Sunday, December 11, 2011

Presenting PowerPoint slide shows with your iPad or iPhone

Presenting PowerPoint slide shows with your iPad or iPhone

Keynote for Macintosh is well-known for its elegance, ease-of-use, and graphical display tools but PowerPoint is still the presentation tool of choice for most users. Even though Keynote for iOS devices is the de facto presentation app, you can creative an efficient workflow using the desktop version of PowerPoint to efficiently display your slides on your iPad or iPhone (4 or 4S). Additionally, you can use your iOS device to project your presentation to a HD flat screen TV or large projection screen with a data projector.

What you will need
  • PowerPoint for Windows or Macintosh
  • Free Dropbox account and iOS app
  • Keynote for iPhone (4 or 4S) or iPad ($9.99 for one or the other or both)
  • iOS version 5
  • VGA or HDMI adapter (optional)
  • HD TV or data projector with projection screen (optional)
Save to Drop Box

You will need to have a Dropbox account that is set up for synchronization with a Dropbox folder on your PC or Mac.   
  • If you have not already done so go to and set up a Drop Box account on your PC or Mac. 
  • Create a folder named PowerPoint in your computer's Dropbox folder.
  • Save your PowerPoint presentations to this folder (e.g. technology_tools_teacher.pptx), which will automatically be synchronized to your Drop Box server share. 
Open in Keynote
  • Install the Dropbox app on your iPhone or iPad and then start the app.
  • Locate and open your PowerPoint into Dropbox, which displays the slides in one page but does not index nor display them separately. 
  • Click the curved Open In icon in the upper right corner of the Dropbox screen and choose Keynote.
  • Wait until Keynote loads - ignore any font substitution warnings.

If you plan to make changes to your PowerPoint, then you will need to re-import the file into Keynote.

Sychronize with iCloud and other iOS devices

You can also synchronize your Keynote presentations with other iOS devices. For example, you could import all your PowerPoints into Keynote for iPad and then sync them with your iPhone. 

  • For your iPac choose Settings > iCloud and add your Apple ID (typical iTunes account) and password.
  • Choose Documents & Data and turn the setting to ON.
  • Choose Settings > Keynote and turn the setting Use iCloud to ON.
    Present from your iPad or iPhone

    With an iPad, iPad 2, iPhone 4 or 4S you can project your Keynote presentation to an HD TV using an Apple Digital AV adapter or to a data projector with an Apple VGA adapter. Only the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S support mirroring whatever is on the screen. However, when you press the Keynote Play button, the slides will also display on a HD TV or projection screen for an iPhone 4 or iPad 1.

      Saturday, November 26, 2011

      Annotating iPad Screenshots

      Annotating iPad Screenshots

      There are a number of desktop screen capturing and annotation tools such as Jing (Mac and Windows) and Skitch (Mac with Windows version coming out soon). However, there does not appear to be a dedicated iOS app to take annotated iPad screenshots, which are becoming increasingly important for illustrations in blogs and tutorials. As an alternative I have developed an efficient workflow using the iPad's built-in screenshot and the apps Photogene and Dropbox.

      iPad Screenshot
      • Go to the screen you want to save as a picture on your iPad.
      • Press the On / off switch and Home button at the same time, which saves the image to the iPad's Photos Library. (As confirmation the screen will blank to white for a quick moment to simulate a camera flash effect.)
      Press On / off switch and Home button at the same time
      Use Photogene to crop and annotate the screenshot

      Photogene for iPad ($2.99) is arguably one of the best photo editors on the iPad and includes tools to rotate, adjust color, retouch, add text, and enhance with gradients, framing, and effects. During the export process you can change the resolution and then export-send the final photo to resources such as Twitter, e-mail, Facebook, Flickr, and Dropbox.
      • Start Photogene and press Edit New in the top menu bar (to the right)
      • Browse through the iPad's Camera Roll and choose your screenshot
      • Press the Crop scissors tool in the bottom menu bar and drag the round handles to choose the area you want to keep.
      • Press the Crop button in the right menu to finalize the area.
      • Next choose the Text tool in the bottom menu bar. 
      • From the right menu drag a text balloon style to your edit area. Add a text description and drag the pointer to the section you want to describe. 
      Export the annotated screenshot to your Dropbox share

      You will need to have a Dropbox website that is set up for synchronization with a Dropbox folder on your PC or Mac.   
      • Choose Export in the top menu bar (to the right). You can choose the resolution but it's best to keep the highest.
      • Press Folder and when prompted link to your Dropbox account.
      • Choose Dropbox and enter a filename. 
      • Press Folder again. If you wish, you can create subfolders within your Dropbox's Photo folder to organize exported images by category.
      • Press the Share button to save the file as a JPEG image. You can immediately insert the image from your Dropbox Photos folder to a document such as a blog post. 
      final version of a cropped iPad screenshot annotated with Photogene

      Friday, November 25, 2011

      Evaluate the Muddiest Point with Online Surveys

      The Muddiest Point

      The Minute Paper, One Sentence Summary, What's the Principle, and the Muddiest Point are popular assessment techniques that provide instructors effective feedback on what students have learned during their class. Students typically complete these assessments at the end of class. The Muddiest Point originated in 1989 from Harvard Professor of Statistics Professor Frederick Mosteller’s who asked his students to summarize key points and what more they wanted to know.  One of his students perceptively pointed out that there really wasn’t any feedback because students essentially were repeating the professor’s key points and were unable to precisely state what more they wanted to know.

      So Mosteller asked what were their muddiest (least understood) points and received many important and concrete results, which he summarized. Based on these results Mosteller would prepare special handouts to address common points of confusion that would be studied by students needing this information outside of class. Mosteller's article describing his experience with assessing student feedback is recommended reading for anyone who is interested in assessment and improving their teaching:

      Mosteller had his students write down their muddiest points on pieces of paper, which were typed into a summary format and distributed. Online survey tools such as Google Forms bypass the use of paper, retyping the comments and printing handouts, thus faciliating the process of collecting, summarizing, and sharing student feedback.

      Example survey question
      Once students have submitted their feedback, the Google spreadsheet results can be shared with them as a link.  

      For information about Correlation Does Not Imply Causation refer to

      Assistive Tablet Technology to Help Students Succeed

      The iPad has created a new technology space between smartphones and laptops/netbooks, providing unanticipated possibilities for teaching, learning, and accessibility. The mobility, extended battery life, and built-in accessibility features of an iPad such as VoiceOver provide opportunities for students with assistive learning needs to succeed using technology that was previously expensive, limited to a computer, and was difficult to learn and use. The "touch and gesture" interface reduces the time to master essential tools that facilitate learning and engagement. Choosing from an enormous library of apps the iPad can be transformed into assistive tools such as a video player with captions, audiobook player with text, voice recorder for recording lectures, distraction-free text reader, text-to-speech converter, speech dictation device, and sound amplifier.


      Click to view larger image

      Sunday, October 16, 2011

      Safari iOS 5 New Features and Enhancements

      Although there has been a lot hype about iOS 5 integration with iCloud and Twitter, I was pleasantly surprised by the many enhancements to the latest version of Safari included with the update. Below is a summary of these enhancements, some of them expected, others less obvious to discover. 
      • Multiple tabs are expected of course but the speed and reliability in opening tabs are a welcome relief over my struggles with Atomic Web browser (which will be dropped from my app list).
      • Navigation is much faster when browsing through web sites such as NY Times. Even browsing is improved within the ANGEL CMS, although there are significant issues with mobile browsing support by Blackboard, but that is a topic for another day.  
      • Tap the Bookmarks icon and choose Reading List to add pages to be read later and synchronized with other iOS devices. (You will need an iCloud account and turn on Bookmarks to enable synchronization.) 
      • Safari has made distraction free reading - made popular with Readability - as easy as the desktop version with the option to listen to the text as well. Simply click the Reader button in the address bar to strip away distracting sidebars, advertisements, and animation. Select text and click the Speak button to have the words read back to you. (Not surprisingly it does not appear that the Speak button is available in iBooks, Newsstand or commercially sold media.) First open the Settings app and choose General > Accessibility > Speak Selection
      Web site:  
      • AirPrint still requires an AirPrint enabled printer or special software installed on your Mac or PC (see section below). I especially like the Send to Evernote and Dropbox option with Printopia. 

      • Finally with the new version of Safari Mobile you can download attachments and open them with Apple or third party apps that support the corresponding file types (e.g. PDF with Goodreader or iBooks, PowerPoint with Keynote or Evernote) - very nice! 

      Printing with AirPrint

      Although wireless printing is now available with an iPad, direct printing to a wireless printer is restricted to a select number of HP printer models:
      There are currently three workarounds that I know, all of which require connecting a printer to an AirPrint enabled Windows or Macintosh computer. The printer can be connected directly via USB or by Print Sharing (which I have not yet tested).

      Sunday, March 20, 2011

      E-portfolios for Learning


      It has been generally acknowledged that e-portfolios are primarily developed for ongoing learning, showcase, and assessment and that one e-portfolio system does not fit all purposes. If we are interested in the academic success and co-curricular accomplishments of our students through self-motivation, engagement, reflection, and ownership, then a learning portfolio nurtured over time has significant potential in being developed for life after graduation.

      There are many e-portfolio tools and systems available, none of which provides the perfect solution to all institutional assessment and student learning needs. Google Sites for Education has only recently been considered for portfolio development but offers promising solutions to effectively build learning, assessment, and showcase portfolios including artifact storage, privacy control, collaboration, reflection, and ownership. Although orientation, training, and ongoing support are strongly recommended, Google Sites is easy-to-use and provides built-in tools to insert evidence of extended learning from sources such as social media sites.

      Additionally please find below related links to student examples, portals, e-portfolio program sites, articles, and publications.

      Student Career E-portfolios

      A career or professional e-portfolio is a high motivator for students - it's purpose is to get them a job. Employers are increasingly recognizing the value of these e-portfolios as an important supplement to their resumes.

      E-portfolios - Assessment of Learning

      A summative, assessment or assessment of learning e-portfolio is used by institutions to determine if a student has met specific standards and achieved academic or professional goals.

      E-portfolios for Learning

      The purpose of e-portfolios for learning (also known as a development, formative, reflective or self-assessment) is to have students engage in their own deep and continuous reflection, learn more about themselves, and take ownership of their e-portfolio over time.

      E-portfolio Portals and Programs

      Saturday, March 19, 2011

      Peace Corps Experiences in the Congo

      In celebration of the Peace Corps 50th anniversary I had the privilege of presenting my experiences as a Volunteer in the Congo to a group of Elmira College students and faculty. Below are the Slideshare slides followed by related links that I used for general research, reading, and preparation for the presentation.




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