the Android Market for free. I can leave audio recordings, take pictures, upload files, or type in text and it all syncs with my Evernote account.

WordPress for the Droid – There’s an app you can find in Android Market called “wpToG0”. From this Android application, I can moderate comments on my WordPress blog, publish posts, and work on drafts. It has pretty decent functionality when it comes to tagging, categories, formating and uploading images.

Layar – This is so cool!!


“Layar is a free application on your mobile phone which shows what is around you by displaying real time digital information on top of reality through the camera of your mobile phone.”

Notepad – “Note Pad is a simple text processor, which lists all notes in a linear structure. Users can only add, edit and delete notes.” This is so simple, yet when I’m parking the car, sometimes I need to jot down which level or which row so that I can find it 6 hours later. You can find this app listed at http://www.androidfreeware.org/.

Finally, I want to mention the free version of  Advanced Task Killer. I noticed that sometimes my Droid was a bit sluggish, so I researched it and it turned out that many of the apps I had been launching were still running in the background. I installed this application so that I could manage all my apps in one place. You can uninstall from here as well as exit out of any applications you currently don’t need running.

I’m always looking for new resources to add to my bookmarks and new apps to install on my Droid if you have any suggestions.

My Droid, My Dream Come True

Image Source: http://www.productqas.com

I’ve been using my Blackberry 8830 since November 2007. I got it around the same time lots of my techie friends were getting their iPhones, but I refused to switch providers as my family has four lines and it was just too much to go through that kind of hassle. I’m sure you understand.

My Blackberry did everything I wanted it to. I was able to communicate through e-mail, Twitter and ultimately Facebook as well. But as time went by, browsing became an issue. The model I had did not have a built in camera and the multimedia functions of it were just not fulfilling my needs. So much so that when I was in my own home and other Wi-Fi environments, I got in the habit of using my iPod Touch to access all of my social networks and communication needs.

Then came the Droid.

This is an early holiday gift from my husband. (You’re welcome Chris. Now you don’t have to go shopping for me.) After reading and researching the Android Market and checking out the many features of the phone itself, I took a field trip to my provider’s store this past Sunday. Here are the initial features that sold me:

  • 3G network
  • camera (by the way it’s a 5 megapixels)
  • video camera
  • 3.7 inch touch screen
  • pre-installed apps (like Facebook and YouTube)
  • Wi-Fi capable

I turned off my Blackberry forever. It was funny. A few days later my 6-year old asked me if I missed it and I realized that for the last couple of years she’s known me to pretty much always have it with me. But the answer was easy. I didn’t miss it at all.

I walked out of the store, got in my car and just for fun used the Google Maps with Navigation over speakerphone to get home. The voice over the Droid gave me ACCURATE, turn-by-turn directions to get right to my driveway. Not that I won’t still use my Garmin GPS, but it’s nice to have an alternative.

One thing that the gentleman at the store explained to me is that I would no longer be able to use Microsoft Outlook to sync my Calendar and Contacts. Bummer. So, when I got inside, I fired up my computer and exported everything out of Outlook and imported everything into my Google Account. This is something I had planned to ultimately do anyway, I guess I just needed a reason. Check this out:

  • Google Over the Air updates – no need for a wire to sync your phone – it happens over the air and automatically – Holy Cow!!
  • Integrated Google and Facebook contacts – so someone calls me and I see their Facebook picture
  • Rotate the Droid and the screen changes to landscape, rotate again it goes back to the portrait orientation
  • Android Market
Image Source: http://www.dialaphone.co.uk

I’ve been downloading and using a few of the apps from the Android Market. There are about 10,000 apps there. I realize that for you iPhone users, there’s still no comparison, and I’m not writing about the Droid to bring it into the classroom, but because it’s such a great productivity tool for me. So here are the apps that I have downloaded and used so far with thanks to Damian Bariexca and Paula White:

  • Twidroid“twidroid is the industry-standard twitter client for android and among the most used twitter applications across all platforms. it’s available as a free and commercial pro version that supports all twitter features as well as functionality that is customized to the capabilities of android devices.”
  • Flashlightsimple white screen allows you to see in dark places
  • Mother TED“Mother TED allows you to watch the latest TED videos based on Themes, Talks and Tags.”
  • Where“WHERE is a bundle of cool GPS apps all wrapped into one. Are you looking for the hottest restaurants, jonesing for your next coffee fix, or need a cheap fill-up? Maybe you want to know the local weather, traffic or headlines? Whatever you are after, WHERE has it.”

It’s not quite yet a week. I have so much to learn. I’ve been bookmarking some great resources and I plan on posting more on the Droid in the near future. If you have one and care to share your experiences or some apps that have been helpful, please do. If you are thinking about getting one,  don’t hesitate to ask me about mine.

iTouch the Future…I Teach – Foreign Languages

This is the sixth post in a series I have been blogging about on using the iPod iTouch in the classroom. In response to Day 2 of Steve Dembo’s 30 Day’s to Being a Better Blogger I took a look at what brings most readers to Thumann Resources and it turns out it’s my posts on the iTouch and iPhone applications.

I was most interested in which of the posts brought the most visitors. At no surprise to me, iTouch the Future…I Teach – Music had the most hits of the first 5 posts in the series. Listed below are the remaining four posts listed in order from greatest number of hits to least.

iTouch the Future…I Teach – Myself

iTouch the Future…I Teach – Math

iTouch the Future…I Teach – Science

iTouch the Future…I Teach – Social Studies

Since August was the last time I posted anything about using iTouches in the classroom, I thought I might get back on track a bit with what brings many readers to my blog. I have been saving a few really fantastic sites to use in foreign language or ELL classes. Take a look.

The first app is The Talking Phrase Book. If you look at this application on the web, it will work, but it will not give you a link to any audio. If you look at it on your iTouch or iPhone, it will give you a link to play the audio once you select to convert the English to French, German, Greek, Italian, Portuguese or Spanish. Just watch this video tutorial to see how easy it is to use this convenient application.

Next take a look at Ask A Word. This is an all-in-one Spellcheck – Thesaurus – Dictionary – Encyclopedia, that is simple to use. It’s worth giving it a try.

You may also want to take a look at the Mobile Translator. This site allows you to take any Spanish word or phrase and translate it into one of ten languages including Korean, Russian and German.

Lastly, please visit Tech Dictionary. I got a real kick out of this site. I think it should be used as a resource at Cyber Safety workshops for parents. Not only can you look up any technology term (I tried CSS, shell and XML) but you can dive deep into their databases of IM-Chat abbreviations and Emoticon symbol combinations. This is the most extensive list I have come across in a long time.

Some of my favorites as seen below:

SFLA = Stupid Four Letter Acronym

( <> .. <> ) = Alienated

As usual, you can see the notes I put together for this post in a published Google Doc.

iTouch the Future…I Teach – Social Studies

ThumannResources - Google Sites
ThumannResources - Google Sites

You don’t have 20 years of teaching experience if you’ve been teaching the same lesson the same way for 20 years. You have to revisit and revise every time you teach a lesson because there is ALWAYS room for improvement.

I’ve decided that one of the things that I can do to improve the professional development that I offer is to move some of my resources from my old eBoards to my new wiki. As I’m doing this I’m adding some of my presentations to SlideShare and of course editing and updating many of them as well.

On August 13, I’ll be teaching my iPods in Education workshop again. This is one of my favorite sessions. I always look forward to sharing all that you can do with the iPod and I have had a great time blogging about all the resource that are available to educators and students that have access to iPod Touches.

There are a few resources I’d like to share for Social Studies, including some for the upcoming Presidential Election. Please don’t hesitate to leave a comment if you’ve found any others.

iCandidate Poll

This is a set of 20 questions that you answer to determine which of our two Presidential Candidates is a better match for your political opnions based on your answers.

iPodia

This site is Wikipedia for the iPhone / iTouch. iPodia does promise a new version is coming out soon, but I did not have a problem with the current version. Everything that you see on Wikipedia on the regular-sized monitor looks very nice and is readable on their mobile site.

Speedymarks.com offers some interactive quizzes for the iTouch. Pictured to the right is the quiz for the location of the United States. The user can select whether they be given 2, 3 or 4 choices to respond to the red highlighted area.

This same website also provides a Country Quiz. The user has a half dozen or so regions to choose from before they have to respond to questions specific to that region.

Once again, I’ve published the Google Doc that I used to gather the Social Studies resources for this post. Don’t forget you can also view my wiki on iPods in Education at http://sites.google.com/site/thumannresources/ or click on the Google Sites button under my picture on the right side of your monitor.

iTouch The Future…I Teach Myself

It’s amazing how many applications are available for the iTouch / iPhone. So far, I’ve blogged about sites for music, math and science and I’ve only made a dent in what’s available to use with students. There are also many sites that we can use for ourselves for productivity and just for fun. Today’s post will be a little bit about all three.

Productivity

· iDetect http://spicyclam.com/idetect/
This is an internet detection connector. If you have an iTouch, iDetect will automatically connect you to wi-fi if there is one available.

· Google Notebook – Mobile Version http://google.com/notebook/m
If you have an iGoogle page set up for yourself, this is great to have access to on your iPhone or iTouch. You could use it in lieu of a Google Doc to access information on-the-go. I’ve used it to access sets of links similar to this Google Doc that I’m no interested in sharing or publishing as a webpage.

· Glide http://www.glidemobile.com/
Sync with your desktop to view Powerpoint and Word docs on your iTouch. It’s a complete mobile desktop. Here’s an article about it.

· Widgetop http://www.widgetop.com/mobile.html
This is the mobile version of Widgetop Check it out if you are a fan of widgets or if you are a developer and you’d like to submit one to them.

· Pogonotes http://www.pogonotes.com/iphone/pogonotes.php
These “notes” are accessible beyond the iTouch unlike the notes that comes pre-installed – take a look at their site.

· iPhone Typing Test http://www.iphonetypingtest.com/
Try it out – see how fast you type with one finger.

· iNetwork Test http://www.inetworktest.com/
Measures the speed of the network your device is attached to.

· iTouch RSS Converter http://rss.blogcast.jp/login.php
iPhone/touch RSS Converter enables you to bring your favorite audio and video podcasts without syncing with iTunes. This tool allows you more space for many music and video on your iPhone and iPod Touch. Try your favorite podcast and you can also discover many podcasts from other people’s choice.

Education

· Quizzler http://www.quizzlerpro.com/quiz/online/index.html
Preloaded quizzes for SAT prep vocabulary, Harry Potter Books, State Capitals, Animals and Nature and more. When you tap on the wrong answer it highlights in red. When you tap on the correct answer it highlights in green so you know to move on to the next question.

Purchase Quizzler Pro to create quizzes yourself.

WARNING: Quizzler was originally developed for Pocket PCs and Palm handhelds. You can adapt the quizzes for the iPhones and iTouches, but their website suggests contacting them directly with any additional questions. It makes me think they are working on developing software specifically for the iTouch.

· iBookmark http://ibookmark.myiphone.pl/en/
There is a function that allows you to import from Del.icio.us

Entertainment

· iDoodle http://www.idoodleapp.com/
I could have used this one in the iTouch Math sites for geometry. You can “replay” your strokes. New to this latest version of iDoodle – you can now add text

video tutorial found at: http://www.idoodleapp.com/iDoodleGuide/index.html
iDoodle.jpg

· Free eBooks http://iphoneplaza.net/books/
They currently have about 20 books- supported by ads for Amazon. (There’s a link right on the main page for a “Deluxe eBook Reader”. It’s a link to buy the Kindle on Amazon.com)

· iPhlickr http://www.chandlerkent.com/iphlickr/
This site is not affiliated directed with Flickr -but allows you to search and view your Flickr photos or the millions of other photos on Flickr from your iPhone or iTouch.

· Google Talk http://talkgadget.google.com/talkgadget/m
IM your Google contacts from your iPhone / iTouch

A few additional items I wanted to mention…

If you are looking to Jailbreak your iPhone – check out Mark Wagner’s blog. He is a fellow Google Certified Teacher that I had the pleasure of meeting in person at NECC in San Antonio last week. He has some great posts on the topic.

Wouldn’t it be great if Diigo had a mobile site?

Still to come iTouch Foreign Languages, iTouch Social Studies and you never know what else I’ll come across. Feel free to leave me a comment with some suggestions. And as always, there were a few sites I looked at that I didn’t list here. Feel free to view my Google Doc.