Zinio versus Next Issue 

zinio

Zinio : version varies with device

nextissue

Next Issue: version varies with device

Platforms:   iOS ( iPad, iPhone), Android ( 4.0.3 and up), Windows 8 Tablet, (Browser) Desktop Reader Platforms: iOS (iPad, iPhone), Android, Windows 8 (Tablets including RT and Win 8 PCs)
Developer: Zinio, LLC Developer: Next Issue Media
Pricing:Per issue or annual subscriptions available. Also, many libraries carry Zinio so you may be able to access magazines chosen by your local library for free. Not all the magazines will be available, only those the library chose to carry.

In app purchases available

Pricing: 30 day free trial

9.99 per month – unlimited access to all monthly magazines in the catalog

14.99 per month– includes access to weekly magazines

5,000 plus magazines 100 plus magazines

Zinio is designed to provide access to magazines in digital format. With a wide variety of platforms it is friendly with, it can be used by just about any device. It carries 5,000 plus magazines that are mostly appropriate for older teens and adults, but there are some good titles for children, such as Sports Illustrated for Kids. Next issue also provides access to magazines in digital format, but the catalog is not as extensive. Zinio provides access to 5,000 plus magazines whereas Next Issue has 100 plus magazines. Next issue is also multiplatform, but it doesn’t support PCs that are not running Win 8. Zinio accomplishes this greater device flexibility by offering a web browser agnostic Desktop Reader.

However, Zinio can be much more expensive for those who want volume magazine access. It is set up in a traditional per magazine annual subscription pricing scheme. The prices are the same as what you might pay if you had print magazines mailed to you. Next issue instead uses an unlimited “Netflix” style pricing which is set at 9.99 per month for access to all the monthly magazines in the catalog. While the catalog is smaller, it seems to have quite a few very desirable magazines and definitely competes with Zinio in terms of popular offerings.

The navigation in the Windows 8 app in Zinio can be a little frustrating. Menus sometimes do not pop up when you hover over them. As a result, you get stuck in a magazine or library page and have to exit the app and go back in to move around in the catalog. I couldn’t find a way to bookmark where I left off and when exiting, had to start over when re-opening the app. In contrast, the Next Issue app was easier to use and navigate. Bu at times t it too would not show the menu to get back to the catalog, which was frustrating. Both apps felt buggier and more amateurish compared with the Android and iPhone/iPad app versions. All the other platform apps performed equally and were satisfactory. However, it is nice that Zinio provides the web browser desktop edition which is very robust.

TheZinio Desktop Reader is fantastic. You can zoom in, print, and move between catalogs and books with ease because it pops up the magazines in a separate window which can be easily closed out when you are finished reading. There are preference options such as single page or landscape double page views. You can link, embed or post articles or the magazine to many social media sites/apps. The only downside is that it doesn’t have a bookmark function. You can minimize it to go to something else and come back though. Next issue doesn’t provide a browser experience which excludes Mac PCs and PC’s running OS lower than Win 8.

The Android App in both services allows bookmarks and it is easily minimized for temporary interruptions. I found this much easier to use in both Zinio and Next Issue than the Win 8 app. It has few bells and whistles such as there are no options to share to social media or print, but it functions cleanly in both services and is extremely easy to use.

I tested the iOS version of Zinio on an iPad and found it to be very sleek. It has preferences such as alerts for new issue availability, iTunes purchase linking, and push notifications. The library page is sorted by year, with the current year displaying. This would eliminate multiple pages holding back issues that you don’t want to delete but also don’t want to wade through. It is intuitive and very easy to use. Book marks are available but no social media linking was offered. Bookmarks make it easy to hold a place in the magazine but you can also minimize the app and come back to find it still signed in and on the page left off at. Next Issue’s iPad was equally easy to use but did not offer the social networking options. Both offered more interactive and “extra content”. The iPad and iPhone apps are the best apps for both products.

In the end, a decision on which is the best service can only be made by individual needs and desires. Want a lot of magazines? Next Issue might be best as long as it’s catalog contains the titles you are interested in. Want a few magazines not carried elsewhere that you would normally subscribe to offline anyway? Zinio would be the better choice in that scenario. Both offer great apps with the exception of Win 8, and both offer a similar experience. The principal difference, in my opinion, is the pricing structure and content delivery model.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ode to My Workplace

It’s been too long since I last visited my own blog. There are many things I could write about, such as the latest article I read in the ISTE newsletter.  However, that would be far too useful and productive of a thing to do for the mood I am in right now.  So here is a novel topic, my workplace.

Work; when I am there, it is not work. From the moment I arrive, to the last hour, which I usually stretch beyond its limits, I’m engaged.  Time seems to evaporate like water thrown on a griddle.  Every day is an adventure of learning, helping, caring, and challenge. Good Lord that is corny… but it’s true.

Beyond the actual work, there are my co-workers, who are like siblings. We get on each other’s nerves from time to time, make each other laugh all the time and some of us spend more time together than we do with our “home families.” Our brave and adventurous leader, the unfortunate who decided to take on the job of corralling and organizing the talents of this strange bunch of IT, Library and Ed Tech nerds,  is probably the coolest and most interesting person I’ve ever known.  He commands respect and gets it because he is smarter than all of us, more experienced that most of us and absolutely knows more than any of us about anything and everything tech and education related.  On top of all the above, he has a degree from Harvard in psychology.  That’s kind of scary in and of itself.  Sometimes it inspires us to behave sanely… I think. Besides, he knows how to grow and care for Bonsai trees. A person has to respect that.

I’ve been around for awhile on this odd space floating blue ball. Many bosses have come and gone from my life. Some were crazier than others, but they all were crazy.  Many sane, sighing, teeth gnashing co-workers enslaved to insane bosses have also come and gone from my life. Now I work with a zany group for a sane boss.

So there you have it. I am a spoiled brat with a close to perfect work situation. I know it won’t last forever, but I’m enjoying it while I can.  Maybe someday reading this entry will prevent a plunge into an indulgent and pathetic bout of self pity after the inevitable day when an annoying, crazy boss pisses me off and or depresses me. I also hope that anyone reading this blog who has a less than stellar workplace environment will take heart. There is such a thing as work utopia …and I wish it for all of you who visit my little blog.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let’s Take a Pass on Digital Re-Hash

Blogs dealing with education and educational trends are generally informative but somewhat dry and didactic. This, of course is only my opinion, so take it or leave it. If you
agree with me though, you might be interested in reading an entry from the November 23, 2012 EdTech digest. Some of the article has good information and advice. However,  what is most salient in the post is in something that is all too often overlooked, misused and or under utilized by blog readers – the comments section. In this case, a reader used the comments section to rebut the article. Sometimes when reading essentially negative responses, I’m left feeling ambivalent or even annoyed by the presumptions and confrontational attitude of the comment writer. This reply however, was different. It was oppositional. It was confrontational. However, it resonated true as it shredded a portion of what I’d just read from one of the vaunted “experts.”

Admittedly, some of my appreciation for the comment was due to my irritation with the frequent use of acronyms and edu-speak clichés in education related books, articles and blogs. Paradigm, engaged, OIL, “hands-on interactive learning” and worse of all,  “digital native” are examples of what  makes my eyes glaze over. This trivial observation is not at the heart of the rebuttal, but there is a little attention given in the reply to the annoying use of acronyms which caused me to snicker a little as I read it.

Moving on to what really matters; the comment presented a challenge to the ideas presented in the article. Below is part of the comment by the critical blog reader, Joe Beckman. Here Joe presents the heart of his rebuttal to “The Shifting Paradigm” by Charles Heinle.

“Heinle’s approach is to accommodate new technology with a nuanced vision only slightly skewed from the drill-and-practice of, say, 1840 or so. Phooey. That is all gone, and, eventually, teachers will realize that their goal is to keep up with kids, and coach rather than pour the wisdom of old into the brains of new.. When kids can answer any question with a smartphone, your medium is no longer the massage it once was.”

 – Joe Beckman

To be sure, there is a continuing need for some content memorization. However, it should not be the focus of the school day. Joe points out what textbook publishers want to hide from and what many teachers still do not want to acknowledge even as Google hits them in the face daily. Kids can get information anywhere, anytime. They no longer need to memorize the bulk of it. They need to know the best and most effective ways to find quality information and how to manipulate the information they find to meet a need.

The only argument for continuing teaching with the goal of content memorization is to meet the challenge of the current style standardized tests. It is terribly unfortunate for students that this form of assessment is so intimately entwined with our educational system. It is in effect, the only feedback we use to gauge student learning. These tests are doing our students a great disservice in that they perpetuate the need for an outdated mode of education. Many people realize this but few teachers and educator-leaders are addressing it. If they don’t address it, test makers won’t either.

In the vein of modernizing teaching materials, an example of an important under-utilized resource for teaching is educational databases. I was recently witness to a high school senior responding to a question about how he conducts research to complete a paper. His response? Is it any surprise to know that his technique is to type phrases into Google and use what he found there? In my opinion, his answer is an indictment of how he is being taught.

There is a crying need for student exposure to and practice with using quality research resources such as Ebscohost or ProQuest.  These reliable authoritative resources are not going away in the future. Many are accessible for free from public libraries and should be promoted to students as something they can refer to throughout their  life. Also, it is important for students to learn effective search methods such as boolean searching. Finally, students desperately need to learn information discrimination; the skill of determining what is quality information from what is not. These are only a few aspects of the changes needed in education.  I won’t get into how higher order thinking skills are so often sacrificed for basic skill drill in classrooms here.

As Joe Beckman points out in his scathing comment, some so-called interactive digital textbooks are an example of the same old thing but with bells and whistles. Where will that textbook be when the student is in the next grade level or out in the working world? How will he access the information in it years later? Will he retain what he had to memorize in high school when he is bombarded daily with reams and reams of new information on a daily basis? Will the information from that textbook that he worked to memorize even be relevant or accurate when he is an adult?

Everyone in the educational world has heard the following quote, which is now more or less an educational cliché ( sorry), but it bears repeating at the risk of causing eyes to glaze over:

“We are currently preparing students for jobs that don’t yet exist . . . using technologies that haven’t yet been invented . . .in order to solve problems we don’t even know are problems yet.”

— Richard Riley, Secretary of Education under Clinton ( 2004)

It is sobering to realize that this famous quote is circa 2004. The fact that we are still struggling and largely failing in 2012 to adapt to this new educational arena is concerning. Your point is well taken Joe Beckman, but too many of us are not dealing with the reality of it yet, even after years of warnings.

Sources and Resources:

The Shifting Paradigm” by Charles Heinle – EdTech Digest, November 23, 2012

21st Century Skills Book:  Part One  by Bernie Trilling and Charles Fadel -Jossy-Bass, 2009       Buy 21st Century Skill Book online

What Would Walt Disney Learn in School Today?”  Anthony Collucci- Teacher Magazine Online:  October 20, 2010

Did You Know 3.0 updated  -thought provoking viral video

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mea Culpa: An iPad Rant Retake

Disclaimer: The author is ashamed of her prior anti intrepid anti iPad post.The author is also feeling sheepish right now. The author is feeling very affectionate toward iPads now.

My last post regarding the introduction of iPads at our school is interesting for me to read from a post crisis mindset.  As we emerge from the chaos, a new educational landscape is being revealed. It is a landscape of energy, new ideas and equal measures of excitement and frustration. The leaders of our school had a vision of this new landscape that prompted them to initiate a radical change process. Their mindset before and during the changes went beyond the immediate crisis of making things happen that the rest of us were focused on. Leaders are like that. It’s hard to understand and accept that they know what they are doing until the dust settles and we realize how much better things are.

Does a website no longer work because it is built on Flash and iPads won’t display Flash? Too bad, so sad! Say goodbye to it because there is definitely something newer and better out there that was built by forward thinking educators using HTML5. If it’s not there now, it will be very soon. Most of the “I can’t live without it resources” were found a half a decade ago.  No doubt that what is familiar is what is easiest, but it’s not necessarily best.  The school’s change to iPads as a primary device is forcing teachers to re-examine and renew their resources and methods.

Printing problems? Who needs to print anymore? With Moodle, a popular open source learning management system, no paper need exchange hands.  Students can upload their work to Moodle. Teachers can then use an editing program to mark in corrections or indicate mistakes. Then they will upload the corrected file to the student with optional comments. No paper is involved so there are no more “I couldn’t print it” excuses!

Where there is a will, there is a way. File uploading challenges with the iPad are quickly surmounted through the use of information gathered from others and also with a little problem solving of our own.  With Google out there, just about any problem there is can be rectified using information gleaned from the repository known as the internet. It’s a place where the  brightest people around the world generously share their solutions to problems. They are the people who are the first to invent,  find out about, understand and implement anything anyway. As the classic saying goes, “why would we reinvent the wheel?”

So the moral of this story is an old one.  The potential for best growth comes from the most challenging of experiences. If you are in the midst of chaos due to change, take heart! Avoid the naysayers and “Negative Nellies.” Charge in, problem solve, convene with others and “get ‘r done.” It’s going to happen anyway so you might as well focus on the future like leaders do. Not only will you smile more, but you might find the dust will settle much faster if you aren’t constantly kicking it around.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

iPad in Education…iFad?

Disclaimer: The writer is venting in this blog entry. The writer is embroiled in a battle to institute a 1-1 iPad program deployed last week without the experience of a pilot program. The writer is hateful toward iPads at the moment.

Today is the first day I’ve thought about this blog in months. The busy summer in my new house was a factor but also it was a preoccupation with learning my way around the iPad and iPad apps in anticipation of the institution of a 1-1 iPad program for all incoming freshmen.

Deploying new technology in an organization can be compared to completing a home improvement project at home. Last February, my husband and I decided to put in new bathroom floor tiles and a new toilet in the house we’d just bought. We spent hours measuring, researching and gathering what we thought were just the right materials and tools in just the right quantities, to finish the job. Almost immediately after beginning the project, we found ourselves dealing with the delightful surprise of a significantly rotted floor around the toilet. Lo and behold, we discovered that not only were we beautifying the home, but saving ourselves from plunging into the basement while indisposed! Fifty trips to Home Depot and Lowes later, we had a safe throne and a beautiful tiled bathroom floor. Oh yes the bathroom looked great, but we were traumatized. We both believe we should stick to only painting from now on and leave the rest to professionals.

The above story illustrates the fact that “poop happens” when building and fixing things and it reflects the nature of technology initiatives, which are essentially construction projects. Only unlike construction projects, successful deployment of new technology in any organization involves the addition of the ultimate wild card; people.

So this leads me to the iPad and why I think it might be the latest educational fad. It’s cool, it’s sleek and it’s a joy to use. Kids love it. It is the ultimate in interactive devices at the moment. Textbooks designed for it are beyond awesome. Here’s the “but”; it’s not made for deployment in educational institutions. It also appears that Apple couldn’t care less about the educational market for iPads. The support from Apple for mass iPad use in education is lukewarm at best. They don’t support group licensing scenarios. Therefore, setting up the mass downloading of textbooks and apps is a nightmare. At this point, students are filing into our offices one by one to get their apps and a bio textbook key because Mobile Iron is not working the way it was supposed to.

iPads don’t have a file system so when students create documents; it is difficult for them to upload them into learning management systems for their teachers to grade. Not only that, but producing documents and materials on an iPad less than ideal. I could go on and on. Add these sorts of problems to the fact that most of the students and teachers are struggling to learn way too many new apps, ideally to be used in a totally new way of teaching, and you have a cauldron of confused and very unhappy people.

I’m sure we will eventually surmount these difficulties. I’m just not so sure the payoff of using this device as the primary workhorse for students and teachers is worth it. At this time, I will reserve judgment about whether the iPad is the latest short lived educational fad. However, I can say confidently to any schools considering a 1-1 iPad program: Use a pilot program first! Stay tuned to this blog for an end of the school year recap and assessment of iPads in education.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

edshelf: You’ll Need Sunscreen for This One!

One of my favorite ed tech reviewers highlighted the website edshelf recently.  My bleary screen burned eyes  are a testimony to the “awesomeness” of this site and the treasure it is, and will be, to educators around the world.

One of the best things about this resource is the ability to search for apps by different criteria which can be used alone or in conjunction with each other. The search options are: price, grade, subject, platform, category.  This was a great deal of fun to test drive, expecially with the price set to free, a most popular attribute for teachers.

Another great aspect of this website is that all the applications on it are peer reviewed. Oh how nice it is to consult a resource that facilitates the avoidance of time spent on tools that turn out to be clumsy, not effective or just plain useless.  Additionally, the site also allows comments by educators who used the tool in question. This provides a forum to share how the tool is being used by others, as well as reviews by individuals

Don’t get under the weather using The Cloud! Check out edshelf,  an educators quintessential sunny day at the beach. Just be sure to wear your sunglasses because you won’t be able to take your eyes off the computer screen while digging around in this site.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Technology in PE Class? Are you nuts?

When a story popped up on my eSchool feed about flipping a PE classroom,  I was quick on the click.  I’ve seen some incredible things lately with regard to technology and education, but this was a new one.  How could anyone use technology in a gym class?  Is the technology revolution in education being taken a little bit too far by some “techno-nutty” PE teacher?

It is amazing how tech savvy teachers of all stripes are figuring out the most effective ways to maximize class time and engage students. It turns out that the PE teacher featured in the eSchool story exemplifies that. What does not make sense about having students sit and watch lectures and information at home so that PE class can be more about putting the lesson into action? It’s actually amazing that this practice is not already more widespread at this point in the technology revolution. It seems like something millions of PE teachers would grasp onto in droves with utter joy !

Jason Hahnstadt, the author of the article, calls PE class “the last educational frontier being reshaped by technology.”  Since PE teachers are all about getting up off the rear end, my guess is that this frontier will very quickly be populated once the word gets out. Go flipped, young PE teacher, and reap the rewards!

Flipping For Fitness

Pickleball Instructional Video by Jason Hahnstadt

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment