Have you ever taken a picture of the board at the front of your ESL classroom? It’s actually a pretty good way to capture lots of notes in a hurry, but you won’t be able to edit those notes once the picture is snapped.
Some document scanners have built in text recognition, but it can take a while for the scanner bar to drag across the document. Sure, it’s only a matter of seconds, but if you have a big stack of documents to put through the scanner one page at a time, it can be a real inconvenience. In fact, this scanner bar technology (a one-dimensional sensor being dragged across a two-dimensional surface) seems just a bit out of date, doesn’t it?
Enter a new line of scanners described in Popular Science that incorporate digital camera sensors to capture an entire document at one time — no more waiting for the sensor to drag.
But wouldn’t it be nice to snap a picture instead of scanning a document? Well, it turns out there is an app for that. Scanner Pro (reviewed by cnet) turns your iPhone into a .pdf-producing document scanner. Forget trying to find a fax machine when you need to sign a document and send it to someone. Sign a document, then scan it and email it, all from your phone. There are other apps available for iPhones and iPods beginning at $0.99 and likely similar options for other flavors of smartphone as well. The future is here today!
Thanks to the OSU Yammer community for ideas and links used in this post.
The @ symbol has become so common in electronic communication that we don’t even notice it anymore. But a few short years ago, before Twitter and before email, this was a little-used symbol stuck above the 2 on your favorite typewriter (yes, that many years ago).
Since email began spreading around the world, many countries have put their come up with many names for what is commonly called the at symbol in English.
In Bosnian, it’s the crazy a. In Hebrew, it’s strudel (yum!). Many people see animals, leading to names like elephant’s trunk (Danish), spider monkey (German), snail (Italian), and dog (Russian). It is also called ear in Ukrainian.
Wikipedia has a more complete list. This could make for an interesting icebreaker discussion in an appropriately diverse ESL class. But be warned that more and more languages are being overtaken of the English pronunciation of at or literal translations of the word. Pretty soon, it may just be at for all of us.
Recently, as part of my final project for EDU P&L 823 – The Functions of the Computer in the Classroom, I asked the question “How is technology changing learning?” using six different channels of communication: on this blog, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, via email and face-to-face. The question was deliberately very open-ended and I received some very interesting responses. But, perhaps more interestingly, were the differences between how people responded on each of these channels.
Obviously, the channels that reached people with whom I had close connections (email, face-to-face) received a lot of responses. Other, more ephemeral, forms of communication where connections are not as strong, received far fewer. In some ways, this was a bit humbling — I have a hundred followers on Twitter and even more on Facebook — but the response rate was very low. Perhaps the people with whom I communicate via these channels simply weren’t interested in this question?
Although these new channels (Twitter, Facebook) are changing communication, clearly they do not completely replace the others. And perhaps integrating them all is the most effective approach. Watch my final presentation below.