Perfectly amazing mobile apps to remote access to your MAC/PC!

Screen Shot 2013-11-08 at 11.14.34 PMThere is certainly no need to talk and write about how incredibly technology and innovative devices have made their way through the market and everything is easily accessible to all at once. This, however, bears some disadvantages since being selective is a very tedious task for the technology users. Therefore, I would like to briefly mention some amazing apps that might make your job -whether it is teaching English, presenting some academic stuff at conferences, or taking care of your baby at home- highly easy with only few steps to set up and go! In fact, in this post, I would like to focus on a certain category of apps that I have also been using a lot and about which I have really unbelievable memories while teaching. The category of apps I want to share is ‘remote-access- apps with which you can control your PC/MAC or any other devices and see the display on your mobile device; type something by accessing keyboard as well; control your multimedia player; or even access your webcam to see through the eyes of your computer. No need to mention that you need to be connected to the Internet to be able to use these awesome apps. A final remark is that although most of these apps are free and have lite versions, you might need to pay to own pro versions, or another limitation could be to have iOS since they might not be available on other platforms.

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1. Jump Desktop

The first app I will introduce is an app which is one of the must-have apps for me and which I have used a lot while teaching or presenting, or just for fun! The name of the app is Jump Desktop. The first thing that could be important about this app is its price, $14.99; however, it seems that it deserves every penny you spend on the app since it is really easy to set up, by just installing another small server tool on your computer and logging in your google account. Then what you can do is, without the limitations like being connected to the same wi-fi network or being in the same place with your computer, that you can see your computer display on your mobile device and access to the full keyboard and typing functions and move the mouse icon around to give your presentations, type something in while you are showing something on a word processor, etc.

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What you can do has no limits with this app, and it has a lot to with your creativity and interests. Another amazing thing is that you can even check your computer while it is at home or work and you having your coffee or somewhere outside. Especially when you are doing something on your computer like downloading a huge file, this function could be helpful. Although there are some other even free alternatives to this app, it is really effective in terms of its capabilities and practicality of set-up process.

Screen Shot 2013-11-08 at 10.50.26 PM2. HippoRemote

Now, I want to introduce another great app with both lite and paid versions. The name is HippoRemote and it is another five-star app that an iPhone user can benefit from. With this app, youcan do all the things except for the option or possibility of accessing your computer display on your mobile phone. That could be the biggest difference when compared to Jump Desktop. However, considering that it has a lite version, and it has a better UI especially when you are accessing to the touchpad or some other keyboard functions are enough to make it an awesome app. Below, you can see what you can do and a screenshot of the app in action. It is really practical to access to keyboard functions in a such an easy way. Another biggest plus for this app comes from its practicality to adjust what you need to do by choosing among the most-used apps on your mobile. What I mean is this: If I am giving a presentation and I need a clicker, you can choose Keynote or PowerPoint and you will have a set template of buttons which will make your job literally easier.

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As you can see above, if you are simply listening to music or watching something on your PC, you can access to most commonly used keys and do whatever you need.

3. Remote

The next app is only for iDevice users and the people who use iTunes as their multimedia player. It is ‘Remote’ by Apple and you can access to your iTunes on your computer and control the songs you are listening to or videos you are watching. What is really attractive about this app is it is really simply to set up since iTunes or your app automatically detect each other. What’s more, you can also see the artwork and covers of the songs you are listening on your mobile device while it is playing on your computer. You can see its screenshot below.

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 Screen Shot 2013-11-08 at 10.53.07 PM4. JumiCam

Last but not least, there is one more amazing app. JumiCam is one of the practical and amazing Jumi apps that allows you to access to your webcam. If your computer is connected to the Internet, and if you have set it up by simply installing a server app on your computer, you can see through the eyes of your computer. Moreover, you can access to your sound system which means you can listen through the microphone of your computers and speak through the speakers. Practical uses could be to be able to watch someone you care for such as your baby or kids especially when you have a home-computer, or see what is going on where your computer is. In fact, fun aspect is also a lot of for this app. I am sure everybody has to leave the class for a few seconds and you can imagine what you can do when it is active and your computer is connected to a surround system in your class. You can speak to and amaze your students when you are not physically in class. I am sure you can also do lots of things and integrate it into some classroom activities thanks to your creativity.

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All in all, there is no limit to what you can do by using your computers and mobile devices. If you think that these apps could be effective for your personal or professional use, you can comment below and even add your favorite remote-access apps that could be beneficial for the other readers.

Here is a list of other (mostly FREE) apps that you may use or may be using to ease your personal/academic life! I have experienced all of the apps below and I am sure there are some that can appeal to you as well.

1. Teamviewer for Remote Control

2. Remote Desktop (RDP) Lite/Pro by Mochasoft

3. Keynote Remote by Apple (For Keynote Presenters)

4. i-Clickr PowerPoint Remote Lite/Pro (For PP Presenters)

5. i-Teleport Remote Desktop RDP&VNC

6. Mobile Mouse (Remote/Mouse/Trackpad/Keyboard)

WebQuests: not a state-of-the-art tool, but an effective one when designed carefully!

ImageAs also stated in the title of this post, WebQuests have been around for some considerable time and been reinforced thanks to the arrival of Web 2.0 or other innovative environments. In fact, in an age when every single thing could change dramatically at the blink of an eye, WebQuests still could be an effective tool in various fields, especially in language teaching. Progress through hyperlinks have always been a fun exercise for me since you might not guess where to end and since it enhances multi-modality. WebQuests could be a good source for this and they may empower teachers by keeping their students active outside the classroom as well.

Although, depending on the environment you are preparing a WebQuest, it might or might not take a long time, it could be simply done on a word processing program, too. Actually, what is preferred mostly is to publish them on the Web so that they might be accessible to a high number of people at the same time for very long and even forever!

Wikipedia defines WebQuests as an inquiry-oriented lesson format in which most or all the information that learners work with comes from the web, and this is what makes this activity meaningful and effective for language learners.As a matter of fact, I am posting this for two reasons; (1) although it takes a long time to prepare WebQuests, especially when you publish it and especially when you are way too perfectionist!, they are pretty useful learning tools without bearing a question and I wanted to share this opinion and tool with you, (2) I personally experienced creating a WebQuest today (which could be accessed through the link here) and I wanted to share my experience when they are still fresh in my mind. ImageMy WebQuest is about ‘travel’ and it has been prepared as part of LRC530 course which I am taking this semester. Thanks to this course, I am also working on other technology and Web tools about which I am going to post as much as I can.Thank you for your time. I appreciate your comments and feedback both on my post and my WebQuest, too.
Link to my WebQuest: http://www.u.arizona.edu/~mpolat/webquest/wqindex.html

Games as Learning Tools

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Regarding games, there is a lot of them in different platforms. Mainly, I can give examples from both iOS (most of them exist on Android as well) and PS3 games.

There is a simple game named as “Labyrinth 1/2” on most mobile platforms. Thanks to the game, one can move a steel ball through a labyrinth avoiding pitfalls. The game is really good on sensors and sensitive so that one must be careful not to move a lot and coordinate the ball. In its second version, it is much more puzzle-like and the gamers should try to solve them in addition to the coordination of movements. The game can played through various platforms and can be checked via the following link: http://www.labyrinth2.com/. Moreover, Labyrinth 2 gives a person options like challenging friedns and even him/herself. Also, the gamers can create their own labyrinths and upload them in addition to downloading from others.

“Cut the rope” is another game for the gamers to solve puzzles and move a ball so skillfully that it drops into the mouth of a frog at the end. To do this, the ball should be directed well without falling into the ground, but not frog’s mouth. This game is existent on both platforms and it has tens of levels to challenge the gamers.

One more game on mobile platforms is one of the popular games of Zynga and this game is draw something/ draw/ draw 2. It gives its gamers to create cool effects with dozens of new tools, patterns, stamps and colors – allowing them to transform even the simplest drawings into masterpieces. The purpose of the game is to help other players to guess what you have driven or vice versa, so it also enhances mutual learning in terms of especially drawing skills, colors and items etc. The description and more infromation about the game can be accessed through the link: http://zynga.com/game/draw-something-two

In addition to the games on mobile platforms, there are also games with rich content on platforms like PS3 or Xbox. Regarding PS3, it is possible to say that there are tens of games which could be really educational and entertaining at the same time.

First of all, a game named “Little big planet 1/2” is a very comprehensive game in which you have endless opportunities. First, the gamers can choose a toy or mascot (called sackboy) with which they can progress through a variety of levels which are ordered around a globe. In this game, you can dress your toy in the way you like and you can do many things there. There is always feedback given to you by an old wise person or by colorful texts. Like a real person, you need to walk your toy and achieve a variety of levels to get the most points. The movements of the toy is actually very real-like and you need to learn a lot about gravity, jumping, running, holding ropes etc. For more information, you can go to the link: http://www.littlebigplanet.com/games/littlebigplanet-2

One more game which is created for fun and entertainment for the whole family could be really educational with kids/children. The game titled “start the party” by Sony runs with the help of PS move, which makes it really ground-breaking. You can select different types of games like baloon shooting, haircutting, painting and flying etc. The gamers play all the games through PS move with which they move their hands and body instead of hitting buttons with joysticks. Especially the painting game is really cool since one ends up with really good images of different things although what they paint is images or shapes like triangles, lines, or squares. What makes the game even more education and entertaing is you can watch yoursefl with your PS move on the screen thanks to PS eye webcam. Moreover, you can play the game alone or you can challenge your friends by playing together with themor online. Here is the link for more information: http://www.ign.com/articles/2010/09/03/start-the-party-review

All in all, as Prensky has also emphasized a lot in his various articles and talks, games especially meaningful and well-designed ones give people endless options for entertainment and a great opportunity for education. The games mentioned above can actually appeal to almost all the principles listed by Gee such as:

Discovery principle
Multimodal principle
Situated meaning principle
Probing principle
Practice principle
Identiy principle
Active, critical learning principle
Comitted learning principle
and Psychosocial moratorium principle

Thank you for reading!