The Reflector App from Ms K

Linda, Learning Technologies Mentor for the VSB, tries out the Reflector App (10 minute trial mode).  The Reflector App is a good alternative to Apple TV.  It AirPlay mirrors (wirelessly) your iPad2 (or newer), iPhone 4S (or newer) and the iPad mini onto your PC or Mac computer.

During my trial, I AirPlayed to my district Macbook Air.

Some things to consider:

  • does screen casting too.  It brings in system audio from the iPad and records in .mov format
  • not applicable for Android or Windows devices
  • depends on stable WiFi connection
  • both computer and iOS device must be on same network to communicate
  • both devices need to be using the same WiFi access point as well
  • school IT may need to allow TCP ports (see site for specs) to be open to communicate
  • $12.99 for single user license (Feb 2013)
  • $54.99 for 5 seat license (Feb 2013)


I found the Reflector App very easy to use.  Once you’ve gone through the process of getting the application on your computer, all you have to do is:

  1. Double-click the Home button on the iOS device.
  2. Access your AirPlay by scrolling the bottom apps to the right until you see the AirPlay pop-up.  Turn on Mirroring
  3. Your iPad (screen and frame) will show up on your computer now.
  4. Hook up your computer to your LCD projector and now  you can walk around your classroom and show content from your iPad on the projector.
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“To This Day” Anti-Bullying Day Video by Shane Koyczan

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Dell XPS Duo 12 Ultrabook: Tech review

20130209-102620.jpgHi y’all,

I just realized yesterday that my personal iPhone5’s storage is full! Full of video clips of things my students are doing in class and especially video clips of my tech reviews. The phone is very new. I got it around Christmas time.

A problem I encountered…I have no means of supporting the iPhone5 while I’m filming. I film by myself on my kitchen island where there’s okay light. The island is high enough but oh pain…I had to jury rig my phone on a tall tupperware container and tape it on an iPad stand that is designed for the old 30pin dongle. I am loathe to go buy a proper stand because I’m cheap (and I actually don’t film much other than these podcasts for this district job.)

Then, during playback of the clips, I realized that I wasn’t capturing the entire screen of the Dell in my video. Double pain! I had to return the demo model that afternoon so I just sucked it up and went ahead and made the clips into an iMovie and posted it on Vimeo. So I apologize profusely for the horrible video. At least near the end you can see my Review in the last frame. I outline the Pros and Cons from my perspective.

It took me 9 tries to upload the video from my iPhone5. I kept getting this pop-up on the phone that said “Failed to upload” (what?) and so I tried Youtube and it failed to upload several times again. Finally around 1a.m. for some reason, it stuck and went all the way through the rendering and uploading process. I had fallen asleep anyway and had given up. Maybe it’s like a watched pot boiling. I don’t know.

I definitely need a better method of creating podcasts. I think I need to find me a pocket camcorder (LIT, you have one to lend me?) so I can whip it out and record at any time separately from all my iPhone stuff. Now that I have a Macbook Air to try out, I can use the full version of iMovie on the computer; whereas before I had the crappy iPad version or iPhone version to make do with. Let me tell you: it is no fun creating a video on your iPhone. No fun at all. It’s so tiny and hard to see the clips.

However, now I know how to edit and create a video and upload it solely from my one device, the iPhone. It’s doable but not much fun. It was difficult telling all the clips apart because they were so tiny and besides this, you can’t dub at all.

I am going up to Whistler with my iPhone and hope to take pics of my girls skiing this long weekend but I am worrying maybe I don’t have any more storage left on my phone for the pics. I am going to delete some clips and hopefully don’t delete the ones I was saving for another podcast.

I’d like to thank Chris at Dell and VSB LIT for loaning the XPS Duo12 for review.   Here’s a link to the Canadian Dell site for techie specs and exact prices.

Dell XPS Duo12 Ultrabook from Ms K on Vimeo.


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“WiFi’s coming, so get used to it!”

I have compiled a (hopefully) useful resource for teachers who will increasingly encounter student personal devices in their classrooms. WiFi is coming to our building soon (not soon enough?) so here are several things to consider to make your transition to a wired environment more enjoyable. Instead of trying to prevent our learners from bringing their personal devices into our classrooms, we will take a pro-active approach and encourage mindful use of technologies when they promote learning and make lessons more engaging.


1. DO: Set clear expectations early in the year. A good idea might be to include this in your course outline. Reinforce expectations throughout the year as you would any other behaviour as the need arises. Individual teachers will have varying expectations regarding devices in their classroom and the students are expected to adapt to these expectations as they move from one teacher to the next during the day. Do discuss appropriate and inappropriate behaviour at the outset.

Tip#1: At the beginning of class, have students place their devices (phones, e-readers, ipods, laptops and tablet) in front of them, face-down on their desk. Expectations are that the ringers are turned off and that they are not to play games in class at any time. During lectures and presentations, the devices stay in this position.

2. DO: Take advantage of the fact that the students are willing to bring their own devices. See it as another learning resource. Engage your learners by having them use the devices for learning.

Tip#2: Many mobile devices have video and camera capabilities. Use the devices to record video and images and to create skits for class; to create slideshows (PechaKuchas!) to show their learning.

3. DO: Save paper and instructional time by allowing the students to use the devices to record information or research.

Tip#3: Run out of handouts? Student forgot their handout at home? Or don’t want to run off handouts? Grab your copy, ask the student to bring out their device and take a picture of it. It’s fast and easy. They can annotate the handout in an app if they make it into a pdf (eg. Camscanner & Notability apps)

4. DO: Use the devices to share and collaborate; engaging your learners to publish their work (let them take pics of their work and Tweet it @uhillsecondary, #uhillsec)

Tip#4: Google Docs: students can share documents (group work!), and annotate documents in the clouds (they need a gmail account) and can access the work through their personal devices. Teachers can collect work paperlessly and “mark” up the docs (and maintain a digital copy). Students cannot peek at their peers’ marks and ask “what did you get?” because everything is privately done through gmail and docs.

5. DO: Have fun with them. Review for tests, brainstorm in mindmapping apps, engage through games, polls and useful apps.

Tip#5: Use the students’ personal devices to take quizzes and polls in real time. All the data can be either sent to you via your email account or it can be formative; an exit ticket. (Students sign into your Socrative virtual “classroom” [socrative.com] accessed by computer or across devices that can access the internet). Polls provide immediate feedback about learning to the teacher and are an anonymous and efficient AFL strategy

6. DO: Allow students to use their devices to support their learning style

Tip#6: Students with written output issues can record important lectures and take “notes” by recording segments of the discussion through their device. There are speech-to-text and text-to-speech apps out there for this.

7. DO: Contact your VSB Learning Technologies Team (I’m here for you!) should you need more support and ideas. We’ll help make it work for you.

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Engaging Our Learners with Blogs and Wikis from Ms K on Vimeo.

Linda, Learning Technologies Mentor for the Vancouver School Board, discusses the power of wikis and blogs for engaging students and promoting lifelong learning

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Creating Claymation Stop Animation videos with iPads

Students in Ceramics 9-12 class used plasticine and wire to create claymation figures.  They made their own backdrops and photographed the figurines using Stop Animation techniques and Digital SLRs.  Then, they used the iMovie app on iPads to create video and add music.  Scroll down to see the How-To

Step 1:  Create the Claymation Backdrop

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Step 2:  Create the Claymation Figures with plasticene & wire

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Step 3:  Take pictures using Stop Animation techniques

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NB: the iPads can be used to take pictures (an easier method); in this class, the students used digital SLR’s and transferred the pictures to the iPads

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Step 4: Transfer the pics to the iMovie app on the iPad
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Step 5:  in the iMovie app, add music, titles, and edit the video &

Step 6:  share by exporting from iMovie to Youtube or to Camera Roll
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Linda, VSB Learning Technologies Mentor, goes through the Quick Start Guide for the Magic Cube Infrared Keyboard and reviews the tech toy for Teacher and Student use. Opinions are her own.
Nov 2012 price for the Celluon Infrared Magic Cube Keyboard and Mouse ~$140 from amazon.com

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