Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Drawing and Painting in the Browser window

Summer is almost here, and you may have a few blocks of time to cover in a computer lab before it's all over!  Why not give your students a session with one of these "in browser" drawing/painting sites. Students can be creative and then save their art work for posting on a class site, or for printing as refrigerator art!


Monday, June 20, 2011

Making your site mobile friendly

I spent the last few days looking for a way to make an existing site mobile friendly for use in a classroom with iTouch toting kids. Pages I had already created were so small and illegible. Yes, students can pinch and swipe to make the text larger, but I wanted the page to load "mobile ready". (The result.)

 Short of re-creating my page from scratch (ie with a site like winksite or Wix.com) it seems I had very few options. I did find a google service that "cleans up" a page and makes it easier to view on a mobile device, but it applies this to every link on the page - sometimes that's not what you want! The readability site can work as a bookmarklet in Safari, but it can be tricky to explain, and in any case, doesn't happen automatically unless you purposefully select it. After much searching, I happened across a solution that works for me! Simply put, I take an existing page of links I had created for my students, make a copy of the file, and add the following code to the head of the document: (See code here)

This forces the mobile browser to view the page "close-up" and creates a very mobile friendly version.

Compare these two pages on a mobile device:

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The new Kobo eReader

This is not a web app, but for those that like to read on an electronic device, the new Kobo Touch is a very nice addition to the eReader market. I recently acquired a Kobo Touch and immediately put it to use. It connects with the Chapters/Kobo online store and synced up to my Kobo account without any trouble at all. In fact, the built-in wifi is quite speedy compared to the previous version and the touch screen makes navigation a breeze. There is even a built-in bare-bones browser that lets me google quite nicely. Adding content from my own hard drive is a snap - simply drag the epub to the Kobo icon (not the program, the device) and the book shows up on the Kobo Touch home page. So easy.

Here is a recent review from Mike Koz:

Here is a video overview.