Dec 11 2012

Remember Everything! Every time! Access Everywhere!- With Evernote!



Let me apologize ahead of time- I get real excited about Evernote. You may even call me an Evernote evangelist of sorts.

I have not blogged about Evernote before now for a couple reasons:

  1. There aren’t enough words to do this justice.
  2. Hasn’t everyone already heard of Evernote?

There are only a few programs that I launch daily that I cannot live without- and Evernote is one of them. What is it and why do I need it? Those are the hardest questions of all so let me see if I can summarize it:

  • A platform to let you remember and access all of your information when you and where you need it
  • Your digital life coach and manager
  • Your lifesaver in time of need
  • Your agent of change- start leading a “paperless” life

Evernote works on the concept of “Notes.” You add a note to your account using a device (computer, tablet, phone, etc.). The note can contain text, of course, but can also contain a photo, a link, a file, almost anything digital. You can then access that note at anytime once it is synced to the server. You can also share that note with others when you want!

Rather than be bore you with the details, here are some practical ways I use Evernote:

  • Post-it note replacement- Instead of writing something down on a little note, I just whip out my phone and make a quick note within Evernote. I then can access that note later.
  • Son’s football practice schedule- I take a picture of the printed football schedule (called a “snapshot” in Evernote). Then that text in the photo is searchable. Let me repeat that- any text in any image is searchable (sort of like the way scanners use OCR). This works even for handwritten text within an image!
  • Take a picture of a PPT slide during a presentation
  • Take snapshots of business cards, then trash the card itself
  • Take snapshots of receipts- I inevitably will misplace paper receipts. Taking a snapshot makes them searchable and can show them to the store so they can get the information they need for exchanges and refunds!
  • Take a snapshot of a diagram or poster on a bulletin board, etc.
  • Take a snapshot of a book I’d like to read or buy later (since I won’t remember the title or author on my own) Continue reading

Nov 30 2012

Need an online voice recorder that’s not Flash? Croak It!


Fans of online voice recorders like Vocaroo, Soundcloud and Aviary’s Myna know that these web apps have many uses. Students can use these for things like storytelling, summarizing, explaining concepts, etc.  But one of the major drawbacks (relatively speaking) is that these are all Flash-based . That is not all bad in itself. However, since Flash is on the way out and is not supported on iOS devices, a replacement is needed to fill this void- especially one that will work on iPads!

There are many options out there, but Croak It! is by far my favorite for a couple reasons:

  • No registration required (this is critical for student use)!
  • Free (this is also critical in our line of work)
  • Has both Android and iOS apps
  • Can also be used online with a computer as a Flash-based web app
  • Creates a unique URL for each recording
  • Can add a CroakIt! button to your own website!
  • By default, the recording is private only to you (or whoever has the URL to your recording)
  • Can post to Twitter or Facebook
  • And I love the frog logo!
So with a classroom full of iPads, students can record their feedback or explanations regarding specific curricular topics. Then they can share the generated URL however they want (Edmodo, Kidblog, etc.). Anyway, it’s an easy solution without having to manage accounts to other sites like VoiceThread and others!

Nov 15 2011

That’s QRazy! QR Codes in the Classroom


QR codes such as this one certainly aren’t all that new, but they seem to be infiltrating the market everywhere: business cards, magazine pages, products on store shelves, and yes, the classroom!

What are they? They are really nothing more than barcodes that can contain a huge amount of data (huge compared to the 16 characters stored in those old striped barcodes). Not only can they store text, but they can also direct a mobile app to go to a specific site, add a contact, create a text message, go to a Google Maps location, and… well, just go see for yourself all it can do at the website mentioned above.

How are they created? Can you fill out a form with some information? That’s it. Just select the data type, enter the information and the website builds your QR code before your eyes.  You can then copy or save the image to use wherever you want! Yes, even on T-shirts!

How are they used in the classroom? Your mobile device must have a QR code reader app. For iOS and Android, we recommend, i-nigma.

See if any of these ideas get your creative juices flowing:

  • Self-checking review cards- say the answer out loud, check yourself
  • Test review with the answer to the questions encoded in a QR tag- fold paper to show only 1 of 4 codes, scan to see if you were right!
  • Matching- scan your card and find the other person that holds the matching term or definition, trade and do it again.
  • See all the ideas on my training handout here!

Students are loving this! You talk about motivation!