Ah, summer vacation. I love having some time to play with new technology and think about new possibilities for the classroom next year.

Lately, I’ve been working behind the scenes on my student blogging network and online literature circles. I’m hoping to open that up to more teachers next year, as well as offer social networking for the classroom. (You can see my sandbox here where I’m playing around with setting up a classroom technology forum and tweaking some code.)

I’ve also been dictating a lot with Dragon Naturally Speaking. I don’t use it very much for the classroom, but I pretty much write every blog post using Dragon Naturally Speaking premium and (now) Microsoft Word. (If you’re thinking about getting Dragon Naturally Speaking, you might want to check out the difference between the cheaper home edition vs the Dragon Naturally Speaking premium edition. Teachers can also save by buying the educational version.)

Google updated its search engine algorithms at the end of April and traffic on this site dropped significantly. The big life lesson for me was the importance of diversifying your assets. So now I’m spending more time working on two other websites:

  • WebCircles.ca is where I blog about blogging in the classroom. One of the things that I’m working on for next year is giving my students more control over their student blogs through a WordPress theme called Thesis.
  • EduApps.ca is where I blog about educational apps for the iPad. Lately, I’ve really enjoyed blogging with the Blogsy App for the iPad. I’m creating another website to demonstrate the power of the Thesis theme and I’m writing a few of the blog posts on the road with my iPad. I like Blogsy a lot more than the WordPress iPad app simply because Blogsy comes with a real visual editor – What You See Is What You Get.
  • Blog.classroomteacher.ca is for everything else – just my random thoughts about using classroom technology and deals that I think my friends would like.

Save $10 when you buy an iTunes $50 gift card

Speaking of deals, if you use your iPad in the classroom, now is a good time to stock up on iTunes gift cards and save some money on those educational apps.

  • In case you haven’t seen it yet, Future Shop is selling $50 iTunes gift cards for only $39.99. (Sale ends July 19, 2012. Sorry for the late notice – it is summer holidays after all.) This sale price applies to both the iTunes gift cards and the App Store gift cards (but it doesn’t really matter which card you get because I’ve been able to apply both types of gift cards towards app purchases on the iPad.)
  • If you missed the Future Shop special, PC financial MasterCard is also holding a similar deal for cardholders: save $10 when you buy a $50 iTunes card with your PC MasterCard and the coupon in “the goods” coupon book which you probably received in the mail.

Have a great summer.

This blog post was dictated using Dragon NaturallySpeaking premium and Windows Live Writer. (What’s the difference between Dragon Naturally Speaking Premium and Dragon Home?)

  • There were 501 words in the first draft of this post.
  • Dragon Naturally Speaking made 12 word errors which mean that it understood 97.6% of the words correctly.
  • The voice recognition software also made an additional 2 punctuation error meaning the total accuracy rate was 97.2%.

Click here to find out more about the Dragon NaturallySpeaking Student / Teacher version.


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