Tag Archives: smartphone

Health Work

Learning to look up again – controlling your smartphone addiction

Why do our mobile virtual homes take precedence over our real physical homes? Does our obsessive behaviour make us less interactive and engaging with real people? Are we becoming less human and morphing into ‘smombies’ (smartphone zombies)? And if so, what can we do about it to break our habits, change our behaviour and instead of spending our time looking down bathed in the reflective glare of our 5 inch screens learn to look up again?

Ross Sleight has been involved in digital media for over 20 years. He’s founded four award-winning digital agencies, was a founder of Virgin Games and today is the Chief Strategy Officer for Somo – an accelerator that delivers rapid, actionable innovation for its global clients. Here he explores both the personal and social impact of our addictive smartphone use.

Can you really ban smartphones from schools (and is it a good idea anyway) ?

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Education Work

Can you really ban smartphones from schools (and is it a good idea anyway) ?

My good friend and fellow IT Babbler Tony wrote a piece called Mobile Phone Shutdown about how his school is banning students from using their smartphones during certain hours of the day. It’s good (please give it a read). In the post he identifies some problems that his school is dealing with and outlines a solution to ban phones for students and the hope of the outcome. It is sound. It is a levelheaded response to a problem and, let’s not forget, this is an experiment. It may yield results that are unexpected maybe even unwanted, but no matter what happens, Tony and the people he works with will observe, analyze and make another rational decision later on if needed. It’s not just a plan, it is a process.

There is a lot of talk out there about how terrible these devices are to children. There is an article in the Wall Street Journal that talks about parents trying to grapple when to buy their child a smartphone. Then there is the article in the New York Times that calls out Apple to make a “Less Addictive iPhone”. There is a lot of emotion and reaction in these articles and these topics. You often hear these words when discussing smartphones and students:

– Addiction
– Distraction
– Diminished social skills
– ADD or ADHD
– Harmful for developing minds
– Disconnected
– Leads to unhappiness and/or anxiety
– Sleep deprivation

Then there are other articles such as this one from Wired that talks about how smartphones are being demonized and may not be that bad. Then there is this article from Doug Johnson’s The Blue Skunk Blog(great blog and well worth your time if you’re an educator). He says that we might as well learn how to leverage and manage smartphones in schools. Both Wired and Doug Johnson’s blog are written by very well respected professionals like the authors of the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

Here is the bottom line. There is no missing puzzle piece that will solve this issue for all schools. We have to remember that the iPhone is only ten years old and I am not exactly sure when a majority of students started coming to schools with smartphones but I would take a stab and say 5–6 years ago. So the long term report isn’t in about how bad/awful/great/awesome these devices are to students.

I’m not for or against smartphones in schools. I think that should be a decision made based on a school by school basis and not by a single person.

What I am for are experiments. Trying out solutions, analyzing and discussing the results with the community and moving forward and using a process.

I am not for rash and knee jerk decisions. These are often not so thought out and when results come back that are unexpected, then it is too easy to call the fix it a failure and abandon a policy for another one.

What do you think?

More from Tony at TonyDePrato.com

At what age should students get a smartphone?

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Education Work

How to start using Apple’s newest time-saving features in iOS 8

The new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are officially out and in the wild. That means iOS 8 is being used by millions of people who are looking to figure out what’s different and how it can help them on a daily basis. Lucky for you, Apple has shared some simple but effective visual guides to how you can save time and stress while using the latest operating system.

Below is a handy set of visuals designed to explain how to use the newest time-saving features in iOS 8. Basically, the majority of the new features are saving you a tap or a swipe. Like replying to text messages right from the notification window instead of having to open the Messages app. Stuff like that.

So without further delay, here’s the good stuff.

Siri is less sucky! It can now identify songs – all you have to do is ask ‘what’s this song?’ in your language. Honestly, it’s one of the best time-saving features in iOS 8 right now. Just wait and you’ll see.

siri song

Take selfies on a timer! Put your phone down and take some longer distance shots. Great for group shots.

selfie timer

Respond to a message right from the notification box. Saves you a click and from opening the Messages app. Sweet.

message respond

Send an audio message right from your Messages box. Great for sharing a voice note when you don’t have time (or desire) to type.

voice messages

Swipe left AND right on your new Mail inbox to see a slew of time-saving options. Great for getting to inbox zero.

mail swiping

Get push notifications when a particular email is replied to. Perfect if you’re writing to people not in your VIP list.

reply notifications

Get easier access to people you contact the most. Just double-tap the home button.

contact access iphone

Swipe left in a text message conversation and see when messages were sent. Handy!

text messages left

Share your purchases with family and trusted friends. Family Sharing on iOS 8 is great for saving you some money and technical difficulties.

family sharing iphone

There Are More!

We’ll be adding to this list through other posts on Daily Genius on a regular basis. Be sure to follow us on Facebook or on Twitter to stay in the know!

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Education Work

How to start using Apple's newest time-saving features in iOS 8

The new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are officially out and in the wild. That means iOS 8 is being used by millions of people who are looking to figure out what’s different and how it can help them on a daily basis. Lucky for you, Apple has shared some simple but effective visual guides to how you can save time and stress while using the latest operating system.
Below is a handy set of visuals designed to explain how to use the newest time-saving features in iOS 8. Basically, the majority of the new features are saving you a tap or a swipe. Like replying to text messages right from the notification window instead of having to open the Messages app. Stuff like that.
So without further delay, here’s the good stuff.

Siri is less sucky! It can now identify songs – all you have to do is ask ‘what’s this song?’ in your language. Honestly, it’s one of the best time-saving features in iOS 8 right now. Just wait and you’ll see.

siri song

Take selfies on a timer! Put your phone down and take some longer distance shots. Great for group shots.

selfie timer

Respond to a message right from the notification box. Saves you a click and from opening the Messages app. Sweet.

message respond

Send an audio message right from your Messages box. Great for sharing a voice note when you don’t have time (or desire) to type.

voice messages

Swipe left AND right on your new Mail inbox to see a slew of time-saving options. Great for getting to inbox zero.

mail swiping

Get push notifications when a particular email is replied to. Perfect if you’re writing to people not in your VIP list.

reply notifications

Get easier access to people you contact the most. Just double-tap the home button.

contact access iphone

Swipe left in a text message conversation and see when messages were sent. Handy!

text messages left

Share your purchases with family and trusted friends. Family Sharing on iOS 8 is great for saving you some money and technical difficulties.

family sharing iphone

There Are More!

We’ll be adding to this list through other posts on Daily Genius on a regular basis. Be sure to follow us on Facebook or on Twitter to stay in the know!

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Work

Is The Amazon Fire Phone Worth $0.99?

The Amazon Fire Phone is the first-ever phone created by Amazon. It’s designed to have some nifty features that distract you away from the best-selling iPhone and Android phones. Have they done a good job? Yes. Is it enough? Not even close.

But there’s some good news for many. The Amazon Fire Phone is beyond cheap and it is a very easy-to-use phone. It’s just $0.99 right now and offers a slew of interesting features. The first (and potentially most important one) is the Mayday feature. This is basically a quick and simple way to get in touch with Amazon technical support via video chat. It’s a great feature but maybe it says something about the product itself that this is needed? To be sure, Mayday has existed within Amazon for quite awhile and it’s a great customer service feature. But is that a big reason to switch from Apple or other Android phones? Not for me.

So, long story short, the Fire Phone is cheap at just $0.99 and probably worth purchasing if you are up for a renewal on your phone plan and love Amazon. The Fire Phone is a first-generation product and it’s probably worth watching what Amazon comes out with next. I can’t wait to see what they come up with and to see the increased competition between the tech titans. All consumers win when that happens!

Below are some key features that are probably worth noting.

About The Fire Phone’s User Interface

Experience interactions not possible on other smartphones. Tilt, auto-scroll, swivel, and peek to navigate menus and access shortcuts with one hand. Dive into a new class of immersive apps and games—peek to see detailed views of clothing, shoes, and more in the new Amazon Shopping app for Fire phone, or take on a character’s viewpoint to see around corners and obstacles in games.

How Mayday Works

Simply hit the Mayday button in quick actions and an Amazon expert will appear to help you via live video. Our tech experts can co-pilot you through any feature by drawing on your screen, walking you through how to do something yourself, or doing it for you—whatever works best. Throughout the process, you’ll be able to see the Amazon expert live on your screen, but they won’t see you.

About Firefly Technology

Quickly identify printed web and email addresses, phone numbers, QR and bar codes, plus over 100 million items, including movies, TV episodes, songs, and products—simply press and hold the dedicated Firefly button to discover useful information and take action in seconds.

Selling Point: Includes A Year Of Amazon Prime

For a limited time, Fire phone includes a full year of Prime. Enjoy unlimited streaming and downloads of tens of thousands of popular movies and TV episodes with Prime Instant Video, over one million songs and hundreds of playlists with the all-new Prime Music, over 500,000 books to borrow for free with the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, and FREE Two-Day Shipping on millions of items. Normal data charges apply when accessing Prime Instant Video, Prime Music and other digital content over the cellular network.

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Education Work

11 smartphone tips to save battery, take better photos, and more

Smartphones outnumber humans. There may very well be more than one smartphone in your home right this second. In order to get the most out of your mobile device, here are just a few of our favorite tips and tricks that will hopefully save you time, some battery life, and storage space on your coveted phone.

Want more tips like these? Follow @DailyGenius on Twitter

You most likely follow some of the advice below but hopefully there are a handful of new ideas that you can use and share with all the other smartphone lovers out there.

  1. Make your phone a wireless hot-spot. The new iOS makes it very easy (it’s also easy on Android) and your mobile carrier should have a guide on doing it for any device.
  2. Create folders of your lesser-used apps. Use a full screen to house your most-used apps. A ‘reading’ page, for example can save time.
  3. Use your fingers! Learn what happens when you use 2, 3, or even 4 fingers at the same time on your phone. Hint: time-saving shortcuts!
  4. Unplug your phone charger when not using it. It’s always a good idea to do this with all your gadgets and their respective chargers.
  5. Save your battery by keeping your screen brightness down. Even when in daylight, you don’t always need it to be as bright as it can be.
  6. Monitor which apps use the most of your juice by downloading apps like ‘Battery Saver‘ which shows which ones should stay and which should go.
  7. Back up all your photos with Dropbox, Flickr, OneDrive, or iCloud to stop clogging your phone’s memory. It’ll run faster with less to look through!
  8. Ditch the built-in mail app on your phone and try out Mailbox, Dolphin (Android), Outlook, or even the Gmail app. All are feature-packed!
  9. Save space and money by using a music-streaming service like Spotify, Pandora, Google Play Music All Access, iTunes Radio, and more.
  10. Manage the apps running in the background. They’re memory and battery hogs. You don’t need Bejeweled always on and ready. Seriously.
  11. Want to become a phone-photo master? Don’t use digital zoom, take pics on cloudy days, find simpler backgrounds, and do more impromptu shots!

Smartphone Tips

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