I drove over to Burnley on Wednesday to attend a MoLeNET training event that was designed to show us what an iPhone could do in the teaching and learning environment. I sort of feel OK with the iPhone now and what it can do – despite much earlier reservations [see below], but I don’t think that you can ever know everything – which the day proved.
Elaine Coates and Mick Mullane were the presenters and they started with a very simple overview of how the various bits worked – that sounds simple but even regular iPhone users miss some of the functions – as might be seen on this address I shared with Mick (for the day’s blog). We moved on to the inbuilt features such a clock, alarm, calendar etc but then Mick took over to introduce his favourite features; maps and compass. We spend quite some time investigating those features and at lunchtime we set off in search of a near-by GeoCache. Because of the biting cold (is it really May?) I didn’t stay outside for the ‘find’ but I did make a find of my own – 2p -!!
The most interesting bit for me was discussion of our favourite Apps and how we might use them. With so many people in the room, it was hard to keep up with them all – but ones I remember and/or download there and then were (top four are all FREE):
- Mental Note http://appshopper.com/productivity/mental-note-lite Which looks like the indigenous Notes facility, but allows images to be added, drawing to be added, audio to be recorded as part of the note (be careful when emailed, this comes as an extra attachment)
- Layar http://site.layar.com/company/blog/layar-is-back-on-iphone/ Which is a great way of seeing what’s around you when you’re out and about. A stab at AR. With local points of interest, near-by Tweeters and maps – it could be a fun way of meeting new friends, finding new places or simply being a geek.
- GeoCaching http://www.geocaching.com/iphone/ The ‘lite’ version of which we used at lunchtime. This (and Layar) is something I could see being used with students on location and awareness projects. I may even have a go at a bit of GeoCaching now.
- ZBar http://zbar.sourceforge.net/ Our discussion had moved on to QR codes and many said that the iPhone really wasn’t the best for reading them – but ZBar has been great for me works every time (fingers crossed)
Of course, there are other Apps I regularly use and the best of these are:
- SpeakIt http://appshopper.com/utilities/say-it (£1.19) is a great way of vocalising text on the iPhone. Cut and Paste (or type) text into the window and it will read it back to you in one of several voices. Resulting file can be emailed!
- TuneIn Radio http://www.tunein-radio.com/index.html (£1.19) Radio The iPhone doesn’t have a built-in radio and chasing a channel via Safari isn’t the best or mist convenient way to listen. When you get fed up of your MP3s – TuneIn.
- Tube Exits http://www.tubeexits.co.uk/ (59p) If you’re travelling in London, Tube Exits is a must. It helps you to plan a route from A > B > C etc. but then tells you where to stand to get on a tube train to more easily find the exit at your destination. Just knowing which side the door opens is a great boon to me.
- Quick News http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/quick-news-uk-free/id316696944?mt=8 (Free) is a great way of keeping up to date with snippets of news. You can choose from a huge variety of sources such as the BBC; digg; The Guardian; The Mirror; The Times and Metro (many more) – so you are not tied to just one opinion.
Plus – many, many more …
We also had a great overview of the Accessibility features on the iPhone from Luke, an Apple employee. This was much more in-depth than the presentation I saw in December and thoroughly engaging. Thank you Luke. Mick was kind enough to mention the work i had done on this too. See previous Eduvel post for links: https://eduvel.wordpress.com/2010/01/04/iphone-3gs-accessibility/
The most enjoyable bit of the day, as always, was meeting old friends and colleagues such as Mick and Elaine, John Whalley (another MoLeNET Mentor), Geoff Foot, Jo Crumblehome, Ronan O’Bierne – as well as those I’ve just met this year: Jason from the Sheffield Academy and Adam from the Ashton under Lyme Academy. Thanks to everyone for making this such a great day.
Some of the following (previous) postings about the iPhone (include Podcasts):