Friday, December 23, 2011

STEM Video Game Challenge

William Annin students participating in the National STEM Video Game Challenge

If you were to step into the computer lab at William Annin middle school, it might look more like a Video Game Design studio than a classroom. Presently, students inMr. Isaacs' and Mrs' Sharpe's 7th grade Computer Cycle as well as Mr. Isaacs' 8th grade Video Game Design and Development elective are hard at work creating original video games to submit in the 2012 STEM video game challenge.

7th graders have been working with Gamestar Mechanic ( They have learned the basics of designing games and have written a design document to guide them through the development of their game. 8th graders have been working with a program called Game Maker (http://www.yoyogames.c0m/) and have a few options for their contest submission. Students can revisit a game they created earlier in the semester and improve upon it or they may create a new game based on an original idea. Some students are branching out beyond Game Maker and using Gamestar Mechanic or Kodu Game Lab ( to create their game as part of an independent study option.

Students have opportunities to work on their game during class, at home, and before or after school in the computer lab. In addition, interested students who are not in one of the classes that are actively working on contest entries are encouraged to participate. More information can be found on the National STEM Video Game Challenge website ( Students are welcome to inquire with Mr. Isaacs for additional information.

Inspired by the Educate to Innovate Campaign, President Obama’s initiative to promote a renewed focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education, the National STEM Video Game Challenge is a multi-year competition whose goal is to motivate interest in STEM learning among America’s youth by tapping into students’ natural passion for playing and making video games. (from

Let the games begin!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

iPad Deployment Journal Part 4: Making Progress

It's still me against the iPad cart. However, I think I might be winning (no Charlie Sheen references, please). Of course, this wouldn't be without at least one bump in the road. I came to realize that the Volume Purchasing Program requires an email / password for login. However, that is not the same id / password you would use for iTunes. In my opinion, it would be great if it was. However, when 'purchasing' free apps (a bit of an oxymoron), you must work through iTunes with a separate iTunes login. Initially, I used my personal iTunes account thinking that I was only using it for free apps. Then I realized (thanks to advice from others as well) that this was not a good idea, especially when apps need to be updated and such.

So, I created a new iTunes account. I thought you needed to enter a credit card when setting up an iTunes account, but my new iPad deployment mentor Jim (you'll hear more about Jim shortly...) pointed out that you do not (

Prior to creating this account, I downloaded two apps to the PC and deployed them to the iPads on the cart through iTunes (with my personal account). After creating the school account, I decided to move forward adding additional free apps using that account. This was where I ran into a little snafu. On the computer it looked like these new apps were synching just fine. I added them one at a time to each iPad (plugged into the cart via usb so I could do it all from the one PC). This is where I learned an important lesson. Always check to see if the content that you believed was transferred to the iPad really was. I wass less than pleased to find that these apps (while showing up on the PC as being transferred to the iPad) did not make it to the iPad.

Back to the drawing board...

At this point, I decided to 'restore' each iPad and sync the apps using the new iTunes account. Fortunately this worked.

After restoring them, I had to manually set up each iPad ('next-ing' through the questions (enable location settings, choose network, accept terms and conditions, etc.). After that step was complete, I returned to the iPhone configuration tool to send the network settings to the iPad. This prompts you to 'install' this configuration. I did that and then manually (on each iPad) added two additional languages to the keyboard (the two Japanese language keyboards). You can add keyboards under the general section of the setting. There is a keyboard setting, and then add international keyboards is an option. This was done based on a request from the Japanese teachers.

So, where does that leave me now?

Let me back track ever so slightly. In anticipation of rolling out the cart, I sent an email to all staff requesting app suggestions. The first wave of suggestions included:

  • BrainPop

  • Periodic Table app (I installed two free ones - 'Periodic Table' and 'K12 Periodic Table)

  • Google Earth

  • Dictionary - I chose the free Merriam-Webster dictionary

  • Dragon Dictation

  • Sketch Explorer (the free app version of Geometer's Sketch Pad)

  • the two Japanese language keyboard

Right now, the 20 iPads have these free apps (and the language keyboards) and our school network settings. This should be a start and allow teachers to start using the iPads with their students.

What's next?

  • I still need to determine which 'must have' paid apps to purchase using the Volume Purchasing account (and then get those apps on the iPads)

  • Continue to work with the iPhone configuration tool to set up reasonable restrictions on the iPads.
    Should we keep facetime on the iPads?
    Should the camera be enabled?
    Should I remove the App Store?
    and on and on....

Please post any comments or questions as well as suggestions for those 'must have' iPad apps".



Wednesday, October 19, 2011

iPad Deployment Journal Part 3: Naming iPads and updating to iOS5

The iPad deployment adventure continues. I was very excited when I managed to get the network settings to each iPad through the iPhone Configuration Tool (see my last post).

Next it was on to naming each iPad in the cart. It was getting a bit frustrating to see 20 iPads named ipad show up on iTunes. So, I figured I would unplug all and add them one at a time. When an iPad shows up in iTunes, the following screen appears:

Clicking Register Later prompted the following Screen:

I chose set up as new iPad and then Continue, prompting...

Here, I unchecked the Automatically sync songs and automatically sync apps checkboxes, leaving all three unchecked and I named the iPad based on our naming convention. Right now we only have 1 cart, so I will consider this cart 1, but wanted to leave room in our naming for the future when we have more carts so that there will be no questions regarding how to name those.

After clicking done, the following up:

Being that the iPads did not have iOS5, this screen prompted us to Update. It seemed as though any iPads that had already been changed in any way since we received them wanted to be backed up, while the others just updated.

The process took some time as I had to do them one at a time. Each time one was finished, I would plug in the next one so that it would show up with the name ipad and once completed join the crowd of newly updated iPads with the spiffy iOS5 and the nifty new name.

Next up ... Volume purchasing of apps and using the iPhone Configuration tool to get the apps to all of the iPads in the cart.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

iPad Deployment Journal...Part 2

So, I did my research on preparing a cart of 20 iPads for deployment in our school. One thing that I definitely realized is that noone seems to be doing it the exact same way. I believe my story is no exception.

I have not started to actually install apps on the iPads, but I have begun the readying process and have made some strides. The process is certainly time consuming, and I still wish there were an easier way. Perhaps my experience will help others as they embark upon this arduous process.

I was able to create a configuration file using the iPhone Configuration tool. One of my first concerns was to get our incredibly long WEP key entered on each iPad so they can access our network. Fortunately, the iPhone Configuration tool has a configuration option for wifi. It was suggested (and for now I agree) to create separate configuration profiles for different actions, one being the wifi. In theory, you can set up a number of configurations in one profile and send them all to the iPads, but in this case, I stayed with just seeing the network settings through rather than getting overly ambitious.

This process was not as bad as I feared... Simply click on Configuration Profiles in the Configuration Tool and name the profile in the Identify Section of the General tab. Then click on wifi and enter the settings for your Network. Once the configuration profile is created you need to install it on each iPad. The list of iPads shows up on the left. I was hoping I could install it on all with one click, but I couldn't figure that one out. Has anyone?
The image below shows the wifi screen for this profile:

In my next post, I will share the process of naming each iPad using iTunes. Preparation for deployment continues...

Working through the less than intuitive iPad deployment process...

We just got a cart with 20 iPads (woo hoo!). The cart is great in that it charges all the ipads and allows us to connect to all of them via USB. So, I understand (and feel free to correct any gaps in my understanding) that we can deploy apps to all of the devices using the iPhone Configuration Utility on a PC or Mac connected to our cart. We can purchase apps using the Apple Volume Purchasing Program. Once purchased, we should receive a spreadsheet with all the codes. This is where I get a little vague. From my research, it seems as though we can either deploy the apps to all of the ipads from the iPhone configuration tool OR have each iPad click on a link created from the volume purchase in order to install it on each iPad. I far prefer the idea of sending it through the config tool. I have heard that it can work and essentially, you are installing the app with the same code to all devices, but since you have purchased a license for each device, you have that info on the spreadsheet for verification purposes.

  1. A few questions...
    Do I use the iPhone configuration tool independently of iTunes, or do I use iTunes as well?

  2. Can I update all of the devices to iOS5 from the config tool or in some manner without updating each one individually?

  3. Should I name each iPad through the iPad itself or through the configuration tool?

  4. Is there a way to change the network settings through the configuration tool (in other words, I have a very long WEP key to enter in each one. Do I have to do it manually to first get each one on the network?

That's the bulk of my questions for the moment. I will post this and other reflections on the process in my blog ( Thanks in advance for any support.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Educators Unite: My Vision for Google+ in Education

Social Networking is certainly integral in the lives of the digital natives that we teach. I believe it's safe to say that social networking is becoming integral to most of our personal lives at this point.

Who drives the trends of social networking sites? Clearly, it's the users. MySpace took social networking in one direction and Facebook has evolved to be a more mainstream social networking site, but still driven by the users and I don't think Mark Zuckerberg could have ever envisioned facebook 'looking' quite like it does today when he was sitting in his dorm room coding away. Likewise, twitter has taken social networking in a direction of it's own, catering to people with specific interests, both professionally and socially.

Whatever the case may be, the question about social media in education continues to receive a lot of attention. Many schools (and educators) are very leery of using facebook in the classroom and this is due to legitimate liability concerns based on issues we've all read about based on the way we have learned to share on facebook. So, where am I going with this?

Google has entered the arena with google+ (certainly a better attempt at social networking than buzz and wave. I loved google wave for what it was and am sad to have seen it's early demise. However, google+ is certainly their answer to facebook and twitter and it appears as though google will stay the course with this one! My first thought is that google+ is still new enough, uncluttered enough, and somewhat akin to unclaimed territory. I would like to declare that we should plant our flag and claim google+ while we can! Below is my rationale and vision for it's use.

  1. Circles - At the heart and soul of google+ is the idea of separating your factions into circles (i.e. a circle for friends, a circle for your PLN, a circle for family, a circle for your World of Warcraft clan, a circle for colleagues, a circle for your 1st period English class, etc.). I love the idea of having a circle for each of my classes, where I can quickly post resources and reminders to them. In addition to communicating with google+ users through your circles, you can communicate with those who have not yet signed up via email. Google+ will send your post as an email to members of your circle who are not on Google+. I LOVE THIS! It provides you with the opportunity to use google+ as your group email / messaging client. In addition, like facebook, I could post to my entire network when the content is meant for everyone.
  2. Huddle - As we are beginning to encourage BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and the use of smart phones, handheld devices, etc. we can begin to use huddle, a service that allows you to essentially send an sms style text message to everyone in a circle. Again, what a great way to send that quick reminder to class, link to an assignment, resource, etc.
  3. Google Apps - Our school is using google apps. Every student can create an account through our school district portal. Currently, this would give them access to google sites, google documents, custom google search, etc. ). At the moment, I do not believe that google+ is integrated with google apps, but it would be great if the student accounts also made google+ available. My guess is that this would keep them in a secure social networking environment (only connected to others in the school district), but I believe the ideal would be to have it start there and extend or link to their personal google+ account. I say this as I want there to be an easy way to integrate with the school use of google apps, but believe students would need there to be a connection to their true personal network in order for them to use it regularly. Part of my vision is for google+ to be included in the google apps suite for easy integration of school projects and social networking.
  4. I have already begun to use google+ for personal and professional use. I would say that I am using it more for my PLN than I am for personal use. Facebook, on the other hand has the scale tilted the other way by far.
  5. Meet the students where they are. We often speak of meeting the digital natives in a world that they are familiar with. Here's our chance. Again, I understand the reservation regarding facebook (sorry, Mark), but see google+ as the unchartered territory that just might be the great compromise we are looking for. We can work in an environment familiar and comfortable to our students while teaching appropriate use.
I will likely add to this post as I have so many ideas milling around in my head. Please feel free to contribute your thoughts as well. Join me as we shape google+ to become the social learning (don't tell the kids that) environment that we want it to become.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A cause close to my heart

I just wanted to take a moment to share on a personal note. My daughter is 8 years old. Two years ago she was diagnosed with a blood disorder called ITP, a condition where her immune system attacks her platelets, perceiving them as an infection that must be irradicated. As a result, her platelet count gets very low and she must receive treatment (IV gammaglobulin) about every six weeks. Today she is receiving a treatment. I have made it a point to use her treatment days as an opportunity to raise awareness. If you begin to follow me in my social networking circles on Facebook or Twitter you'll note that I seem to post something related to ITP periodically, but especially on her treatment days. You can find out more about ITP by visiting where you can find articles, videos, etc. related to the condition.

She's an awesome kid who is especially determined (perhaps a 'side effect' of her ITP). She's funny, feisty, and a joy when she's not yelling at us :) Thanks for taking a moment to read this. I figure the only way for others to become aware is through sharing.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Will the classroom projector soon become obsolete?

In the world of Internet Connectable HDTVs, is the idea of a mounted projector going to go the way of the old overheads that teachers used to know and love? I can't help but to think that this may be the case. I would love to see my white projector screen replaced by a nice mounted 55" HDTV.

Our last tech 3 year tech plan included providing teachers with a tablet PC and a mounted wireless projector. It was very exciting to see all of these projectors being installed and teachers standing with their wireless tablet projecting to the screen.

Remember the good old days of an overhead projector and reusing acetate until we could no longer effectively clean off all of the vis a vis marker? I'm sure this made teaching seem to enter the technology age at the time. Then there was the innovation of the overhead with a document reader. Woah!!!! This meant that you could actually plop the text book right on the overhead and display content on the screen. Talk about advancements!

Next comes the overhead that we put on a cart and loaned out through the media center when needed. Another great advancement! We could connect the projector to our computer and share information from the computer screen on a large screen. We could show videos, etc. as long as the projector was connected via a VGA cable directly to the computer. A small (but huge) advancement was to begin mounting these from the ceiling and initially still being hardwired with a vga cable and then soon wireless. I remember when we replaced all of the projectors that still required a hard wired connection with wireless so that all classrooms had the capability. Don't get me wrong. I valued this advancement greatly and took full advantage. However, we began to see the limitations of our infastructure as people started streaming YouTube videos wirelessly (without much success). So, it often became necessary to revert back to a hard wired connection in order to display your desired presentation or video.

This brings me back to my initial thought. Wouldn't it be great to have a mounted flat panel TV in every classroom. The TV could be connected directly to the network via ethernet. This would help with infastructure issues. Internet connectable TVs would allow for certain access without the need for the computer. With the remote control, a teacher could show YouTube videos, access Netflix on demand, among many other widgets. There are also 'smart TVs' out now that would certainly offer much more. The TV inputs allow for HDMI, VGA, among others, so connecting the computer to the TV and using the TV in lieu of the projector is no problem. The HDMI point becomes even more important now that certain handhelds and tablets are providing HDMI out. the HDMI cable is light, so connecting your iPad 2 or similar HDMI tablet to the TV would be a breeze and allow for such great flexibility as you stand holding the light tablet as a teaching tool.

Prices are going down to a point that this solution is as reasonable (if not more reasonable) than projectors were when we purchased and installed them. Currently, the TV option is a bit more expensive (not terribly) than the projector, but I believe it offers so much more.

I teach a Video Game Design and Development course, so the idea of hooking our class Xbox to the HDTV is especially alluring,

**I don't know much about them, but there are Internet Connectable TVs and Smart TVs. Perhaps another post will focus on the Smart TVs. I can only imagine that they would provide even more flexibility in terms of incorporating content right from the TV without a computer or tablet.

Exciting stuff, no?

A few questions that I hope you will respond to in order to deepen the value of this conversation...
  • Have you experienced the implementation of a flat screen HDTV as an alternative to a projector in the classroom?
  • Can you think of advantages / disadvantages to the idea of moving from projectors to HDTVs?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Creating a Policy for Cell Phone / Handheld Use in the Classroom

Our current technology play calls for the use of handhelds in the classroom. Presently, we are working on changing our current policy to allow for their use in order to enhance instruction. Typically, and I am sure my school district is no different from most, cell phone use was limited to before and after school and cell phones must be off and out of sight during the school day. The consequences for using a cell phone during the school day is treated seriously.

As mentioned, we are looking to revamp the policy completely in order to encourage the use of the technology as we are embracing the notion of teaching 21st century skills. I am in the process of looking at different policies as we work as a technology committee to shape ours.

My initial thoughts focus on the idea that technology should be used to enhance the educational process without becoming an unwelcomed distraction. Many students have a powerful technological device in their pocket. They are connected to the internet and have a variety of applications that can facilitate learning. Furthermore, we can help students maximize the potential of these devices by teaching and reinforcing proper use. Don't get me wrong. I'm not ignorant and recognize that there are valid concerns. It is easy to hide behind the small screen and use the technology in a disruptive or inappropriate manner. Any policy created must acknowledge and address this reality.

Following are some resources / readings on the topic:

School Policies on Cell Phone Use:

So, as we move toward a policy that embraces cell phone and handheld use to enhance education, I believe a number of questions are worth exploring:

  • Should the policy indicate that devices should be turned off and out of sight unless otherwise noted for a specific educational activity or should students be encouraged to use devices as a regular academic tool?
  • Should devices be permitted during non-academic times (i.e. lunch, study hall)?
  • Should certain applications be generally banned (YouTube)?
  • What should the AUP include?
  • What consequences should be given for inappropriate use?

Any feedback is certainly welcome.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Which tablet (slate) device is truly best for education?

Our previous 3 year technology plan provided all (or at least most) secondary teachers with a Tablet PC and a wireless projector in their classroom. This was a great effort to put technology in the hands (literally) of our staff. Elementary staff received smart boards for their classrooms and a netbook (in a similar effort to put the technology in everyone's hands). These were great initiatives and I would say have been fairly successful as our staff is much more comfortable with integrating technology at least from a content delivery standpoint.

Our next 3 year plan calls for handheld devices (presumably iPod Touches, use of cell phones in the classroom, and 'tablet' devices like the iPad or a similar device. Ultimately, students would be encouraged to use either a device that they already have or those provided by the school.

We are looking to pilot several tablet devices before the end of this school year so that we can integrate a device in the classroom next year (most likely in the form of a mobile lab or units that could be checked out based on classroom need).

What device seems to be best for use in education? The first thought that comes to mind is the iPad. It's a beautiful device that seems to have a pretty strong hold in the app market (not to mention Apple's reputation in education. There are a few downsides for sure. No Flash. Heaven forbid!!! No USB port??? Multitasking now exists. I wonder if not including multitasking has it's own possible benefit. Without multitasking, the device responds like a champ. Of course, there are times where not being able to have a note taking app open in addition to the web browser (or another app) could be downright frustrating. I guess that is no longer an issue. From a classroom perspective, the mere fact that it has great battery life and almost instant 'on' are huge benefits. We spend too much time waiting for our laptops on our carts to start up, log into the network, etc.
Maybe I've already convinced myself that the iPad is THE device, but I can't help but wonder (and our tech department wants to explore other devices) if there is an 'iPad killer' out there. Is there a device that might lend better to online text books? Is the absence of Flash enough to detract from the value of the iPad?
Some of the competitors include:

  • The Kno 'textbook tablet' comes in a single tablet and dual screen model. Kno is focusing on the education market and seems to tout the great value in reading and annotating text books as well as the many other inherent tablet features.
  • The Samsung Galaxy Tablet is an Android powered device with pretty impressive hardward specs. Full Flash support is definitely a plus as are the front and rear facing cameras as well as the video recording capability. I can see great application in the classroom between the use of web based flash content as well as skype calls with classes or 'guest speakers'. Is the 7" form factor a plus compared to the larger iPad or a minus? In some ways the 7" device seems like a nice compromise between the small iPod Touch and the larger iPad. I'm intrigued. Will the Android Market's growth work in the favor of android powered tablets?

  • The NOOKcolor may not have all of the features of a fully functional tablet device, but it does have a variety of apps that might make it a viable option (compared to a more traditional eReader). Not sure, but figured I'd throw it out there for discussion. I believe I heard some type of rumor about the NOOKcolor running Android. Was that a dream? The price could be a selling point.

  • The Archos Tablets - Archos has a line of tablets ranging in size from 2.8" for under $100 to a 16 gb 10" tablet (not out yet) for $349. Archos has been big on delivering great multimedia devices, so coupled with the functionality of the Android tablet at a low price point, this is another intriguing product.
  • The Kineo by Brainchild learning is clearly geared toward educational use with it's rugged design and admin controls (for filtering content, etc.). The website doesn't provide too much in terms of detail, but it is slated (no pun intended) for a February 1 release. The specs look ok, but it doesn't look like there is a camera (rear or front facing) included. Thanks to @Kimbrell for the comment.
  • the enTourage Edge and Pocket Edge - enTourage has released two dual screen devices. The edge is a 10" e-Reader on one side and Android slate on the other. The Pocket Edge is a 6" e-Reader and 7" slate. Both fold like a book and are full of features. Reviews that I have read lead me to believe that the devices may have their share of design flaws making both the e-Reader or Slate less than perfect. But, then again, it's hard to tell as a number of the reviews were written prior to it's official release. I'd like to think the devices may have undergone some tweaking since then. Whatever the case, each provides the user with the ability to read (and highlight, underline, annotate) an e-book on one side, while taking advantage of the other side for the full functioning Android apps, allowing for note taking, email, organization, multimedia (music, video, presentations, etc.). Each device has a camera as well (3megapixel in the larger device and 2megapixel in the pocket edge).
    For more information, visit:
    CNET Review
    Engadget Review "Yes, the Edge is a combination e-reader and a Android tablet -- it just doesn't quite work well as either. " --Engadget, 2010
    Pocket Edge Promo Video
    Tiger Direct TV Pocket Edge Review
    SLJ Video (and Text) entourage Edge Review

    My thought after reviewing some of the reviews and videos is that I might lean toward the Pocket Edge as the full size Edge seems quite bulky. I like the idea of the large screen, but think it misses the boat in terms of the appeal of a slate when it gets so bulky. I am hopeful that with updates and such it has (or will) overcome some of the negative points made in the reviews. It's interesting to me that you can't easily find the technical specs. I can't help but wonder about processor speed. Anyone out there have one? I'd love any first hand accounts.

So, help if you can. Do you have a personal tablet? Do you use a tablet in Education? Can you share some insights (positive or negative) about the particular device and integrating it in the classroom? Any thoughts on educational oriented apps (apple, android, or other) woudl help as well. I appreciate any feedback.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

ProCon: Cell Phones and Handhelds in the Classroom

Should Cell Phones and Handhelds be allowed in the Classroom as a learning tool?

This seems to be the pressing question.

Mary Bjerede wrote a blog post titled, "Cell phones in the classroom:
Surprising field studies suggest cell phones could be effective learning tools". In the article, she cites research that demonstrated the potential benefits including the ability to provide students with a multimedia approach to practicing math problems, compared to the more traditional textbook practice. Additionally, she speaks to the benefit and potential issues related to 'unfettered instant access'.

My general thought is that we should encourage and embrace the use of cell phones and handhelds with internet access in the schools. However, I say so with caution and understanding of the concerns of liability. I believe that responsible use can be achieved if :
  • The school's AUP (Acceptable Use Policy) is very clear as it pertains to use of personal devices
  • Teachers are provided with clear guidelines for monitoring use of these devices
  • Parents are informed and included in the conversation related to expectations including the rationale for their use in addition to the responsibility placed on the child.

It's not a simple matter and I am meeting with our principal and Technology supervisor today to discuss the possibilities of allowing the otherwise 'banned' cell phones into the classroom.

I am very interested in any thoughts you may have and encourage comments, feedback, etc. If your school has a policy, please share what that might be.

Thank you in advance!


Monday, January 17, 2011

Do you ooVoo?

Sometimes it's great to have children that are 'Millenials'. I tend to think that I know what's going on with technology, but I can be suprised on occasion. Yesterday, my daughter kept pestering me to download something called ooVoo that all of her friends used for video calling. My daughter described to to me as being like Skype, but you can video chat with multiple people at one time. Since I hadn't heard of it I put on my 'cautious parent' hat. I told her I would search for it, which I did. Everything seemed to check out as she explained it. I installed it on my laptop figuring it was best to let her use it from my computer with my supervision. After a quick installation and a few text messages from her friends she received her first video call. It was like Skype on steroids in a sense. Nice looking interface, easy to use, and, like she said...we were quickly able to be in a video conference with two of her friends.

It seems like a great tool and I can see wonderful application in education. Wouldn't it be great to have a global conversatoin with classes from different countries / cultures online at the same time? The possibilities are certainly there for positive educational application that takes a typical Skype call to another level. Not to knock Skype at all, I'm a huge fan. Kids could work on collaborative projects in real time with video.

Beyond the educational uses (which it clearly was not intended for), the business and personal application is great. The whole family could get online at the same time to wish Grandma a Happy Birthday and on and on.

And must admit ooVoo is a pretty catchy and cool name :)

Sign up and get your account today!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Controlling my TV with my Android Phone

It might be old news, as I just located an article from last February about the launch of the FIOS remote for Android, but this morning I had no choice but to search the market and find it out of frustration (you know, the missing remote that I of course later found in buried in the couch). I will say that I was excited to download it and see it install on my phone. As I got ready to use it, however, it prompted me to first click the menu key on my actual FIOS remote. This was a little frustrating as I was hoping to bypass my need for the missing remote. Well, I found the remote and got my phone set up. It seems to work through my home wireless network. Now that I'm set up, I imagine I am in business the next time the remote goes missing.

The remote allows you to control the DVR functions, access the guide (on the TV), change channels, volume, etc. I believe it has almost all of the functionality of the larger, bulky, remote that likes to hide in the couch. In addition to the standard features, the first additional feature that I found and really appreciated, was the ability to display images from my phone on the TV. I will explore it some more as I am sure there are more features to play with, but all in all, it's a nice little app. Now, I just have to hope that my phone doesn't take a dive for the couch cushions!