Google Forms with iBooks Author

iBooks Author is an awesome tool for teachers. I was recently sitting with a few ADEs who are math teachers. While they really like the idea of iBooks Author, they are concerned about a few things. One problem is that the Review Widget doesn’t do anything with the data, so it doesn’t work well as tool for assessing students.

A Google search turns up some promising solutions. I found Mike Seyfang’s technique of using Google Forms worked pretty well. I’ve modified it a bit, but the credit should go to him and Jim McKeeth.

Download wdgt file

All you need is this tiny file and a Google Form you would like to embed. This file is actually a special folder with three small files in it, one of which you will need to edit. When you download it, you may be asked to install it to your Dashboard. Cancel this – you don’t want to install anything.

 

Now watch this video to see just how easy is is:

*Please note that this post is a rush-job; there is a group meeting at a conference in a few minutes who may find this useful. I’ll revise with better written instructions ASAP.

Photo Credit: fragility_v2 via Compfight cc

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Stop Safari Reloading on Back Gesture

The Inconsistency

Like countless others (1,2,3), I’ve been frustrated by recent versions of Sarai on OS X Lion and Mountain Lion. It’s great to have mouse-gestures built in to the OS, but why on earth would a “back swipe” be processed by Safari differently than a back button press or key shortcut? Those of you with blazing internet speeds may never notice it, but when I swipe back on my Magic Mouse, a JPG preview of the last page appears briefly while the page is reloaded back to the top regardless of last scrolled state. Even Apple’s cute little demo in the mouse settings shows a page needlessly reloading. This can be particularly infuriating when going back to search results and basically having resubmit the search each time. Of course, if I click the actual back button or use “Command-[” Safari instantly displays the cached page right where I left it.

Why on earth would this be different? What actual command is OS X sending to Safari ? Obviously, it’s not simply “back”.

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iOS App Management

A principal from a neighboring school recently asked for our thoughts on iOS app management, so I have written down some of what we are learning and some of the things we feel are important to consider. We, along with most other schools, are still unsure about what is the best way forward, so we still have more questions than we have answers, but at least we are starting to be able to articulate the questions.

Apple does not currently make their educational Volume Purchase Program available outside of the US. There are some schools (with some sort of US business address) that have been able to get Apple to approve them for a business volume licensing program. This apparently does not include any volume discounts. At a recent tech conference in HK, the regional Apple rep assured a large group of educators that Apple would be rolling out the Volume Purchase Program internationally. (I’ve had the opportunity to speak with high-level Apple reps a few times over the years, so although I’m optimistic, I won’t hold my breath.)

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