Texting and driving doesn’t work

Well over a million people  world wide are victims of mobile phone misuse in traffic. Snapchat can be one of the biggest traps these days for people to text and drive. The “snaps” are quick and people are compelled to react to them. The message still has not got through about mobile phones and driving. Why? Plenty of people have been hurt. Too many people have been killed or seriously injured. The police and emergency services are over removing mobile phones from the hands of a deceased person behind a wheel. Nothing sadder when the phone is active and the person is not. YouTube is now full of videos of people using mobile phones and driving. There are personal videos, police videos and advertising designed to stop people indulging this destructive habit. It’s like people cannot understand it’s dangerous. It’s their mobile phone. It rises above all. It conquers all. It is invincible. There are people , like the instructors in this Belgian driving school, who are trying hard to help people break these stuck thoughts about mobile phones. It really is important to clearly demonstrate why this is dangerous and how it is because people just are not getting it. Technology has given us mobile phones but it has also given us the avenues for constantly re educating people about good uses of mobile technology as opposed to dangerous ones. 

Blue Mail for Android

Yesterday I downloaded and installed the free  Blue Mail app as an email client on my  Android phone. Until now I haven’t needed an email client. Why do I need one now? I have mail notifications I need to keep up with and prioritise. I don’t want to spend my time on my desktop trawling through emails and then decided which ones I need to respond to. Using my phone means I can respond straight away and quickly if I need to or just read and delete. It’s about getting the updates I need and quickly dismissing what I don’t need. Blue Mail installed quickly on my phone and picked up the email address I wanted effectively. it is then very easy to use and manage. YouTube has plenty of training clips if you want to be able to use all the functions properly and if you want to run multiple email accounts from email. At this stage I haven’t organised the multiple accounts. I need to get used to the app first. The is a review of Blue Mail on techrounder  and it really has had some good reviews. There is also a technical review as to why someone decided to forgo Blue Mail. It was written in 2014, updated in 2015,  and so, by now, perhaps the issue might be resolved. You can read a copy of Blue Mail’s privacy statement.  At this stage I have had no issues and the advantages have been immediate.

Right age for a mobile phone

This is hard. I was at a meeting the other day and one of the people was saying a six year old in his family wanted a mobile phone for Christmas. Wanting and having are two different things. The family decision was no. We were talking about it , though, and it is a hard decision for parents to make these days. The everyone else has one argument has been there forever no matter what the item. It’s not a reason to give someone something. Mobile phones can be costly, they can open a child up to the internet, they can open a child up to cyber bullying, media images and content. it seems to me safety is one of the strongest reasons for a child to have a mobile phone , that and the convenience of communication when parents have to run around meeting work commitments and then family commitments. As we talked we more or less came to the consensus that upper primary was probably okay – 12/13 years of age. It really does depend on the child and family. Commonsensemedia has a series of questions you can ask which might help you decide. Parenting has a rational discussion about it with some helpful things which can be considered. Canstarblue also has some important points for consideration. Ownfone puts the risks in a nutshell for you because that is the thing which is the deciding factor…do the benefits outweigh the risks?

Using technology in the real world

Technology use in the real world is quite different from school based use. For a start, the real world uses phones and phone apps far more frequently. Phones are used for messaging reminders, information, keeping in business contact, company and govt apps, calendars, reminders, QR codes and video calling. The real world uses QR codes a lot to get information out. The real world also engages more regularly with social media. Facebook pages, Instagram and Twitter are used to provide a point of contact, sometimes to create discussions and information sharing and to create real ties with people of similar interest or regional location. The real world documents their activities more with photos which are shared and ideas which are shared. You get to see work places, discussion groups, activities, ideas generation. Through social media you engage more dynamically with a business , organisation or key individual. Individuals will use their phones for information checking, sharing photos and ideas with you: show and tell. They will use their phone to put in reminders or check their calendar. They will show you how they manage their phone and the sorts of things they use it for. Some use it to make videos which they share on YouTube or Instagram. They might be tourist videos but more often than not they are instructional videos or videos of their pets. Phones can also be used to navigate exhibitions and to get local information. Phones play a significant role in documenting daily life and routines.  Laptops are used to get work done. I have seen people on the train studying power points, writing scripts for essays or tutorials, doing spreadsheets or studying notes. Laptops are noticeably the work horses of the real world. Tablets tend to be for games, videos and video calling. Some people do that on their phones but tablets by and large seem to be the device of choice for video calling especially for older people. There are fewer people who bang on on the mobile phone incessantly and loudly in public. It tends to be more discreet these days and often phones are not visible in meetings or restaurants at all. They come out when someone wants to share information or put in a diary date or check an appointment. White boards have a limited use in the real world and different from in a classroom. In classrooms their use is multipurpose, multifunction and multifaceted. In the real world they show someone else’s laptop and you go through their files as a group. From that point of view they are used collaboratively. You are all looking at something and it is being changed in real time as the discussions ensue. It’s actually a satisfying use of IWB in a meeting. In the other group I attend the IWB is used for Power Point displays, videos and group work questions. It’s good and it works but a white board can do so much more. In the real world I use my phone so much more. Everywhere I go there are things I can do with my phone either to get information or to share it.  For one of my groups I take pictures for Instagram and my blogs. They have brought me in contact with so many people in the region and local businesses. Organisations also use email a lot to get out information, enhance information, supply useful links, create discussions and offer support. That use of emails is very helpful and positive. It is quite effective for deepening discussions and the emails which come with follow up ideas and information help create a very positive atmosphere. The last thing which is all the go in the real world are very classy, cool desktops with gadgets. The minimal  design emphasis is obvious and the clean, clear layouts and arrangements are striking. Pleased to add that my retro desktop has proven to be popular!

History apps

Titanic There are some really good histoy apps around for iOS. Some of them may well have Android versions if you check. HistoryApps has a number of freed educational history apps which seem to be for younger children or those young at heart. TechRadar recommends apps for an older age group but most of them seem to be paid apps. There are two free ones , though, which are well endorsed: National Geographic’s Titanic and Streetmuseum’s Londinium. Timeline Eons is another really good free app for history. eLearningIndustry has free apps for teaching American history.

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