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Technology for the mind…

Larry's Training


Friday, September 7th, 2012

For Fun Friday this week I want to talk about Star Walk by Vito Technology.

If you have ever been sitting outside looking up at the sky and wondered what those stars were then this is the app for you. I love being anywhere in the country and being able to pull out this app. Not only does it give a live view of the current sky, day or night, but it also lists facts and statistics about the stars and planets. Just hold your camera up towards the sky as if you were going to take a photo. As you tilt the screen and rotate it around the skyline the augmented reality image updates via GPS signals. This is a great app for a family evening together or for a group of friends.

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

As a teacher and a public speaker I have found my iPad an irreplaceable piece of equipment. I have apps that help me do research, apps that help me create and display presentations, apps that help me communicate, and some apps that are just for fun. I have an accessory that allows me to connect my iPad to a projector and a really nice professional looking case in which to carry my iPad around. Of all the neat things that are part of my iPad experience, my favorite accessory is my iPad stand. The König & Meyer iPad 2 Stand Holder is a music stand with a special adapter that is designed to hold an iPad.

 

The iPad clips into the holder which is open in the back to support the rear camera. The height is adjustable, it tilts forward and back so it can be viewed at different angles, but it also swivels between horizontal and vertical mode without having to disengage the device.

The key to this for me is the ability to have my iPad right there with me, essentially floating in the air, without having to carry it around. On a full charge there are no cables to trip over. And in a shameless vanity plug, it looks really cool. When you don’t have a second person with you, It is great for holding the iPad for recording videos of yourself.

As the title of this blog states, this is My Favorite iPad Accessory!

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

This week for Web site Wednesday I would like to introduce you to Gina Schreck and the www.synapse3di.com web site. Gina is the Chief Hooligan at Synapse Connecting. Gina is passionate about Social Media and technology in general. She can be found at conferences and organizations speaking on creative ways to use new technologies.

On the Synapse Connecting web site you can find lots of tools, tips and tricks to make the most of your technology. One of my favorite parts of Gina’s web site is her extensive collection of videos.

Gina can also be found Tuesday mornings at 10:00 am CST weekly on the SchreckTeck live web show with great guests and an online chat room.

Spend some time this week learning more about Gina and how she can help you get a little more geeky.

 

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

Are you using games in your classes? No, not specially designed course ware. Not virtual environments. Just good old fashioned board games.

Now I am not suggesting that you pull out a copy of Twister in the middle of an American Federal Government class. You have to have a reason for playing a game. And more importantly you have to have a planned debrief.

Looking at some classics, chess and checkers can be helpful for problem solving. Monopoly is great for accounting classes. Apples to Apples is a great game for making comparisons.

Some games that I like to use in certain circumstances are;

Fluxx by Looney Labs: http://www.looneylabs.com/games/fluxx

Fluxx is a great game to use when you are working with a group going through change. The game starts out with a very simple set of two rules; Draw a card and play a card. As you play cards the rules to the game change, either through new goals, new rules, or special actions. The game can be very quick or can last a while depending on how things change. Once you play a hand or two the debrief is a very easy one. How did you feel at first when the game started? As the rules changed was it uncomfortable to follow and keep up? As the game went on, did it become easier to adapt to the change? Relate this to current changes in your job, your home, a new computer program, etc…

Tsuro is originally by Wizkids, but now has several manufacturers.

Tsuro is another game that can help with change management as well as problem solving. In the game you place cards on the board that create a path that you must follow. If your paths cross with another player it forces that player to take a different direction than before. The object is to be the last player on the board. The debrief for this comes down to how you react when other people change your path. How do you react when a team member doesn’t meet a deadline? How do you react when the scope of a project changes?

The last game I am going to talk about is called Backseat Drawing by www.otb-games.com.

Backseat Drawing is a great game for improving communication skills. The object of the game is to have someone guess a drawing, without telling them what it is they are drawing. The key to this game isn’t how well you can draw, but how well can the person talking to you explain what is is you need to draw without actually saying the word you are drawing. The debrief for this can be, how hard is it to complete a project without knowing what the end goal is? How well can you communicate the pieces in order to get the desired outcome?

The key to using games in your training events is not just having fun, but in learning something in a fun way. Have a purpose for playing games. By all means, if you can find a way to incorporate Twister into that American Federal Government lecture, please let us all know the debrief for it.

Please feel free to submit the games you play and how you can use them to enhance your training events.

I would like to thank my friend Kate Wasserman for letting me use the photo of her game shelves above. Kate and her husband have a monthly game night with friends in the Chicago area.

Monday, September 3rd, 2012

As the Labor Day weekend comes to a close and we are celebrating the unofficial end of summer and the beginning of fall. I want to say I hope everyone had a great few days of relaxing and family fellowship.

This week we will look at using non-traditional games in training, Get Geeky with Gina Schreck, explore an incredible way for interacting with your iPad and finally end the week with a walk through the stars.

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Morfo is one of my favorite iPad apps right now. I have taken it to several events where it quickly became the life of the party.

Morfo takes a 2D image and gives it 3D animated qualities.

First you have the option of using an existing photo or taking a new photo. Then you drag facial elements over your features so they align. This produces an image with an animated face.

Once you have the base image, you can start making modifications to the character. Choose facial expressions like sad and happy. Add characteristics like a strong jar or elven eyes. You can choose from a large selection of costumes that include Carnival, Superheros, and Disco Glam. (The paid version opens more costumes.)

You also have several different tunes that make your new animation dance.

Finally you can record video or take still images to share on Facebook or sent to friends.

As I said before, it is a great app to bring out in a group of people for tons of fun. This app can be found in your app store or at www.morfoapp.com.

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

As a teacher and speaker I am constantly in different locations on different computers or devices. I was happy a couple years ago when I found out about online bookmarking. Then recently I discovered www.Pearltrees.com. I like that it organizes your bookmarks into what looks like a mind map (hence the trees part of the name). This program has apps for tablets and phones and online access. Now I can easily access any of my web sites just by accessing my free Pearltrees account and clicking on a link (a pearl). When planning a class or a presentation, I create a tree that contains every pearl I plan on using for that event.

There is also a Social component to this program that allows you to share pearls you have created or see pearls and trees that you friends have created or suggested.

There is a browser add-in that allows you to create a pearl of the current web page just by clicking a button. Easy to use and learn, you can be creating your own Pearltrees in a matter of minutes.

Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

This week for Web Site Wednesday I would like to introduce you to Kimberly Seeger and LEARNiappe.com.

Kimberly is a Workplace Learning and Performance professional with a passion for helping people reach their desired performance results. At LEARNiappe.com, Kimberly offers services from designing learning to workshops to a line of books each containing 111 great tips for the WLP professional.

I suggest spending time getting to know Kimberly.

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

Are you competing for your participant’s attention with their technology?

It is hard to connect with your participants when all you can see is the tops of their heads because they are doing other things on their cell phones, laptops and tablets. If this is happening to you there are a couple options you could take with your participants. One is playing the dictator and banning all technology during your session, however, this can lead to an adversarial relationship. Let me suggest another method. Instead of pushing the technology away, why not embrace it and make it part of your presentation.

Consider using one of these three ways to engage your participant’s existing technology.

Engage your participants through a Twitter BackChannel. You can ask questions. Create polls. Collect information through this tool and their existing technology.

Distribute surveys, reading materials, videos or other activities through the use of QR Codes which can be created online free of charge.

Form teams around the technology and provide activities that have to be done as a group.

These suggestions will allow your participants to interact with their technology while still engaging with you and the content you are providing.

 

 

 

Monday, August 27th, 2012

It has always been my plan to make larrystraining.com a place to talk about trends and best practices in training. I am at that point and am launching my new blogging format;

Mondays are Miscellaneous Mondays – where anything can happen after the weekend. I will also give a snap shot of what the rest of the week will look like.

 

Tuesdays are Training Tip Tuesdays – where I will discuss specific tips or best practices in training.

 

Wednesdays are Web Site Wednesdays – where I will share some of my favorite web sites and promote the people behind them.

 

Thursdays are Technology Thursdays – where I will discuss a technology that is important to me, this could be a mobile app, a program or an actual device.

 

Fridays are Fun Fridays – where I will focus on something that is fun, entertainment or just plain silly.

 

I look forward engaging with, interacting with, and learning from you!

 

Looking ahead to the rest of the week we will explore tips for back channels and QR codes in training, learn something extra with Kimberly Seeger, learn how to save and share our pearls, and for fun…play dress up and animate ourselves.