What’s New in the Classroom, 2011 Edition

Posted: November 10th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off

Last fall we asked how the iPad was changing how you study.  Now we’re well into the 2011 school year, the iPad is one year older and a lot has changed, so we thought it might be time for a followup.

Among the big trends we’ve been watching:

These are the big trends we’ve noticed, but we’d love to hear from students and educators on what changes you’re seeing in your own classrooms.  So we’ll open up the question again: what’s new in your classroom in 2011, and how is technology helping how you study or how you teach?  What technologies have made a big impact, and which ones have not panned out the way you expected?


CourseNotes Update Adds Rich Text Formatting and Dropbox Support

Posted: August 24th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: CourseNotes App, iPad, Mac | 1 Comment »

We’re happy to announce that CourseNotes 3.0 for iPad and CourseNotes 2.0 for Mac are now available! The updates add some highly requested features and we’re thrilled to have them just in time for the fall semester!

Here’s a breakdown of what’s been added:

Rich Text Editing
Take notes to a whole new level by changing font sizes, bolding, italicizing and underling text throughout your notes! The addition of rich text formatting in the latest version of CourseNotes will change the way you study, organize and share your notes! Rich text formatting is available in both Mac and iPad versions, which means your notes will retain your custom formatting even when syncing!

Dropbox Support
CourseNotes for iPad now supports Dropbox! Adding the ability to export notes via Dropbox gives you even more options and flexibility when it comes to backing up and sharing your notes online.

Fullscreen Notes in Mac OS X Lion
CourseNotes 2.0 on the Mac also adds support for fullscreen mode in Mac OS X Lion. Fullscreen mode is a natural fit for CourseNotes, which is designed and optimized for a single window interface, much like CourseNotes for the iPad. Fullscreen mode lets you fully focus on note-taking, which is especially useful in a classroom setting.

 

CourseNotes 3.0 for iPad now available in the iPad App Store for $4.99!

CourseNotes 2.0 for Mac now available in the Mac App Store for $7.99!


iPads in Education: What’s Missing?

Posted: June 27th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: EdTech, iPad, Uncategorized | Comments Off

It seems like every passing day brings new announcements of schools adopting iPads in the classroom.  A lot of schools are experimenting with pilot programs in individual classrooms or grade levels, but the most ambitious programs are going 1:1 with the iPad, meaning that they’re putting an iPad in the hands of each and every student in the school.

The relative low cost of the iPad as well as its unobtrusive form factor make iPad deployments in schools fundamentally different from the computer labs or media carts that many people are used to seeing in classrooms.  iOS devices are well on the way to fulfilling the promise of ubiquitous computing, and education–where traditional computing devices risk ending up as distractions to learning–is benefitting immensely.

At the same time, the iPad is still very young and iOS represents a significant departure from the desktop computers that educators are used to using and that administrators are used to managing.  Because of these differences, schools will need to pick up some new computing habits and developers will need to build some new tools to truly make the best of these devices in the classroom.

Here are a couple of the challenges we’re seeing educators in the edtech community discussing in regards to using the iPad in the classroom:

  • Making app content work with an existing curriculum
  • Monitoring student activity and performance
  • Constructing workflows for students to submit work and receive feedback

None of these challenges are insurmountable, but they do require different solutions and different ways of thinking compared to the typical desktop computer deployments in schools.

Are you an educator using iPads in the classroom?  We’d love to hear from you about how you’re approaching these problems.  What other problems have you had to tackle when adopting these devices in the classroom?


How and why iOS and Mac devs should use the iTunes Affiliate Link Program

Posted: June 21st, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Business, iOS Development, iPad, Mac App Store | Comments Off

Taking a small departure here from the usual content  of this blog, I wanted to write a bit about the iTunes Affiliate Link Program and explain how and why iOS/Mac developers selling apps in the App Stores should be using it as part of their marketing and analytics toolbox.

With the iTunes Affiliate Link program, you link visitors into the iTunes Store with a special affiliate link, and then receive 5% of all iTunes store sales for that visitor in the next 72 hours (unless they come back in through a different affiliate, of course).

An extra 5% on sales probably sounds like a decent selling point already, but it’s actually not the most important thing the affiliate program offers.  The affiliate program also enables you to collect additional metrics about iTunes Store sales, filling a gap left by Apple’s reporting which tells you how many sales you’ve made, but not where they’re coming from.

The affiliate program can tell you how many visitors are clicking through to your app pages in the app store, where they’re coming from and how much they end up purchasing.  Here are some of the interesting things we’ve learned from using the App Store Affiliate program:

  • a decent number of visitors click through our purchase link into the app store
  • relatively few of those visitors actually buy the app–not a surprise perhaps
  • many of those visitors do go on to buy other things from the app store (other notetaking apps?!)
  • some ad networks are great at delivering tons of site traffic, but almost never ever convert to sales
  • other networks are more modest in the visitors they deliver, but are much more effective in actually selling apps

Links into the app store can be customized with different tags for different traffic sources to help identify which sources are driving traffic to your apps in the App Stores.  Though the program doesn’t give exact sales information, it does tell you which traffic sources are driving visitors to the store and whether those visitors end up making purchases.

So while there are limitations on the information the program offers you, it still provides an extra level of valuable data on visitors coming to your site and viewing your apps in the app store.  The iTunes Affiliate Link Program should be part of every iOS or Mac developer’s analytics toolkit.  For more information, check out Apple’s page on the program or visit LinkShare directly.


CourseNotes now available for the Mac!

Posted: March 31st, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: CourseNotes App, Mac, Mac App Store | 1 Comment »

We are excited to announce that CourseNotes for Mac has officially been released and is available for download in the Mac App Store!  The app is available in the Education category and is currently being featured in the “New and Noteworthy” section!

Like the iPad app, CourseNotes for Mac will help you stay organized by arranging notes by subject and note session, letting you quickly find notes from a particular class meeting.  The ability to search notes made it’s way into the Mac app as well, but the Mac app adds to it with a new “saved search” feature. In this feature search terms are added to a list for quick reference, which makes finding commonly referenced content quick and easy. Rounding out the Mac app is the new unified ToDo list.  The list displays all upcoming and past due ToDo items, letting you track all of your important dates, events and deadlines in one simplified view.

But, there is one more thing! The best feature found in the new Mac app is the note syncing capabilities. Now you can sync data from your iPad directly to your Mac.  CourseNotes supports wireless syncing between Macs and iPads so that that you can take notes on the go with the iPad, then sync up with CourseNotes for Mac at home for editing, review, printing and backup.  Give it a try!

Check it out in the Mac App Store!


CourseNotes on sale for $2.99 through January 17th, free for educators

Posted: January 11th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

To ring in the new year and help students get ready for the next semester, we’re offering CourseNotes on sale for $2.99 through January 17th.

Grab it now from the iPad App Store!

We also want to make a special offer to educators who are using iPads in the classroom or evaluating them for future use.  We will be giving out promo codes for free copies of the app while supplies last.  Just send us a mail telling us your name, your affiliation, and how you’re thinking of using the iPad (and CourseNotes!) in your classroom.


CourseNotes 2.1: Printing, Calendar syncing & multitasking on iOS 4.2

Posted: November 22nd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: CourseNotes App, iPad | Comments Off

We’re happy to announce the release of CourseNotes 2.1 for the iPad, a release which takes full advantage of a number of new features available in iOS 4.2!  We’ve been eagerly awaiting the release of iOS 4.2 and the new functionality it would bring to the iPad ever since it was announced.

Here’s what CourseNotes 2.1 adds:

• Printing

It’s finally possible to print over the air from the iPad, and CourseNotes is among the first apps to support this feature!  Choose a printer on your local network and print your CourseNotes notes right over the air!

• Calendar integration for ToDo notes

Now when you add a ToDo note, you can choose to sync it as an event to your iPad’s calendar.  Assignments and other ToDos will show up in your calendar with your title and note content, set to the due date you specify in the note.  And with the help of other tools that can sync with your iPad’s calendar, you can publish events to an online calendar right from CourseNotes!

• Multitasking

What does multitasking mean for a note-taking app–can it keep taking notes while you do something else?  Not quite, but it does mean that when you switch to another app, CourseNotes will remember which subject or note session you were looking at when you come back.  So if you need to switch to another app to look something up, CourseNotes will pick up right where you left when you come back.

CourseNotes 2.1 is available now in the iPad App Store for $4.99.


Kno Tablet: an Uphill Battle

Posted: November 9th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: EdTech, iPad | Comments Off

As a quick followup to my last post on eTextbooks, TechCrunch is now reporting that the Kno Tablet will sell for $899 for the dual-screen version, and that the single screen version will sell for $599.

I just keep asking the questions I raised in the last post: will users really want to pay $600-$900 for a dedicated educational device with limited app support, when the iPad and Anrdoid devices cost far less and can generally do much more?  Will developers and content providers really be compelled to write apps and port content to this new and unproven platform?

The Kno team also says that they’re interested in the app and content market, not in the hardware–so why build a device at all?  Why not build killer educational apps for iPad and Android and make killer content deals?

We’re dying to see technology play a much larger role in education just like these guys, but I just can’t see it happening with this device.  I’m not prone to making tech industry predictions, but I’m going to make an exception: I predict that the Kno as a device is doomed.

I take no pleasure in this prediction, because I want to see wider adoption of technology in education and better educational apps and content, but I feel like the new hardware route is a mistake.  On the other hand, they’ve raised $75 million in funding, so somebody’s betting big on them, and they are well positioned to make some real content deals.  If they do stick around, they may have a strong second act as a software and content provider.


eTextbook Roundup

Posted: October 27th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: EdTech, iPad | Comments Off

Old fashioned paper textbooks, a thing of the past?

There’s a ton of excitement around eTextbooks these days, and understandably so.  Textbooks are one of the most frustrating aspects of being a student these days:  the cost of buying books, struggling with (intentional) changes between different editions of books, and the aggravation of buying a required book that the professor never ends up using.

In other words, the entire textbook experience is ripe for a change, and there are a number of companies just chomping at the bit to get involved.  We recently took a look at a couple of of the leading options for the classroom this fall and beyond. Read the rest of this entry »


How is the iPad changing how you study this fall?

Posted: September 13th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: EdTech, iPad | Comments Off

Now that most schools have been back in session for a bit, and students have gotten a chance to start begin using some new tools in the classroom, we thought we’d ask our users: how is the iPad changing how you study this fall?

What other iPad/iPhone apps are you using?  There’s more to school than just note taking, of course.  We’ve seen a lot of interesting apps out there for students: Blackboard Mobile Learning for interfacing with your schools Blackboard system (if supported by your school, of course); iStudiez Pro for scheduling and keeping track of classwork; Flashcards Deluxe for making flashcards and reviewing notes; and maybe Yelp for discovering the best places around a new campus!

How about eTextbooks?  This is one area where it might still be a little early for widespread adoption.  There are a number of cool app and online offerings in the eTextbooks arena (for example Inkling for the iPad) but it feels like a lot of them are still in the early stages, and may not be able to offer the selection that students will need to fully replace physical books.  We’re betting that eTextbooks will go more mainstream next school year.

Leave a comment below and let us know how the iPad is changing school for you this year!