Talking Carl

Initially, during an ‘app swap’ session at an educational tech conference (#pelc10), I couldn’t see the point of this app, but decided that it was only 59p, and my colleague seemed almost unable to use it for laughing.

What Can You Do With It?

Strictly speaking, there’s not a lot to this app.

  • Carl will repeat everything you say (and any music you play if loud enough) with a high-pitched voice.
  • Tickle him, he will laugh out loud.
  • Poke him and he will shout and yell.
  • Pinch him to hear him  growling.
  • Leave him alone, he’ll chatter back at you

What Do I Think?

Aside from the fact that it gives the biggest belch ever when opening (beware!), this app has had me in stitches several times over the past week (and it’s been a pretty tough week). The website describes it as ‘ideal for children of any age’, and I’ve never denied that I never want to fully grow up! Simple things please simple minds is what we always used to say, but really, life doesn’t have to be all serious!! I’m not going to say that this app does’t have a purpose/point, it does, and let’s enjoy it!

App Homepage: Talking Carl
Price: 59p

Would Jesus text?

“Filippone, “We found out that about 80 % of this generation will look at your website before they ever look into the foyer of your church.”

Social media, i.e.. Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, blogging etc. .has exploded, looking at the numbers. Facebook alone claims 400 million members, Twitter is expected to go over 26 million adults this year.”

A 16 year old says: “”I use it to communicate with everyone, I look up things. it’s just my way of life.””

Read full article, and thanks to Pete Phillips for putting me onto this story.

Another glorious waste of time… it doesn’t set itself any limits on the number of questions, but amazing that some kind of mathematical formula can be right so many times – I had 3 goes (Bridget Jones, God, Richard Hammond) and it got all 3 of those – can see some people trying with some cryptic ones, but I guess it absorbs those for next time… Akinator – also on the iPhone (£1.19)!

3 Ways Educators are Embracing Social Technology

“The modern American school faces rough challenges. Budget cuts have caused ballooning class sizes,  many teachers struggle with poorly motivated students, and in many schools a war is being waged on distracting technologies. In response, innovative educators are embracing social media to fight back against the onslaught of problems. Technologies such as Twitter and Skype offer ideal solutions as inexpensive tools of team-based education.

Pockets of experimentation are emerging all around the world, and I hope to inspire my fellow teachers with some stories of success. From cell phones to social media, below are three schools that have chosen to go with the flow of popular technology to turn the tide for education.”

Read full story (and it’s not just a problem in America!). The story forcuses on the use of Skype for language learning, the integration of mobile phones into the learning experience, and the use of Twitter… this one is particularly inspiring:

“Many universities have internal e-mail systems and message boards. But getting students to routinely check these systems for updates can be a chore. As a college teacher myself, my students have been required to participate in group message boards, which is a poor substitute for genuine intellectual curiosity. As a solution, Leicester University in the UK turned to Twitter, hoping that the popular micro-blogging technology would encourage collaboration outside of class. Students were provided with an iPod touch, given instructional materials, and told they had to make a few academic-related tweets a day. Soon, a thriving community grew, complete with @replies and hashtags flying back-and-forth between participants, tutors, and even members outside of the program. Additionally, the study has become an unexpected marketing boon for the university. The Association for Learning Technology noted in its newsletter:

“One year ago, a Twitter search for ‘University of Leicester’ revealed little of interest. More recent searches reveal a growing volume of conversation between existing students, often across institutional boundaries, and also from prospective students, commenting on perceptions of the University and Higher Education in general.”

The university was impressed by the experiment and has begun collaborating with teachers and staff to extend participation throughout the campus. Leicester University joins the growing ranks of major universities, such as M.I.T., that are preparing students with technological and cooperative skills essential to real-life scientific experimentation.”

Museum Visits: iPhone

Just watching this video as I prepare a lecture on how digitisation affects the museum experience, something that has fascinated me, although I haven’t really done much theory on it! These guys indicate how an iPhone and some QR codes can give an interactive experience for those wandering round the museum. A friend & I found the same in London recently, as we wandered around, past many statues – we didn’t know who many of them were – so we Google’d them, and that was our information. No need to carry heavy guide books, just a nice lightweight tool, and instant information – and if it’s not what you want, look at the next entry!

Mobile Networking

iPhone 3G AppsI have noticed with my students that they rarely seem to read their emails, or their university emails, at least, even though this is our main method of communication with them.

Mobiles, however, they can’t get enough of, and it’s growing. With modern mobiles (and yes, I gave into the iPhone), there’s the option of a number of “Apps” which make phones SO much more powerful than we ever imagined when they came as ‘bricks’, or even than the first computer I got back in the 1990s!

We can live most of our lives on our phones, if we want… great for multi-tasking, and lots of options for reaching people by the one tool they have all the time.

The Apps I had only 2 months into owning the iPhone were:

  • Facebook
  • Twitterfon
  • Movies
  • NetNewsWire
  • PayPal
  • ebay Mobile
  • Mashable
  • Skype
  • Wikiamo
  • Yelp
  • RunKeeperFree
  • ShapeUpClub
  • Shotgun Free
  • Trailguru
  • Weirdfacts

Once I get my iPhone back, I intend to look at all the apps I have, and give a quick review of each. I have already downloaded a number of apps and then deleted them shortly afterwards, finding they didn’t add anything to what I was doing online.

The iPhone, the iPhone, My Kingdom for an iPhone

The iPhone

What’s this, you say? I thought you owned an iPhone, spent far too much time on it, and used it as a tool to draw together many parts of your life in one small, neat packet!

‘Tis True
I still own said iPhone, but when one tries to turn it on, one receives an image like this, which is not healthy, and renders such a touch-screen phone rather useless! Believe me, I’ve not fallen out of love with my iPhone, but missing it rather as I’d be missing an arm – every time someone asks if they can set up a meeting – “I’ll just check… oh sorry, you’ll have to wait til I get home and check my Outlook calendar”…

How did this happen?
I had a lovely weekend, meeting up with friends from the Summer trip to the Loire Valley, and then going on to a wedding in Essex. I had been waxing lyrical to the friend I had collected from the train station about the fact that I now had SatNav (CoPilot, £26) on my phone (but don’t forget that you’ll need to buy a cradle! On reaching Winchester around midnight, I was extracting the phone from the cradle (a little stiff!), and, acting rather like a bar of soap, the phone bounced out of my hands and down the road. It clearly didn’t like this and hasn’t worked since – although it did sync with my laptop, and whilst still containing battery, continued to buzz regularly – indicating that I’ve been receiving phone calls/texts, but not much I can do about those!

Is all lost?
For once, I have non-essential insurance for something – with Barclays Graduate account. Unfortunately their online claim system didn’t work, so I had to phone (and yes, this was my only phone, but I have Skype too!) , and now await a claim form in the post (so strikers, sort it out!), which I send back, claim is assessed, then they decide whether to replace or repair! Expected time 2-3 weeks (so hopefully a friend will lend me a handset – I’m a bit lost without anything, although I accept no data use!)… Sigh!