Saturday, November 29, 2014

ActionTec's ScreenBeam Mini 2- Good Things Come in Small Packages

I have been a big fan of ActionTec's ScreenBeam Pro Education Edition and have used it successfully in my classroom with my Surface Pro 3 and Dell Venue 8 tablets. Having the ability to walk around my classroom and share my screen without physically being connected to the projector is a real pleasure. Setting up the ScreenBeam Pro is extremely simple and does not require one to connect the device to the existing WiFi network which is a real advantage of the Miracast technology. 

When I heard that Actiontec was going to release a new Miracast receiver, I knew I had to get my hands on it and give it a test run. So first, I would like to thank Actiontec
for sending me a ScreenBeam Mini 2 to evaluate. The ScreenBeam Mini 2 is small and looks to be about the size of a USB thumb drive which gets plugged into the HDMI port on your projector or HDTV. If your HDTV has a USB port you can power the ScreenBeam Mini 2 from the port otherwise you can power the receiver with the supplied USB cable and plug. Once plugged in you will see a little LED, light up to tell you the ScreenBeam Mini 2 is powered up. Now simply turn on your HDTV and make sure that you have set the input to HDMI and you should see the Actiontec Screen alert you that it is ready to connect. Now simply swipe in from the right side of your Windows 8.1 tablet and select Devices and connect to the ScreenBeam Mini 2. If you don't see the ScreenBeam Mini 2 receiver listed simply click on Add device and your tablet will discover the ScreenBeam Mini 2. Within seconds you will see the magic happen and your device will be displayed on your television screen. I found that the ScreenBeam Mini 2 connected very quickly to my tablets and the audio quality was superb. ScreenBeam Mini 2 supports 1080 p 30 fps and 2 channel stereo. 

For home or school use the ScreenBeam Mini 2 is an ideal receiver when I want to share the contents of my tablets. If you are interested in securing your wireless receiver then you will want to take a look at the ScreenBeam Pro Education Edition. I have tested the ScreenBeam Mini 2 with the Surface Pro 3, Dell Venue 8, and the Nexus 7 ( running Android 4.4)  and all have worked well with the receiver. As they say, good things do come in small packages and this is certainly true with regard to ActionTec's ScreenBeam Mini 2. The ScreenBeam Mini 2 is also ideal for the business person who travels and is doing presentations or who wants to watch movies in their hotel room. Check out the ScreenBeam Mini 2 if you are looking for a small Miracast receiver that carries a big punch!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Cleanstylus for the Surface Pro 3- the Perfect Add-on

Cleanstylus for Surface Pro 3
As much as I enjoy using my Surface Pro 3, especially for the digital inking-it is just a matter of time, before I know I will eventually lose my stylus. So when I came across the Cleanstylus for the Surface Pro 3 from Cleanint I knew I had to take it out for a test run. I had a chance to speak with Tuan from Cleanint and he was kind enough to send me out one to review. If you are looking for an elegant and effective way to store your stylus then take a look at the Cleanstylus for the Surface Pro 3. The Cleanstylus for the Surface Pro 3  comes in matching keyboard cover colors and uses a a reusable adhesive technology that lets you re-position the stylus/pen holder as you see fit. I decided to adhere the Cleanstylus for the Surface Pro 3 to the top right corner of my Surface Pro 3 and installing it was a cinch. The holder really grasps the stylus and you can either snap it in or slide it into the holder -which ever way you prefer. The Cleanstylus for the Surface Pro 3 retails for $19.95 and is a great solution for securing your stylus and giving you the peace of mind knowing where it is when you need to use it. If you are interested in purchasing the Cleanstylus for the Surface Pro 3 please contact me via email

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Adobe Learning Summit 2014

In a couple of weeks I will be flying out to Las Vegas to present at the Adobe Learning Summit 2014- to present with my colleague Linda Mahnken, on the
topic of Creating Accessible eLearning with Adobe eLearning Tools. Linda and I will focus on how you can use Adobe Presenter 10 and Adobe Captivate 8 to create elearning material that is accessible for individual with hearing, visual and learning disabilities.

During the session you'll learn:
  • Accessibility features in Captivate and Presenter
  • Which content types are and are not accessible    
  • Best practices for accessible online content
If you have the opportunity this is a great conference that is co-located with DevLearn. I have been using Adobe Presenter for many years and with each version it gets better and better. For those of you who are not familiar with Adobe Presenter, Presenter is a PowerPoint plug-in that will give you a whole host of new features which are ideal for anyone who is creating material for the web. With more of my students accessing the web from mobile devices it is really exciting that I can now publish my courses in HTML 5, which I know will work on iPads and Android based tablets. One of the features which has always set Adobe Presenter apart from other PowerPoint plug-ins is the speed in which I can develop materials for the courses that I teach. In addition to being able to create interactive material- the ability to assess my students knowledge of the material is equally as important. Adobe Presenter 10 continues to excel in the ability to create quizzes which can be linked to an analytic dashboard so that as an instructor, I can quickly see who needs assistance and intervention. Adobe Presenter 10 also provides students with the opportunity to discuss ideas and leave comments when the material is presented which is truly a unique feature. 

For teachers who are considering flipping the classroom, Adobe Presenter 10 comes with Adobe Presenter Video Express which makes creating instructional videos from your computer a cinch. Adobe has really thought out this
application and within minutes you will be creating your first highly polished videos that you can publish to YouTube, Vimeo, & Adobe Connect.
Adobe Presenter Video Express includes the ability to add Closed Captioning-taking advantage of speech recognition to get the captioning done quickly. If you have been struggling to find an easy to use tool for creating instructional videos on you Mac or PC then take a look at 
Adobe Presenter Video Express. There is a lot to like in the new Adobe Presenter 10-but for me it has always been that balance of features with rapid development. Hope to see you at the Adobe Learning Summit 2014 Conference.