By Nicole Dobyns, Instructional Development Services Graduate Assistant

This week we have focused on an application for the iPhone and iPad that our Recreation, Park and Tourism Administration (RPTA) major, Nicole Dobyns has really grown to like. Many of the applications that we discuss through Tech Insights are specific to education, but this application can be very useful for the travel workshops that the RPTA department has every semester. This app can be used to highlight places that people visit or show them someplace they will go before they get there. TourWrist, yes there is a play on words here, is an app that shows both normal and 360 panoramas of places like parks, historic sites, and more for the tourist on the go.

Think about those virtual tours that you might have seen on realtor websites or on hotel websites, this app caters to this ability exclusively. There are some limitations at this time, however, since the application is relatively new. If you have the 1st or 2nd generation iPad, or the iPhone 3GS and older you will be unable to shoot panoramas with the app. These devices can still download the app and enjoy the uploaded panoramas that others have uploaded. There is talk of a huge update coming to the app, which will include support for the iPad Mini, which at this time does not currently upload panoramas. This post will be updated as soon as that changes!

iPhone 4 and 3rd generation iPad users can take panoramas using the tools within the app. iPhone 4S and 5 users as well as 4th generation iPad users (yes this is different than the Mini) can shoot a panorama from the native camera app and then upload to TourWrist for use. If you are an Android user (like me), good news! They have an app for Android OS, as well.  However, after installing the Android app it does not appear that I can upload panoramas from the app. This is an amazing app, and if you have a device that doesn’t support panorama uploading, you can always go through the TourWrist website.

Device Shoot panoramas from app? Look at other panoramas only?
Android No Yes
iPhone 3GS No Yes
iPad 1,2 No Yes
iPad Mini No (update coming) Yes
iPhone 4, 4S Yes No
iPad 3,4 Yes No

One very interesting thing to note is the partnership between TourWrist and Nodal Ninja. This partnership allows people to buy a specialized set of DSLR equipment specifically to be used for professional panorama photography. If you’re curious to know what all is in the kit, click here.

If you can’t keep all of the device differences straight, not to worry. We have a couple of compatible iPads in the Interactive Multimedia Lab if you really want to see how the app works as a fully functional app. There are so many uses for this app, and I love to use this even without the full functionality. It’s great to be able to see places before you travel a great distance or revisit someplace you’ve already been.

Tech Tip – TourWrist

By Ronald Smith, Instructional Development Services Lab Assistant

With tourist giving you the option of touring around the world, you have a lot to choose from. But maybe you want to tour a specific country, state, or city. Tourist gives you this option with a few easy steps.

  • Click the blue  “Explore” button on the left side panel.
  • Then five different panels will show up, click the one that says “Categories”.
  • These are broken into 11 different categories including “All Panos”.
  • For the purpose of this tech tip, I chose “All Panos”. So After All Panos is clicked (make sure it is highlighted), decide which country you want to tour!
  • I chose France, so go to the map and zoom into the country (the state, and cities should show up)
  • In France, I chose Paris, and green dots showed up. The green dots indicate that there is a pano available in the location that you chose.
  • Click on one of the green dots and there you have it, the pano is available to view. You can either choose to gyro (move the ipad around to view) or touch (swipe your fingers to view).
  • You can click “Links” to save the pano or to get directions.
  • The share button allows you to share the pano with your friends via email, Twitter, and Facebook.

Creative Book Builder App

By Carlo Daniels, Graduate Assistant Instructional Development Services

The Creative Book Builder app developed by Tiger Ng allows one to compose and edit eBooks using a variety of intricate content creation and authoring tools on one’s iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, or Android powered device. Ebooks can then be published in ePub format to be read by a variety of eReaders like iBooks or Google Books for all to see.  Users have the ability to embed a variety of media into their eBooks that include text, images, links, questions, tables, QR codes, video, and audio.  Furthermore, users also have the option to import and embed a variety of file formats such as doc, ppt, xls, pdf, pages, numbers, and keynote files as well as convert documents from Google Drive into chapters.  What is more is that some advanced editing features include being able to add custom HTML; use built-in image editing tools (e.g., different filters, red-eye removal, etc.); capture and/or record audio, video, and images on the spot using the app’s host devices’ camera and audio recording capabilities; and plenty more.  Also, some additional sharing options include, emailing the book, transferring the book through iTunes, sharing the book between devices using a QR code, exporting the book to a PDF, and uploading the book to a WebDAV Server, FTP Server, Dropbox or Google Drive.

The app can be great for educators who want their students to explore or delve further into a particular subject matter via getting creative with taking advantage of the multimedia characteristics that eBooks contain.  For instance, Creative Book Builder can serve as a great recording and reporting tool for science experiments:  Students can formulate a hypothesis, video record data or input it as text into tables, and write about their observations and findings.  Or students can be tasked to take a pro or con stance towards a certain controversial issue or historical figure by creating video podcasts for student arguments and supporting them further with text and possibly audio recordings containing famous and/or important quotes.  In short, numerous possibilities exist with presenting content through eBooks using Creative Book Builder.

The AppsInClass website ( shows you different ways you can use Creative Books Builder in every step of Bloom’s Taxonomy.

Tech Tip – Adding Elements to Your Book

by Nicole Dobyns, Graduate Assistant Instructional Development Services

Adding elements to your book in Creative Book Builder is very easy, plus you can add elements wherever you are with your iPhone, iPad or Android devices (I like this part because I love my Android smart phone). Let’s face it, we never know when the creativity is going to hit us. Just how easy is it to add elements using the Creative Book Builder App? Let me show you!

First, you will want to make sure you have created your book and given it a title just like I have done below. In order to add books in Creative Book Builder, you must touch the plus sign while in the books menu.

From there you can give it a title, and decide on which format to use.

Classic format is suitable for all kinds of e-readers such as Kindle or Nook (I chose this for our example because I have a Kindle), while the Fixed layout is specifically designed for iBooks for iPad and iPhone.

Next comes the fun part! In order to add elements that you want to type while in Creative Book Builder, you will start by clicking “Add Element” as seen below. You will only see this option one time while the chapter is empty. Any other time you need to add other elements to the chapter, you will go up to the plus sign toward to the top of the screen to add additional elements.

In the picture below, you see that there are many different options in terms of the elements that you can add to your book. You can add a paragraph and title that you type right from the app, or you can add files that you have already created. You can also add all kinds of formatting through HTML or you can add different kinds of media.

While being able to read the text right from the book is great, you sometimes lose formatting when you copy and paste. If you have a bigger file, it might be easier to import a link to a file from Dropbox or Google Drive. Let me show you how to do that here. From the add element (or plus sign) move over to the “File” tab and touch “Files from Google Drive.” If you are not logged in you will get a screen such as the one below.

Touch “Link” in the top right corner of the box, and put in your login information.

Once you have logged in, you will come to a screen that indicates you are logged in. This screen also allows you to choose to browse through your files that are connected to your Google Drive.

You will then be able to browse through your folders from your own Google Drive.

Once you have found the file that you want, touch it so that a checkmark appears to the right of the file name, then touch done. It will take a few seconds to download the file. Remember, the bigger the file size, the longer it will take to download.

Once it is downloaded, your editing screen will look something like this.

You can then touch preview in the top right corner, and it will show you what that section of the book will look like to readers.

Using the Creative Book Builder app is pretty intuitive. If you need some help with this app, make an appointment to come by the Interactive Multimedia Lab today!

iBooks Author

By Amanda Richards, Instructional Development Services Lab Assistant

iBooks Author allows users to create and publish interactive multi-touch books for the iPad and is available free in the Mac App Store.  iBooks Author allows anyone to create content specific to their needs and include things such as text, graphics, movies, interactive reviews, and more. Creating an entire book might seem a bit intimidating but Apple makes it simple by including templates such as classic, editorial, photo book, or a cookbook. Once you have chosen a template for your book, adding and changing elements is as simple as dragging and dropping the elements of your choice. The iBooks application also makes accessibility readily available by using VoiceOver technology that is connected with the table of contents, glossary, widgets, and main text.

Once you have finished an iBook you can preview and then publish the iBook to the iBookstore to be downloaded for purchase or for free. As you update your text, you will be able to re-publish the book with the same title and anyone that has downloaded the original copy of the iBook will receive a notification stating that there is an updated version of the book available.

iBooks is only available to Mac users and require OS x 10.7.4 or later.

For more information visit

iBook Author Widget TechTip

By Brittani Carter, Instructional Development Services Lab Assistant

When creating a book on iBook Author you have several widget choices that allow your reader to interact with the book. Some of those widgets include: Gallery, Media, Review, Keynote, and Interactive Image.

iBook Author Widgets

GALLERY WIDGET- The gallery widget allows you to add a number of different images that your readers can swipe through with a touch of a finger.

MEDIA WIDGET- The media widget allows you to add a movie or audio file to your book. Both the movie and audio file must be in a file that QuickTime support in order to function properly.

REVIEW WIDGET- With this widget you can add questions that will let the reader review things they’ve learned. With the review widget you get three different types of questions in each review.

  1. Multiple Choice: Reader answers a question with up to six possible answers.
  2. Drag Label to Target: Reader drag up to six text labels to specific locations in a graphic.
  3. Drag Thumbnail to Target: Reader drag up to six images to specific locations in a graphic.

KEYNOTE WIDGET- The Keynote widget allows you to add a Keynote slideshow to your book. When adding a Keynote file you must have Keynote 5.2 or later installed on the Mac the book is being created on.

INTERACTIVE IMAGE WIDGET – Adding the Interactive Image widget will allow you to provide detailed information about a certain part of a graphic image. This widget allows readers to zoom in and enlarge the image, tap a label that will provide them with detailed information and description about the image, and they will be able to easily navigate from label to label.

iPad App (Ask3)

By Carlo Daniels, Instructional Development Services Graduate Assistant

Ask3 for iPad by TechSmith Corporation is a very dynamic and interactive free screen recording app that allows teachers and students to collaborate through video postings.  All ofthe interaction and collaboration occurs entirely within the app.  Thus, there is no need for logging into external sites or additional setup.  All that is needed by students is for them to provide their name, a pin number that they create to serve as a password, and a class code for their class.  Teachers are given a class code during their own sign up process to provide to their students.

The app offers a plethora of practical tools that allow teachers to create and post videos that students can interact with. These include drawing tools with various colors, photo capturing and importing, voice recording, etc. To learn more about this process, please refer to the tech tip below.  Teachers can create practical lessons with these tools and post them for their class for all their students to see.  Students then have the ability to respond to teacher videos through either text or by creating their own video responses.  What is nice about this feature is that students’ text and/or video responses are tabbed on the timeline of the original video posted by the teacher, which makes for easy spotting as to which part of the teachers’ video that students are posting a response for.  Moreover, students also have the ability to post text and video responses to other students’ posts, which makes for a very collaborative learning environment.

One disadvantage of the app; however, is that teachers can only create one class for posting videos.  For more information about Ask3 refer to the following link as well as the tech tip further below.

Techtip Ask3

By Amanda Richards, Instructional Development Services Lab Assistant

The following tutorial describes the tools in the Create portion of Ask 3:

The first button on the left can be used to insert a picture into your recording. The options are to choose an existing photo or take a photo.

Insert Picture

Insert Picture

The next tool is a free hand tool that allows you to write or draw freely.

Free Hand Tool

Free Hand Tool

The third tool from the left is  a free hand arrrow tool that creates a free form line with an arrow at the end.

Free Hand Arrow

Free Hand Arrow

The next tool can be used to create perfectly straight lines.

Straight line tool

Straight line tool

The circle icon can be used to create perfect circles of all sizes.

Circle Tool

Circle Tool

The square icon can be used to create rectangles and squares of all shapes and sizes.

Rectangle Tool

Rectangle Tool

The last tool can be used to change the color of any of the tools you choose to use.

Choose Color

change the color of your tool

In order to undo or redo a step you can click the arrows in the top right corner.

To trash the project click on the trash can in the top left.

To clear the page click clear on the bottom right.

Undo Redo Trash Clear Page

undo, redo, trash, clear

Converting Analog-to-Digital Video

By: Instructional Development Services staff

Do you have old VHS tapes that you still display in your classroom?  Do you hate having to rewind and fast forward just to display a few short clips on your tapes?  Are your tapes really old and getting worn out?  Well we have the solution just for you!  The Interactive Multimedia (IMM) Lab has the necessary equipment that allows you to convert any analog video into a digital video format.  We have knowledgeable staff on hand that can train you and assist you in converting your videos.

Advantages of Converting Analog Video to Digital Video

  • Preserve VHS tapes that are wearing out
  • VCRs eventually will become obsolete
  • Can cut certain pieces from your video and arrange into a DVD by chapters or scenes that can be used from class-to-class
  • Transfer VHS tapes to DVD format
  • Take short clips from VHS or DVD videos and save them back out to DVD, Quicktime movie format (.mov) or streaming video.

The lab uses the following equipment in converting analog to digital video:

  • Canopus ADVC110 converter
  • VCR/DVD Combo Player
  • iMac with iMovie software

The most critical piece of equipment in this process is the Canopus ADVC110.  Without this equipment you would not be able to convert the analog video to a digital format.  You can find more information about the Canopus ADVC110 at  You can buy it from many places but the average cost is $200-250.

You aren’t limited to the type of computer or video editing software that you use.  You can connect the necessary equipment to a Windows PC and use video software such as Windows MovieMaker to convert your video.  In the IMM Lab we have Intel iMacs where you can use both iMovie or Windows MovieMaker but we feel that iMovie is a little easier/friendlier interface to work with.

Remember that you will need to make sure you are following/obeying legal responsibility and copyright.  For questions on copyright we suggest you contact the CITR office or the Library.

******This workshop need not only be for faculty but it can also be for Teaching Assistants, Graduate Assistants, Office Managers or Student Workers who might be asked to convert analog video to digital video.  ******

Tech Tip:  Connecting the Equipment Properly

If you have the needed equipment that we listed above then we will demonstrate how to properly connect them so that you can convert your analog video to digital video.

The equipment you need is:

  • Analog to Digital Video Converter (such as the Canopus ADVC110)
  • VCR player or DVD/VCR Combo
  • Computer (Mac or PC) with video editing software for importing and editing the video

You need to plug one end of the RCA cable into the DVD or VCR Out components.

Plug the other end of the RCA cable into the Video/Audio In components on the converter.

Take one end of your Firewire cable and plug it into the DV Out component of the converter.

Plug the other end of the Firewire cable into the Firewire port on your computer.

You are now ready to open your video editing software on your computer and begin importing and converting your video.


By Nicole Dobyns, Instructional Development Services Graduate Assistant

This blog tends to focus on a lot of apps and web services that benefit mostly teachers, this week I decided to focus on a tool that can be useful to all majors in the College of Education and Human Services. This week I am highlighting Flickr, a photo sharing service. Flickr is just like many other social media services, but the main purpose of this free website is to share pictures with others, whether it is your family, people you have traveled with, or someone you just met. This photo sharing service is perfect to meet anyone’s needs. Most recently I used this service to create a group to share pictures amongst a group of 18 people that took a cruise class together. This was very reasonable due to the fact that there is both an Android app and an iPhone app, and not everyone was keen on using Facebook for sharing pictures. One thing to note is that there is not an official iPad app from Flickr, but there are third party apps that have been created. You can also access the Flickr website via Safari or another browser that you have installed on your iPad.

Like many other web services there is a free account, and then there is a pro account. The two account types allow you to do different things. The free account allows you to be a member of up to 10 different groups, upload 300MB per month (that’s roughly 30MB per photo), view only your 200 most recent photos, download smaller resized versions of your uploaded photos, and you can upload 2 videos per month. With a pro account You can be a member in up to 60 groups, all uploads and viewings are unlimited, you get to download your original photos, and you can also view statistics on your account if you are interested in how many people are looking at your photos, additionally Flickr is completely ad-free. The pricing for a pro account is $6.95 for 3 months, $24.95 for one year, and $44.95 for 2 years. Unless you are not backing up your original pictures somewhere else, I think the free account is just fine for me. If you are a professional photographer looking for a way to make your business take off, this is definitely one way to start.

If you don’t need to do any editing to the pictures other than rotating, this service is the one for you to use. There are not a lot of “fluffy” add-ons with Flickr. You simply upload the photos, and they are up for viewing. Another nice thing with Flickr is that you can use your Yahoo! email account to login since this is actually a service from Yahoo! You can also use your Google sign in information, or you can even connect to your Facebook account. If you are looking to do more editing, but you do not want to use something extensive like Photoshop, please know there are websites out there like Picasa and Picasaweb from Google. This service allows you to do more editing and add effects to photos before you upload them to a service like Flickr.

If you are worried about someone using your photos, don’t be! There are plenty of privacy options on Flickr to help avoid these issues. There are copyrights instantly added so that all rights are reserved. This means that no one is supposed to use your work without permission, but this does not stop people from right clicking and saving. What is a person to do to stop this? You can change your privacy settings so that only people in your contacts can see your pictures. Your contacts are the equivalent of your friends on any other social networking site. If you choose to have your photos in the creative commons, you can certainly do that. There are different creative commons licenses. While I can not discuss the differences in these licenses, it is good to research the differences yourself before deciding to put a picture in the creative commons.

For more information, visit their website at

Tech Tip

Creating a Group

Creating a group in Flickr is very simple. First thing you will want to do is make sure you have created at least a free account on Flickr. Once you are logged in with your free account, under the groups tab, click on “Create a Group.”

Once you have clicked on that you are given three different options in terms of the typed of group that you want to make.

Public–anyone can join that is a member of Flickr and are good for general discussion topics; Public, invitation only–the administrators of the group get to control who is in the group by invitations, but the group can be seen by all Flickr members, this can be good for more centralized discussions; Private–these cannot be made public later, good for families or groups of friends, invite only, completely hidden from searches and don’t display on people’s pages under groups they belong to.

For the purpose of this tech tip, I am going to create a Public, invitation only group called, “Technology in School.” Once you have decided on the group type that you want, click the blue “create” button. That will bring you to the screen below.

Fill in all the information that is asked of you, and click the blue “next” button. It may take you a few tries to find a group name that is not already taken.

Once you have found a group name that is not read taken, your group is created. You then get to choose if there is group discussions and a pool of group photos to go with the group. One other setting you can decide is what the moderators, administrators, and members are called in the group. I did not change my settings, but people can get creative with these names.

If you want to go on the add pictures, just make sure that you have added some pictures to your own personal Flickr, then click on the group’s add photos link, as seen below, and you are good to go! One limitation of adding photos to a group is that you can only add six at a time, but the upload process does not take very long since Flickr downsizes their photos for groups.

Holiday Tech Gift Guide 2012

Gifts Under $100

Duracell Instant Charger

Duracell Instant Charger

Price $21.32 on Amazon

Have you ever been caught with a dead phone? Do you ever wish there was a way that you could charge your phone from wherever you were? The Duracell Instant Charger gives you a chance to charge almost any mobile device. You can attach any device that has a USB cord and charge using this portable charger. This charger is small in size and can be easily carried in a pocket, purse, or bookbag.

For more details and to purchase visit:

The OtterBox Defender Series

Price From: $34.95- 79.95

How many times have you dropped your cell phone or tablet? Are you tired of scratches and bumps, which can void your manufacture warranty?  Well worry no more! The OtterBox Defender series will save you! The OtterBox is a robust, three layer of protection that can withstand drops, bumps and shocks.  The OtterBox is built with a high-impact plastic shell, which is practically indestructible. It has a built-in screen protector that prevents scratches, port covers that keeps out dust and debris, and holster-style swiveling belt clip. For a limited time only you can create your OWN Defender Series OtterBox for Apple iPhone 4/4s for $59.90.

For more information please visit,default,pg.html

Otterbox Defender Series

Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K760

Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K760

Price: $79.99

Logitech’s Wireless Solar Keyboard K760 comes with a built in solar panel, which can charge the keyboard’s battery from a plethora of light sources, including both outdoor and indoor light sources.  With a fully charged battery, Logitech states that the product can last for about three months (without any light) on an average use of about 8 hours per day.  Moreover, the keyboard boasts a white smooth cut and stylish design that is very reminiscent of Apple’s keyboards and thus makes a great compliment to Apple products.

In addition, the keyboard’s Bluetooth connectivity allows for the ability to switch between up to three devices with the press of a single button and no need to reconnect:  This can work very well when switching say between an iPhone, iPad and MacBook computer.

Although it seems to be both visually and functionally fit for Apple products (contains some keys functions that are primary to Mac OS), the keyboard is indeed compatible with Windows computers as well as Android devices that allow for Bluetooth connectivity.

For more information please visit

Gloves For Mobile Devices

North Face etip glove

If you are looking for a cool gift for the tech junkies on your list but are on a limited budget look no further than touch screen friendly gloves. There are ranges of different kinds of touch screen friendly gloves and there is a pair for all price ranges.

If the gloves are for a serious outdoors person and you need gloves that will hold up in the cold North Face e-tip Gloves are the gloves for you. They feature silicone grippers and an X-tatic material on the tips of your thumb and forefingers in order to provide grip and safety for your device. The gloves are priced at $40.

Fred Flare Gloves

In temperate climates one may be able to get away with a form of texting gloves that go only over your hands and leave the top of your hands completely exposed. An example of this would be texting gloves by Fred Flare which are priced at $22.

A more affordable but still just as convenient option is texting gloves that are being sold in local chain retailers such as Walmart and Target. These gloves feature the e-tip fingers on the thumb and forefingers in a simple glove form such as the pair pictured to the right. The price range for these gloves can be between $3-$15.

For the person that has everything…

We all know there is someone on our holiday shopping list that seems like they have everything. Depending on the kind of mobile device they have, you can buy gift cards for them.

Google Play Gift Cards

For Android users, Google Play is the app store they use. Recently Google Play has started using gift cards. You can find these gift cards at most major retailers such as Wal-Mart, Target, or Walgreens. The link below is for Wal-Mart. There are two options for the cards: e-cards which are delivered via email as well as physical gift cards that you can buy in store.

iTunes Gift Cards

For iPod touch, iPhone, and iPad users, they use the Apple App store to purchase apps, music, and videos. Similarly to the Google Play cards, you can find these at most major retailers. In addition to buying these in store you can also buy these in iTunes by clicking “Buy iTunes Gifts” when in the store home screen. If you want to personalize a gift card you can use the link below to send a more personalized gift card to someone on your holiday list.

Typically these card amounts vary between $15 – $50.

Gifts Over $100

Samsung Galaxy  S3

Price starts at $199

Samsung Galaxy S3

If you are an Android user like me, then you know about this awesome phone. I am waiting for my contract to expire so I can get the Samsung Galaxy S3. This phone is powerful, and has given the iPhone a run for its money. Currently there are 16 GB and 32 GB models, with a 64 GB model coming out soon. The microSD slot allows memory to be expanded on this phone.

The screen size on this phone is 4.8 inches. There are two cameras on this phone that allow the user to use Skype or another video calling service. The rear facing camera is 8 MP. This phone is just as powerful as the iPhone and is more customizable. For those of you who like to make a phone your own device Android devices are the way to go.

I have only touched on the basics of the phone. Here is a great link for highlighting the Samsung phone’s features.

This phone is available on all major carriers, and prices generally start at $199.

Apple iPad Mini

Apple iPad Mini

From:  Starting at $329 (16GB basic Wi-Fi)

Apple has gone where we never thought it would. Introducing the iPad Mini lighter, slimmer, and faster. It has the same features as the iPad 2 it’s just smaller! It features

It features Wi-Fi and 3G capabilities and has a beautiful LED-backlit and multi-touch display that serves as the user interface. It’s only .28 inches thin weighing only .68 pounds. It includes the new lighting (charging) connection, your able to use your voice to send messages, set reminders and much more by using Siri and the Nano-SIM technology, which is not compatible with existing micro-SIM cards. It offers a FaceTime HD camera, iSight Camera, and 1080p HD video recording camera.

For more information please visit

Google Nexus 7 Tablet

From $199.99

Google Nexus 7 Tablet

Google’s Nexus 7 tablet is a great tablet device powered by Android for any tech enthusiast.  Weighing at only 12 oz with a sleek and savvy design and sporting a 7-inch riveting display, it serves as the perfect on-the-go companion for browsing the web, e-reading, GPS navigation, social networking, etc.  In addition, the 10+ hours of battery life and up to 32GB of storage space mean that you can accomplish more of what you want with a great amount of time!

What is more is that Google Play (Android market) stores all digital content within cloud storage for free, allowing you to continue your tasks on the device form where you left off without the need or hassle of having to say sync the device to a computer to retrieve files.  Furthermore, syncing information with Android powered smartphones and a PC is made simple.  Google Play also offers over 700,000 apps and games, which means that you can revel in endless hour of entertainment.  Finally, with Google Now functionally, the Nexus 7 is even smarter, allowing for the right amount of information to be delivered for you when you need it:   Get the local weather, the up-to-date score for your favorite sports team, traffic levels, etc. all with Google Now.

For more information please visit

Kindle Fire 2 HD

Kindle Fire 2 HD

The Kindle Fire 2 HD is an excellent option for those that want a quality tablet for a fraction of the price of an iPad or iPad mini. This new kindle is said to reduce the glare in brightly lit areas and is amongst one of the easiest to read. This new Kindle fire also includes a physical volume and camera button for easier accessibility. The 7 inch fire tablet will sell for $199; The bigger version will be sold for $299. One area in which the kindle fire HD is receiving praise is for its 8-hour battery life. Consumer reports have shown no major flaws and as the Amazon app network continues to grow the Kindle Fire 2 HD is attracting more and more attention.

For more information please visit





iPad App (Pocket)

By Amanda Richards, Instructional Development Services Lab Assistant

Have you ever been browsing the web or an application such as Flipboard and found an article that you just didn’t have time to read? The application formerly known as “Read it Later” is now “Pocket”.  The Pocket application can be added to web browsers such as Firefox, Safari, or Google Chrome as well as tablets and mobile devices.  It can be used to save articles, videos and images inside of the Pocket application that can then be opened and used at a later time, even without an Internet connection! Pocket allows you to create an account so that no matter what media you choose to view your pocket application on you will be able to view all of the articles that are saved to the account.  Pocket makes it easy to find an article that you have saved previously by including a keyword search feature in order to filter through articles quickly. Pocket also allows you to create lists in order to categorize your articles for improved accessibility. Another unique feature of Pocket is that it displays articles in an easy-to-view layout. According to CNET software review “If you’re looking for a bookmarking tool that syncs across devices, then look no further. Better than Instapaper and other competitors, Pocket is the app to beat in the category.”

Ways to Save in Pocket:

  • Save directly from your browser
  • Save via Email
  • Save via over 300+ Apps that have Pocket integration

View Pocket From:

  • iPhone and iPad
  • Android
  • Kindle Fire
  • In Your Browser

For more information, visit

Workshop Signup:

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Tech Tip: Adding Browser Extension to Firefox

By Nicole Dobyns, Graduate Assistant – Instructional Development Services

Pocket is a great way to save what you want to read for later, but I am sure you want to install all of those great apps and browser extensions. It can be tricky, but fortunately these extensions are very simple to install these with any operating system or on any device. This app is really available for any device.

The first example I want to show you is how to install the extension for Firefox. Installing a browser extension will not be the same for all browsers, but it will be similar.

To find the browser extension you want, go to and click on “Your Web Browser” under “Ways to Pocket.” This will automatically detect which browser you are actually using.

In this case I am using Firefox, so this is what popped up next.

The next step would be to click install. This takes you to a Mozilla Firefox Add-ons page. This page allows you to decide if you want to actually install the add-on (also known as an extension) to the browser. The next page when completing this installing on Firefox looks like this.

If you want (it is usually recommended) you can read through the privacy policy, then you will want to click “Add to Firefox” to add this add-on or extension to your browser. Once you have clicked this button, you may be asked to allow permission for Pocket to download, and you should allow it to download. The download took less than a minute to complete.

Once you have installed the add-on, there is a button for your use. It simply looks like the pocket symbol, and is shown below.

It is very similar to the bookmark button that is to the left of the Pocket symbol. When you find an article that you want to read later, simply click on this symbol, and it will put it in your pocket. The symbol can be hard to find if you are not looking for it, but once you get used to using it, it becomes second nature. These steps are not the same for every web browser, but they will be similar. For specific instructions, please visit your browsers help menu or stop by the Interactive Multimedia Lab for help on installing these extensions.

For anyone using mobile devices, there are apps for just about every mobile device and social media outlet in addition to the web browser extensions. The apps for social media would be useful if you see an article posted on Facebook or Twitter that you find interesting, but you do not have time to read it. To see a full list of all applications, visit

iPad Apps (Panorama, 360 Panorama, iMotion HD)

By Carlo Daniels, Instructional Development Services Graduate Assistant


Price – $0.99

Panorama by Wondershare Software Co., Ltd for iPad, iPod touch, iPhone, and Android offers users a clean and facile way of creating panoramic images.  All of this can be done in mere seconds by simply tapping the “Capture button” within the app and steadily moving/panning one’s iOS device from left to right to capture a scene.  Frames of the scene will be recorded and instantly blended together within the program.  This comes extremely handy when attempting to capture an image of something that is especially wide or out of range for any of the iOS device camera lenses to capture with a single shot.

What is more is that one can also apply various filters to each panorama by selecting from some stylish effects built into the app such as Sketch, Vintage, Rice paper, etc.  In addition, sharing a video is made easy by allowing one-touch uploads to Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Flickr, and email.

For more information and to purchase and download the app go to

360 Panorama

Price – $0.99

For iPad, iPod touch, iPhone, and Android 360 Panorama by Occipital Inc. allows users to create full, spectacular 360 degree panoramas simply by panning one’s own iOS or Android device in a 360 degree motion. The user interface is lined with a background grid that aids one in panning smoothly and evenly for the process.  Furthermore, pictures are automatically taken and stitched together as the user pans his/her device without a single tap, making for a very smooth and seamless process.

Sharing can either be done using the full 360 video created or by using a wide, flattened image version of the 360 panorama.  Options include Twitter, Facebook, and email.  Users that create an Occipital account can also benefit from cloud storage whereby panoramas that are uploaded can instantly be retouched or have a boost in quality overtime. Occipital account users also have the ability to access their videos from a desktop.

For more information and to purchase and download the app go to

iMotion HD

Price – Free (Full version is $1.99 that allows more exporting options)

As an Apple exclusive iOS device app, iMotion HD by Fingerlab lets users create dynamic time-lapse and stop-motion videos from their mobile devices.  This can be very useful for recording processes that take an exceptional amount of time (such as a plant growing overtime); creating unique, animated videos with inanimate objects; etc.  Moreover, iMotion allows for HD 720p capturing in either portrait or landscape modes.  Users also can make use of helpful ruler guides and onion skinning (transparencies of previous still images to help provide a basis point for taking the next still picture for stop-motion video) options to enhance the professional quality of their videos.

Videos can either be taken using the “time-lapse”, “remoted” or “manual” modes.  Time-lapse lets users shoot a stop motion video as if it were a regular video, capturing still frames as video records to supply the stop-motion effect.  Manual allows a user to create their video the old fashioned way by shooting individual pictures whereas remoted lets users download the iMotion Remote app on another iOS device to remotely control the capturing on their device with iMotion installed.  Sharing options include Facebook and the photo library on the iOS device.  Advanced options such as exporting to YouTube and iTunes as well as the ability to manually focus shots come with the full version for $1.99.

For more information and to download the app go to

TechTip:  360 Panorama App

By Brittani Carter, Instructional Development Services Lab Assistant When using the 360 Panorama applications by Occipital, you’re given the option to share your photos. Once the photo has been taken, located on the lower right hand corner there is an “Upload Icon”. After you’ve selected the “Upload Icon”, a menu with all of your upload options will appear.  You have the option to “Make it public”, along with “ Showing your Location”.

Next, you want to select “ Start Upload”, this will change the menu options allowing you to “ Create a New Occipital Account”. Setting up a new account with Occipital is completely free.  All you need is a valid email address along with password. Having an Occipital Account, will allow you to view your uploaded panoramic photos on a desktop computer.

You also have the option to “Share and Upload”, your photos to your Twitter and Facebook

Mobile Device Safety and Security

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By Nicole Dobyns, Instructional Development Services Graduate Assistant

The Department of Homeland Security sponsors Cyber Security Awareness Month in October. This month is dedicated to Internet and mobile safety. Staying safe with the Internet has become a common practice by many people. We all know to not open suspicious emails, or to not go to sites we don’t know. We’ve also been told many times to change our password often. Why do you think we all have to change our ECOM and STARS passwords after so many days? It’s a security thing!

However, with mobile safety, we don’t always look at the little things that can be unsafe. First thing that I would like to discuss is location awareness on your mobile devices. A lot of times your phone or tablet will have the location awareness turned on since that is a default setting. It is up to you to change that setting. Just be aware that certain services, such as maps or the popular application Four Square, do not work as well when location services is turned off.

Many people do not think twice before downloading an app. On Android devices, you are prompted to accept permissions from the app for it to access certain things on your phone. If you are an Android user, it is a good idea to read through these permissions before downloading an app. With Apple mobile devices, you do not get to read through the permissions of an app, but they are relatively easy to find when you are in the app store. Usually a trip to the developer’s website, and you can easily find the permissions for a particular app.

It has become common practice for QR codes to be found everywhere. It seems that everyone likes to use these handy codes to relay information from videos to calendar appointments to websites. However, if you aren’t careful these codes can be dangerous for your mobile safety. QR codes have been known to be attached to viruses or spam. Sometimes the viruses connected to these codes can access your personal information in your phone, or even send messages and other updates through your social media. If you don’t want to be a victim of this, make sure the QR code says what it is going to do before you scan it with your mobile device. Or better yet, get a scanning app that will preview the website or video for you before it opens.

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There are some simple things to think about as well when it comes to mobile safety. You do not have to answer numbers that you don’t recognize. If the caller really needs to get you some information, they can certainly leave a voicemail. Be aware that there are many credit card scams via text message too. I have received a few of these pretty recently. Remember that your bank/card issuer should never ask you for any personal information like credit card information or your social security number through a text message. If you receive a text asking for this kind of information, simply do not respond. Notify your bank/card issuer immediately if you did give out some of this information. They can usually put a stop to fraudulent uses of personal information very quickly.

Another concern is whether or not you should have a passcode on your device. The passcode helps to protect your data that can actually be stolen if you are in a public place while using your device. If you have ever lost a phone or had one stolen, you know how unnerving it can be to lose all of that information. One nice thing that Apple does for its iPhone users is an option to wipe all the data on the phone after 10 incorrect tries with the passcode. Android devices typically don’t have this, but your carrier can help you to do a hard reset on your phone if you forget your passcode. Android phones sometimes let you login to your Google account to reset passcodes if you forget it entirely.

Mobile and cyber security are hot topics right now. People are connected in many different ways. It is hard to keep up with all the safety, but it still important to keep all of your devices safe. Keeping your devices secure not only helps you, but anyone that has been connected to you through your mobile devices. If you have any questions with the above information please call us 309-298-3076 or stop by the Interactive Multimedia Lab in Horrabin Hall 104 for one-on-one help.


By Amanda Richards, Instructional Development Services Lab Assistant

One way to secure your privacy with mobile devices is to turn off your location services.

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In order to turn location services off on an iPhone you go into Settings > Privacy > Location Services > Off

If you want to use location services for applications such as Maps and foursquare you can leave the location services on and go through each individual app and turn off their access to Location Services.


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In order to turn location services off on an Android phone press the Menu Key > Settings > Location and Security

By default, Use GPS satellites are on. Uncheck the box to turn it off.  This will end location based information for all applications. This includes location services for legitimate uses such as Maps.  If you choose to turn your GPS off whenever you need to use your navigation application you will have to go back into settings and turn GPS on.