Oct 30 2012

CodeYear- The Easiest Way to Learn Coding!



OK, I will be the first one to admit that I am not a programmer and barely a “coder.” I know some HTML and Javascript- enough to make a few little helpful websites and web-based functions (like this citation generator). But I am also one of those people who love to learn new things- and learning some basics of programming could come in real handy for an educator who likes to explore with technology.

That’s where CodeYear (by Codecademy) comes in. If you sign up at this site, they will email you a new lesson every Monday to continue learning programming/coding basics. The nice thing is that you get to use their editor- no other programs to use, no compiling, etc. You start off learning Javascript, but can also progress to learn other languages:

You earn buttons for your profile to brag about how smart you are:

This site is a really nice setup to learn new languages in a non-threatening way. Oh, did I mention it’s FREE!

Give it a try!


Oct 19 2012

Cloud Magic- lightning fast search engine for your personal data!



Let me be upfront here: this blog post will not do justice to everything that CloudMagic can do. Now that we have that out of the way, let me do my best to tell you how awesome this is. This video gives you a good idea about this… thing.


For those of us who live in the digital world, we have our documents, data, and information spread out over many different platforms such as multiple Google Docs accounts, a few Gmail accounts, a Twitter account (or two), and don’t forget Dropbox, Evernote, iCloud, Google Calendars, and more! Finding that information can be (and usually is) challenging. For example, I have two Google Docs accounts (one personal, one professional) and I am constantly moving back and forth between the two. In which account did I save that document? Where did I see that- was it a Twitter post or a Facebook message?

Frankly, none of us has time to go log in to every account on every platform and search for what we need. And that’s why CloudMagic totally rocks.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Sign up for a CloudMagic account (yes, it’s free).
  2. Register/link your accounts- yes, you can register multiple Google accounts, multiple Twitter accounts, etc.
  3. CloudMagic does the rest!


When you need to find something belonging to you, just access CloudMagic using the browser extension, mobile app (iOS or Android), or CloudMagic website. Enter the search term and it’s found instantly. And I do mean instantly- it blows away the time it takes for a normal Google search. It will search all your assets instantly and display results. Click on one of the hits for a preview of your data. Then you can open it instantly in the native application.

Here’s a sample of a search of my stuff when I entered “QR Codes” in the search field:

Give it a try- it will become one of your indispensable tools that you rely on daily!



Oct 17 2012

Quietube- Show online videos without the distractions!



OK, first off, let me just say that this website itself doesn’t really do anything. But it does provide you with a cool little bookmarklet for your browser that will forever revolutionize how you show videos to others, especially students.

Once you install this bookmarklet, here’s what you do…

  1. Visit a website with a video from YouTube, Vimeo, or Viddler (more to be added later).
  2. Click on the bookmarklet on your bookmarks toolbar.

Magically, the video will open in a separate, blank page that hides all the comments and suggested videos. These comments and suggested videos can sometimes be vulgar and inappropriate to show students, so this is a way around that! You’ll even have your choice of a light or dark background!

Here’s the tutorial video that shows it well from their own website:

Isn’t that awesome? From this day forward (if you are lucky enough to have access to YouTube in your classroom), this is how you should show YouTube videos!

Oh, and one more thing… showing videos this way skips the video advertisements at the beginning of most videos! That’s right- skips the ads! What’s not to love about that!

You can even send links to YouTube videos to others that will open within the Quietube shell, like this one: http://quietube3.com/v.php/http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwOCY0nPDG0 (if you’re an educator, you’ll enjoy this great video from Kevin Honeycutt)!



Oct 14 2012

ScribbleMaps- Draw on top of Google Maps

ScribbleMaps is an awesome way to simply annotate and draw on top of Google maps. The toolbar includes options to create placemarks, draw shapes, fill, erase, etc.
Like all Google Maps, it can display street maps, satellite views, or a hybrid of both. This can be very useful in many ways. Google Maps itself is an awesome tool. But this cool website adds another dimension to its usefulness. Here’s a quick map I created outlining the Washington D.C. mall area. Notice that this is a live widget!

This has some potential for classroom uses! In the past, we have used Google Earth for these purposes- but this is so much easier!