AT Friday: A Fond Farewell

Dear Readers, AT Fellows, and ESTS Staff,

I graduate in two days. The impending real world has been rushing toward me the past month as I’ve rushed to finish up projects, wrap-up lose ends, and take advantage of  the last of my student discount. I wouldn’t say I’m fully ready to move on but I am excited for the new opportunities and challenges and all the good (and bad) that comes with leaving the safety net of Tufts. Despite my excitement there is another part of me full of sadness that it is time to go and it is full of that sadness that I write this last post, a sincere thank you to everyone at ESTS.

If you’ve been reading this blog you’ve probably realized that the AT Fellows are a group of students with diverse interests and abilities but with one common goal; to use technology to positively impact the teaching and learning environment at Tufts. If you haven’t been keeping up regularly with the blog I strongly suggest taking a few minutes to peruse it as it is packed full of content from useful iPad Apps to quick summaries of education reports.

A sincere thank you to all of the AT Fellows who’ve not only contributed to this blog and put up with constant emails from me requesting, reminding, and prodding for aid both with this and other projects in the ed-tech world. You have all been incredibly kind and patient and the breadth of work we’ve put together this semester could have have happened without you.

Thank you to Haejung, Sheryl, and Steve, all of whom I had the pleasure working with this year on innovative new projects. The iPad Pilot Project, which I’ve been honored to helm from the AT Fellow standpoint, has put iPads into the hands of over 100 students, faculty, and staff over the past year and made many discoveries about how iPads can be effectively incorporated into curriculum to offer new avenues for learning. JumboStudy, an innovative new way to connect students and form study groups was also piloted this semester.

Most of all thank you to David for giving me this opportunity. I have truly enjoyed these past two years as an AT Fellow. You have given me numerous opportunities for participation on various projects and it has been truly incredible. Thank You.

To our readers, thank you for putting up with a senior reminiscing and saying goodbye. If you are a student I strongly recommend considering joining the program – the opportunities you receive won’t disappoint. If you’re faculty or staff and have a project in mind consider getting in touch; your project idea might be supported by next years incredible team.

With Much Gratitude,

Rebecca Wood-Spagnoli

Tech Tuesday: Pinterest

Pinterest, an online site of virtual pin boards, exploded in the online social sphere last spring. Pinterest allows users to pin ideas they like across the web to pin boards in a centralized location. Pinterest has a set of common theme boards that it filters pins to and users can title their own boards for their personal use. If your perusing these boards you can repin pins you like to your own boards.Users can even create secret boards if they’d like to keep track of gift ideas. Pinterest also has iOS and Android apps to keep you pinning on the go. See something you like while out? Snap a picture on your phone and pin away. Now you may be wondering why a blog post about Pinterest belongs on a blog about technology. In short, because this online conglomeration of ideas includes many fascinating pins about new technology – from leaks about new devices that may be hitting the market eventually to tablet and smartphone app suggestions to ways of caring for and repairing smart devices the Pinterest technology board has lots of inspiration when you want or need something new but aren’t quite sure just what. Warning though, logging into Pinterest can lead to hours of lost productivity! Check out Pinterest and create an account here: ! Happy Pinning!



Tech Tuesday: Teaching with iPads

Last semester I had the unique opportunity to peer teach a classroom of 14 first year students. Going into the semester my goal was to facilitate the development of essential skills for academic success at Tufts. This meant that my co-teacher and I assigned readings and movies designed to facilitate discussion and debate, analytical papers and creative projects to further exploration of these subjects, and mini in-class projects to display learning. To this end the iPad became an indispensable device both in and out of the classroom.

Since many of our students were new to the college writing when we assigned a paper it was structured so that our students had to write outlines and drafts as a way to begin brainstorming and organizing their thoughts. Using the iPad to edit these projects made it quick and easy to annotate the students work and email it back to them.

We also found use for the iPads in the classroom for mini-projects. We were able to break up the class into smaller groups and issue each group an iPad. This allowed us to be greener as we didn’t have to print out our assignments and also gave them the functionality of a computer without having to lug around a laptop. Specialized apps such as animator were also invaluable to our class experience. Some of our projects included changing the tone of a photo, exploring different camera techniques, creating a mini movie, and developing a mini-presentation.

AT Friday: Finding New Apps

When it comes to schools and new technology many schools have been jumping on the iPad bandwagon. They make great personal devices: they’re lightweight, have great battery life, and have a plethora of apps available for every imaginable purpose. Given that I like to keep an eye out for new apps. Finding new apps can be frustrating, especially with newer apps that don’t yet have a good review base. One app I’ve downloaded and found very useful is AppsGoneFree. This app has a daily aggregate of paid apps that are available free for a limited time only. This is a great way to find and try out productivity apps free.

When I have a specific need I turn to google to help figure out what app would be best for me. Reviews help me figure out what functionality each app has and which app will be most useful for my purposes.

AT Friday: A Semester in Review

It seems like just yesterday that we were starting off the academic year by welcoming six new fellows and here we are at the midpoint of the year, wrapping up some semester long projects and beginning preparations for some spring semester projects.

This past semester saw the inception of our iPad Pilot Program. We spent the semester exploring how iPads impact learning and teaching and came across some pretty cool apps such as: CloudOn, WolframAlpha, SlideShark, LogMein, EduCreations, and Trello, in the process.

AT Fellows have also spent some time exploring other great methods of supporting learning through technology. If you’re a CS student you may find these tools useful or if you’re interested in  learning some computer science (or anything else!) over break check out these online learning sources. If you’re looking for some learning management tools check out RescueTime and the LiveScribe Smart Pen. You can find help for collaborative work from Doodle, Webex, and Asana.

This upcoming semester we look forward to continuing the great work with the iPad Pilot and role out an exciting new service, JumboStudy, designed to help with peer-to-peer learning. Come back in the new year for posts on these and other new developments, as well as our usual tips and tricks for technology in education. Wishing you happy holidays and a happy new year!

-Rebecca Wood-Spagnoli & the AT Fellows

AT Friday: Livescribe Smart Pen

I’m always looking for new and improved ways to take notes. One tool I came across a few years ago and now can’t imagine living without is the Livescribe Smart Pen. This clever little pen connects the words that are recorded with whatever you are writing at that time. When you go back to listen to your notes you can skip to anywhere you’d like within the notes by pressing the corresponding writing. Whether you are in a meeting or attending a lecture this is a great asset because you no longer need to worry about copying down every little bit of information. With Livescribe you can attend to whatever is being said knowing that you can go back and review later on.

Livescribe has teamed with Evernote to make your notes available on smart devices. You can playback your notes and watch as the lecture unfolds. This is a great way to get some extra studying in while you’re traveling. If you don’t have a smart device this functionality is also available on the computer. Notes can also be shared via email so people who missed the meeting or lecture can be kept up to date.

If you have problems taking good notes and attending to what is going on around you the Livescribe Smart Pen is definitely worth taking a look at.

-Rebecca Wood-Spagnoli