Keep IT knowledge up to date

wizard installs softwareAs I have mentioned before on this blog, the internet shifts about every six months and you have to make some functional and cognitive adjustments to realign yourself with it. It’s not doing that to be difficult. IT is developing at a rapid rate and our skills and knowledge are growing at an exponential rate. Keeping up with the trends is as simple as staying connected with good sites which bring you the up to date news. You won’t want to know all of it and you won’t be able to take it all in. You will know what is happening, though, and you will find things which you immediately connect with. Better Cloud is a site I like to visit and I subscribe to their daily email. I do want to know how to keep Google secure and you might want to know how to explain IT developments and changes to non IT people. There is at least one thing every day which is of value to me…even if it’s just looking at the memes they put up from time to time. One of the acronyms you find frequently on the site is SaaS = software as service. We have the hardware. Big developments and improvements are being made in how software looks, functions and delivers. Much of that it to do with subscription services and hosting 3rd party software elsewhere but you pay to subscribe or sometimes there’s a free and then a premium version. It’s where the cloud services are gaining traction and becoming more important.

Mobile Phone WhiteBoard app

WhiteBoard app4DSoftTech has a free WhiteBoard app which is so easy to use on a mobile phone. I would not even have considered a WhiteBoard app as an option on my phone but this one has good functionality and is easy to use.KidsBoard I actually like the KidsBoard. I think it is wrongly named! I use this aspect of WhiteBoard a lot because there are so many good features if you want to put something together. The WhiteBoard site explains very clearly what it can do and gives some good visual information as well. It is exclusively an Android app at this stage. There are other apps on their site you might like to investigate.

Graphical Input Language software system (GRAIL)

GRAIL

Curvature

Were it not for Jack Schaedler’s article Back to the Future of Handwriting Recognition I’d still be living in ignorance. For a start I was unaware it was the 50th anniversary of handwriting recognition software and then it did not ever occur to me that it is all about data points, co-ordinates and mathematics. I had never asked myself the question, “How exactly does a digital device replicate drawing and handwriting? “

This recognition scheme meets its primary objective of enabling any user to communicate naturally with a computer. A user is not distracted by any operational mechanics but, rather, may concentrate on [their] problem.”

– Gabriel Groner (1966)

Exactly. I have just used the drawing functions on a device. Yet understanding them is a wonderful insight into a practical and seemingly necessary part of our modern lives. We like to use digital devices for drawing and handwriting. Jack Schaedler does more than make a good case for it. He explains the mathematics, the processes and the logic behind how a device recognizes and creates writing. The webpage itself is a good learning tool because it enables you to interact with it , see what happens, change what you are doing and see again. It’s applied mathematics and it demonstrates very ably how valuable and important cross curriculum input, knowledge, ideas exchanging and discussion are.

Extend voice recording in Garage Band app

Garage Band appImage: EssentialMac-UK

I was trying out the different apps I had on my iPad to see which one would be the best for voice recordings. I got to Garage Band and then got stuck with an 8 second recording which I could not change. When you see the 8 bars you don’t automatically think of clicking on that to make other choices to extend the recording . EssentialMac-UK is a very handy site for all things Apple and the clarity of instruction is just what you need when you are stuck. They have a post on how to increase the recording time. Please note that you have to do this every time you make a recording. It would be better if you could leave it on the extended recording setting. Maybe next app update?

How to blend images

It’s actually quite easy to blend images together. I use ArcSoft PhotoStudio 5 which I got free with a digital camera. You can also use GIMP which is an open source image editor.It is something you can search for on YouTube and find your preferred photo editor. Our school laptops come with Photoshop and even though it looks hard , it really is straight forward. catsSometimes I splash a bit of extra colour into certain areas of the image with the paint bucket tool. You  pick the tool , the colour and click on an area of the image. If you don’t like what you have done, you simply use the undo button.

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