How to use Google Drive offline

Google released a new Google Drive interface a few days ago. Google Drive, when enabled, allow you to access , create and edit your Google docs and presentations offline. I find it useful when I need to get access to my documents where no Internet is available.

The offline function is only available in Chrome browsers. Follow these steps to enable the offline function.

  • Open Chrome browser
  • Check the box next to
  • Choose Drive

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  • Click on the gear icon (far right)

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  • Click on settings
  • Check the box next to Offline to sync Google Docs, pages, etc to be edited offline as well
  • Turn off wifi
  • Click on document you want to edit and it opens in the chrome browser
  • When you are connected to the Internet, the files will sync automatically.

 

3 Nano technology innovations I can do with

Nano-technology is amazing. After watching this video, I think I love the spray on clothing the most!

A)  Ultra-ever dry (0:00-4:03)

Sprays on anything to protect it from being damaged by accidental water, oil, mud and even concrete spillage.

B)  Spray on material (see minute 4:05).

The material can be washed and worn again, but it can also be dissolved to create a new clothing.

C)  Liquipel (5:33)

Protects cellular phones from accidental water damage.

Mac desktops found their voices

Siri, the 5-year old intelligent assistant of Apple mobile devices is now also available on Mac desktops since she is part of the new macOS 10.12 Sierra operating system introduced on the 20th of September 2016 and offer features designed exclusively for desktops.

Siri, the intelligent assistant, includes all favourite features and new ones designed for Mac desktops:

  • send messages
  • create reminders
  • search the web and more while you work
  • drag and drop or copy and paste Siri results
  • pin Siri results in notification centre and reference later
  • find files
  • adjust settings
  • get system information by asking Siri.

Copy and paste between devices near each other with universal clipboard. Copy a quote, image and video from an app on one device and paste it into an app on another device.

Drag and drop search results into emails, messages and notes

Pin results where you can find it, right in the notification centre, where it stays up to date. Just click + to pin results to today’s view, where it stays up to date.

Apple watch: log automatically into my Mac by wearing my Watch.

Use iCloud Drive to get access to files on Mac desktop from iPhone. Store and update files on desktop and in Documents automatically in iCloud Drive and access on any of your iOS devices and even another Mac.

Apple pay in Safari makes it faster, easier and more secure to pay on the web since you can check out without providing your credit card details. Complete the transaction by Touch Id or double-clicking the side button on the Apple Watch.

Optimized storage since Sierra automatically stores files rarely used in iCloud. Store files in the cloud until you need them. This feature includes the following:

  • remind you to delete used app installers
  • clears out duplicate downloads, caches, logs, and unnecessary stuff
  • ind and delete large apps and files and ones not used
  • delete files that have been in the trash for 30 days

Rediscover memories, and turn them into memories, including:

  • new technologies for powerful face recognition
  • display all photos on interactive world map, zoom in and out to see where the shot was taken
  • search photos by objects and scenery in them
  • memories automatically creates slide shows and sharable collections of best photos, based on people, places, holidays, and more
  • find photos of beach, sunset, birthday cake, etc.
  • sort photos based on face recognition

Improved messages to express yourself in new ways, including:

  • huge emojis
  • respond with heart of thumbs-up
  • play videos in conversation
  • preview links in the conversation

iTunes makes is easier to find favorite songs and discovering new ones. For you makes it easier to:

  • discover new music and playlists Apple think we would love
  • new browse function – new releases, exclusives, playlists, top charts
  • view lyrics while listening to refined mini player

Tabs works same as in safari, but now in most of the apps. It allows for example to:

  • breeze between multiple page documents in full screen mode
  • look at various destinations in maps

Picture in Picture allows you to float a video window from Safari and iTunes over desktop or full screen app, his allows you to:

  • play a video in the corner of the desktop, resize it and see what is behind while you catch up on email
  • or to watch a game while you are busy with something else

Questions to ask Siri:

  • Show all PDFs in my downloads folder
  • How much free space do I have on my mac?
  • Play the top 40 jazz songs
  • What’s the weather like in Barberton?
  • Add Laura to my 10AM meeting
  • How do I spell broccoli?
  • Find photos I took at home
  • What is the time in Cape Town?
  • Show me all files I have shared with Karen last week
  • Find tweets from Paul
  • FaceTime Jane
  • Get information about Cape Town
  • Search the web for images of Cape Town

I am an Apple fan, therefore I do love the new MacOS Sierra. Now I have a reason to learn to use Siri more effectively! For more ideas, watch Help!

 

Best dictation software for desktops

Voice dictation allows you to record your ideas hands-free. I was kind of forced to try this out after being teased about typo’s when I am answering a Whatsapp, sms, or email on my phone. The small buttons are so frustrating, yet I have only decided to test voice dictation after somebody told me yesterday that Windows computers are the best, and that he has used Dragon NaturallySpeaking the past ten years. according to him he never have to touch his keyboard, Dragon allows him to control his computer hands-free, performing any task from typing Word documents to adding numbers in Excel spread sheets.

Although Dragon seems to be a perfect match, it is most expensive. I have a Mac desk top, Mac Air and a Windows computer. To be able to use Dragon on my devices, I would have to pay a lot of money. I realised that I have heard somewhere that Windows and Mac do offer speech recognition (dictation) functions, therefore, I have decided to do some research.

Esposito (2016) evaluated dozens of dictation apps and tested them for comprehension, accuracy, and ease of use to select the top four dictation tools for desktops (see Table).

=wptg_comparison_table id="2"

Interactive animal cells

I came across a website where students can learn in an interactive way about animal cells.

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You can add the labels for immediate feedback. The labels only attaches when it is correctly labeled.

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Or you can take the quiz to be rewarded. If all questions are answered correctly, the student can see how a cell divides! If the answers are wrong, students can go to the tutorial. You hover over a part of the cell to read more about the functions of a ribosome, etc.

I love this interactive game. Students can learn individually, in groups or it can be used as a class project for teaching and revision purposes.

 

 

 

 

Create own maps

Mapbuilder is a useful tool to create own maps.

First, you select a map.

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After selecting a map, various tools are available to create a map that suits your needs.

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You can create labels and change the colours.

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You can create beautiful maps with a few clicks and save or print them.

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I love this tool! Students can use it as well!

Reading a Map

Reading a Map is an interactive website developed by the National Park Service of America.

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When you click on Let’s Go!, it shows a photograph of a park. In the following slides, an aerial photograph is shown, then a Topographic map. Students are prompted to interact with the map to identify three hills, feedback is provided and the Topographic map is linked with the photograph provided in the first slide to allow students to understand the link between map work and reality.

I do not want to provide more information, I believe Geography teachers and students will find this interactive tool valuable. Students can click on buttons to Watch Again, a feature that can enhance learning.

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Terminology covered include: direction, scale, legend, and choosing best routes to the top of a hill. It might be on elementary school level, but I believe secondary school learners can also benefit from it since map elements are described, illustrated and then they are involved through interactive exercises to provide a learning experience they can repeat before writing tests and examinations.

Hangout on Air discontinued on 12th of September 2016

Google’s Hangout on Air discontinued on the 12th of September 2016. Users have to use Youtube Live to handle their live streaming needs. It is much easier to start a live steaming via Youtube Live.

You still have two options, namely to:

  • start streaming immediately or
  • create an event and invite an audience before streaming.

The chat feature is still available, but the following features are no longer available:

  • questions and answers
  • showcasing
  • applause

Users of Hangouts on Air will still have access to content created before, but the link will be in read-only format in the Activity Log. The recorded events are still available on YouTube.

Google created Hangout in 2011, and Hangout on Air the following year (2012). When YouTube Live rolled out live streaming in 2013, live streaming found a more natural fit under YouTube’s wings. Instead of competing with YouTube, Google discontinued Hangouts on Air in favour of Youtube Live.

Meaningful integration of eportfolios in distance education.

I have asked one of my students to create a video, reflecting on her eportfolio.

Based on Vicki’s reflection on her eportfolio, eportfolios are high impact educational practices. In July 2016, eportfolios were added as an 11th high impact practice recognised by the American Association of Colleges and Universities. However, not all eportfolios can be regarded as high-impact practices. I have developed the following learning-oriented framework for integrating eportfolios in a post-graduation module in distance education (see Figure).

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The framework is described in two recently published papers, namely:

van Staden, C.J. 2016. ‘n Leergeoriënteerde raamwerk vir eportefeuljeontwikkeling in afstandonderwys. Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif vir Natuurwetenskap en Tegnologie, 35(1), online version.

Van Staden, C.J. 2016. A learning-oriented framework for integrating eportfolios in a post-graduate module in distance education. AAEEBL ePortfolio Review, volume 1(1), pp. 36-52.

ePortfolios in ODeL settings

During my year at Unisa as post-doctoral fellow, I was asked to assist with one of the post-graduate modules until a new lecturer could be appointed since the previous lecturer passed away. This temporarily arrangement took up 10 months of the year.
During that time, I was responsible for the 2014 group, who wrote formal examinations, and the implementation of eportfolios (2015 cohort).

I have designed a Learning-oriented approach to integrate eportfolios into the curriculum and guided the students through the first five months of the year. The new lecturer took over end of May 2015. I believed it would be a mammoth task in distance education, therefore I created various extra learning opportunities.

I did not complete the journey formally, but informally I have acted as mentor for the students who contacted me for assistance and guidance until final submission. After graduation, one student shared her eportfolios with me and it was heart warming to see how the framework guided her towards compiling an eportfolio that can be regarded as a high impact practice. So, I have asked her to make a video-clip taking us through with her while she reflects on her eportfolio. In the email she wrote:

I hope it doesn’t sound boastful, but I feel proud of my portfolio. Last year, I was a bit tired of everything by the end. But after looking at it with fresh eyes, I can see that I came a long way. My first assignments were a lot weaker than the improved versions. I don’t think about old essays as much once they’re done, but with the eportfolio I reflect, revise, and improve at every step.

After watching the video, I realised that this amazing learning journey need to be shared. That open distance higher education can take a leading role in higher education if our graduates can walk away like this student. No examination can do justice to the learning that happened while she compiled her eportfolio. I love her closing remarks.