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Posts Tagged ‘apple

Two days ago I visited the Apple Genius Bar for the very first time. I arranged all my previous device repairs at Apple partners.

For the last month or so, my MacBook Pro shut down randomly and I traced this to a battery that needed replacing. I visited an Apple partner that offered a replacement that would have cost me an arm (service change) and a leg (battery).

I opted to make another service appointment at the Orchard Road Apple store. This required a longer wait for both the appointment date and repair time — a week each — but this came with an unexpected bonus.
 

 
The Apple representative who attended to me discussed my case with a manager and gave me a 50% discount. Instead of paying S$288 for the new battery, I will have to pay S$144.

My teaching semesters are practically over, so I do not mind being without my laptop for a while. If I do, I have a first world problem of deciding between using a spare Chromebook or an iPad.

I had to do some serious troubleshooting on my wife’s Macbook Air over the weekend, so I am recording some notes here about:

  • Partitioning an external drive
  • Minimising dongle use
  • Reactivating Microsoft Office

 

macOS Disk Utility.

To create a two-partition external drive in macOS Mojave, run the Disk Utility:

  1. Set View to Show All Devices (Show Volumes does not allow partitioning)
  2. Select the device at the top level, not at the volume level.
  3. Format the device with the GUID scheme (the other options do not allow mixed partitioning, e.g., one Time Machine, one general storage).
  4. Create two partitions.

The newer Macbook line only has USB-C ports. This can mean investing in several new dongles or a one expensive all-in-one dongle or dock.

But if the only corded peripheral you need is a backup drive, one cheap option is a USB-C to Micro B cable. These can be surprisingly hard to find and range cost anywhere between S$5 and S$40.

 

After restoring a new laptop from an older one with Time Machine, most applications and their settings will also transfer. One exception is Microsoft Office that needs to be reactivated online.

After several frustrating and time-consuming attempts to reactivate Microsoft Office on the new laptop, I have found this to work:

  1. Visit the Office 365 site and remove the old laptops listed as still having Office installs.
  2. Download the license removal tool.
  3. Install and run the tool.
  4. Restart the computer.
  5. Launch any office application and reactivate the suite with an authorised log in.

People with business acumen might watch the video below and focus on the numbers, i.e., how much the companies stand to make by capturing the education market. They might also view this as a competition, but they are only partly right.


Video source

Prudent schools and educational institutions have learnt to be brand agnostic. Players like Google and Apple seem to recognise this. For example, you might have iPads deployed in classrooms, but users might prefer Google Drive to iCloud, so the two giants co-exist like parents.

I have worked with both in the past and realise that their representatives put their money where their mouths are. I recall Google Education folks toting Macs and Apple representatives not minding my approach to using the Google Edu Suite during a workshop proposal.

All this was a few years ago and the goal posts might have shifted. But I doubt they have moved so far that they try to blow the competition out of the water and risk destroying opportunities.

When it technologically rains, it technologically pours. Technologically bad things happen in threes. That is my way of summing up my three recent visits to an Apple service provider.

What would you do if you sent in your iMac with blown power supply only to have it returned with a crack on its screen? Those were two of the three first-world blows that shot my way.

In mid November, I discovered that my always on iMac was deadly off. I made an appointment with a local authorised Apple service provider to have it diagnosed.

It took just over a week to find out that the power supply component had blown and needed replacing. But I had to endure an unanswered email a week in and a full voice box when I tried calling. I was about to troop into the store when I received a call. Phew!

Not phew. When I collected my iMac, I had to send it right back because there was a crack on the upper left of the screen. I know it was Christmas season, but decorating my computer with a snowflake-shaped crack was pushing it!

The crack was not there when I sent it in. I know because I look at my computer several times every day. There were also some discolourations on my screen due to its proximity to a window at home, and short of that crack, the rest of the new screen was flawless.

This seemed to convince the customer service representative, but she had to convince her manager. To her credit, that happened fairly quickly and I was told that the screen would be replaced for free and at my convenience.

I had to catch up on some work so I used my iMac furiously for a week — I had to squeeze in a lost week of work AND see the crack winking at me as I worked. Then I lugged my iMac down to the service store again. This time I did not have to wait more than a few hours for them to right their wrong.

Actually, there is still something wrong. As I type this, I see a speck of dirt behind the screen. It is NOT a few dead pixels. The dirt appears to be between the glass and the backlight. But I am bearing with it for fear that another visit will result in some other anomaly.

Apple SSD programme.

Then about two weeks before Christmas, Apple-Santa sent me email about an issue affecting the SSD of my Macbook Pro.

I put the servicing off till yesterday because I work just as much in the silence of libraries or in the aroma of coffee. Even though the solution was a firmware update, I could not afford another have-one-ailment-get-another-free incident.

Thankfully, the process was painless. If painless is backing everything up on an external drive and restoring the SSD when I got home. It was all in a day’s work. Thanks for the “free” service.

Now who do I send my bill for MY time and effort to?

Hot on the heels of Apple’s recent education event came this tweet from @AppleEDU:

Here was a critical response:

I agree. The equation of fun = engaging = learning is flawed.

Something that is fun might be engaging, but does not mean that the right gears are in play.

For example, a teacher might introduce a mobile or online game to teach a math skill or language concept. A student might play the game — typically a quiz in disguise — to get a high score, but learn little, if anything at all.

This happens when the teacher focuses on the game or content instead of factoring in the learner’s prior knowledge and cognitive schema. Doing the latter activates the right gears in the learner before they start a meaningful learning journey.

Something engaging still does not guarantee learning. When a teacher tries to engage learners with iPads or Chromebooks, this is an external hook or lure. The stimulus comes from without.

Empowerment comes largely from within. It might start with an engaging hook, but the teacher must also provide learner choice and agency. A teacher teaches; only a learner learns.
 

 
Entire school districts might commit to Apple’s new offering. They might also opt for the technical training it offers for teachers. But all these are pointless if there is no socio-technical professional development (PD), i.e., one that focuses on both pedagogy and technology. Such PD is about activating schema and empowering learners with technology. It is not about putting one above the other, i.e., pedagogy over technology, or technology over pedagogy.


Video source

Here is some free PD: The video above and the one embedded in the AppleEDU tweet hint at what empowered students look like. They learn by doing and they create.

However, neither video shows the teacher’s role in all this. Neither video shows what the gaps are, how wide they are, or how to bridge those gaps. This is PD that school administrators and policymakers need to plan and pay for. This is PD that teachers must demand. This is PD that people who live in the nexus of pedagogy and technology — people like me — can provide.

You do not have to be an Apple fan to enjoy this video. It could have been shot on any device with a decent camera. It took good storytellers to put it together and that is what matters.


Video source

The video was a short movie commissioned by Apple to be shot on an iPhone X. It was Apple’s agenda and in their interest to promote the technical capabilities of its latest flagship phone.

But the technology without skill, passion, and a good story is pointless. One need only look at the phone libraries of wannabe food Instagrammers. A superior tool does not guarantee a superior outcome.

The video was technically well-shot and edited. It was also skilfully managed to tell the story of a mother connecting with her son even though she had to work over the Lunar New Year.

I liked how the movie “ended” so that the viewer could get involved. How so? I imagine an educator asking her students to suggest how the rest of the story continues and why.

The story also revealed the director’s agenda. He made a statement about modern parenting and the pressure of schooling without throwing it like pie in the face. He tugged at heartstrings to make his point firmly but gently.

The video is a lesson on narrative design, leveraging on emotions to create impact, and letting viewers or learners draw their own conclusions by generating discussion. These are the new standards for what makes a resource high in quality and effective for facilitation.


Video source

So this happened at the Apple keynote last week — unlocking your iPhone with FaceID.

So this is what is going to happen. There will be articles:

  • fearing the technology.
  • embracing the technology.
  • suggesting how the technology will be the start of a revolution.
  • proclaiming how education will change as a result of this technology.

All are premature because they are based on assumptions and perceived technological affordances. There is no widespread use or misuse, i.e., social affordances, pedagogical adoption, contextual adaptation.

There will be a lot of creative thinking not balanced by critical reasoning. We will need to push past the nonsense to evaluate and try the makes-sense.


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