apple watch
Checkout Equipment, Innovative Instruction, Presentation, Productivity

Apple Watch in the classroom?

I recently received an Apple Watch (Series 1) as a gift and given the nature of my job I was curious how Instructors might integrate this technology into their teaching and learning.  My personal use of the watch did not provide many connections to classroom use, so I looked to other Instructors for ideas.  Here are some of the ideas I came across and I hope that they may help you to decide if the watch is something you might try:

Wearable Teaching? College to Experiment With Apple Watch as Learning Tool

5 Ways to use the Apple Watch in your classroom

10 Very Good Apple Watch Apps for Teachers

And here are some articles about students using the Apple Watch

Can the Apple Watch Enhance Student Achievement?

Cheating in the time of the Apple Watch


For information about all versions of the Apple Watch, visit

TLT does have the original Apple Watch available for checkout if you would like to try a version of the watch out for yourself.  To checkout the watch, please complete the following form:

Do have an Apple Watch? Share with us your ideas for using it in the classroom.

Checkout Equipment, iPad, Mobile, TLT

REVIEW: Apple’s iPad Pro and the Apple Pencil

iPad Pro with keyboard and PencilThe iPad Pro is Apple’s newest edition to the iPad family.  It has an expansive 12.9 inch Retina display and is much faster than any of the other iPads on the market (twice as fast as the iPad 2).  TLT recently purchased one and I couldn’t wait to try it out.

My first impression is that it’s big, really big.  It’s as wide as the iPad mini is tall.  The display is beautiful, crisp and clear.  It’s also faster and is great for streaming video.

What I loved…

Artist drawing on the ProI really did like the larger screen for some things, such as Excel, and for the split screen function.  I can use the split screen on my iPad mini but the screen is so small it’s not very effective.   The iPad Pro screen is actually larger than my MacBook Air screen so the real estate you get is amazing.

Apple PencilThe Apple Pencil was my favorite part of the iPad Pro.  I’m sad that it will not interact with any other iOS device because I’m in love with it.  The Pencil is far superior to any other stylus I’ve tried, and believe me, I’ve tried a lot.  Everything from the weight, to the feel, to the way it writes if far superior.  It’s pressure sensitive so, just like a real pen, pressing harder yields a darker, thinker line.  Depending upon the app you are using it also allows for shading.  In ArtRage, turn the Pencil on it’s side to shade like you would with an analog pencil (you know, the No. 2 kind).  In addition to ArtRage I used it extensively in Notability.  The control in writing produced handwritten notes that were comparable to a regular pen and paper.

ipad-pro-will-also-be-launched-on-wednesday-along-with-new-iphonesiMovie was my second favorite thing about the Pro.  It looks go good and was so easy to manipulate on the bigger screen.  The audio, via the two speakers, sounds really good and clear as well.  Over the years I have become quite adept at using iMovie on my phone so a small screen is not a deal breaker for me, but this was just beautiful and so easy to see.


The battery life is AMAZING!!  I’ve had it, and used it for several weeks and have only charged it once. It’s considerably better than the battery life of any of my other Apple products (iPads, Phones, Laptops).

What I didn’t love as much…

At the end of the day, it’s still an iPad which means that it won’t do all the things a laptop will do.  While there are a few programs (AutoCad 360) that take advantage of the new platform most of them just benefit from the larger screen.  Other than using the Pencil it’s just a bigger version of my iPad Mini.  For most things I like the mini better because of portability.  I’m not an artist or an engineer so I’m not really in need of these programs or the super large screen.  The Pro is hard to use without a desk or a table.  It’s not easy to use on the bus and not easy to cary around with me.

Would I recommend the iPad Pro?

Yes, but only to some people.

  • If you are an artist the YES YES YES.  The larger screen combined with the Pencil is hard to beat.
  • If you are an engineer then MAYBE.  Some of the apps work well on the Pro but are still not as powerful as on a laptop so you won’t be able to access all of the features you may need.
  • If you have some motor control or vision issues YES.  The larger screen helps with vision and the ability to hit the buttons you are trying to hit on the screen.
  • Everyone else who likes their iPad but thinks the Pro would be super awesome, NO.

It doesn’t do much that a regular iPad won’t do but costs a lot more.    Here’s how pricing shakes out after a quick internet search:

  • iPad Pro (base model) with Pencil and Keyboard – $799 + $99 + $169 = $1,067
  • iMac Air (base model) – $899
  • Microsoft Surface Pro 4 (base model with keyboard and stylus) – $899 + $129 = $1,028

With both the Air and the Surface you are getting a fully functioning computer processor that can run any application you need.

In Conclusion…

I’m an Apple junkie so I wanted to love the iPad Pro.   I really did.  And I do, but only if you have unlimited funds, which I don’t.  As you can see, we couldn’t even afford the keyboard : ).  However, don’t take my word for it.  Soon you can try it out for yourself.  Soon, TLT will be making the iPad Pro and Pencil available for regular checkout.  If you are interested in trying it for yourself just contact your Instructional Technologist and we’ll let you know when it will be available.




Accessibility, Checkout Equipment, Google Apps, Productivity

Let Google Do The Typing For You With Voice Typing

I’m not sure how long this tool has been around but I just learned about it today and I’m in love already. Google Voice Typing allows you to open a Google Doc and speak into a microphone and let Google do the typing for you. As a matter of fact I’m writing this blog post in a Google Doc first using the voice typing command.

All you need to do is open a Google Doc, go into Tools and choose Voice Typing. This will then bring up an icon of a microphone on the side of the doc. Whenever you’re ready to start typing just click on the icon and begin speaking into the microphone. As of now, I believe this tool is only available in the Docs part of Google Drive.

Here is an example of what some of the blog post looked like before I did some corrections.Google Voice Example   This was taken at the beginning of writing the post, and as you can see I did make some changes.  But overall, it worked beautifully.


  • For anyone with a learning disability, such as dyslexia, it allows them to type without having to make as many spelling mistakes that can often accompany this type of disability.
  • For those with carpal tunnel, it can also help alleviate some of the symptoms as you will be typing less.
  • It works when outlining, planning, and writing papers.
  • Use it when writing email where you could write the email in Google Docs and copy it into your regular email. This is particularly helpful for long emails or emails where you need to go into a detailed explanation.
  • I think it’s fabulous for brainstorming as you can just speak your ideas and not feel the need to type every single thing that you’re thinking.
  • I’ve tested it as a way to create a transcript for a video lecture that you might be creating for your class. In my test I opened up Screencast-o-matic, which is a tool that will capture your desktop, and then opened a Google Doc and triggered the voice tool. Once I began the recording of my screen and microphone I then just went back and clicked on the microphone icon in my Google Doc, in order for it to transcribe everything I said. Using this, I was able to explain the slide as I normally would when lecturing and as I was recording the lecture, Google Doc was typing what I said. (Tutorial will be coming soon.)
  • Lastly, I’m curious to see how well it would do taking notes, in a meeting for instance.

Can you think of any other uses? If so, share in the comments!



Things To Consider:

I do recommend that if you want to use this tool you try a microphone that can maintain an equal distance from your mouth, such as the one that maybe came with your cell phone or a headset mic (that can be checked out from TLT). The better the microphone quality, the more accurate the typing. When speaking, it does recognize punctuation as well as the “new line” command. However, it didn’t seem to understand a few other words such as “delete” or “backspace”, so it will require that you go back through your document when you’re finished. and do some formatting. However, it’s a great way to type a lot of text quickly and easily without a lot of headaches.

ashley brown kayaking
Assessment, Checkout Equipment, Innovative Instruction, iPad, Pedagogy, Tech Happens! Un-Grant, TLT, Video

Guest Post: Using Video In-Class Assessment Under Water!

Our guest blogger is Ashley Brown from Health and Human Performance.  In January Ashley was awarded an Ungrant for an iPod touch.  Her goal was to film her kayaking students while they learn to paddle to help critique their performance and allow them to improve.  Not only is this an interesting experiment into real-time assessment but also into exploring the waterproofing options for tablets and phones.  There are many departments, such as the sciences and education, that can benefit from her trials with using the waterproof cases in the field.  

I won an iPod Touch from the Ungrant through TLT!!

The Goal

My main objective is to video students paddling during their Coastal Kayaking class and give them feedback on their strokes and maneuvers using the Coach my Video app. 

The Challenge

My first challenge was the hardware.  The iPod does not like to work when it is wet.  I have it in a waterproof case and a life jacket to keep it floating, but when I swiped my wet hands over the wet surface the machine just ignored me.  Believe it or not I took it out two times before it occurred to me that the machine doesn’t work when wet, it won’t work when the waterproof case is wet, it won’t work when my hands are wet…so I’m still trying to figure out how to stay dry when I’m wet.   I haven’t tried filming under water, but plan to when it warms up – by then I hope to have solved the ‘dry when wet’ problem

Then, after washing my face one might, I had a revelation; if a towel could dry my face…although I still haven’t figured out how to keep the towel dry.

The iPod is still not a big fan of wet hands, and it is hard to get them completely dry.

The Outcome

I had luck videoing the students and using the Coach my Video app to show them their work. However, I didn’t want to waste class time discussing each video individually, and still haven’t found an easily accessible way to project the video for the whole class to watch.  So my next challenge is to send them their own assessed video. 

I’m enjoying the new technology, and the challenge of using it in an environment where one of the first things I say to students  is, “Lock your electronics in your car if you don’t want to lose them or ruin them!” is ongoing…maybe a really big ziplock bag…I mean really big.

Side note from TLT

We’ll keep following Ashley’s progress as she works through some of these issues.  Check back to see the resolutions and more on student outcomes!  TLT has longterm iPad minis and two waterproof cases available in our Checkout Equipment if you are interested in trying something like this in your classes.

Checkout Equipment, iPad, TLT

Product review: iPad Stylus

In my search for the perfect stylus I have tried  everything from a Dollar Store stylus to the $75.00 Jot Script.  Here is a list of Pros and Cons for 7 different stylus.  I used each of these on my iPad mini with a note taking app.  Click on the stylus name for an image and more information.

Boxwave  $8.00


  • Perforated tip makes writing easy and no drag
  • Tip is replaceable

  • Length similar to a pen

  • Barrel of the stylus is hollow, which makes the stylus slightly lighter than some other  such as the Bamboo Stylus


  • None

roocase $10.00


  • Price


  • Large sponge tip caused drag when writing

  • Short body. Similar to golf pencil

pogo sketch $15.00


  • Lightweight


  • Because body is so thin, my fingers tended to slide around

  • Short body. Similar to golf pencil

adonit Jot Classics $16.00


  • Very different tip from other stylus. Not foam, but instead is a plastic tip which made for very easy writing with no drag


  • Sound of plastic tip hitting the iPad glass was distracting
  • Having to always have to remove the cap to use the stylus.

pogo sketch pro $25.00 *Top pick


  • Tapered body (not a standard pen or stylus body type)

  • Ergonomic grip kept fingers from sliding off stylus

  • Special (replaceable) tip makes it very easy to write with and no drag


  • Price

Bamboo Stylus by Wacom  $28.00


  • Tip is a good size for writing.  Feel like you  can write more precisely than with other  styluses.


  • Attached pen clip – some may like this, but I thought it got in the way

  • Price

  • Length. Not quite as long as a pen.  More like a golf pencil in length.

Jot Script


  • Pixelpoint tip. Most like a pen than any other stylus I have tried so far

  • Works with Penultimate which is a note taking app I use along with Evernote


  • Price

  • Relying on batteries

  • Much thicker than most stylus

  • Without constant use must turn it on before using

If you would like to test out a stylus yourself first before purchasing,  TLT does have all those tested above that you can checkout for 10 days except for the Jot Script.   To checkout, visit 

Honorable Mention:

Walgreens stylus – At $5.00 I found it comparable with the $15.00 pogo sketch.  Pros:  price and because of how light it is there is no drag when writing.  Cons:  Short.  I prefer a stylus that is the same length of a pen.

Smith & Wesson Tactical Stylus – My favorite pen/stylus combo at $25.00.  Pros:  Length. I prefer a stylus that is the same length of a pen.  I like a pen/stylus combo.  Cons: a bit heavy and large tip causes it to drag on the screen a little more than others I had tested.

What is next for me?

Do you have a stylus you recommend or not?  Let us know!