The Treasury

11 01 2014

A treasury for Apple fans.
iTunes U is one of the built-in apps of Apple’s iOS devices which should get more attention.

About iTunes …

The iTunes Store, originally the iTunes Music Store, is a software-based online digital media store operated by Apple Inc. It opened on April 28, 2003, and has been the biggest music vendor in the United States since April 2008, and the biggest music vendor in the world since February 2010. The store offers over 26 million songs, videos, e-books and apps for sale online. The iTunes Store’s revenues in the first quarter of 2011 totalled nearly US$1.4 billion; by February 6, 2013, the store had sold 25 billion songs worldwide.

About iTunes U …

On May 30, 2007, iTunes U was announced at the company’s headquarter in Cupertino. With iTunes U educational audio and video content as well as PDF files for students can be managed and distributed within a college or university and the broader internet. It has since been updated to include grade schools from Kindergarten to 12th grade. The member institutions are given their own iTunes U site that makes use of Apple’s iTunes Store infrastructure. The online service (via web interface) is free for those uploading or downloading material.

An advantage iTunes U has over traditional podcasting tools is that access to content can be restricted because of the use of the iTunes infrastructure End-to-End. Authentication is handled by the iTunes U member, who prompts a visitor for information (like an account and password specific to that institution) and then passes a token (indicating the access level for that visitor) on to the iTunes U website. An example might be a class podcast that can only be accessed by students enrolled in the class.

The company about iTunes U:

The iTunes U app gives you access to complete courses from leading universities and other schools plus the world’s largest digital catalog of free education content right on your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch.

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Whether you’re majoring in molecular biology at a university, taking Spanish in high school, or just interested in European history, you now have a valuable tool to help you learn anytime, anywhere.

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iTunes U is a part of the iTunes Store featuring free lectures, language lessons, audiobooks, and more, that you can enjoy on your iPod, iPhone, Mac or PC. Explore over 600,00 educational audio and video files, books, and other resources from top universities, museums and public media organizations from around the world (30 countries) on thousands of subjects from Algebra to Zoology. The relevance of iTunes U is validated by engagements of Stanford, Yale, MIT, Oxford, The Open University, MoMA, the New York Public Library, and the Library of Congress. It’s the world’s largest catalog of free education content.

Features are

  • Free courses in a wide array of subjects
  • Take free courses created and taught by instructors from leading universities and other schools
  • See all assignments and updates from the instructor in one place, and check off assignments as you complete them
  • Take notes and highlight text in iBooks and see them consolidated for easy reviewing in the iTunes U app • Take course notes in class, or while playing audio or video lectures inside of iTunes U
  • Access course materials, including audio, video, books, documents & presentations, apps, and new iBooke textbooks for iPad
  • Share your favorite courses with friends using Twitter, Mail, and Messages

iTunes U provides information in the categories

  • Engineering
  • Health + Medicine
  • History
  • Language
  • Law + Politics
  • Literature
  • Mathematics
  • Philosophy
  • Psychology + Social Science
  • Religion + Spirituality
  • Science
  • Society
  • Teaching + Learning

by offering videos are textual information which can be saved in Apple’s built-in app iBooks for iOS.

The treasury …

Follow these steps to move into the treasury of mostly unknown information about the company, it’s products, and the people standing behind the Best Brand and the Most Innovative Company of the world in 2013. It’s worth the effort.

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How to use iTunes U …

See these images to learn how to use iTunes U when sharing content.

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An example …

Vintage Mac Video by Frank Lowney

Getting a course manager …

For publishing courses on iTunes U you need an Apple ID and a web-based tool called iTunes U Course Manager. This tool is not available on Apple’s mobiles so you have to use a computer with Safari as the recommended browser.

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Further information …

How to access iTunes U Course Manager

Apple iTunes U Guidelines

The cons …

The offer of iTunes U is voluminous but after looking into lots of courses, the quality often could not convince me. I saw courses which were just videos of lectures without lecture notes provided. I also find courses with videos where a teacher just wrote something on a chalkboard.
To find out the right courses may last hours, days, or even weeks.

Related links …

Apple iTunes U

Apple’s app iTunes U

Harvard University, USA

Oxford University, UK

Thanks for your attention.
I’m glad to have you here on iNotes4You.





The Apple ID

11 04 2013

If you purchase an iOS device an Apple ID is required. It’s an E-Mail address and a related password. With an Apple ID you are able to use all services provided by Apple with this one and only one ID.

This image shows the properties of an E-Mail address used as an Apple ID.

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These are

  • iCloud

    getting 5 GB free storage
    backing up and restoring your device
    syncing data from Apple’s apps
    Reminders, Calendar, Contacts, iWork
    finding, locking or deleting your device if it was stolen
    determining the location of one of your devices if you cannot find it
    finding friends

  • iMessage
    Apple’s free messaging system for text and media messages via internet without using special services of your carrier
  • Facetime
    Apple’s free video call between Apple devices
  • Apple Store
    purchasing devices and accessories
  • Apple iBooks
    purchasing eBooks and downloading free documents about different topics, e.g. manuals for the devices, for iWork products, the filesystem or the UI Guidelines
  • iTunes
    purchasing media
  • Apple hardware and Apple Care Protection Plan
    for extension of warranty and hard- and software support
  • Concierge (for Genius Bar appointments)
    needed to make a reservation at the Apple Genius Bar. Apple Genius Bar is a tech support service that is offered inside every Apple Retail Store.
  • iTunes U
    accessing and downloading teaching and learning aids
  • Apple Support Community
    engaging in discussions and asking questions

Locations of the ID …

On your device you will find the Apple ID at the following locations.

  • Settings – iCloud – Account
  • Settings – Messages – Send + Receive – iMessage
  • Settings – FaceTime
  • Settings – iTunes + App Stores
  • Apple Store (built-in app) – More – Account

There are several issues here to consider in terms of how Apple IDs work for the various services. The first and most important thing to keep in mind is that you can use different Apple IDs for some of the different services—they don’t all need to use the same ID. The ID that you use for the actual iCloud service (Mail, Contacts, Calendars, Reminders, Safari, Find My iPhone, Documents and Data, Photo Stream and Backups) does not need to be the same as the Apple ID used for the iTunes Store, iMessage, FaceTime or Game Center; you can use a separate Apple ID for each of these services.

The Apple ID used for iCloud determines your 5 GB free space offered by Apple for using iCloud backup and syncing of Mail, Contacts, Calendars, Reminders, Safari, Find My iPhone/iPad, Documents and Data and Photo Stream.

A frequently asked question is how you can locate devices e.g. of your kids if they use different Apple IDs. Open the app ‘Find my iPhone’, tap on Sign Out and sign in with the Apple ID for the device you want to locate.

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Managing the Apple ID …

You don’t need iTunes on your PC/Mac to manage your Apple ID. All changes can be done by using SETTINGS on your iOS device.

Go to Settings – iTunes + App Stores, tap on your Apple ID and enter your password. Look at this gallery for further information of some functionalities.

If you want to purchase items from Apple Stores you additionally have to select a payment method e.g. your credit card number and a three or four digit code engraved on the front or rear side of your card, the card verification code. Apple just calls this code Security Code.
The payment method can also be edited in Apple’s app App Store.

Make sure to update your credit card information within your Apple ID settings if you get a new card where date of validity and card verification code are changed.
To do so go to Settings – iTunes + App Stores – Payment Information.

Different abbreviations are used for this code

card security code (CSC)
card verification data (CVD)
card verification value (CVV or CVV2)
card verification value code (CVVC)
card verification code (CVC or CVC2)
verification code (V-code or V code)
card code verification (CCV) or
signature panel code (SPC)

These codes are not stored on the magnetic stripe of the card and the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) also prohibits the storage of the code post transaction authorization.

If you don’t want to use a credit card look here

Creating an account without a credit card

More than one iOS device …

If you use more than one iOS device it’s recommended to use the same Apple ID on all devices because this is the prerequisite for using the sync feature e.g. for Contacts, Reminders, Calendar and documents created by the Apple’s iWork suite.
A different Apple ID on one device admittedly gives you another free 5 GB storage on iCloud but syncing is no longer available.

Security …

At the time it was not reported that Apple’s security levels have been compromised. Nevertheless it’s highly recommended to increase security by using a strong password with a minimum of 12 characters. If you purchase apps at the App Store or music from iTunes you are asked to enter your password at irregular intervals. For this reason many users define weak passwords. Don’t do it! A general rule for all passwords is to change them regularly even though it’s not comfortable.

See below how to change the password.

Note

Regarding the data stored on your device you should specify an Unlock Code because it’s the only way to encrypt data when backing up to iCloud.

For added security go to Settings – General – Restrictions to prevent anyone else to turn off Find my iPad/iPhone.

Note
When enabling Restrictions you have to enter a password for this feature which should be different from your Unlock Code for this device. So if anybody knows your Unlock Code he is still not able to change the Restrictions.
Set ‘Don’t allow changes’ in Settings – General – Restrictions for ‘Deleting Apps’ and ‘Location Services’.

Another security feature is the disabling of an Apple ID if the account password is incorrectly entered numerous times. This affects some services you may access with your Apple ID (iCloud, and iTunes Store, etc).

If the account was partially disabled for security reasons, you have to reset your account via

iForgot

This should restore your access to the disabled services. You can also click the ‘Reset Password’ or ‘Forgot Password?’ buttons that appear in the alert message.

Best practice …

Use an E-Mail address for your Apple ID which you don’t use for communication or other purposes like usernames for websites or online shops. So this address is basically unknown in the tremendous daily stream of bits around the world.

If you already use an E-Mail address which does not follow this suggestion you might want to know how you can change your E-Mail address.

Follow these steps …

Apple Support Document HE40

Change Apple ID or password …

Manage your Apple ID

Reset your password

Apple communicates with you via your primary E-Mail address which usually is identical with your Apple ID. If you change data within your account Apple will send an E-Mail to your primary E-Mail address which confirms the changes.

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Summary …

The Apple ID is a comfortable way to use all services of Apple.
Apple is often criticized because of it’s restrictive corporate policy.
The are many pros and many cons. I think everybody can agree with my opinion that no other company developed such an efficient infrastructure like Apple. With the App Store and the iOS filesystem Apple’s devices are also secure devices which is getting more and more important as smartphones will kick off purses and credit cards in the near future. One day it will also be used as our ID Card.

Thanks for reading my blog.
I hope you will come back soon.





iPad @ Universities

23 03 2013

When Apple released its first iPad in 2010, forward-looking universities around the world started research studies on how this device could be integrated into learning and teaching.

There are many representatives of the educational system still getting euphoric when it comes to iPads in schools or universities. That is basically positive as it forces all the people involved to try to go new ways. Teachers always look for techniques to generate interest and keep motivation on a high level. But they are also responsible for the young people and cannot delegate this responsibility to a device. Success and positive results in learning and teaching with an iPad is no automatism. It’s hard and subtle work to adjust all the parameters which give direction to new methods of learning.

The intention of research …

Research initiatives have to find out where an iPad could improve the learning and teaching process in general.

Here are some research activities:

  • Shifts in paradigms
    The integration of the iPad in the classroom is not only enhancing the way students learn but also changing the way instructors teach. Students now expect stimulation and immediacy; everyone wants everything faster and easier than before.
    “Our students are already so visual as far as learning styles are concerned that it’s becoming the new wave,” says Dr. Garcia. “We, as instructors, are going to have to adjust our teaching methodology in order to keep them engaged and in using the iPad, we can show the students movies and animations and give them a wide array of multimedia resources that they can tap into.”
  • Adjusting the content to its needs
    “The iPad is typically thought of as more of a consumer product”, says Dr. Garcia “but with the right fine-tuning we were able to modify some applications to make the lectures easy to view for the students.”
  • Easy deployment of course material
    About 30 years ago I myself was a teacher of physics, maths and informatics. Course material was produced by duplicating stencils written by hand or with a typewriter. Today teachers can develop their courses on a PC or an iPad and send it to a commonly used resource e.g. cloud storage from which students download it to their mobile device.
  • Reducing costs of learning
    HCC Houston Community College
    “It’s hard having to come up with the money to buy books every semester,” says Mari Hernandez, an Anatomy and Physiology student. “With the iPad, I was able to download it for free and start studying right away, instead of waiting until I could afford to buy the book.”
  • Increased mobility
    one device for the classroom, the campus and at home
  • Improved collaboration techniques
    Young people today are highly engaged in social networking and it’s an everyday experience to exchange information via Twitter or Facebook.
    Learning methods have to accept these new ways of how young people communicate with each other. The professor standing in front of his students and using a chalkboard for hours does not enhance collaboration which contradicts the expectations of young people how to get in touch with learning material and at what time they want to do it.

The problems …

All that glitters is not gold.
The problems I see are

  • how to find out the right apps for the students
  • how to establish a set of apps which are universally accepted by the students even if they already use an iPad with their personal favorite apps
  • how to organize and manage all the information to easy access on a subsequent date (the problem refers basically to the lacks in the iOS filesystem, where data are spread over app specific folders)
  • how to integrate a PC, which still cannot be replaced by the iPad
  • how to ensure a high quality level of the software used (you cannot wait for bug fixing during a semester)
  • how the file management can be organized after finishing a course
  • how to enable the teacher to search within documents of his students
  • how to establish a consistent naming system for the files created during a course
  • what the solution can be for iPads iOS with its one-window-at-a-glance-design, which can be obstructive when researching open topics and summarizing results
  • how students can be involved if they use private Android based devices
  • how distractions can be avoided while using a device instead of a pencil and a sheet of paper

Some other problems I see with regard to content, quality and style of courses offered at iTunes U.
There is NO QUALITY CONTROL just as there are no real criteria for recommendations of apps in the App Store. It’s Apple’s way of looking at iTunes U and App Store as an offer to enhance hardware and software sales.

The offer of iTunes U is voluminous but after looking into lots of courses, the quality often could not convince me. I saw courses which were just videos of lectures without lecture notes provided. I also find courses with videos where a teacher just wrote something on a chalkboard.
To find out the right courses may last hours, days, or even weeks.
This more traditional approach reduces the capabilities of an iPad to a usual consumer device.

Summary …

iPad was first released on April 3, 2010.
A new technology was introduced by Apple. The hardware meets most of the requirements but at the time the software including the operating system has not yet been fully developed. Developers all over the world got euphoric as Apple did when introducing the App Store in July 2008. Now it’s time to look at the facts a bit more objectively. I don’t see a real benefit in offering more than 700,000 apps if there is no implemented quality control with user friendly technical criteria lists instead of promises.
I installed about 200 apps on the iPhone. For too many of them special features were announced but after purchasing it turned out that they are buggy and for some apps I wait for a bug fixing for months. Do we need an app for answering the question ‘Why the sea is salty” (McGraw Hill)? Today apps can be seen as usual consumer products like shirts, jeans and other stuff. I like to call some apps as ’7 Up’ apps. Use them 7 minutes or 7 hours and flush them down the toilet to clear the space for the next app. Are the apps for learning or just playing with this handy device? Is there a compulsion to try out new apps in periods getting shorter and shorter?

iPad MAY BE A TRANSFORMATIVE TOOL in education as it can house all resources (books, readings, video, audio), connects to the internet for doing research, provides a vehicle for maintaining communication, replaces ‘dead tree’ paper versions of resources and does it all in an easy to carry around, quick starting, and simple interface.

So the most important questions which have to be found out by research studies are:

  • Does iPad improve the motivation of students?
  • Are there measurable better results in graduation of students using iPads compared to those using the more old-fashioned learning techniques?

All the studies I looked into verified improvements in all fields.
Unfortunately many of the results published were of poor quality as they did not outline the relevant aspects in a clear and comprehensive way. Some studies compiled statistics with an entirety of about 20 students. That’s unscientific.

Anyway you can also find truly meaningful documents like The Reed College’s iPad Pilot Report published by The Reed College (see link below).

Attachments …

A highly interesting and meaningful document I found out at

Reed College: iPad Pilot Project

Apple supports education by introducing iBooks and iTunesU.

iTunes U …
let teachers create their own courses to unleash the full potential of iPad in a classroom. Ideas can be shared in a powerful new way, and the students get a rich, immersive learning experience using the iTunes U app for iPad. iTunes U is available at any college, university, or K-12 school.
From the iTunes U app, students can play video or audio lectures and take notes that are synchronized with the lecture. They can read books and view presentations. See a list of all the assignments for the course and check them off as they’re completed. And when you send a message or create a new assignment, students receive a push notification with the new information.
With the Apple ID anyone can subscribe to any courses.

Some of the really exciting features of the iTunes U experience is that as the video materials are playing, it is easy to pause the video to take notes. This creates a time stamp and a small thumbnail. When you look at your list of notes, it is possible to touch on the time stamp and be taken to that exact point in the video for review.

An example of iTunes U content by
Union University, Jackson, Tennessee

Introducing iPads into classrooms

The apps …

That’s the biggest problem when using an iPad.
It’s not easy to find out apps with the following capabilities.

  • UI which fulfills Apple’s iOS Human Interface Guidelines
  • reputable developer with innovative ideas and fast support
  • suitable capabilities to connect with different cloud providers including iCloud
  • support of well-known file formats (instead of proprietary formats)

Here are my proposals for the software configuration …

  • iWork for iOS (Apple)
    Pages for summarizing results in a final paper
    Numbers for ToDo lists and documentation of the learning process
    Keynote for presentation of intermediate and individual results
  • iThoughts (Craig Scott, UK)
    a mind mapping app for research and organizing one’s brain

    Reflect what you have learned by creating a mind map.
    You will forget many detailed information but you should not forget the topics and their dependencies. Mind mapping on an iPad supports this essential part of the learning process in a specific way.

    It’s because a touchscreen is much nearer to human activities than any other device or textbook could be. What we do is mostly what we do with our hands. It’s our first approach to new things. Creating artworks, modeling new devices or writing down all the ideas leading to the E=m c c equation on a sheet of paper while walking through the room and reflecting our thoughts is almost always done by hand.

  • FileBrowser (Stratospherix)
    as the file transfer app with capabilities to connect directly to networks, clouds and USB drives
  • Camera (Apple)
    to scan documents and use photos for clarification
  • Documents (Readdle)
    to establish syncing of a cloud folder where the teacher provides documents for his students
  • iDriveSync (Pro Softnet)
    to establish syncing of a cloud folder where the teacher provides documents for his students

An external storage has to support WebDAV as it is more flexible than Dropbox. All other providers furthermore offer more free storage capacity than the 2 GB of a Dropbox account. Additionally, a WebDAV connection can be used to save iWork documents.

An alert reader might miss a suggestion for a note taking app because an iPad is frequently used for that task. But I cannot make any suggestion which app meets the requirements of students. So look here …

Further information …

Associated blog links …

Thanks …

I have to explicitly thank Nicolas Forsans, Associate Professor in International Strategic Management at the University of Leeds (UK) who forwarded some useful links to me which initiated my idea to write this article.

Please comment on this article.
Thanks for reading my blog.








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