Thursday, December 19, 2013

Digital Drawing Tools

There are a myriad of digital drawing apps, especially on Smart phones and tablets. I remember getting the one of the first of them - Doodle Buddy - for my son's iPod more than five years back when he was seven. That tool is still actively being used in classrooms for showing Math work, just doodling, creating title pages for the iPad iMovie app, and many more creative ways. I have since bought him drawing apps for his iPad as he really gets into it. When his obsession with Minecraft was at its peak, he would draw detailed Minecraft characters and scenes using plain paper and pencil and on digital devices, mostly the iPad.

In the classroom, I have seen students who would hate to draw on paper, using Google docs drawing to draw detailed visualizations of story characters, scenes, their hobbies and passions, and more, no matter how long it takes them, continuing their work at home. Students love the choice of drawing in any form. As long as they get the creative medium they are comfortable with.

Recently, my now twelve year old son asked me to buy him Pixen on his Mac. This is a pixel art editor. Following is what he came up with:

He would not have been as focussed, engaged, creative or so detailed if it was a paper medium. Give your students the choice to engage with those creative mediums.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Google Glass

And so it was, because of my twitter buddy, co ed-tech passionate educator (he is way out there though), Robert Pronovost, that I got referred to for Google GLASS. I thought it would be the coolest thing to try out. Once I said yes, I began thinking of all these ideas in my head as to how I could go about using it. 

My appointment was set for almost two weeks after I first responded to Robert. I could have opted to have the GLASS shipped but figured I might as well have an expert tell me all about it. The appointment was set for a Friday at 4 p.m. Knowing that traffic into San Francisco might be terrible at that time, I left between 2:45 and 3 from Palo Alto. Right before I entered the city, I hit a road block. 

It took forever to cross from the freeway to even the first signal. I then called Google Support which was the only number I had, to let them know that I would be late. The person said he would inform the GLASS office. I then struggled to find parking. It was a fair walk from the parking lot to the GLASS office. The first thing that struck me was that it was in a really grand building. There was a security person when you entered. I started saying - I have an appointment - and he immediately piped up - "For GLASS?" I nodded and he gave me the directions to the fifth floor. 

When you got out of the elevator, you could feel the energy around. One person asked me if I wanted something to drink, another asked me something else; basically, the place is teeming with service. I loved the layout of the office - lots of open space, lots of glass overlooking the bay, particularly a beautiful view of the Bay Bridge, which is now lit up at night. 

It turned out that the person giving me the orientation has a teacher mom and/or dad so was more than aware of how things might work in a classroom. As he was giving me the rundown and linking to my account, etc, the sun had started to set, giving us a beautiful image in front. My photography self took over (I have had a life-long passion for photography) and I asked to step out to take a picture. The first time around taking a photo was a really cool feeling that it was so simple and yet got a beautiful image. 

Oh, and I must say something about the bag before I end this blog post. The bag itself is a beauty. My trainer said they had protective bags for "The Bag" because the bags are so well made and fancy. There is a pair of shades so people can't tell where you are looking when you take a picture. Also, he said I was lucky to be with a batch of people who got their brand new earbud. The charger comes in a dual shade of black and white, so looks fancier too.

Happy "GLASS"ing...