Upcoming changes in Apple iOS 9.3 will Affect Education

images from Apple.com of iOS 9.3

A group of students can be set up as a classroom to use any iPad

Apple announced changes aimed at education that are coming in iOS 9.3. The changes allow a group of students to share iPads. Faculty will be able to set up profiles for each child in a classroom. Those profiles can then be used on any classroom iPad.

Students log in to any iPad and have access to all their apps, books, and documents.

With Apple iOS 9.3, teachers can guide students through a lesson, see individual progress including what’s on the student’s screen at the moment, and keep them on track. Teachers can project a student’s work on a classroom television equipped with Apple TV with AirPlay.

Images from apple.com of shared iPad use

Teachers can show everyone the same thing at the same time during a lesson

Teachers can launch everyone’s apps at the same time, then guide what students are looking at on their devices.

On the administrative side, there are tools for creating accounts, setting passwords, managing enrollment information, making bulk purchases of books, and creating and delivering lessons with iTunes U.

I think these changes will be important to educators from the primary school through college level.

Images via Apple.com

How to Protect Yourself from the Weakest Links in The Internet of Things

How to Protect Yourself from the Weakest Links in The Internet of Things

Image via image via dsa66503. Image choice is not meant to suggest that Nest is an insecure brand.

So many things are connected to the Internet now. Your thermostat, your refrigerator, your baby monitor, your light switches, your health tracker. Did you know there are web sites designed to find all the Internet connected devices and potentially allow them to be hacked?

You don’t need to be a computer genius to hack into someone’s security system, door locks or cars. Using the username admin with the same password often yields access to such devices with no trouble at all.

Having access to one of the Internet connected devices in your home could be the weak link that allows someone to hack into other devices in your home, such as your computer.

The most important step you can take to protect yourself is to change default usernames and passwords on all your Internet connected devices. Boston University has a great post on how to create a secure password.

If possible, make the device accessible only from your private home network (which has a secure password, right?) You can then log in to your own network away from home, but others won’t be able to.

Protect your data. Be safe out there.

Broadband Use Drops Slightly; Smart Phone Use Climbs

The Pew Research Center released a new survey on home broadband use in 2015 that has implications for web designers. The overall finding is that fewer people have home broadband, while more people rely on their smart phones for Internet access.

The changes are slight, but possibly significant. Home broadband adoption has plateaued. It now stands at 67% of Americans, down slightly from 70% in 2013.

Pew Internet Survey results for movement from broadband toward smartphones

Pew Internet Survey results for movement from broadband toward smartphones. African Americans, those with relatively low household incomes and those living in rural areas show the most change.

The cost of broadband is a major problem cited by many of those surveyed.

The monthly cost of broadband is prohibitive to many

The monthly cost of broadband is prohibitive to 43% of those who do not have it

24% of Americans do not have cable or satellite. 15% are former subscribers who ‘cut the cord.’ Young adults, in particular, expect to be able to use their smartphones to access almost anything they want, apply for jobs, follow the news, access government services and more.

The implications for web designers

  • websites should work well on mobile devices
  • websites should download quickly with a minimal hit on a users data plan

Flash is Dead. Long Live Animate

Adobe Animate CC Logo

Flash has had a few hard years. HTML5 whupped its ass. So it’s going away.

Sort of.

In its place, Adobe will give us Animate CC, which loses the loser of a name but retains much of the function. There will be added functions, as well. Here’s Adobe’s announcement of the change.

To summarize the changes, here’s how Adobe describes what the new software will do:

  • Drawing, illustration and authoring
    • Vector art brushes – Modify the path of a stroke after it’s been drawn, and scale them to any resolution without losing quality. You can also make custom brushes and import brushes created with Adobe Capture CC.
    • 360° rotatable canvas – Rotate the canvas on any pivot point as you draw to get the perfect angle and strokes. You can even use this feature with a Wacom Cintiq!
    • Improved pencils and brushes – Draw smooth, precise vector outlines along a curve and get faster live previews.
    • Easier audio syncing – Control audio looping directly on the timeline, without having to code.
    • Faster color changing – Naming tagged colors lets you change one color and have it automatically update your entire project.
    • Colored onion skinning – Easily orchestrate complex animations now that adjacent frames can have different color and alpha values.
  • CreativeSync integration
    • Adobe Stock – Browse and license millions of high-quality photos, illustrations and vector graphics directly in Animate CC. You can even add life to static content by adding animations to them.
    • Creative Cloud Libraries – Access colors, vector graphics and brushes directly as you work.
  • Output capabilities
    • Multiplatform support: HTML5 Canvas, WebGL, Flash (SWF), AIR, video, and custom platforms (such as SVG) via extensions.
    • 4K+ video export – Export videos with custom resolutions for the latest Ultra HD and Hi-DPI displays.
    • Custom resolution export – Revitalize older content by resizing and optimizing them for any resolution, such as Ultra HD and Hi-DPI displays.
    • .OAM support – Export your project as an .OAM file for easy importing to Adobe Muse, InDesign, DPS and Dreamweaver.

The new Adobe Animate CC will be released in January 2016.

33 Facts about Women in Tech (Infographic)

This infographic shows both A) women are making progress or B) women have much more progress to make. For women to make as much progress as these facts show are needed, men have to participate in the change. The big changes we see in the last year are there because men have finally started trying to work with women to solve the scarcity of women in tech problem.

The 238% Faster Growth of Women in the Tech Industry Than Men

Made by: Coupofy

WebAIM announces updates to the WAVE tool

WebAIM announced several updates to the WAVE tool. I always spend time in my accessibility classes telling students about the importance of accessibility testing. The WAVE tool is generally at the top of my list.

About a year ago, I wrote How to Use the WAVE tool to Boost Site Accessibility. I don’t want to revamp that post, but I do want to call attention to the updates.

A number of the updates deal with “smarter ARIA and HTML5 evaluation logic.” This includes HTML5 structural elements and ARIA landmarks. There are improvements in support for aria-labelledby and aria-describedby including a new icon for broken ARIA references.

There are some scripting changes that allow evaluation of dynamically generated content. There’s a new indicator for skipped heading levels and for big blocks of justified text. The Firefox extension is going to go away, but the Chrome extension will still be supported.

Still the Same

Click on an alert icon to see a brief explanation of the accessibility issue identified by the WAVE tool

Click on an icon to see a brief explanation of the accessibility issue identified by the WAVE tool

Using the tool on the web remains basically the same. You enter your URL in the form at wave.webaim.org. The results of the evaluation are displayed over a representation of your page with icons indicating errors, alerts, features, structural elements, HTML5 and ARIA, and contrast errors. Clicking on an icon gives you a brief explanation of the meaning, with a link for more information.

Most importantly for web developers and web educators, the WAVE tool is still a valuable tool to help identify accessibility issues in sites.

 

O’Reilly EBook: Design for Voice Interfaces

Design for Voice Interfaces

O’Reilly Media is offering an ebook called Design for Voice Interfaces: Building Products that Talk by Laura Klein. It’s only 30 pages long and worth reading. It gives a brief background, talks about current issues in designing VUI and concludes with a few helpful resources to get you started learning more about it.

You definitely can’t beat the price for this informative book. It’s free.