Friday, October 30, 2015

The Decision to Move from Apple iPhone to Windows Phone.

I was an early adopter of smart phone technology.  I have cell phones from 1996 still sitting in a box at home that I sometimes admire for how they impacted my life.  I also keep those old phones as a reminder of how fast technology really moves.  It is fun to show students just what 20 years looks like in the scope of technology.

When Apple came out with the iPhone I was still using a phone running Symbian OS.   I was hooked on what smart phones were going to become.  I already was using my phone to be productive, surf the web and get stuff done.  When Apple released the first iPhone it was amazing.  Simply a much better interface, and I remember typing on it the first time with skepticism only to realize it was great.  Since that moment I have only owned Apple phones.  There really has not even been a thought as to why I should ever consider trying something new.  Apple has the best designs, the nicest screens and the largest collection of apps.  Although I have fumbled around with Android phones there was nothing to really attract me to anything other than whatever Apple version is currently out. 

And recently...

Microsoft rolled out the Lumia 950 and 950xl.  

I watched the presentation with interference.  It looked like a nice phone, with a big screen.  It seemed well put together and even though I am an Apple Computer user as well, I am familiar with Windows 10.  Then they did something I did not expect.  They plugged the phone into a monitor and it became a computer.  

Now I am curious.  This is something that goes beyond a handheld experience.  This is the ability to take a computer along with all 2 terabytes of my files with me.  I could use this phone realistically to say...get another degree.   Completely possible that I might not need a laptop to be productive beyond email and texting.  I get that tablets also provide this feature, but I don't keep a tablet with me everywhere I go.  This is a desktop computer that fits in my pocket.

And now...I want one.  I await the release date, but I am committed to spend a year with a brand new phone and document how it has impacted my life right here on this blog.  This experiment will be capped off with the purchase of another new phone the following year.  Will it be a move back to Apple, or will Microsoft's new idea be enough to keep me hooked long term?



Wednesday, October 28, 2015

How Microsoft's Continuum Might Impact Educational Technology

Every teacher knows the frustration of texting in class.  Idle tech does the devils work.  The day of the cell phone basket, the place where students put their phones before entering class, might be a thing of the past. It is possible that teachers soon will be saying "everybody, get out your cell phones, time to work!".

With the release of the Lumia 950 and 950xl, Microsoft shared with the world a new vision for being productive with your cell phone. Continuum is the system they have created to allow a Windows 10 enabled cell phone to work as a full blown PC when hooked up to a small dock. Now instead of a laptop, you carry around your cell phone, which acts just like a cell is supposed to, but also works as a desktop computer. At that moment when you need to be increasingly productive you simply plug it in to a full size monitor and instantly boost your options for getting work done.  Pair that with the cell phones ability to boost to an optional two terabytes of storage, and you can take your entire office with you everywhere you go. As technology shrinks and becomes more powerful, it doesn't seem crazy that most phones will eventually work like this. If other cell phone manufactures follow the lead, every student will be carrying around a full size computer in their pocket.  All the school will need to supply is a monitor, keyboard and mouse.

It really makes good sense for the business world, but it might also be a tremendous idea for the education space. BYOD is interesting because there has sometimes been a disconnect between the types of devices and the ability those devices to be productive using the variety of educational tools out there.  It isn't always easy to make a lesson plan for all types of devices, but it is easier to make one if the student has access to say, a full size browser window.  If cell phones move in the direction that Microsoft is looking to steer them, student owned and carried devices could become powerful tools in the classroom.  Tools that teachers could count on, utilize for real work and rely on being compatible with most lesson plans, LMS systems and productivity suites.  By allowing them to simply plug into screens and keyboards at the school, students would be tapping into the unused power of the mobile device.

While it might be a few years for an idea like this to catch on, I think it could be a great one for BYOD programs.


Thursday, October 15, 2015

Difficult Conversations at School

Last night I had the opportunity to join Oscar Cielos Staton and Dr. Greg Goins on a conversation about difficult conversations.  It was a great opportunity to look at some of the ways in which we approach those times at school where we are faced with tough talks.  Please watch the video and support Oscar at

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Use Kahoot in PE Class!

Kahoot is a game-based classroom response system.   This easy to use application can be used on just about any browser enabled device.  Most of the time Kahoot is used to perform interactive quizzes in classrooms.  What you might not know is that it can be a great tool to use in gym class as well.  Here is how:

First learn how to Kahoot at  Next it is time to organize your gym class activity.  You will need the following:

At least two devices that run Kahoot, although this activity can be expanded to as many devices as you would like.  Kahoot works with almost any device, so it could be a cell phone, laptop or tablet.

Projector, or TV hooked up to the host computer (You could probably just use a laptop if you are creative).  This will display the questions that the teams will be seeing before they race to answer the questions. 

Set up the projector at one end of the gym where both teams can read the questions on the floor.  Divide your students into two or more relay teams.  Place the answering devices at the other end of the gym, or at the end of an obstacle course. 

Your Kahoot questions will be displayed on the screen.  When the first student in the relay knows the answer they can take off running.  They will race to the other device that will allow them to answer the question. 

Now, Kahoot keeps score.  The score is based on getting the answer correct and how quickly the responses are entered.  The next relay member will start as soon as the teacher is ready.  This allows the teacher to keep a great pace to the lesson, check for knowledge of content, while also grading physical performance of the teams.  You won’t be able to win if you get the questions wrong, and you have a better chance of winning if you are able to race to the answering device as quick as possible.  It is the perfect balance of mind and body. 

Enjoy this awesome Kahoot activity after completing your Kyte Learning Course!

-Jason Cross-

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The League of Legends World Championships Start Today

Watch live video from Riot Games on
Video games continue to grow into something beyond a simple game.  They have reached sport status and this week the League of Legends World Championships begin in France.  League of Legends is the most popular video game in the world with 67 million players.  It is a popular game because of it's  five player match ups that allow for both strategy and skill.  

The World Championship is comprised of 16 teams that had to qualify from events in many different countries.  These teams are from the US, Europe, Korea, China and Twain.  Just like with most sports, it takes a bit of knowledge to make the connection as to what is happening.  When you make the connection however, it is just as exciting as any current sport offering.  If you have never seen an eSport live, this is a good opportunity to check it out!

The video above is a live stream.  When the event is live you will be able to watch video, but when the event is over you will no longer see any video.