All posts by Stephanie Fedorchak

Laptops in English Class

Exams in English class often consist of a great deal of writing. This is painful for the teacher, who has to decode students’ frantic scribblings, and for the students, who must nurse aching wrists. I feel that laptops (Chromebooks, perhaps?) would be a great help in this situation. Many students nowadays can type faster than they write, and typing produces much more legible essays. If Google Chrome were used, sharing the essay with the teacher after the test would be a snap. No more file folders full of papers that will only eventually be thrown away.

Now, would cheating be a concern? Well, cheating is always a concern. But I would argue that it is no more a danger with a computer than with paper and pen. If students try to write the answers beforehand (which isn’t even a problem if the teacher doesn’t share the questions, which they often do not), then Google Drive has an Activity log that will show when a document was created. It can be found by clicking the i in the circle at the upper right hand corner. This will not show when shared documents were created, but if there is any doubt, then a student’s activity log can be checked.

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What if students look at other documents or go on the internet during the test? First off, there are apps that can be used (StayFocusd comes to mind) to block certain sites, although Ashland has its own firewall which is very effective. Chromebooks provided through the school could be set with limitations as to what sites can be visited. Also, the upright position of a computer screen is surely easier for a teacher to scan for cheating than the papers that the students are bent over. This will allow them to see if the students are suffering from wandering mouses.

It may take a bit of work to integrate laptops into the classroom and into tests, but in the case of English, it may very well be worth it.

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Google Drive for the iPhone

Using Google Drive on the iPhone:

Go to the App Store. Search for “google drive” and download. This application is free. However, keep in mind that if you don’t have a Google account already, you will not be able to use the drive.

After downloading, click on the app to open it. You’ll see something like this when you do.

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Photo Editing Apps

3 photo editing apps for the iPhone.

Aviary and Photo Editor-Axiem Systems:

Although these are two different apps, I’ve put them together because they are pretty much exactly alike. Both apps have all of the following features. Each edit can only be applied one at a time. For example, with the Enhance options, you can’t apply HiDef and Illuminate to a photo at the same time.

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Ruby Hashes

Hashes in Ruby are a helpful way to organize information. As can be seen in the screenshot below, I’ve created a new hash, named it example, and given it a couple keys and values to start. To create your own hash, just pick the name you want it to be called and set that equal to Hash.new. Since Ruby is case-sensitive, it’s important to remember to capitalize Hash.new. To set keys and values, use the format: hashname[“key”] = “value”. In my example hash, I’ve created the keys “cold” and “hot” and given them values of “pluto” and “sun” respectively.

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Next, you can get input from the user and add it to the hash as  a key or a value.

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Tumblr vs. WordPress

Bet you can’t guess who won.

WordPress is immediately impressive. It has a clean, organized look to it, and the posts resemble articles one might find in a professional news site. Its other features are also a plus. Multi tag searching is available, which makes it possible to easily find what you’re looking for. Additionally, there is a great deal of customization possible for those who want to decorate their blog to exact specifications. WordPress’ post creator offers an easy-to-use rich text editor and a bevy of possible tags. The fact that WordPress is mostly text posts is very convenient, because our posts will also be mainly text. Written posts are more common there than on Tumblr. They use pictures to give a bit of visual interest to the posts, but overall it is a collection of written articles. Continue reading

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Ruby Basics

Although we’re still trying to get Ruby on the Mac, I did get a chance to try it out on another computer. It’s very confusing to jump straight into it, although I do think that’s the best way for me to learn it. I read through the first bit of the chapter on Ruby in the “Seven Languages in Seven Days”, and I did understand a few things. Only a few, though, so my phrasing and understanding may be off. Continue reading

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LAN Networks

There are several types of networks. For this post, I’ll be focusing on the type used at my job: a LAN. LAN stands for local area network. It links computers that are close together geographically, e.g., in the same building. I only understood what networks actually do when I was trying to transfer files from one computer to another. I had had a vague idea that a network had something to do with connecting the computer to the internet (completely incorrect, I realize now). I was clicking around, trying to find how to email the files to myself so I could download them onto the other computer when I clicked on “Network”. (and yes I know I could have opened a browser, gone to my email, opened a new one, and attached the files, but see how long and boring a sentence that is? Doing it in real life is even worse) After clicking on “Network”, I was surprised to find a list of the other computers in the office. Continue reading

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Writing Scripts in Ruby on a Mac

I have learned to do very basic commands with Codecademy and Why’s Poignant Guide to Ruby, but, more importantly, this week I learned how to write, save, and run scripts in Ruby. It was actually surprisingly difficult to figure it out, since nearly every source I combed through online just said to save a script with .rb, then type “ruby filename.rb” in terminal. With the lack of additional information, I did not know where I should write a script, what format it should be in, etc. It was only after a lot of trial and error and one very helpful video on youtube that I understood what needed to be done. This post will take you through the steps to write a ruby script and run in it the terminal. Continue reading

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