Cloud Sharing Apps

Do you want to be able to work anywhere, on any computer, tablet, or smartphone, and have access to your documents?  Even better, do you want the changes you make to sync to all your devices? It’s easy! Just save your documents to a cloud application.  The hard part is choosing your cloud. Here is a rundown of my favorites.

DropBox:  Get a little blue box for all your computers and devices.  Drag or save your document to DropBox, and they sync across all your devices.  A free account is 2G, so just save the important things.  It is super easy to install and use: click here to go to, watch the video, and install.  On a Mac, DropBox shows up as a folder in Finder – just drag your Documents inside, and be sure to save new documents inside your DropBox folder.  You can also access your files on the DropBox website.

SugarSync:  This is the one I use.  “Access, sync, and share your files from any device” and get 5GB free!  Click here for, watch the (annoying) video, and download it on each of your devices.  It installs a MagicBriefcase on your device, and anything you save there will sync across all your devices.  If you are working from a borrowed computer, you can access your files on the SugarSync website .  SugarSync is more customizable than dropbox; you have the option to choose which files you want to sync to which devices.  On a Mac, MagicBriefcase shows up as a folder in Finder – just drag your Documents inside, and be sure to save new documents inside your MagicBriefcase folder.

iCloud:  For Apple devices only of course.  You get 5GB of storage free, and purchases from iTunes and your Photostream don’t count against free space.  It is a little more complex to set up – learn how here.

SkyDrive:  Microsoft’s SkyDrive is available with a Window’s Live ID.  Everyone with GPS email has a SkyDrive account.  Go to your Outlook Webmail Account, find the Office drop-down menu across the top, and choose “Your Documents.”  You will now be in SkyDrive.  You can upload up to 25GB to SkyDrive, but you have only 5GB of synced storage.  To get to your synced storage, click Shared on the left, then “view synced folders” on the top. This is not the easiest sharing platform.  SkyDrive also allows you to create very basic Word, Excel, OneNote, and PowerPoint documents, which you can then download into the real application.

What will education be like in 2060?

Notes I took on a video by Salman Khan on

Year 2060: Education Predictions

  1. active/discovery/creative professions will replace manual and mental labor
  2. seat time in school is presently fixed for 13 years + college (the fixed variable), and achivement is variable (GPA).  In the future, time spent in school will be variable (no fixed seat time) and achievement will be fixed at a high standard.  The portfolio of work done = your transcript, not a GPA.    Failure is a good thing.  Also important will be how well did you do on other skills like helping others.
  3. The role of the teacher changes:  not lecture; instead a coach or mentor = rich, important role.  Not an isolated profession.  Maybe no walls between classes.  Teachers work together.  Students benefit from several teachers and will tutor each other.  Profession of teacher will become more prestigious.  More $
  4. The cost of delivering core material will be close to 0:  all you need is an internet connection.  There could be a 99% global literacy rate.  A global meritocracy.
Watch for yourself.  What do you think? Click here


A Preview of Mountain Lion, the new Mac OS X

The Mac is going to be even more like the iPhone and iPad – I wonder when it will have a touch screen too?
For those of us using an iPhone and a Mac (and an iPad?), this will be an excellent way to keep track of messages, tags, notes, etc. on all devices.   Watch the video here OS X Mountain Lion Sneak Peek and download a beta of Messages.  This is the same messages app as the one on your iPhone, and it also works with AIM, Yahoo, Google talk, etc. Since I type much faster than I text, it is wonderful for long conversations.



NMC Horizon Report 2011 K–12 Edition: A Summary

“The NMC Horizon Project identifies and describes emerging technologies likely to have a large impact on teaching, learning, research, or creative expression within education around the globe.”
The report is 40 pages long, so I thought I would condense it down to 3 tables.  Read the entire report here NMC Horizon Report 2011 K-12 Edition.

5 Current Trends

The abundance of resources and relationships made easily accessible via the Internet is increasingly challenging us to revisit our roles as educators.
Information is everywhere.  The ability to assess the credibility of information are paramount.
As IT support becomes more and more decentralized, the technologies we use are increasingly based not on school servers, but in the cloud.
What matters is that our information is accessible no matter where we are or what device we choose to use.
Technology continues to profoundly affect the way we work, collaborate, communicate, and succeed.
Those who are more facile with technology will advance while those without access or skills will not.
People expect to be able to work, learn, and study whenever and wherever they want to
Informal learning, “just-in-time” learning and “found” learning
The perceived value of innovation and creativity is increasing
The ways we design learning experiences must reflect the growing importance of innovation and creativity as professional skills

5 Critical Challenges

Digital media literacy continues its rise in importance as a key skill in every discipline and profession
Digital literacy is less about tools and more about thinking
Economic pressures and new models of education are presenting unprecedented competition to traditional models of schools
Creative institutions are developing new models to serve students, such as providing open content over the network
The demand for personalized learning is not adequately supported by current technology or practices
We need technologies that provide more learner choice and control and allow for differentiated instruction
A key challenge is the fundamental structure of the K-12 education establishment — aka “the system.”
Options like informal education, online education, and home-based learning are attracting students away from traditional educational settings
Many activities related to learning and education take place outside the walls of the classroom and thus are not part of our learning metrics
The (learning) experiences that happen online and via social networks are difficult to tie back to the classroom, as they tend to happen serendipitously and in response to an immediate need for knowledge

Emerging Technologies

One year or less
Cloud Computing
Has transformed the way users of the Internet think about computing and communication, data storage and access, and collaborative work
Specialized computers for the palm of your hand, with a huge and growing collection of software tools that make use of their accelerometers, compasses, cameras, microphones, GPS, and other sensors
2-3 years
Game-Based Learning
The greatest potential of games for learning lies in their ability to foster collaboration and engage students deeply in the process of learning
Open Content
Course content freely available represents a profound shift in the way students study and learn
4-5 years
Learning Analytics
Techniques to study student engagement, performance, and progress in practice, with the goal of using what is learned to revise curricula, teaching, and assessment in real time
Personal Learning Environments (PLN)
Student-designed learning approaches that encompass different types of content — videos, apps, games, social media tools, and more — chosen by a student to match his or her personal learning style and pace

The Future is Now

Many of you have already seen A Day Made of Glass by Corning:  “Corning’s vision for the future with specialty glass at the heart of it.”


Available in early 2012 for $8,900 each, the future is available as Microsoft Surface : a 40-inch Samsung that can be used as a table, hung on the wall, or embedded where you want it.  The unit is made with Gorilla Glass, which happens to be the glass used on the iPhone 4.  The unit can sense touch, and “Every pixel is acting as a camera, so the surface of the PC can actually see.”  The Surface can also read documents.  Here is Microsofts demo from CES 2011





Use iCloud Even With a Shared Apple ID

My daughter and I upgraded to Apple iOS 5, but since we share an Apple ID, our devices all synced to the same iCloud account.  Terrible!! All her contacts synced to my phone.  My Safari bookmarks synced to hers so she deleted them all, which deleted all mine!  MacWorld to the rescue with How to configure iCloud if you share an Apple ID.  All you do is click on System Preferences and configure iCloud separately for each user.  Do this for all your apple devices – just follow the directions in MacWorld.  Do you need help setting up all the new iOS 5 features?  Try this article from Lifehacker (one of my favorite websites about life – not just tech):  How to Set Up and Configure All the New Features in iOS 5.

5 Favorite Tools for Organizing and Saving Time


URL Shortener (or; tinyurl)
Shorten a long web address (URL). Useful when you need a web address for internet citations, email attachments, texting, etc.  Just copy the URL, paste in, and copy the short version.
Social Bookmarking
diigo (or, etc.)

Watch this short video  “Social Bookmarking in Plain English” by CommonCraft.  This uses as an example.

Online bookmarking.  Instead of using your bookmarks bar or menu, use a free bookmarking site.  It is available anywhere, is searchable and tagged, and you can share other users’ awesome collections.  You can also highlight web sites and add sticky notes.
Here is mine: eresnick’s diigo site.
Website/Blog Reader – RSS Feed Reader
Google Reader (and many others)

Watch this short video “Google Reader in Plain English” by Common Craft.

Keep up with all your favorite websites and blogs.  Subscribe to the RSS feed using Google Reader, and updates/new articles come to you.
Twitter Search

Watch this short video “Twitter Search in Plain English” by Common Craft.

Search news and events as they happen.  You do not have to have a twitter account to search twitter.
Online File Backup
SugarSync (or Dropbox, etc.)

Sign up for a free 5GB SugarSync account here

Quote from the site:
“SugarSync makes it easy to backup, share and access your files, anytime, anywhere. With SugarSync you get online cloud storage for all your files — documents, music, photos, and video. When you make a change or add files on any of your PC or Mac computers, SugarSync automatically syncs your files to the cloud, where you can access them from any Internet-connected device — including your smartphone or iPad.”

Any suggestions for other tools?  What are your favorites?