Showing posts with label Windows 8. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Windows 8. Show all posts

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Control What's Projected With Chromecast or Extended Display

Whether it is to quickly search for a video, find a bookmark on Pinterest, or dig-up a file in your Google Drive there are times when you'll find your computer hooked to a projector, but you don't want everything projected in front of your classroom. That's when using the "extended display" mode is handy. Extended display allows you to project one thing while looking at another on your computer's screen.

Let's say you want to find a in your Google Drive, but you don't want to project your entire Google Drive dashboard to your students. With extended display activated you could search within your Google Drive for your file then when you find it you can move its display from your computer's screen to your projector screen. Similarly, if you a Chromecast you can search in your web browser and or have multiple tabs open in your web browser then choose which specific tab to project.

How you extend your display varies slightly depending upon the operating system that you're using on your computer. Mac users can find directions here. Windows 7 users will want to follow these directions. Windows 8 users should follow these directions. Windows 10 users will find these directions helpful. Chromebook users can follow the directions here to connect and extend displays.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Book Creator for Windows - Create Multimedia eBooks

Book Creator has long been a popular iPad and Android app for creating multimedia ebooks. Today, the developers of Book Creator released a Windows version of the app.

Book Creator for Windows (Windows 8.1 or higher required) allows anyone to create his or her own ebooks using images, text, videos, and audio recordings. You can arrange your book in three different formats; portrait, square, or landscape. Each page in your book can include pictures and videos. In addition to the pictures and videos you can include as much as text as you can fit on each page. In fact, if you just want to have text on a page you can do that. If you would like to narrate your book you can tap the record button to add your voice to each page of your book. Every page in your book can have a custom color scheme.

Book Creator for Windows from Book Creator on Vimeo.

Applications for Education
Book Creator can be a fantastic tool for students to use to create short stories or to create longer research papers that include multimedia elements.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Skype's Realtime Translator Goes Live (for some users)

Earlier this year Microsoft unveiled a preview of a realtime translation option in Skype. Beginning today, some Skype users who had signed-up for access to the realtime translator have been given access to this exciting new tool. The first invitations to use the new Skype translator tool are going to people on the list who are using Windows 8 devices. If you are using Windows 8 you can still get on the list.

Applications for Education
As demonstrated in the video embedded below, the realtime translation option in Skype will open up more possibilities for connecting classrooms through activities like Mystery Skype.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

100+ eBooks On Everything You Might Want to Know About Microsoft Products

Aside from the core aspects of Windows 7 and Windows 8, I don't regularly use any Microsoft products (almost all of what I do is in the cloud). But if I was going to dive into the world of Microsoft, I would start by looking through this collection of more than 100 ebooks about Microsoft products. In the collection you can find ebooks on everything from Windows 7 & 8 keyboard shortcuts to programming Windows Store apps.

Applications for Education
A few of the ebooks in this collection that might be of interest to educators are BYOD Devices - A Deployment Guide for Education, Getting to Know Office 365, and Windows To Go - A Deployment Guide for Education (all links open PDFs).  

H/T to Lifehacker

Monday, November 4, 2013

GeoGebra for Windows 8, iOS, and Android

This fall GeoGebra released new apps for Android, iPad, and Windows 8. All three of the apps include the graphing and modeling tools available on your desktop. The apps also include GeoGebraTube in which you can search for the things that other GeoGebra users have created. The video embedded below provides an overview of the Windows 8 GeoGebra app (the video does not have sound).

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Two Touch Screen Windows 8 Laptop Reviews

I don't often do reviews of devices (I have done a few over the years), but at this time of year a lot of students and their parents are out shopping for new laptops so I thought that this would be a good weekend for a review of two new laptops that I've been using this summer.

Earlier this year I bought a Lenovo Yoga 13" touchscreen laptop. Then in late June Staples sent me an Acer V5 to test out and review. Both of these computers are touchscreen laptops. After eight months with the Yoga and two months with the Acer V5 I can comfortably put touchscreen into the category of "nice to have" but not "must have" for my laptop needs. While I occasionally use the touchscreen on the laptops, I haven't used it for anything that I couldn't do with a mouse. That said, I can definitely see how a touch screen would be appealing for elementary school students to use when playing games or manipulating something like Google Earth. Both computers are running Windows 8.

Acer V5 Review: Currently priced at $599 at Staples it falls into the category of mid-priced laptop. (full disclosure: Staples sent me a sample to use).

What I liked: With a 15" screen you have plenty of screen space for just about anything you would do on a desktop. The screen itself doesn't provide the sharpest contrast, but it is more than adequate for watching Netflix in full screen.

The battery life is listed at four hours. That's a little generous in real-world applications. I found that on average it was closer to 3.25 hours when I was using it for writing and watching videos. The back-lit keyboard probably accounts for some of the battery consumption.

At 5.5lbs this won't be confused with an ultrabook although for its size that weight isn't too bad. The balance of the laptop compensated for the weight.

What I would change: 
The keyboard includes a full number pad. I would take that out to provide more space for full-size keys. The keys are a bit small and a set a bit farther apart than normal which meant that I found myself missing keys on a regular basis. Some people might get used to this, but I didn't. I'd also move the Windows 8 key to the top-left or top-right positions where it will be out of the way when I'm trying to hit the "shift," "control," and "alt" keys.

The screen resolution. As I mentioned above the screen is great for watching movies. However, when you're typing for a long time you'll notice that the screen resolution creates a slightly pixelated view of your text.

Durability factor:
I didn't take this laptop on any trips farther than the local coffee shop because of its size.
The hinges on the laptop are rugged and I don't see those as a concern for failure down the road. The trackpad is the one aspect that I could see being a cause for concern down the road.

If you're in the market for a mid-priced Windows 8 computer with a 15" screen, the Acer V5 is worth trying out. If you can, try it side-by-side with other computers in its class to see how you like the keyboard.

Lenovo Ideapad Yoga 13": Prices vary from $849 to $1149 depending on processor and hard drive choices. The model I bought has 128GB solid state drive and i5 processor.

What I like:
The form factor is amazing. The keyboard fits my style perfectly.
At 3.3 pounds it is still heavier than a MacBook Air but is lighter than my MacBook Pro.
The solid state drive means there aren't any "whirring" noises in the background after working for a while.
In real-life conditions the battery lasted more than six hours. I used for a couple of cross-country flights without running out of battery life.
The screen quality is excellent. I've typed on it for hours without any concerns about looking at pixelated text.

What I don't like:
The balance is a little odd depending upon how you tilt the screen. At times I've felt like if I took my palms off the keyboard the whole thing might flip over.
The keyboard is not back-lit.

Durability factor:
This is not the computer I would buy to put into classrooms for daily use by elementary school and middle school students. Because the screen is so thin you do have to be careful to lift the lid from the center so as not to bend the screen too much.

The verdict:
If you're looking for a Windows 8 ultrabook for yourself or for a responsible older teenager, it's hard to beat the Yoga.

If you are shopping for a new Windows 8 laptop for yourself or your child, if it is at all possible, try it before you buy it and don't base your decision just on Internet reviews of the laptops. There isn't anything that can replace actually touching and trying a laptop. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

iStoryBooks - Narrated Children's Stories on Windows 8

iStoryBooks is a service that I reviewed a couple of years ago when it launched on iOS and Android. Now it's available as a Windows 8 app too. iStoryBooks offers dozens of children's stories (some free, some for sale) like The Ugly Duckling. The app gives you the option to read each story or to read along with each story while listening to the narrator.

Applications for Education
If you have or teach children under eight, iStoryBooks could be a great app to install on your iPad or Android-powered tablets. Children can practice reading and recognizing words by going through the stories with the narration turned on. Or you can turn the narration off and read the stories with your child or student.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

ActiveNote - Organized Sticky Notes & Reminders

ActiveNote is a free Windows 8 application that brings organization to sticky notes. ActiveNote organizes your sticky notes into three columns; active, completed, today. To add a sticky note you just have to type it out and it is automatically assigned to the active column. You can assign a day and time stamp to your sticky notes. The day and time that you assign to your notes will be used to remind you of the notes when the time is appropriate. When you have completed a task on one on your sticky notes you can drag it into the completed column.

Applications for Education
If you or your students are using Windows 8 computers, ActiveNote could be a good tool to help you keep track of the important things that you need to do.

Music Maker Jam - Music Creation on Windows 8

Music Maker Jam is a free Windows 8 app for creating music tracks to download and use in multimedia projects. Music Maker Jam provides four styles of music that you can modify (additional styles are available for purchase). Choose a style then use the virtual instrument tracks to modify the music track. You can increase or decrease the volume of each instrument and modify the tempo of your tracks. You can also add or remove an instrument from your music tracks. When you're happy with the sound of the music you've created you can download your music as an MP3 file.

Applications for Education
Music Maker Jam could be a good tool for students to use to create recordings to use as bumper music in podcasts or to use as the background music in a video project.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Three Minutes to Understanding Windows 8 Shortcuts

Every week I hear from people about their struggles to get accustomed to Windows 8. And I struggled a bit with the first day or two that I used it. If you're getting a new Windows 8 computer or you've just received one, take a look at this short tutorial video from Lifehacker.

Applications for Education
If your school is transitioning to Windows 8 this summer or plans to make that transition in the fall, a short video like How to Get Around Windows 8 could help new users feel comfortable with the transition.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Reading RSS Feeds on Windows 8

In my on-going efforts to explore alternatives to Google Reader and familiarize myself with Windows 8 applications I recently tried using Bing News on my Lenovo Yoga 13. This week the app was updated and it now allows me to add any RSS feed whether it's featured by Bing or not. Once you've added a feed by entering the URL for the feed, you can put it into a category in the app. It's important to note that you have to enter the feed URL not the site URL in order to add a subscription (it's kind of like the early days of Google Reader and I hope that Microsoft changes that in the future).

What I like about the Bing News app is the clean and full layout of articles as I browse through them. What I don't like is that in order to share a story or bookmark a story, I have to open the "charms" menu then select share then select the app through which I want to share the story. It's not difficult, but it adds one more step than I typically use in Feedly or Flipboard. Overall, it's not a bad app but I'm still more inclined to use Feedly's Chrome app when I want to browse through my RSS feeds on my Windows 8 computer.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Cinelab - Simple Video Editing for Windows 8

Cinelab is a free Windows 8 app for quickly editing videos on your computer or Windows 8 phone. You can trim the start and end times of your video clips and combine clips to create a new video. To edit a clip and or create a new compilation of clips open the Cinelab app and start a new project. To get your project rolling import clips stored on your computer or phone. To edit an imported clip right-click on it then drag the start and stop indicators into position. You can preview and edit your projects as many times as you like.

Applications for Education
One of the blogging activities that I think is often overlooked is having students post short video updates to a classroom blog. The videos could be observations of things they discovered during a field trip, a science experiment, or just things they've learned during the week. Cinelab could be a good Windows 8 app for students to use to do some quick editing of those videos to post on classroom blogs or their own blogs.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Pin-a-note - Sticky Notes for Your Windows 8 Start Screen

The more I use Windows 8 the more I get the hang of the shortcuts and the utility of the start screen. This morning I added a new utility to the start screen, sticky notes. Pin-a-note is a free Windows 8 app that you can use to write and pin sticky notes to your start screen. Pin-a-note is a simple sticky note application that doesn't have a color coding option, but it does everything else that I use sticky notes for on my Windows 7 computer and on my MacBook.

Applications for Education
If your school is starting to use Windows 8 computers and tablets, you're probably looking to continue to use some of your favorite productivity tools on this new operating system. Pin-a-note brings the commonly used sticky notes to Windows 8.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Watch Pandas and More on the National Zoo App

For the last two weeks I've been trying to use Windows 8 as much as possible. I'm using a Lenovo Yoga 13 to try a bunch of Windows 8 apps. One app that I tried last week that I think elementary school teachers and students will like is the National Zoo app for Windows 8. The National Zoo app features live webcam feeds of panda bears, lions and their cubs, tigers, cheetahs, and fish. Because these are live webcams sometimes you'll see the animals and sometimes you won't. If the webcam feed isn't showing the animals when you're viewing it you can switch to the gallery of still imagery.

Applications for Education
I wish that the National Zoo app had more information to accompany the imagery of the animals, but it's still a nice app that elementary school students can use to see some unique animals.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

8 Handy Windows 8 Shortcuts

Learning to navigate a new operating system on a computer can be a stressful experience for a lot people. Fortunately, whenever a new operating system is released to consumers there are lots of people producing and helpful tutorials for new users. YouTube is my go-to place when I need help learning how to do something new on a computer or tablet. So this afternoon when I wanted to learn a bit more about Windows 8 I went to YouTube and found a bunch of short tutorials. One tutorial that I think a lot people can benefit from watching is CNET's Best Windows 8 Keyboard Shortcuts. The three minute video is embedded below.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

myHomework Helps Students Keep Track of Assignments

myHomework is a free app that students can use on the web on iPads, on  iPhones, on Android devices, and on Windows 8 devices to keep track of their school schedules and assignment due dates. myHomework syncs students' schedules and assignments across all of the devices that they use.

On myHomework students can enter their course schedules in day and time format (example: History meets at 10am Monday) or in a block schedule format (example: History meets during block 1 every other day).  Assignments that students enter into myHomework can be assigned a level of priority in addition to the due date and the assignment description.

I tried myHomework on my iPad and one of my older Android tablets that is running Honeycomb (Android 3.0) and it worked fine. That said there are some comments in the Google Play store suggesting that myHomework may not be fully updated for Jellybean (Android 4.0+).

Applications for Education
If you're looking for one schedule and homework reminder service that you can recommend to all of your students regardless of which mobile operating system they use, myHomework is worth trying out.