Logitech Crayon. Hands-on review.

When the Logitech Crayon was announced back in March I was excited to get my hands on it. I didn’t think it would take this long but it finally arrived.

I am a big fan of the Apple Pencil so was interested to see how this would compare.

Charging and syncing 

So this was a nice experience. The orange cap lifts off (but is still attached) so you can insert your lightning cable in to charge it. Interestingly there wasn’t a lightning cable included but sure if you have an iPad you will have one of those. I did like how you could just plug the cable directly into it like you do your devices or Beats whereas the Apple Pencil either has to be plugged into a device or charged via the lightning adaptor. The fact that the tip doesn’t pop off also means less likelihood of losing it (I am always afraid of losing the one from my Pencil)

Synching was simple. All I had to do was open up Notes/ Pages and my iPad responded to it.

The feel 

So the shape is the one thing that got me. It is quite a bit heavier but also doesn’t have the same rounded shape as the Apple Pencil. It reminds me more of the Paper 53 stylus I had a few years back. My initial reaction to this was ‘wow I don’t like it’ but within a couple of minutes, I got used to it.

The price

The price ended up being a lot steeper than I initially expected working out at £65 from Logitech or £60 from Apple. I had hoped somewhere around the £40-£50 mark. However, if you are a staff or a student at an institute you might like to take advantage of their 30% student discount which brings it in at £45 including delivery. You can get that discount here. 


While I think my own personal go-to stylus will be the Apple Pencil I  think the lack of having to synch the Crayon makes it the perfect classroom companion and I cannot wait to use mine.



Shadow Draw App Review

I have seen the @shadowdrawapp Twitter handle appear quite a bit over recent weeks and finally took some time to sit down and try it out. Well, I wasn’t disappointed.

The regular app contains a mix of free tutorials and in-app purchases. A year ago this kind of app wouldn’t have appealed to me but Keynote line drawings and Apple Pencil have converted me.
As a leftie I found some of the tutorials a little tricky but after 4 or 5 I got the hang of it and learned to adjust my lines and hand accordingly.
I think this is a great intro to drawing and will be adding it to my curriculum this year. The ShadowDraw Academy app is just for schools and features subject specific drawings like maps for Geography.

Below are a couple of my first (and very rough!) drawings. You can download the apps from ShadowDraw here

Don’t forget to share your creations on social media.

Trip Planning with Google Maps.

As someone who likes to travel a lot and likes to plan traveling I spend a lot of time exploring Google Maps. Figuring out directions, grouping activities and more.

When planning an upcoming trip to Prague I wondered if there was a way I could just place all my activities on my own personalized Google Map and yes that feature did exist and probably has for some time.

It is easy all you have to do is visit Google maps
1. Make sure you’re signed in – you can do so by clicking the Login button in the top-right corner.
2. In the top left corner, next to the search box, click the menu icon to expand the menu.
3. Click “Your Places”, “Maps” and then click “Create Map” to edit your map.
4. A new window will pop up.

and choose your location. Then you can layer your activities, restaurants, pubs, accommodation etc on top and this is perfect to share with travel companions. When you arrive at your destination and are suddenly hungry for something to eat you can see what food locations you had saved nearby.
The map is easily customizable so you can allocate different colors and pin shapes for different activities.

As a useful tip, you can change the terrain in the Basemap. I like the Simple Atlas terrain as it is simple and means I can easily see my own pins.

This would be a fun activity to do ahead of a class trip or Geography project.

New Book – Reimagining Creativity in Adult Education

When I attended the 2018 Apple ADE Conference in Austin there was a lot of talk about creativity and it got me thinking that sometimes creativity is pushed aside when the focus is on exam results and getting points to attend university.

With this in mind, I collected some creative lesson plans and collated them into a book. The book includes demos, video tutorials and walkthroughs.

The aim of the book is so teachers can pick it up and use one of the examples in their classroom without having a lot of experience. Hopefully, this will encourage teachers to try more creative classroom ideas and adult learners can explore creativity through Keynote, Clips, Pages and more.

The book can be downloaded for free from the iBook Store here 


Using Managed Apple IDs in the classroom

Managed Apple IDs were announced over a year ago and I never really had a need or want for them. I had been using my own Apple ID for close to 10 years so you can just imagine the history of purchases and downloads associated with it.

However, this quickly changed at the Apple Education event back in March when they announced that Managed IDs would now come with 200gb iCloud storage. Given that I had been paying for this it suddenly gave that incentive to give Managed IDs another consideration. Another motivation came when Schoolwork was released to only work with Managed IDs

Below is a quick overview of how you can make Managed IDs work for you. I would suggest that when transferring iCloud content you either download to the new Managed ID or Airdrop across. It is a time consuming process but works well.

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>There are more and more reasons to use Managed Apple IDs in the classroom. Here’s how I use them while retaining iTunes Store purchasing ability for staff (our student purchases are done via MDM)

Introducing Schoolwork

Schoolwork a new Apple app for teachers was launched this week and is everything we have been waiting for.
It is a way of handing out assessments and receiving and marking students work. This release came too late for my current classes but I look forward to using it in September.

To enable School work staff and student iPads need to use Managed Apple IDs and be set up using Apple School Manager.
Because I already had this all set up it was a pretty easy migration to Schoolwork.

Below is a quick tutorial I have created. You can find out more info about Schoolwork here

Fieldtrips with Clips.

Clips is a free video-creation Apple app for iOS that devices that was launched early in 2017. Since it’s launch I have been using it both personally and in the classroom.

Going back a couple of years the video creation section of my digital media module used to take weeks or learning and content gathering. Often times it was not possible for students to capture their own content so they would use some royalty free video videos and a bit of imagination.

Now with Clips I can take students on a trip and they can capture as they go. Some students like to capture everything within Clips which means that they are pretty much finished their videos by the time they return others like to capture their content in the camera roll, make some edits and then import into Clips. My personal preference is the latter method but whatever works for the students.

Here are a few Clips that were created after a recent field trip to Elizabeth Fort.

Assemblr in Education

I first heard about Assemblr at BETT 2018. Having used both AR and Octagon apps in the past I was keen to give it a try.

Assemblr is a free app that allows students to build virtual worlds in a Minecraft like setting and then view them in a real-life setting using AR or VR.

Students enjoyed creating the worlds. In terms of education, I don’t think the app is quite there yet for standard classroom use. The big drawback is the fact that Assemblr has introduced in-app purchases for a lot of their characters and items. While students can obviously still build their worlds without these purchases they can still see them and this can and has led to some frustrations.

You can see some of my classroom AR Assemblr worlds created by students in the video below. Assemlbr definitely has potential to be an engaging learning app if the developers consider an education version.

Assemblr can be downloaded for free here 

Lifelong Learning Cork

For the past couple of years I have been hosting Apple related workshops during the Lifelong Learning Festival in Cork.
Last year I held a coding workshop and this year we held a coding one and a garageband one.
This year we were lucky, the Lord Mayor popped in and even tried his hand a code.

New year new conferences

What better way to start a new year than with some new conferences.
January began with MiTE 2018 in Galway where I presented on Virtual Fieldtrips and Coding. Both have become big interests of mine and I was honoured to have been asked to present at them.
The great thing about conferences like MiTE is that it is a global conference so educators from all over the world come together to create content, collaborations and meaningful conversations.

My coding workshop at MiTE was just a warmnup for the main event of the month which was an amazing opportunity I was given to present at the Apple store in Regent St during BETT week.
The workshop was a couple of months in the planning and featured both my story as an educator as well as the impact coding has had on my students followed by a workshop in functions and loops.
Opportunities like this don’t come by often and I was really grateful to have been given the chance to present at this one.