Monday, January 20, 2014

Projecting from an iPad or iPhone

A while ago I wrote about showing your iPad/iPhone on the big screen using iOS 6, but now that most people have upgraded to iOS 7 perhaps it's time for another post.

I you have an Apple TV (or a computer running Reflector) connected to your projector or TV, you can wirelessly project your iPad, iPhone, or iPod screen using AirPlay Mirroring. AirPlay will work from any Apple device (and some non-Apple devices), but the screen mirroring part doesn't work on some older devices.

To start, make sure you are connected to the same network as your AirPlay receiver (Apple TV or computer running Reflector).

Swipe your finger up from the bottom of the screen to access the Control Center. If there's an AirPlay receiver on the network, tap on AirPlay and select which device you'd like to AirPlay to.

Once you've selected an AirPlay receiver, you can turn on Mirroring if it's supported.

If you have AirPlay security enabled on your AirPlay receiver (either Onscreen Code or Password) you will be prompted to enter it.

When AirPlay is active, the top bar of your device will be blue, and you'll see the AirPlay icon  at the top right.

When you want to stop AirPlaying, swipe up from the bottom again, tap AirPlay, and choose iPad.

You can also look for the the AirPlay icon   in specific apps such as YouTube.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A Simpler Leaderboard

The other day a teacher was looking for an easy way to display a leaderboard for her students. You may recall a previous blog post describing a somewhat complicated (but cool IMHO) way that we set up a leaderboard for Scratch Day 2013.

Of course a leaderboard isn't all you need for a gamified classroom, but it might be part of what you want.

So again we'll use a Google Spreadsheet and publish part of it so that students will be able to see the "levels" that they, and others, have achieved, but they won't be able to see the points that you've awarded.

Create a new spreadsheet and name it whatever you'd like.

On the first line, label the columns "Name", "Points", and "Level". Then leave a blank line and put in the names (or pseudonyms) of the participants.

To the right of that (starting in cell D1), title the rows "Maximum Value" and "Level". Decide on the names for the levels and the maximum values, but you can always change those later.

In cell C3 (the third cell down in the "Level" column) paste in the following formula:


Then press enter and place your mouse cursor at the bottom right of cell C3 (where you just pasted the formula). Click and drag it down in order to fill that formula in for the rest of the column.

When you're done, it should look like this:

Now when you change the points value, it will automatically change the "Level". If you don't mind students seeing the "points" values then you can just share the spreadsheet with them as viewers and you're done.

However if you want to allow the participants to see the "levels" but not the "points", then you need to create another sheet that you can publish. Click the + sign at the bottom left to add another sheet.

Open that new sheet by clicking on "Sheet2".

In cell A1 of the new sheet, paste or type  =Sheet1!A1  and press enter so that cell A1 in this sheet will display the contents of cell A1 in the other sheet.

Again, click and drag from the bottom right corner of cell A1 to fill in the formula for the rest of the column. Do the same for cell B1, but use the formula  =Sheet1!C1  so that it will display the contents of cell C1 from the other sheet. Fill down again, and it should look like this:

Now publish just Sheet2 and share the link with your participants by posting it on your website or LMS.

Sorry, that was a little more complicated than I initially though, but you can do it. If you want to see the spreadsheet that I used for this post, click this link.

Let me know if it works for you.

Friday, January 10, 2014

setting up a MinecraftEdu server

If you'd like your students to be able to play (or work in) Minecraft together, you can easily set up a MinecraftEdu server. There is more documentation on the MinecraftEdu wiki, but I'll quickly go over the basics.

From the MinecraftEdu launcher, click the "Start Minecraft Servertool" button.

If a teacher password hasn't been set yet, it will ask you to set one. You can always change this later.

You'll then be given some options about what kind of world you'd like to create (or open).

For example "Generate a Completely Flat World" if you'd like student to build things without worrying about cutting down trees or hills.

Once you have started the server, you can see the information and change settings from this window. It also shows you the IP address that students should directly connect to in order to join your world.

Before you quit the server, remember to save the world.

I also highly recommend that you make a backup of your saved world. Copy the appropriate folder to a USB drive or a network location that is backed up. If MinecraftEdu was installed by EIPS Tech Services, saved worlds will be in C:\Program Files (x86)\minecraftedu\servertool\worlds\savedworlds

Of course if you want to try out a simpler process, you (or a student) can start a single player world and allow others to join by typing /publish in the Minecraft chat or by opening the game menu and clicking the "Open to LAN" button. Unfortunately this doesn't allow you to use many of the MinecraftEdu features.