Back in the good old days of my very early teaching career, I had this wild idea that teachers could digitise text from worksheets and link them to a Word Document via the hyperlink option. Students could click on the links and get their work in electronic format. For my master plan to work I needed something to change our grubby old photocopied thousands of times worksheets from 1982 (you know the ones) into digital, editable text. I found a cool program called AABBY Finereader which did exactly that. Several years later, AABBY and I have reunited, although this time their scanner app FineScanner is getting the once over.
I do love an app which streamlines my life and de-clutters it from the hell which is otherwise known as paper, and my current weapon of choice in this crusade is Scanner Pro by Readdle. I was interested to see how AABBY’s FineScanner would stack up against it, given that AABBY have a long and distinguished history in converting paper to digital. [click to continue reading…]
Speaky is an app which highlights why the iPad is so cool. Very simply, all the app does is read webpages and text to you. However, the way the app is designed, makes the whole process completely streamlined.
I am a big fan of apps which help workflow and make your life easier, and Speaky is one of those apps. Here is the process: [click to continue reading…]
I love the iPad. Especially when I can palm it off to my daughter at 7am on a Saturday morning to catch a few more moments of shut eye before I have to face the day. However, in the back of my sleep fuddled mind, I’m worrying. What if she stumbles upon a scene from RoboCop (the original) on YouTube? What if she finds Infinity Blade? What if she downloads ‘Lady Chatterly’s Lover’ on iBooks (the horror!).
As anyone will know, unfiltered, unrestricted access to the internet and other features of the iPad is not a good idea for children of a variety of ages. Thankfully, the iPad makes it easy for us, as parents to take the lead in securing the device, whilst still keeping it functional for our children. There is also no need to tinker around under the hood of your router. [click to continue reading…]
Do you remember Clippy? He was a chipper guy, who when I first saw him in Windows as a spotty teen I thought “that’s cool, an interactive comic character who will help me use Office 97!”. Clippy was great, and then 2 minutes later I learned how to use Office properly and he quickly became annoying. I suspect his intention was to educate us in a fun and interesting way about Office 97 in those pre-web 2.0 days. Great idea, but we didn’t actually use it in practice.
This is how I feel about Tocomail. Great idea that works, but it fills a niche that probably doesn’t need to be filled. Tocomail is an interesting concept. It’s positioned as an app with e-safety at it’s heart by providing a controlled environment for children from the age of 5 to have their own email account. Signing up for a Tocomail account will give you as a parent the ability to set up an email account for your children. You can populate the address book with safe contacts, for example your family and friends, and your children can email these people from directly within the app.
The way the app is set up means that your child can only email these contacts and no one else. Likewise, only the people on the contacts list can email the child’s Tocomail account. If an email comes from an address not on the contact list then the email is put into a catch all account which the parent can log on and inspect, rather than going to the child’s inbox. Setup is easy enough. You as a parent have to create an account with Tocomail, and then you can create an email address for your child (ending in @tocomail.com). You can set up multiple accounts for different children in the same app and switch between them. You then have two user interface options, both of which have a couple of differences.
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Let’s be honest, sometimes it can look a bit weird to the uninitiated outsider when they see you magically waving your fingers in different ways all over your shiny iPad (things look even weirder if you start talking to it via Siri too). However, from a user’s point of view, gestures on the iPad can really speed things up on a productivity level. Here is a guide to all of the major gestures in iOS 7. Practice makes perfect here and the more you use these gestures, the more you will find yourself flying through your iPad.
The five fingered grab
If you are in an app and you want to get back to the home screen quickly, put all five fingers on the screen and ‘grab’ your fingers together to a point. Graphically, you will see the app shrink and then disappear into the home screen.
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