Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Techy Christmas...and a Happy New Year!

So how was your holiday break?  Great I hope!  Did Santa visit your house?  If so, what did he bring you? Any new "tech stuff" to play with or just puppies and pajamas?  Well, let me tell you about mine.

Apple TV...I'm loving it.  It's been around for awhile, but I was hesitant at first...but now that it's in round 2 and it's smaller, sleeker, and less expensive, I went for it.  I think it was $99.00.  Yes, I bought it for myself and told my wife that she bought it for me for Christmas.


So here's what it is.  It's a little box, you can hold it in the palm of your hand.  This little box can connect, wirelessly, to your computer.  I do have wireless in my house so you'll have to connect to your own wireless network.  Once you plug the Apple TV (box) into your tv, assuming you have a newer tv with and HDMI port...whatever movies, music, and pictures you have on your computer, you can now watch on your tv!  (I use iTunes for downloading music and movies.)

Here's an example:  I have downloaded Toy Story 3 on my computer, through iTunes.  So it's sitting on my computer, in iTunes.  Now with Apple TV, I can go upstairs to the tv with the Apple TV (box) plugged into the back and watch the movie on the large screen!

But wait, there's more!

Over the Christmas break, we also looked at the many pictures on my computer while sitting in the comfort of my living room.  The old way might have been standing or sitting around my small crowded home office...(not as fun).  So these "slideshows" we can now watch on our big screen can be manipulated to play music (from my Mac), change transitions, etc. etc.  Awesome!  While sitting and watching last year's pictures, I did realize that I need to clean up my pictures.  I many blurry and poor pics.  That's the beauty of digital cameras.  I can take hundreds of pictures and it doesn't cost me any more...but I do need to delete that poor ones.

But wait...there's even more!

I can also rent tv shows and movies!

But wait...there's EVEN MORE!

I can use this Apple TV to connect to NETFLIX and YouTube!

OK...I'll try and calm down, but it's difficult.

Educational Value:

Here's a PRICELESS educational spin for Apple TV.  It's called AirPlay.  Imagine this.  A student has an iPod Touch in their hands...the latest version, the iPod with two cameras.  The student has an assignment to explain, to the class, how to solve a math problem.  The student uses the iPod Touch to record him or herself solving the problem and explaining their thought process as they solve it.  Then quickly edit the movie, on the iPod Touch, then by using AirPlay, send it the tv right in the classroom.  All without connecting a cord, without burning a cd or emailing it.  The students and teacher watch the video in amazement.  They cheer when it's completed.  The student creator is proud and engaged!  Wow.

How would that differ that the typical..."Take out your books, do problems 1-45 and turn it in."  Then, a few days later, the teacher finally hands it back to you.  No cheering.  No clapping for your grade (like they would have clapped after your video).

I think this Apple TV has a TON of educational potential.  Sure, I love it for home...that's beside the point.  I use it at home but in the classroom, if I were still teaching, this would be a dream!

Tech Specs:  Oh by the way, you can do this from a PC as well.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

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