- Initial setup with provider and Google
----There are no name brand Android devices that can only be used with a Wi-Fi connection. *
----While the app market is getting stronger, education apps are far behind when compared to Apple. *
*there are exceptions
There are many types of technology devices that our used within our schools. There are three main ways that teachers and students connect to the internet.
Ethernet and Wi-Fi are the two most common ways to connect to the internet, but when it comes to mobile devices Wi-Fi is the number one choice for schools. I do use my Android phone in the classroom for many reasons and these are listed in my other posts, but I am not very comfortable handing MY phone over to a 6th grader. (Don’t get me wrong, I have some very trustworthy students…it just isn’t the best solution)
There are some districts that have allowed phones into the classroom, but they are much smaller in numbers when compared to Wi-Fi. School districts are hurting so bad financially that I do not see a big jump to phones in the classroom. Monthly fees and massive budget cuts do not help. Why can’t the kids just bring their own phones to school? Most districts, that I know, want to have control of the devices. (What they do and where they go) There are also many safety concerns with a gadget that has freewill. So what is the problem? Google and the electronics manufacturers do not have a name brand Wi-Fi only device at this point in time. (September 6, 2010)
I am looking for this device.
So………Apple has the iPod Touch and the iPad. Google has the Archos. Of course all of us know Archos??? You can find an Archos device at Best Buy, Radio Shack, and online at Newegg, but I am not comfortable with buying an off-brand device. Dell has the “Streak,” but I can’t find one that is Wi-Fi only. I have seen some people buy an Android phone on eBay. They don’t activate the phone and they just use the Wi-Fi. All of this seems too complicated for the education world to commit to. The future looks bright for Google if they can produce a nice tablet that fits the needs of most schools.
Can you see it? A tablet that works seamlessly with Google docs, plays flash video, and has all the educations apps just like Appl…….cough…cough. Wait a minute.
Google has a lot of apps. Don’t they have wonderful education apps like Apple? The short and simple answer is NO. Android’s marketplace doesn’t have a category dedicated to education like Apple does. There are app review sites for Android, which help in finding some good apps. (There are some reviews on IEAR too and I hope this will grow soon) The biggest problem for Android education apps is that there is no device that is well suited for the classroom. Apple has devices in the classroom and developers create for that market. Small numbers of Android devices in the classroom equals small number of apps in the Android marketplace. It seems like elementary math to me and as many number crunchers Google has, you would think someone at Google could calculate this. I am just a lowly 6th grade teacher and I was able to make this calculation!
To answer a Scott Meech question from the IEAR Podcast #3. Is there a return policy on Android Apps? Here it is from Google-
You have 24 hours from the time of purchase (not download) to return an application purchased through Android Market for a full refund. You may only return a given application once; if you subsequently purchase the same app again, you may not return it a second time.
As always…if you have any questions you can contact me.
also posted at- www.normaledtech.com
Kevin Honeycutt announced that ArtSnacks has an app in the Android Market. As he puts it, "It's not the most flashy but it delivers drawing lessons to the palm of your hand." There will be improvements but for now it's kinda neat to reach learners in a new way! Congrats Kevin as ArtSnacks is a fantastic resource for students and learning art.
· Classroom Apps
· Changes I would like to see in my phone and Android
The information below are apps that I use and I do not have a detailed review. If there is interest, I would be glad to write something up. I am just providing some examples of what can be done on Android.
Games on Android have been gaining momentum. It is not on the level of Apple, but it does just fine. The list below are games that work well in the classroom. I am still waiting for Civilization to arrive on Android!
Android Classroom Games Top 5
Bubble Burst Free (Puzzle)
I teach social studies and language arts and my top apps include those that work in my classroom.
Android Classroom Apps Top 6
Google Translate & Goggles (Translation by voice, picture, or documents)
Android Voice Search (Phone and Internet search by voice)
Google Maps (Google Earth)
ConvertPad (Measurement conversion)
Grade Rubric (Classroom grade program)
HTC Hero Camera (Sill and video)
Android Developer Challenge - Top Apps (All types of high quality apps)
Changes I would like to see in my phone and Android
My last post made several complaints about keeping the existing phones updated with the newest software. I have updated my HTC Hero to Android 2.1 and I have been very pleased with the newer version.
A list of the new features is here. The largest improvements for me is the speed, increased battery, and the ability to run updated apps. The phone is still sluggish at times and I need to use an app called Task Panel X to clear out my memory. I also forgot to mention that 2.1 handles multi-tasking much better than 1.6. It is quite nice to jump back and forth from app to app. Overall I am pleased, but I know Android will get better with future phones and 2.2.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
· Clock and Timer
· Weather and weather alerts
· Google Tasks
Clock and Timer
I remember when I was back in school and I would set my watch alarms according to school clocks. (To the second) How geeky is that?
My school does not use bells for class dismissal. To complicate matters, the clock in my classroom (I am in a portable) is not accurate. This is where my android phone comes in handy. I can set alarms on specific days and have them go off five minutes before I dismiss. I would still use this within the main building as a reminder to finish the lesson. I also use the timer for classroom activities. I give the students a set amount of time to complete individual or group tasks. The clock and timer keep me on track.
Weather and Weather Alerts
Being in a portable classroom has its positives and negatives. Being in a portable classroom on the west side of the school with an open field to my west is a negative. I love thunderstorms and severe weather, but I do not like being in a classroom that has a higher percentage of being destroyed in a tornado. Most cell phones can help those that get nervous when there are severe storms in the area and my HTC Hero can do that and then some. I have registered with a local radio station to receive weather watches and warnings. I have the messages sent as an email and a text. To see the radar information I use the Weather Channel app and I have the NOAA mobile weather page bookmarked. I have a bookmark of the NOAA page on my home screen. Both of these show the weather forecast and radar. The Weather Channel app can show the radar in motion. I am hoping when my phone is upgraded to Android 2.1, I can get better support when viewing the radar on NOAA. All this information makes me feel safer while in portable classroom.
Having task management (to do list) is important. I use my browser and go to gmail.com/tasks.
I have four main categories:
· Future Plans
I can access these tasks on a computer or on my phone and they instantly sync. I can also share my tasks with someone. This has to be done on the computer and cannot be done on the phone…at least with my version of Android. There are other “To Do” lists out there, but I have not found any that sync as well as using the online version. I hope Google is working on an app that has more functionality. There are a lot of people that would be appreciative.
I have been in a holding pattern since I bought my HTC Hero last fall. What have I been waiting for? The next version of Android software! There are a lot of players involved in creating, testing, and implementing the next update for my phone. (Google, HTC, and Sprint) There are a lot of details here and I will not bore you with that information unless some of you request it.
I am currently using version 1.5 (Cupcake), which is the original software installed on my phone. There was an update this past winter to take care of some messaging problems, but the version on my phone is still 1.5. When the phone was released, 1.6 was available and I am assuming that it would have been too quick to have installed this on my phone. There has also been a lot of criticism about the fragmentation of Android versions that are currently being used on phones. Especially when compared to Apple. My version, 1.5, is the most commonly used and yet there has been a release of 1.6, 2.0, and 2.1. Version 2.2 is already being tested and early results show a significant improvement over 2.1. This craziness has made me less than happy. I love the phone, but I know it can be better. Android is making great strides in its operating system, but if it can’t update the phones in a timely manner, then Google will lose this market.
UPDATE- I now have 2.1 on my HTC Hero and I will discuss the improvements with a later post.
· Classroom Apps
· Changes I would like to see in my phone and Android
Please email me at email@example.com
I, (Zack Gilbert), understand that that IEAR is geared towards Apple and its wonderful apps, but I thought I would give a different perspective on a device I use more in the classroom than the IPod Touch.I currently own, since October 2009, a Sprint HTC Hero. It is not a Droid or a Nexus One. It is a middle of the road Android device running version 1.5 Cupcake. I have several topics I would like to blog about and I will do that in three parts over the next few weeks.
I know part 2 does not seem exciting, but they are for me and you will see why when you read this post. All I can say is no bells, portable classroom on the west side of the school, and ADHD. It has you thinking doesn’t it?
Reasons for using Sprint
Sprint and I have been together since my wife stopped using a bag phone. Let’s just say the 1990’s. I have always been happy with the service and the coverage in my area. Last October I had a tough decision to make. Do I stay with Sprint and get the new HTC Hero with Android or wait a few months, until my contract runs out, to get an IPhone with AT&T. I think the Hero was the best Sprint was offering at the time.
My reasons are listed below:
Phone plan - here is my - plan for 3 phones
2 x HTC Hero (with Android)
1 x Samsung M330
(I know some of the items are repeated below. I am using Sprint’s listing)
Everything Data Share Plan
3 phones = $149.98 – 15% (teacher discount) = $127.48 + tax = around $150 each month
The biggest parts of the plan, for me, are bolded above. I will never reach the 1500 minutes because of the “Any Mobile, Anytime” service. All the add-ons are included in the price and it really made my decision easier. I also have the option to upgrade the “the main line” every twelve months. There will be nice choices in October 2010. I know Sprint is not for everyone, but this works for me. So now that my wife and I have an Android phone…now what?
Calendar and Email
The biggest selling point, to my wife, to get the HTC Hero was to have shared calendars in Google. We are a family of four and as the kids get older the schedules get crazier. We needed a way to share schedules, setup reminders, and figure out who is picking up or dropping off. Google calendar made this easy. Anything I add to my calendar automatically goes to my wife’s calendar and vice-versa. A sound or email reminder can be set up to let you know to pick up the kids from after school care. This has been wonderful and has saved me many times. I have also added all my contacts into Gmail and I have been slowly moving my main email over to Google.
Gmail is great, but I also need access to my exchange server for my school email. Android 1.5 allows one exchange account and when I get upgraded to 2.1 then I can add more accounts if I want. Since I am only partially cool, I only have access to one exchange account, so this is not a big deal to me. I can sync my email, calendar, and contacts into my Hero. My school and Google calendar both drop into my main calendar on my phone.
I hope to have Part 2 written next week.
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
(Cross-posted at http://edtechboys.blogspot.com/)