If You Give a DEN Guru (Tim Childers) an iPad…

Please join me in giving Tim Childers a warm DEN welcome!

My name is Tim Childers.  I am an Assistant Principal at the L&N STEM Academy, a STEM Magnet school, in the Knox County School District of Knoxville, TN.  I’ve been a DEN member for as long as I can remember, and a DEN Star from the very beginning.  I serve on the TN DEN Leadership Council and the DENvisory Board.  I believe technology integration in the classroom should be so seamless (and effortless) that it becomes invisible and ubiquitous.

I have an iPad 3, 32 GB, wifi-only iPad that is my personal device.  I also have an iPad 3, 64GB wifi-only iPad provided to me by the school, as well as a first generation iPad mini.  For my personal iPad I only use a Smart Cover.  I really like the feel of the iPad in its native form, you know, the way Steve Jobs felt it should be.  Cases just make it heavy and clumsy.  I’ve learned to move from touch typing on my Mac to two-finger hunt-and-peck on the on-screen keyboard, but I’m still not nearly as fast at it as the students at my school.

I don’t really have any special accessories other than a couple of dongles for connections.  I have used an HDMI dongle to connect projectors when AirPlay was not an option, but it is almost always clunky and tends to un-attach itself from the sheer weight of the cable.  I also have a camera connection dongle, but it is still in the original packaging.  My ideal accessory is on my wish list, however.

Recently, however, I purchased the Padcaster which transforms the iPad into a fully operational video camera to capture high quality video and sound.

What’s Up Doc(k)?

I have a few “go to” apps that find their way into my iPad usage every day.  These apps would include Evernote, Notability, Mailbox, Facebook, and Twitter.

Evernote is a great “do everything” app that syncs across multiple platforms.  Notes are shareable, so when you update them they are updated automatically to all those with whom you shared the document.  Notability will open nearly any file type, but primarily I use it for PDFs.  It allows you to annotate, save, and send back out again.  Mailbox is a great app that helps me organize my GMail account and keeps my inbox at zero on most days.  Facebook and Twitter are both used to keep in touch with my PLN from across the world.

Favorite app(s) to relax with

I are a couple of apps I use for relaxation.  iHeartRadio is my favorite music app.  It has pre-selected playlists and allows you to create playlists based on your favorite artist or song.  It is similar to Pandora, but I find it has fewer ads to disrupt me.  And it syncs great with the bluetooth in my car.  In addition, I play Words With Friends.  I’m not really sure its that relaxing, but I enjoy playing endlessly and mindlessly at times.  I would add a third.  Coffitivity is a fun app that plays coffee shop noises in the background while I work.  It also allows music to play over that.

3 Most Used Education Apps

I’ve already answered this question above with apps like Evernote and Notability.  For students I would add apps like Explain Everything, a screencasting app for the iPad; Ask3 allows students to comment on videos to answer questions before the teacher has to get involved (ask 3 before me); and Edmodo.  I would also add to this list with the Splashtop2 app.  Splashtop2 allows you to connect with your PC or Mac over wifi and control it.  It frees teachers up to teach from the back of the room (where the kids are) and still manipulate what’s on the screen at the front of the class.

Hidden Gem(s)

Snapseed is a great photo editing app, and might be the only one you really need.  Fuse is a TechSmith app that will transfer pictures and video from your iPad and iPhone to Camtasia over wifi.  This is a huge benefit in getting files off the mobile device.

1 ‘AHA!’ 

There is a new screencasting app out that I am just now investigating.  It is called Collaaj.  It is the first screencasting app for the iPad I’ve seen that does both screen capture and embeds a picture-in-picture using the iPad camera.


3_  [That my friends, is the famous DEN Finger!] Thanks, Tim for sharing experiences with your iPad.


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