School Diary App for iPads launched

Melbourne software developer App4 Software has released its App4 Students System, a suite of Apps linked with a cloud server that “makes printed school diaries obsolete” claims App4 Software managing director, Robert Kloester.  

Billed as the ‘Ultimate School Diary’, App4 Students retains the look and feel of a school diary while delivering constantly updated student and teacher information that’s automatically tailored for every student, teacher and parent.

App4 Students’ first claim to fame is that it looks just like a school diary and, like a printed one, it can be personalised by the student by changing the front cover picture and adding a daily journal image on each page.

Unlike web-only diaries, the App can be used on the bus, train or car without an internet connection and it then syncs-up with the Schools App4 Server as soon as it’s in a Wi-Fi area. 

The App takes advantage of the iPad’s inbuilt camera for adding daily snapshots of school life and students and parents can sign agreements or permission slips directly on the tablet’s glass. The signatures are added at the bottom of the pdf document and automatically sent to the school’s server. 

Teachers have their own App as well as a web portal for easily setting homework for the whole class or selected individuals. There is also lesson planner and a place to write comments for each student.

Teachers and school administration can send messages to parents via the App and parents can likewise send messages to the school, via the student’s iPad or using their own App called App4 Parents. Parents without a mobile device can use a web portal. 

The system works with many Australian timetabling programs, with teachers and students seeing their individual timetables laid out in the App. It also highlights where a student should be at any given time. 

App4 Students solves the headache and printing expense of keeping the school calendar up to date by allowing school dates and events to be published and updated within the App, while teachers can set appointments to meet with students or add school events.

Since any school with a school diary program has an annual budget set aside for diary printing and because the App4 Students licensing costs are generally well below that budget, Kloester says that investing in the system is an easy decision for a school’s principal to make.

He says: “One school has calculated that printing saving alone will cover their investment and that’s before the reduction in the annual school diary budget. 

The student, teacher and parent Apps can be downloaded free and run in a trial demo mode by searching ‘App4’ in the App store.

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ACEL Conference to feature high profile educators

The annual ACEL Conference in Canberra on 2–4 October will feature high profile international speakers Jason Silva, Prof Kristi Lonka, Prof Viviane Robinson and Lee Crockett.

Meshing philosophical wisdom of the ages with an infectious optimism for the future, Jason Silva is an extraordinary new breed of philosopher. Combining intriguing insights and a mastery of digital film-making, he delivers philosophical shots of espresso which unravel the incredible possibilities the future has to offer the human race.

The TED Conference called Jason a ‘Performance Philosopher’, others have called Silva ‘The new Carl Sagan’ for his poetic, impassioned and inspirational take on scientific and technological advancements, his on-stage delivery style, and hyper-enthusiastic insights on creativity, innovation, technology, philosophy and the human condition.

Viviane Robinson is a Distinguished Professor in the Faculty of Education at The University of Auckland and Academic Director of its Centre for Educational Leadership. She specialises in school improvement, leadership and the relationship between research and the improvement of practice. She is the author of five books, numerous chapters and journal articles. Her latest book Student-Centred Leadership was published in Aug 2011. 

Kirsti Lonka is Vice Dean of the Faculty of Behavioural Sciences and Professor of Educational Psychology at University of Helsinki, Finland. She was Foreign Adjunct Professor at the Department of LIME, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden 2007–2011. Her specialties are higher education, medical education and postgraduate education (PhD students). In the area of academic writing, her work has focused around note taking, process writing, portfolios and writing across curriculum (writing as a learning tool), innovations in higher education and engaging learning environments.

Lee Crockett is a national award winning graphic designer, marketing consultant, entrepreneur, artist, author and international keynote speaker. He is the Director of Media for the InfoSavvy Group and managing partner of the 21st Century Fluency Project. 

The main sponsor of the conference is the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. Based on previous conference attendance, ACEL expects in excess of 800 senior educators to register for the 2013 event.

Desktop visualiser with PC-free features adds creative touch to lessons

The Epson visualiser range for schools provides a flexible and creative tool for classrooms to capture anything on a desktop and project an enlarged image onto a screen. The top of the range ELP-DC20 visualiser goes further with PC-free functions such as real-time annotation to allow the presenter to write notes or draw over live images easily by connecting a USB computer mouse directly to the camera with no computer necessary.

Real-time microscopic events can be observed by the whole class using the microscope adapter that allows the visualiser to connect to a broad range of microscopes.

The PC-free record-and-replay feature allows video – including time lapse sequences up to 72 hours – to be captured and stored directly to the 1GB internal memory, SD card slot or USB flash drive port, played back in future lessons and tagged and uploaded to video-sharing websites. 

One touch auto-focus and an easy to understand control panel makes the ELP-DC20 a pleasure to use by teachers and students. Added security bar/locks provide schools with peace of mind when the visualiser is not in use.Recommended retail price is $699

ASUS announces 27-inch ProArt monitor

The PA279Q ProArt Series WQHD LCD monitor, a professional 27-inch display is factory pre-calibrated for uncompromised colour precision, straight from the box. AH-IPS (Advanced high performance in-plane switching) display technology gives a bright and vibrant image with 178-degree wide viewing angles.

It will be available from major ASUS resellers in Australia from end of July.