My favorite iPad apps. What are yours?

The other day, I was writing about the new New Media Consortium 2012 Horizon Report, and I briefly spoke about mobile apps I use. In this post, I would like to share the iPad apps that I basically could not live without. A little melodramatic, still, they are really useful apps.

Apps for getting things done

Evernote Evernote Evernote is a great application for saving everything. I have written quite a lot about Evernote in the past, and it still remains one of my essential applications. I have Evernote loaded on all my computers, my iPad, and my smartphone. I use it to save notes, images, and ideas related to anything and everything in my life. I have recently started to use it in conjunction with the Getting Things Done  (GTD) system, and it is working out great.
EgretList EgretList – Egretlist is closely integrated with Evernote, and basically takes my GTD system in Evernote, and turns it into a checklist or to do list where I can check things off.
Dropbox Dropbox – I use Dropbox to store everything I want to work on away from my primary computer, whatever that happens to be. It is a great convenience to be able to access files from all my computers, iPad, and smartphone. Dropbox is useful to collaborate with multiple teammates.

Reading Apps

Kindle Kindle – My favorite ebook application is Kindle. I currently have 40 books loaded on my Kindle and I have read or I am currently in the process of reading them all. I have become a more active reader because of the convenience of having a stack of books always at my fingertips.
Google Books Google Books – Because not all books are available through the Kindle app, I have also downloaded books to the Google Book app. I prefer the Kindle app because of the highlighting and note taking features. Still, I am able to get books I want to read.
Google Search Google Search – I use this application to read my Google+ account and for Google Reader. When I am away from my computer, I use this program to stay abreast of new findings in the world. Each program allows me to forward to my email or send a post to Twitter.
Flipboard Flipboard – Flipboard is my favorite way to read the posts I get from Twitter. Flipboard presents the information as a newspaper. The Twitter posts are expanded so that you can read part of an attached article, and you can see included pictures. You can set up Flipboard pages based on hashtags, search queries, Twitter lists, or your entire Twitter stream.
Hootsuite Hootsuite– If I just want to look at my Twitter streams and queries, then Hootsuite is my tool of choice. With Hootsuite, I can follow all of my Twitter accounts as well as set up unique queries and lists.
iBooks iBooks – If I need to have a PDF accessible anytime and anywhere, then I throw it into iBooks. I have placed the entire Civil Air Patrol regulation library into iBooks; it makes for a very quick reference.
Zite Zite – Zite is very similar to Flipboard, and it is the newest application I have added in this category.  With Zite, you can sign up for a number of attractive categories such as Arts and Culture or Social Media. Another great tool to glean new information from the Internet.

Other Useful or Fun Apps

AppStart AppStart – AppStart is a great program, especially for iPad newbies. AppStart recommends great iPad applications based on your needs. If I need to make recommendations to others based on unique needs, I first crosscheck my recommendations with AppStart. AppStart makes recommendations from the first ten apps to download to apps for sports, reading, music, email, and countless other topics.
Skype Skype – Since I use Skype as my phone in the office and home, I might as well have all my contacts available to me while on the road. I have Skype loaded on all my computers, my iPad, and my smartphone. Skype provides the added convenience of being able to hold an impromptu conference call.
Hotels Hotels – While on the road, I use this app to reserve rooms. So far, I have not been disappointed in what it has found for me.
Weatherbug Weatherbug – This app keeps me informed about the weather. The weather radar feature lets me determine the intensity and duration of a storm. I have all the areas of Wyoming plugged into it so I can see what trouble I will be getting into.
TripIt TripIt – I use this app to see where my friends are traveling as well as find people I know in places I am going. I am always looking for company for a meal.
Ancestory Ancestory – This is a great little application that ties into I use it to track and work on my family tree. It is nice to sit down with a relative and be able to show them the tree as well as add to it.
WoW Armory WoW Armory – This application allows me to check up on updates from my World of Warcraft Guild. I can check on various achievements, events, and messages without having to leave the game or while I am out on the road. I used it when working as a guild officer for Azeroth Training Society.

Well, these are the apps I use, what apps do you recommend and why?

One door of opportunity leads to another…

Cognitive Dissonance guild
Cognitive Dissonance guild

Yesterday was a day of mixed emotions. It was a day when words where put into action. While emotions are mixed, I am confident it will work out for the best.

A couple of weeks ago, members of our small World of Warcraft guild, Azeroth Training Society, felt it was time to move on to bigger pastures. Our group formed around a research project on how to leverage WoW to learn strategies for training and leadership. I had great fun working with this dedicated group of training professionals. Together, we learned a lot along the way. Unfortunately, our guild did not grow as we had hoped. Now it feels like the breaking up of a band. We expect to find each other in game to occasionally play but I expect that to diminish with time as we settle into our new guilds.

Yesterday, I was fortunate to join another guild, Cognitive Dissonance. This guild is a group of educators exploring the concept of MMORPGs and their relationship to education. They actively develop lesson and curriculum to help teach concepts in the classroom using WoW. They are actively using game theory to teach; something I am interested in. I am fortunate to be allowed to join this guild. You can learn more about their pursuits by reading The WoW Factor.

Because of this guild, I was afforded another opportunity. While spending a couple of moments at lunch playing WoW, I noticed the guild message of the day: “COG DIS! Check out for an awesome summer PD experience!” I have been exploring the idea of gamifying a class for a couple of months. Suddenly, because of a new door opening, this opportunity drops into my lap. I plan to take advantage of it.

If you are an educator and interested in leveraging WoW, check out the Cognitive Dissonance guild. Also feel free to drop a note, I would love to discuss it with you. Or you can catch me on the Sisters of Elune realm, I am Tubarks.

The Flow Experience of WoW

My toon in WoW

A couple of days ago, I was reading about flowing experiences in learning from Enhancing Adult Motivation to Learn. Wlodkowski was explaining that when everything is working correctly, you are then fully engaged. I immediately tied this back to my involvement with World of Warcraft (WoW), where on most days, I am having this flow experience. Wlodkowski continues by pointing out that time rapidly slips away and we are fully engaged with all of the skills we have. We are in full concentration. My experience with WoW has been this and more.

My involvement with WoW is both for pleasure as well as being part of  a research project. Two years ago, I volunteered to assist with a research project conducted by two members from the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD). The project was an exercise in leadership and training. As the project proceeded we established a guild, used WoW to develop lessons, and provide training. I personally developed a lesson on How to Create an Operation Order. The guild now helps to orient new members and provides training to those who are interested. Our guild is the Azeroth Training Society and we can be found on the Sisters of Elune server, look up Tubarks, Stonemiser, or Amberhawk for more information. While I find the project interesting, this post is about flow experience, and how I think WoW fits in.

Wlodkowski lists patterns of action which contribute to the flow experience.

  1. Goals are clear and compatible. From the moment you enter WoW, you are coached along with increasingly challenging quests. WoW has a number of different quests to help a player gain game experience. Some quests require a player to collect items, deliver items, provide a secure escort, or simply move to a new area to explore. Once you complete the quest requirements, you turn it in and receive another tasking with an increased level of difficulty.
  2. Feedback is immediate, continuous, and relevant as the activity unfolds. WoW is very good about providing feedback. Quest givers are readily identifiable with a bright yellow question mark appearing above their head. Items you need to collect tend to “sparkle.” If you happen to engage in a confrontation, you are able to rapidly determine if you will expire through the graphical interface. Successful completion of a quest results in a reward of “riches” and experience.
  3. The challenge is in balance with our skills or knowledge but stretches existing capabilities. I believe one of the strengths of WoW is its ability to keep pulling you along in the game. There is always one more thing to do; one more quest to complete, one more achievement to earn, one more level to acquire, one more area to explore, and one more item to create. WoW also keeps you within your “experience” level. Quests too far above your skill level are simply too hard to complete without the aid of others. It is possible to work in a higher level area but as a lower level character, you will create a drag on other members; also, it is not fun to continuously resurrect and run back from the graveyard. The challenge is to complete the quests and advance in level without expiring along the way.
  4. Vital engagement. Wlodkowski ties vital engagement to an activity which adds meaning to life. While I can not say that WoW is a calling for me, I do enjoy the time I can play especially with my guild mates.  The involvement in a research project using something I enjoy has been rewarding for me.

And here is an example where the flow experience did not go as planned. It is called Leeroy Jenkins. Note: there is some adult language.