Monday, January 30, 2012

Online Learning and Mobile Devices



My kids are enthusiastic online learners. We use a lot of homeschool curriculum like Time4Learning.com. The kids enjoy the lessons, it saves me the job of grading their work, and they seem to retain what they learn better when they're having fun learning.



Don't let the word "home" mislead you, though. Like most "home" schoolers, we are in the car far too often. Music lessons, sporting events, and an endless number of other outside activities keep us away from home more often than we would like.



We are also voracious consumers of electronic gadgets! Mobile devices such as the iPhone, iPad, and Kindle Fire are all used by one family member or another. Unfortunately, the Apple devices lack support for Flash, which is required to run Time4Learning lessons. I had often dreamed about how convenient it would be if the children could do their lessons while sitting in the dentist's office or waiting for a sibling's piano lesson to end, but that has been impossible without Flash support.



Tadah! There is now an app called "iSWiFTER" that will run Flash programs on iPad! So far, it doesn't work on iPhone, but the developers have said they are working on that. My kids have been using it for a variety of Flash-based programs, and it works wonderfully. iSWiFTER is essentially a separate browser. Use it, instead of Safari, to access the Internet on your iPad when you anticipate encountering Flash-based content (which, besides Time4Learning, includes lots of fun games and videos).


Now, iSWiFTER has developed an additional, kid-friendly browser called Rover. Think of it as iSWiFTER, packaged differently. My kids prefer this cartoon version over the original.


Because of the initial frustration with being unable to do our lessons on Apple devices, I was excited to learn that my daughter's Kindle Fire supported Flash. We optimistially packed it in with our picnic one day, intending to do school on the road. Imagine my disappointment when our lessons didn't work on this device! That evening, I learned that the default setting for Kindle Fire disallows Flash. I needed to change the settings to allow Flash programs, and then our Time4Learning lessons worked beautifully! Here's how to do it!



Touch "web" to access the browser on your Kindle Fire.



Touch the icon at the bottom of the screen that looks like the top part of a rectangle, with horizontal lines in it.









Some options will pop up from the bottom, including an option for settings. Touch that one.







Scroll through the settings until you find one to enable flash. Check the box.

Press the Home key. Time4Learning lessons, and your other Flash-based content, should now work on your Kindle Fire!


As often as we use these additoinal options for completing our school work on the run, my family might have to seriously consider a replacement for the term "homeschool"!



What mobile devices have your family used to access online lessons?

13 comments:

  1. I'm wondering if that would work on my hp touchpad...it has a different operating system, non android...I'll try it out and let you know

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  2. So far, I can only use the Pre-K curriculum,probably because it is not graded. My device runs webOS.

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  3. 1st grade worked fine on my Kindle Fire. My son is going to be so happy because he loves using the Kindle. No if only I can get his recommended reading books on Kindle. Not yet I guess.

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  4. Thanks for the step by step process! We're a homeschool family on the go also, and this will make life so much easier!

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  5. the new kindle does not support flash - still stuck w/ laptop to use time4 learning

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  6. Not sure what I am doing wrong with my kindle? but thanks for the info on my IPAD very happy to know how to get T4L on IPAD. My daughter loved Rover .

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  7. Thanks so much for this information. It is truly a life saver!!!

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  8. Is this a Kindle Fire HD in the photos? I have a Kindle Fire purchased at Christmas 2012 (not HD). I turned it on and cannot even find that icon. I don't know if I'm doing something wrong or if this only works on the HD or another version.

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  9. Nevermind, I found the icon lol. But there was already a checkmark in my box and Flash still doesn't work unfortunately.

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  10. Use another browser like Dolphin. I use it on my kindle fire HD and can use flash. :)

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  11. Apparently, Kindle doesn't support Flash anymore and you have to find some work around to install a browser that can.

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  12. I can't get T4L to work on kindle fire hd. It says my browser needs updating. Unfortunately I a not computer savvy so I have no idea how to fix it. Any help would be much appreciated. I was told at the expo that it would work together with a flash download and that hasn't happened for me yet :(

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  13. I appreciate this blog post and I got a couple of Kindle Fire tablets... unfortunately the current version of Amazon Kindle browser is not sufficient to run T4L. So, I proceeded to jailbreak both the Kindle Fires. It was actually quite simple and now both Amazon Kindle and Android firmware can run on the same device. I installed dolphin browser and away the kids went on T4L. The only problem is with click and drag... it is a pain in flash on a touchscreen and the Kindle Fire sensitivity doesn't help.. I wished I could find someone else using tablets for T4L successfully all the time that can make a GREAT recommendation!

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