May 9

Apps I Love … Evernote

As part of my "almost" paperless classroom project, I have been using Evernote for a couple of years.  About a year ago, I had been deciding between Evernote or Microsoft’s OneNote for my preferred note taking application.  I had been leaning towards OneNote for my personal notes.  I love how OneNote will record audio and help link the audio recordings to notes.  I also love OneNote’s interface with the side-tabs and drag and drop capturing of work.

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May 9

Twiddla – Online Whiteboard Tool

Twiddla is a free collaboration tool where you set up meetings using an online whiteboard interface.

Twiddla meetings allow users to interact in real time with drawing tools, chat, voice, images, videos, plain text, documents, emails, and GoogleMaps.  Twiddla records the chats in your meeting so you can review a transcript later.  Also, you can view a replay of everything that was drawn / added to the whiteboard during the meeting.  As the creator of the meeting, you have the option of clearing the transcripts and replays of the meeting.  So, it appears that you can re-use the same meeting URL over and over.

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April 28

Viddix – Mix Video with Presentation Timelines

I ran across Viddix.com recently.  Its a little hard to describe.  Basically, you can upload a video to Viddix.  Then you can add a timeline of information to play during the video. The timeline can contain text, images, RSS feeds, html code, polls, and web links.  I can see where this resource can be extremely useful for teachers who film their lectures and demonstrations.  For example, if I am filming a demonstration of graphic editing a photo, I could use screencasting software to capture the steps in to a video, then add detailed notes about how and why a particular tool affects the image.  I also really like the option to add a poll in the timeline.

Below is a very quick and simple example of what you can do?


November 30

Skype

Several  years ago I was travelling around the country two or three weeks.  I was looking for a tool to communicate back home with my family.  This was before the days of mobile phone family plans.  We had been using the various IM services with voice, but their voip technology lacked clarity and reliability. Then, I came across Skype.  At that point, I was still on dial-up at home, and usually on dial-up on the road.  I was very pleased with the quality of Skype voice with dial-up connections.

Skype is a free text, voice, and video messaging service. To get Skype, follow this link and sign up for an account.  Skype is available for Windows, Windows Mobile / PPC, Linux, Nokia Internet Tablets, Mac, and iPhones.  As new devices become popular, we will likely see Skype ported to them as well.

Over the years, my usage of Skype gradually decreased with the introduction of our mobile phone’s  family plan and then my career change to teaching.  I just did not need VOIP (voice over internet protocol) anymore. My Skype usage was relegated to a backup way for my family to contact me if I was working late in my first classroom (it is a mobile phone dead zone).

Recently, I have talked to several educators who have been using Skype in many unique and innovated ways.  I have talked to teachers who have used Skype in their foreign language claases to talk to individuals and even other classrooms speaking the languages they are teaching.  Some teachers have used Skype for bringing subject area experts as guest speakers.  My classes have used Skype in lessons in online conferencing and collaboration, methods of I.T. Support, and professional interviews of guests and by guests from businesses.

I know there are a lot of great ideas for using Skype in education. If you are using Skype for teaching, leave a comment and share your experiences.

August 24

Paperless Classroom

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been collecting a list of apps / tools to use for my almost Paperless Classroom.  Due to numerous online issues, it is not practical to attempt a complete paperless solution.  I have already had one day during the two-week old school year with no working internet in my classroom.  I have also run into a few snags where web-based applications either are blocked at school or do not function properly at school due to my districts handling of some secure server connections (SSL / https pages).  Therefore, I am aiming for a 90% Paperless Classroom.  Last year, I achieved about a 50% paperless classroom. 

I will publish my list soon.  I am still working on getting a few apps working properly.