Category Archives: tips

ePub Support in iBooks 2

This video focuses on the text display options for ePub documents in iBooks 2, including text size, font, and background.


Reading and Study Aids in iBooks 2

Learn how to highlight, underline and take notes in iBooks 2. This video also covers how to use the new Study Cards flashcards feature with your notes and glossary entries, as well as bookmarking and searching.


Accessibility Settings in IOS 5

Get ready for IOS 6 by reviewing what is already available for providing accessibility for your students with special needs in IOS 5

5 Ideas for using iBooks Author and iBooks 2


When the original iPad first arrived there was buzz about how this device could change education. Schools began adopting iPad programs.  The iPad is an informational consumption device through which a learner can consume massive amounts of information through their ear and eye channels.  Learners could even customize the information slightly, a tenet of UDL.  If a learner needed larger text they could pinch and zoom with their hands and of course turn up or down any audio.  The iPad is very portable when compared to laptops and is really easy to use; which makes it a great tool to use with younger children or other learners who may be uncomfortable using a computer.  PDF readers became big apps in higher education and finding the next big content specific app became the big thing in elementary and secondary education as evident by the numerous app rating and apps for education sites.  It was not easy for educators to create their own relevant content for their classroom.  Most of the subject specific apps available were not adaptable to specific classroom content needs.  Now with iBooks Author educators can create content that is specific to their classroom needs.  Students now also have an exciting way to show off some of their creative genius on one of the most popular devices to date.

Student Produced Lessons

Female child creating a book on a silver iMac

The big buzz right now about Apple’s new iBooks 2 and iBooks Author app is the interactivity textbook publishers can bring to the classroom.  While that may be fine and dandy, imagine how you can unlock and display the creativity of students and teachers with this tool.  With iBooks Author being a free download, students and teachers now have the ability to produce high quality self-contained content for the iPad without having to know a lot about programming.  Here is one way I can see this being used with students:  During the late 90’s and early 2000’s some teachers used webquests as a tool to teach a topic a topic to their students by having the students research online resources that have been provided to them from their teacher.  The webquests usually ends in the students creating a report, video, or presentation.  Now with iBooks Author students can take their video, report, and presentation and create a beautifully crafted lesson on any topic while honing their digital content creation skills.  iBooks Author’s easy to use interface allows students to focus more on the content they are learning and creating and less on learning a program to create content that has a steep learning curve.

iBooks Author Book on iMac and iPad

Inclusive Design Awareness

What is really great about iBooks Author is the upfront approach to accessibility.  Not only does supplying the accessibility options help individuals who are born with or have developed certain disabilities, it also helps individuals as they age whose sensory functions may be beginning to fade.  As educators, we can help change the idea of the “burden” to provide accessible options by showing students (future generations) how easy it actually is to provide other means of accessing information when you think about including everyone from the outset.   With iBooks Author students and teachers can easily create content that takes advantage of the iPad’s accessibility features.

iBooks Author Accessiblity options are included in the inspector window.

Digital Storytelling Enhancement

Digital Storytelling has been around for a while now in classroom education.  Many times restricting students to one format, not because of an  inability to create multiple types of media, but because of the lack of one easy presentation of multiple media.   Just as a good storyteller makes you feel as if you are there with their voice and mannerisms, iBooks author allows students to create a world in a book and unveil their imaginations to others.

Supplement your classroom Teaching

Choose from various templates Apple provides for iBooks Author

Teachers can create an iBook of course materials that can easily be updated and distributed to students.   While this can be done a myriad of ways, imagine if you are the teacher of a face-to-face classroom of students who regularly miss class due to reasons necessary to their role in life (i.e. student-athletes, other students who travel for the university such as chorales or student government, etc.).  You could place much of the classroom materials in an iBook that is uploaded to your iTunes U collection.  Students would need the Internet once to download the book or chapter for the week.  Students could download the lesson before boarding a bus or plane where they would no longer have Internet connection most likely yet still be able to review and study the content for class.  The iBook is more than just a PDF that a student could download.  The iBook is better than having students download multiple videos and PDFs and then having to remember to read and watch everything.  The iBook acts as a guide through out the course materials for the week.  Students will have a  table of contents in front of them showing them everything they have to review for the week.  With iBooks you can even provide a self-check section to help students realize what information is seeking in and what information they still need to review.

Easily Drag and drop content from Pages or Microsoft word into iBooks Author

Final Project Portfolio

In some classrooms students are required to put together a final portfolio project.  In an interactive media class where students would learn about creating graphics, photography, video creation, and audio editing, iBooks author provides an easy packaging system for students to quickly drag and drop their projects from that semester into a neat, clean and fun iBook that can be easily presented on their iPad.

Hands touching iPad displaying science book made in iBooks Author

While it is great that Apple and textbook publishers are now able to offer interactive textbooks on the iPad (similar apps on the iPad have been attempting this: Kno and Inkling apps), it is even more exciting that now students and teachers have a very easy to use multimedia publishing tool to create content for the iPad.  Maybe one day creating high quality multimedia content for tablet devices will be as universal and as easy as word processing.

iPhone 4s Camera and VoiceOver together

In this video Luis shows off using the iPhone 4s VoiceOver feature and Camera App together.  Being able to use VoiceOver with the Camera app can aid an individual with a visual impairment take pictures without cutting off the subjects head.  This is because face recognition feature of the camera app comes into play allowing VoiceOver to announce how many faces are in the shot.  It also tells the photographer where in the frame the faces are located (I.E. “Top Left”, “One Face”…etc..).

Using Siri with VoiceOver

We just recently met with Luis of who showed us a new tip for using Siri with VoiceOver.  Luis will have a much more detailed description posted on his website.

Being able to use VoiceOver and Siri together is an awesome feature.  If you have ever tried to type using VoiceOver you know how tedious and time consuming creating a short text message can be.  Now on the iPhone 4S, you can tap the microphone icon in the keyboard, tap your screen once with one finger to begin dictating to Siri. Double-tap the screen with two fingers to stop dictating to Siri and have your text appear in a message or search box.

Let me know any other cool features with Siri or iOS 5 that you have discovered.

iPad Apps for Researching, Organizing, and Writing Papers

Streamlining your learning with technology makes education work seamlessly from any of your devices whether it is an iPhone, iPod, iPad, or the computer.  There are an overwhelming number of apps available for students to try as part of their work process.

Some resources that are valuable and worthwhile whether you are a freshman or working on your doctorate that we recommend are:

1.  GoodReader for iPad:  GoodReader is a mulit-tasking tool that supports large text and PDF files, syncs with remote servers, and works with .doc, .ppt, .xls, iWork, HTML and Safari webarchives, high resolution images, and audio and video.  This app, also allows you the opportunity to annotate your documents or PDF’s, manage the files, transfer files, sync files and folders, zoom, do a text search, and do a quick hyperlink search in your PDF’s.  Cost: $4.99

2.  Tap-Dictionary:  Works with the Safari web browser and gets dictionary definitions with the tap of a finger.  This app will not make you switch applications to find the definition.  It instantly finds the definition while you browse the web.  Tap-dictionary will pronounce the word in 56 different languages.  Cost: $.99

3.  Remember the Milk:  This utility app lets you take your to do list anywhere.  There are a variety of versions for the iPod, iPhone,and iPad.  The app also works with your online version that you sync with your calendars at  This app lets you add and complete tasks on the go, sync with your online version, organize priorities, due dates, search, receive reminders by email SMS and IM and much more.  Cost: Free

4.  Dropbox:  Once you download this feature to your computer and purchase the app on your iPad or iPhone you have the ability to save and open or share documents, photos, or videos anywhere  and at anytime.  The best thing about the dropbox account is that you can save, share, or email anything from or to the dropbox account at any time.  Cost: Free

5.  Dropvox:  Dropvox records audio and sends it directly to your dropbox account.    It can be used to capture any audio (e.g. interviews, memos, or lectures, ets.) In addition, you can set the audio to start recording immediately when dropvox is launched or continue recording in the background.    Cost: $1.99

Taken from Dr. Blog, PhD., this site shares information about apps for research with a focus on obtaining a PhD., but has many apps that are valid for everyone.

One of the most difficult things you can do academically is to get a PhD degree. There are a lot of tough tasks you have to complete in order to be awarded this high degree — including writing research papers. Indeed, anyone on a Ph.D. track knows that it is impossible to get through your schooling without writing several papers. And, of course, a Ph.D. dissertation is a research paper on a massive scale.

If you are looking for ways to improve your ability to write research papers, you are in luck. Technology makes it simple to get help with research papers. If you have an iPad, you can get help writing your research paper.” –from

The link for this site is:

WordPress and OnSwipe change the way you view blogs on your iPad

Until recently if you wanted your wordpress blog to have a different design for mobile devices you had to download a mobile plugin such as WPTouch. WordPress and OnSwipe have worked together to make all 18 million blogs on look more app like when viewed on the iPad. promises to make it easy for all publishers content appear more app like.


This new design reminds me of the FlipBoard app or Zite app available in the iTunes app store. Publishers who host their own blogs can go to and sign up for the beta.

Will this make reading blogs online more enjoyable? The iPad does provide a different reading experience than reading from your computer. And it looks like this most popular design for reading magazine type or content of short articles being adopted or at least getting the most buzz. But should that be the standard or default design or user experience for viewing Rss feed stories on the iPad?

Managing Group Projects Online with Google Docs and

Many  times in academia students are asked to work in groups to finish an assignment such as a research paper, video, or other project. While  many educators advocate group projects in education, how often are students not provided the necessary tools to coordinate and manage their group projects?  Businesses use project management tools to coordinate their tasks, efforts and documents all the time.  Why shouldn’t students in college regardless of them being in Business degree program or not?

At the University of South Florida, students’ emails are now powered by Google Apps. The university has provided students the collaboration tools by becoming a Google University. Here students can work together on papers, presentations, websites, and even conversation with Google talk while being in different parts of the state or country.   Google Docs allows the students the access to this type of collaboration, but in itself does not handle the management of meetings, tasks, milestones, Due dates and features that are used in business to manage group projects.


Many Moon dot com Home Page provides many project management tools with in its online environment. Another great feature is students can login into with their  USF student email address (i.e. and use the service for free!  Students just need to choose Google Apps from the login menu.

Choose Google Apps

In the next box the student types in their USF email address.  The next window will ask for permission to use their email account with

sign in with student email address

After students have logged in to the system, they will have the ability to create projects.  Once the project has been created, other students can be invited by email, tasks and milestones can be created, and Google Docs can be created or attached to the new project.

Create a Task

Links in Manymoon such as  Documents, members, events, calendars Students are presented with a project dashboard, which provides easy access to many of the features of

The Many Moon service is free for with storage limitations and some features are not included. Branding, Customizability, More Storage, Email features, and other extra features that are more like “Nice to Haves” are apart of Many Moon paid for features. Click the image below to learn more about the upgrade options of Many Moon. 

The University of South Florida is adding to its collection of technology tools to benefits students in their course work. The addition of Google Apps and Many Moon is just an example of this forward thinking Research One University.

Search Google Scholar Effectively

How many times have you searched endlessly for scholarly resources and found your searches inadequate?  Did you know that Google Scholar is a great tool and a useful enhancement to other searches in Proquest, Eric, and any of the other journal sites or databases?    Google Scholar is a separate tool in Google and is meant to be a place to research peer-reviewed journal articles, court decisions, magazine articles, books, patents, editorials, and other similar written publications.  Be aware that it will find books and articles that may or may not be peer reviewed.

Google Search

More  Scholar

In order to start your search in Google:

  1. Open the main search page and locate the upper left hand corner where it says more and click onthe down arrow to the right of it.
  2. Click on Scholar.
  3. Once you click on the link, Google Scholar is opened up.


Remember that it may be an additional resource to the other databases provided within the library research database for your school. Ask your school librarian if this resource is available to you.  There are times when you will look up an article or book that takes you to an outside resource that requires a fee for access.  Make sure you have accessed the information for Google Scholar through your library research database and if this continues to occur, speak to your Librarian as they may have a way to obtain the resource through your school library.

Search tips in Google

There are a variety of tips for searching the site that applies for any searches.  These shortcuts  work with many other search engines that are available in your university library and other search engines.

There are a number of little tricks that can be used to help create a better search.  The table below gives a number of the best tips that are useful. 

Modifier What it does What to type What you will get
“ ” searches for an exact phrase “assistive technology in education” results that include exact phrase “assistive technology in education”
excludes search results with a particular word or phrase bass -fishing results about bass that are not related to fishing
~ searches for a word and all its synonyms ~mobile phone results with the word “phone,” as well as, “cell,” “cellular,” etc.
OR searches for webpages that include either word vacation London OR Paris results with the word “vacation” and either “London” or “Paris”
searches for a range of numbers Willie Mays 1950…1960 results about Willie Mays during this time period
define: define a word or phrase define: plethora links to definitions of the word “plethora”
site: searches only particular websites global warming site:edu references to global warming found on .edu websites
link: searches for webpages that link to a particular website websites that link to the University of South Florida website
1+1 basic calculator functions 4+7, 30% of 55, 20^2, sqrt(4), etc. the answer
cm in foot converts unit of measure cm in foot, 28C in F, $ in pound, days in fortnight, miles in league, mph in speed of light, etc. the converted answer

For more search tips to use in Google Scholar, follow this link

There are many posters that librarians or teachers can post in the classroom or library to remind students of the various methods of searching the database and finding the specific information for a research project or paper. One is linked below.

8.5″x11″ Poster

Google Scholar Email Alerts

Email alerts are a tool that can be used to continue receiving information as it becomes available.  Once you are inside a search, click on the envelope icon on the green bar that says create email alert and a new window opens where you can place any email or your Gmail address.  Once this is done, any new papers, articles, or other items that fit into the search parameters is published, the information will be sent to the specified email.

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