Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Chrome Extensions/Apps That Will Save You Time When Studying

As you all know, note taking is a crucial part of learning, especially in college. These 6 Google Chrome Note Taking Apps help improve your note taking productivity. 4 of the apps can even be used offline. All have auto save with an option of cloud save as well. Quick Note is a popular chrome app used for light note taking. You can save clippings from any sources and upload them anywhere through cloud. The app also has a search function that allows quick and easy recovery of saved information. Memo Notepad is another note taking chrome app, similar to Quick Note but more basic. Memo Notepad saves as you type, when used offline automatically upload to cloud, can upload bookmarks as well. Scribble, another note taking app, lets users customize it to our personal liking by adding colors and lists. Has similar features to Quick Note but with more customizable functions. Writebox is very simple like Memo Notepad, it is an offline text editor for Dropbox and Google Drive. Automatically saves to both platforms and is easy and simple to use. Last two Chrome apps are more for recreational and personal note taking or journaling. Journal is personal blog type note taking app that you can add pictures to with specific dates and locations to revisit/relive your experiences. Sticky Notes is a fun note taking app that lets the user customize colors, fonts, texts etc. The app allows for functions similar to the rest such as web clippings, sharing, cloud syncing etc.

Another great chrome extension, specifically for long article reading, is TDLR (Too Long, Didn't Read). TDLR condenses long articles into shortened versions. The app also gives you the option of picking a certain percentage of the article to summarize. The app is able to do this all while remaining on the same web page as the article. This Chrome extension can provide quicker productivity for students summarizing or just reading articles. For users that like to have their bookmarks or extensions at their finger tips, Symbaloo is a great extension that allows the user to create and customize shortcuts and bookmarks. Symbaloo lets you organize your shortcuts into specific categories and lets you access your bookmarks quick and easily. 

This week I read chapter 5: Using Tools to Support Connected Learning, of theThe Connected Educator. The chapter discussed various different tools to help build and manage a personal learning network. Topics discussed were tools for documenting and archiving learning, tools for connecting and collaborating, tools for social networking, tools for extending learning in the classroom and lastly managing your online reputation. Bookmarking tools such as Delicious and Diigo were introduced. These tools allow users to annotate, web clip, share and organize all their information stored. Blogging tools to connect and collaborate such as Edublog were recommended, edublog allows educators, students and parents to connect. It allows for the parent and educator to guide the student and add input. Some great tips for managing your online reputation were given. One tip in particular to help you see how you are perceived online is using google alerts and analytics. The google alert will show you when and where your name pops up online to keep you aware of your reputation on the web. 

Last class each of us presented our social media etiquette presentation. We all picked a specific person who displayed bad social media etiquette and posted negative remarks, ultimately costing most of them their professional careers. For my presentation I used the Prezi presentation tool, I used Businessinsider's former CTO Pax Dickinson as an example of a person who displays bad social media etiquette. Pax posted many sexist, racist, and demeaning tweets which in the end got him terminated from Business Insider. One of my favorite presentations of the night was Nick Barlotta's Haiku deck presentation of former NFL running back Larry Johnson. Larry had tweeted some negative tweets to fans using gay slurs and tweets suggesting 9/11 was a hoax. The former NFL running backs track record was hilariously atrocious. Over 5 arrests with assault and batteries involved with other men and women at clubs, needless to say the guys a maniac and Nick's presentation showed well of that.   

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Amazing iPad Apps That Make Learning A Lot More Exciting...

Since Apple invented the iPad it has been used in a variety of ways, recently it has been revolutionizing how we learn. Specifically learning for our younger generation. The iPad is very easy to use and more appealing then traditional pen and paper. Children respond really well to learning on their iPads and teachers are realizing this. A very popular application that thousands of educators have become fond of is Educreations. Educreations is a whiteboard application that allows educators to connect and share lesson plans within a cloud between all of their students. The app is extremely user friendly for children and has multi functionality. Educreations allows for voice recording, picture uploading and editing, and a convert to text feature for messy writing. "One of the values educators look for in tech tools is student usability, and with Educreations, teachers say the tool is straightforward enough to incorporate into student work"(KQED). 

Another emerging educational application is the ShowMe app. Similar to Educreations with its whiteboard visual learning aspect but broadened a bit with more direct approach to productivity. ShowMe is a platform that is fairly new and has already captured thousands of educators attention. With 1.5 million lesson plans uploaded and shared to the platforms cloud, the app is consistently expanding its educational realm. The app has a directory of great tutorials to start off with created by the ShowMe team."Educators can use Show Me app in various ways. They can use it to easily explain a range of topics from math to chemistry to music theory. They can also use it to Grade student work with commentary explaining the reasoning behind their performance. Show Me can also be use to deliver short and concise lessons to students or even get them to share these lessons between each other"(article). The apps sharing feature between the cloud is a great way of sharing an enormous amount of information between thousands of students and educators. 

An absolutely intriguing new augmented reality application, Zookasm has been blowing people away. The augmented reality application uses targets that can be printed, the application then reads them and voila you have a miniature 4D animal displayed on your smartphone. Weather and lighting effects can be added to expand the realism. Educators have recently used the app to have students match animals to their specified habitats. Students can also take pictures and videos so they can label each animal into classification. The application is young and still being updated but gives users a great visual learning experience with a realistic 4D animal right on their tablet or smartphone.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Digital Storytelling and It's Impact on Education

I have recently experimented with a digital storytelling application called Pixton. It was the first time I used digital storytelling to make a presentation and it was a cool change from slides in a Powerpoint. Digital storytelling is a way of presenting a story through multimedia. It's a great way to expand on ones creativity. Digital storytelling can make more of an impression on audiences then just any normal slide or powerpoint presentation, the digital storytelling aspect is a cool change up for any type of presentation. Applications such as MindMaple and Popplet are great ways of brainstorming and organizing ideas. Both applications display ideas by web and lead from main focuses to subsets and other add-on ideas. These two applications are great because instead of having the user work on one slide or piece of the project at a time it displays all of the slides to create a larger perspective of the presentation which allows the user to remember their point.

As you can imagine, digital storytelling has become a popular educational too for teachers. Applications such as AnimotoPowtoon, and Toontastic have a variety of tools to create a fun and engaging educational presentation. Digital storytelling has become a very popular educational tool because the educator creates the story how they want and based off what they want to teach the student. These apps give educators the tools to create their own type of cartoon show that students can really engage in and take from. Voki is another digital storytelling app that mainly focuses on audio. I think Voki is unique because it brings the oral aspect of learning into the electronic educational  platform. Majority of the time communication is based of emails, messages, blogs etc. With Voki students submit assignments but still have to engage in the oral aspect of the presentation. Even though the student is still behind a laptop or tablet there is still a verbal presence through the presentation. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Evernote: An Organizing Tool That Can Help Boost Productivity

 Recently I have become familiar with the app Evernote. The Evernote app allows users to store, organize, and collaborate almost anything. Similiar to Dropbox, Evernote allows you to upload and store different files and have the ability to access them anywhere through devices with the app. You have access to all of your work at home anywhere, as long as theres internet. Evernote even has a mobile phone app that allows you to upload pictures, videos, notes, etc, and then access them on your PC. It's a great app to have if your constantly on the go or if you need help staying organized.

   After reading an article about Evernote I was able to really utilize the app. One tip was about replacing your PowerPoints with Presentation mode from Evernote. Although it is only available through the Premium version and costs $5/month, Presentation mode has way more of a variety than PowerPoint and would be way more appealing to viewers in my opinion. For certain people it could be a wise investment. Another tip was sending emails to Evernote, this can help organize your inbox between spam and the important stuff or people. I really never run into this problem because I have 5 different emails but again for certain people it can help. For the user who creates and upload thousands of notes Evernote allows for a search engine to pinpoint exactly which note your searching for. Evernote is all about organizing by consolidating, the app allows you to merge certain notes that maybe be different but will be used in the context of a project for you. Merging the notes can really help consolidating your work and keeping everything neat and organized. Another great ability of Evernote is webclipper. Webclipper allows you to save articles, pictures and notes from the internet right to your evernote account. The app has become popular between educators such as college professors and highschool teachers.

      Evernote has a third part connection with Sunrise, an app that combines your calendars from Facebook, Your PC, etc to form a well organized version of them all. This aspect helps with consolidating and enabling more productivity. Like Facebook, Google, Twitter, Apple and Dropbox; Evernote also has two step verification to keep your file extra secure. Enabling this feature is a good way of keeping your stuff safe. Evernote also uses IFTTT (if this then that) to enable streams from different accounts. Stream Twitter posts onto your Evernote and again search through them with Evernotes search engine. This helps eliminate the time scrolling through posts so you can re-read old and missed tweets. I am a person that is impacted by the visual aspect of things. Evernotes ability to add pictures to reminders can really help visual learners like myself remember things. "This being Evernote you can of course attach notes and reminders to your snaps as well, so you can create a fairly complex to do list that matches the way you work best. You can use tags to sort tasks out into urgent and non-urgent, for example, or into separate buckets for entries related to work and entries related to your personal life."

 I found the hangout chat with Adam Taylor informational as well as entertaining. He made a great point when he said to follow the lists of professionals you are following. I originally was just following a bunch of organizations on twitter with occupational therapy or actual occupational therapists accounts and some of them post informational tweets but most of the time its conversations between other people. I started looking through their lists and they were a lot more helpful. I am currently talking to a therapist through Twitters DM. I eventually want to have a hangout with them. Overall I found Adam's advice helpful and I agree with him that Twitter is a great tool to make connections. I liked his comment about how using twitter just to follow celebrities is for losers lol.

Chapter 3 of UTW discussed presentation tools and how they have evolved from less appealing slides on PowerPoint to more eye catching and resourceful presentations such as Prezi. Another presentation networking tool is SlideShare, you can embed different links on your feed or blog and customize presentations however you desire. Many educators have familiarized themselves with these applications because it enhances learning. Presentations can really affect learning in a positive way, especially when the presentation is resourceful as well as captivating to the audience.