Friday, November 13, 2009

Text opening all funky

So I have been spending some time lately developing curriculum lessons to use when I demonstrate the AVerPens. I put a lot of work into them so that they embody the points that I want to make with a particular audience. I get it to look nice and professional. Then I transfer it from my big screened iMac over to my MacBook that I travel and demo with. It never fails that when I open it, some of my text fields are all scrunched up, some are not even there and others look.....well, terrible.

If this has happened to you, well then you know the frustration. Sometimes this even happens when I create them on my MacBook and then open it the next time. Then there is the case of creating it on a Mac then opening it in a Windows environment or vice versa. Ok....we are working on some fixes to aid this situation. But what it boils down to is there is a text issue and a text field issue.

In that, I mean the text issue is common in PowerPoint, Smart Notebook and other cross platform slide tools. It is that the fonts on one computer where you create your lesson are not present on the other computer. So understand this issue and try to use the common fonts that are on most computers in either platform. The other is the size of the text field that you create to put your text into.

We tend to keep things tight and orderly when we created worksheets and slides. So we try to make our text field, the box around the text with the pull handles and dots, snug up close to the text itself. If you do this, chances of truncating your text will be great. Try keeping a little wiggle room around your text with the text box.

Here are a few recommendations pulled from Microsoft site on PowerPoint:

· Watch your fonts. Check Format, Replace Fonts to see what fonts are used in your presentation. You can safely count on Arial, Times New Roman, Courier and Symbol being present on most Macs. Tahoma and Verdana will probably be present on any PC with Office installed, but may not be present if the Mac has only the free PowerPoint Viewer. Mac versions of PowerPoint can't use embedded fonts.

· Don't squeeze your text too tightly into placeholders. Font substitution and slight differences in text rendering on Mac vs PC can cause your text to get truncated or spill out of too-tight text boxes.

I hope this helps you as you journey through the AVerPen and AVer+ learning curve.


A shopping trip...

Yesterday I spent some time at a the teacher supply store in Knoxville. I was on the quest for some colorful workbooks that I could use in presentations. (That's one of the great things about document cameras used with the AVerPen...I can have a colorful page instead of a black and white copy, and I can use it over and over again. Awesomeness!)

I always loved those stores as a teacher. All the neat lesson idea books, all the cool posters, the irresistable lure of cutely shaped post-it is indeed one of my favorite stores to visit!

When I would visit stores like that, I would walk up and down the aisles looking at all the manipulatives and games that would be so awesome in lessons, but always left them behind. Why? Because buying one set at $12 was not a big deal, but when I factored in that even with small groups I'd need four, five or six sets...the cost became prohibitive.

Yesterday though I realized that with a document camera, I can purchase just one set of manipulatives, or one game board, and use it under my document camera. When that dawned on me...I went a little nuts! I found my arms full of tons of cool things. (Okay...I eventually put most of them back as I don't actually teach anymore, but if I did, man oh man!)

Just a couple of things for you to think about:

I purchased two sets of dice for math. One set had numbers up to 30 and the other set had operations (+, -, x, etc.) Since they show up great under my document camera, I can use those for a math lesson. Add the AVerPen in there, and you could show the document camera image and then have students in groups solve the problem and show their work using the student pens.'s just math problems...but the dice rolling on the big screen, the collaborative work in groups, and the engagement with the pens takes it to a whole other level. Cost: $8 for both sets.

I also purchased a small globe. I was a social studies teacher and having a globe was always important. Yet in most of the schools I taught in, I could only have one globe for my class...maybe two. Why? They cost upwards of $50! Yesterday I purchased a small globe on a stand that rotates in all directions for $10. With my document camera, I can zoom in so close that the entire screen can be consumed by three letters of the word "Honduras"! It is awesome! (That's tiny made big...I could barely find the word "Honduras" on that little globe with the naked eye! ha!)

Other than the one colorful workbook I came home with, I saw a lot of other really great things...

-models of hearts, brains, and other body parts that broke apart into cross-sections
-spelling games
-money manipulatives
-science project kits
-magnet activities
and tons more!

Go check out what you can find that is suddently affordable because you only have to buy one!

"Document Camera Not Connected"...

Have you gotten this message in the AVerPlus software when you try to pull up the document camera image into your software so that you can annotate over it? I sure have, and one of our pilot site teachers has as well.

Here's how to solve it:

There is a switch on the side of your document camera that has a little arrow underneath it. If your document camera isn't showing up in the software, move that switch in the other direction.

There is another switch on the other side of the camera. It says "TV" on one side and "RGB" on the side. It should be switched to RGB.

Let us know if this doesn't work for you!