Get a iPhone 5s Or Switch to Android?

» 06 September 2013 » In Commentary » 7 Comments

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My iPhone 4s is coming off contract soon and before I replace it with the iPhone 5s / iOS 7, I thought I should do some research on Android-based smartphones (no interest in Windows mobile, sorry Steve).

My good friend Mike Gwaltney had great idea to end the guesswork - try an Android for awhile before I get caught up in next week's iPhone launch frenzy. So two days ago, I took his advice and bought a Nexus 7 at Best Buy (two week return policy).

What follows is my initial experience with the Android OS. Keep in mind that I'm a Android newbie and I'm not certain how much of the Nexus 7 experience will carry over to an Android smartphone. Nor am I interested in the Nexus 7 hardware - my real goal is a new smartphone not an Android tablet. The superb audio and video Netflix stream on the Nexus 7, doesn't tell me much about the Android smartphone experience. Android or not, the Nexus 7 goes back to Best Buy next week. (I enjoy creating multi-touch iBooks - can't view them on a Nexus 7)

I was already using many Google services - Chrome, Gmail, G Drive - all that content was on the Nexus as soon as I logged into Google. But I've never used Google for contacts and calendar - they're hosted on iCloud and synched between my Mac, iPad, iPhone and MacBook Air. My first goal was to get those over to the Nexus 7. I found a very easy (and free) solution for for moving contacts to Google - the (free) Bump app. I loaded Bump on my iPhone and Nexus 7 and did the bump. Selected all contacts and over they went. Looks like Bump can also move photos and audio files. (Though there must be better ways to do that.)

Moving to Google Calendar was much more challenging. I looked online at discussion groups and searched "Help" at Google and none of the solutions seemed to work. Eventually I found the SmoothSync app ($2.86 at Google Play). It moved my calendar to the Nexus 7, but strangely my appointments don't show up in the desktop versions of Google Calendar. Haven't fixed that yet, but my iCloud and Nexus 7 calendar are syncing with new updates in both directions.

I downloaded a bunch of my key apps to the Nexus 7 - Dropbox, Evernote, 1Password, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. For the most part they look and behave like their iOS counterparts. LinkedIn somehow manages to have an equally confusing notification system on both platforms. The only app the varied greatly between platforms was 1Password. The Android version does not support selecting specific sections of text for copying to clipboard in the secure notes or attachments - very challenging if you have any important data stored that way,

Finally I tried my hand at customizing the home screen. I'd been impressed with all cool themes, wallpapers and widgets that I had seen online. So many to choose from, though some customizations didn't function very well. When I tapped on the cool non-skeuomorphic icon for my calendar, I didn't see my appointments, I was offered more settings for customizing the calendar icon widget. After wasting a few hours trying to trick out my home screen I ended up creating something that in retrospect looks a lot like my iPhone home screen.

So I'm 48 hours into Android. If I had to make a decision right now, I'd stick with the iPhone. So far I haven't found any big advantages with Android. And getting my wife and I moved over from iOS and still maintaining synch with our Mac desktops seems like far too much work. But I'll give it a few more days.

Update Sept 20, 2013
Returned my Nexus 7 to Best Buy a few days ago.
Here's me waiting in line to get the new iPhone 5s 64GB (Black  - No bling for me).
Note: I'm the only Mac FanBoy reading an actual book.

mac fan boy line

Image credit Flickr: George Thomas/ios-android-war-iphoneindia

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How to Create A PLC with Google+ Hangout

» 19 February 2013 » In Ed Tech, How To, PD, Social Web, Teachers, Web 2.0 » No Comments

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A step-by-step description of how a team of teachers used a G+ Hangout to manage their PLC sessions. It includes details about managing the Hangout, using it to analyze student work, and building meaningful collegial relationships. It’s a very helpful post for anyone looking for practical information on using G+ Hangouts.

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Why Do Teachers Ask Questions They Know the Answers To?

» 06 February 2013 » In Ed Tech, Strategies, Students, Teachers » 6 Comments

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Here’s a TEDx video – The Future Will Not Be Multiple Choice – that showcases the power of a PBL / design-based approach to learning. While you watch it, try to think of a meaningful career that looks like filling out a worksheet.

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Infographic: Google+ is a Ghost Town

» 21 September 2012 » In Visualizations » 8 Comments

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Data comparing key metrics from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. Digging beneath the number of accounts to data on activity and sharing. Some fuel for the debate: Google Plus – “It’s Really Popular Vs It’s A Ghost Town.”
When’s the last time you checked your G+?

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13 Subversive Questions for the Classroom

» 23 July 2012 » In Commentary, Reflection, Teachers » 16 Comments

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As a teacher you get to reinvent yourselves every year, but if you want to change schools everything is conspiring against you. Here’s some reflective questions that will help you subvert the status quo in your classroom. Let’s begin with, If a question has a correct answer, is it worth asking?

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Join Us at edCampPDX – Portland, Ore Aug 2

» 10 July 2012 » In Events, PD, Teachers » No Comments

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Calling all teachers, instructional technologists, IT Directors, Principals, Admins and Teacher Librarians who live in the NW. Join us at Oregon Episcopal School on *Thursday, August 2nd from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. for our fourth edcampPDX.

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How to Market Yourself Online? Freely Share Quality Content

» 12 February 2012 » In Commentary, How To, Publishing, Social Web » 2 Comments

content is everything featured

A how to for growing an audience for your thinking and my response to the question “If you could use only one method to market yourself online, what would do?”

It begins with freely sharing quality content. I use the Creative Commons BY-NC 3.0 license. Use it, share it, remix it. Just tell people where you got it, and don’t try and sell it. Remember, as the price of commodity drops, consumption increases. I include tips for using URL shorteners, hashtags and blog comments to drive traffic back to your site.

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Free Webinar on Higher Order Thinking – the Student Perspective

» 26 January 2012 » In Ed Tech, Events, PD, Presentations, Web 2.0 » No Comments

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One of this year’s resolutions was to begin offering webinars. (not that I don’t enjoy airports) I recently completed my first pilot (description below) and I’m looking for three school sites who would like to try a free pilot webinar and offer me some feedback.

I think professional development should model what we want to see in the classroom. So I’d like to start with an 45-minute experiential webinar called: “Higher-order thinking skills (HOTS) – What’s that look like in the classroom?” We’ll watch a few short video clips, do a few activities to model instruction at different levels of Blooms and then reflect on the experience.

Find out more and submit a request for free webinar. I will select from requests that demonstrate you’ll be easy to work with!

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Join Portland Educators at edCampPDX – February 4, 2012

» 19 January 2012 » In Events, PD, Teachers » No Comments

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Calling all educators from the Pacific NW. Join us in Portland on February 4, for the third edcampPDX – free, democratic, participant-driven professional development. It’s an unconference built on collaboration and dialogue, not keynotes. As one participant from a past edcamp tweeted “#EdcampPDX what an incredible day! I’m ready for September.”

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Rigor, Relevance, and Project Based Learning

» 06 November 2011 » In How To, Presentations, Strategies, Visualizations » No Comments

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Your students explore their world with an expectation of choice and control that redefines traditional notions of learning and literacy. Increasingly educators are discovering that they can motivate students with a PBL approach that engages their students with the opportunity to think like professionals while solving real-world problems. This workshop gives participants the why, what, and how (to get started) of PBL. Includes my resources and notes for my day-long workshop at SW Wisconsin Business and Education Summit.

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