Friday, June 29, 2012

Qwiki Creator - easily create engaging multimedia projects



Last year I wrote about Qwiki, which is a site that takes your internet search and creates a multimedia presentation with resources about your search term. Text, images, audio are all part of it. It's a very cool way to quickly create a presentation about a topic.



I just learned from my Edtech colleague David Kapuler on his site, that Qwiki now has Qwiki Creator available. Qwiki Creator lets users work online in their browser to combine text, photos, videos, maps, tweets, and more into an interactive online experience that you can share and embed anywhere and even add your own narration. It also allows you to create narration using text to speech.

Here's a great demo showing how to make a Qwiki, and how easy it is:



This is a really cool service that I can see being used by students for projects and by teachers to create great resources for their students.

Check it out: http://www.qwiki.com/





PDF Mergy - combine PDF files into one - Chrome web app



PDF files are everywhere. Every operating system and every device I know of can read them. They are a great way to share and publish files since they can be locked, watermarked, and viewed on pretty much any device or OS. Most office suites allow you to save files as PDF formats and there are some other great tools for creating them.

Sometimes you have multiple PDF files that you want to combine into one. I do this often since I save scanned documents as PDF files, as well as much of my own work.

Application PDF Mergy 


PDF Mergy is a Chrome web app that makes it easy to merge PDF Files. Drag and drop or select from your computer, place them in the order you want, and then, viola, one merged PDF file. It is all done on their server, not your computer, so this is a great app for use with Chromebooks and for people looking to do everything in the cloud. QuickPDF does the same thing, but needs to be installed on your computer.


Related:

PDF - interesting infographic and lots of resources for using them


PDF Converter - free online PDF conversion

Lots of PDF resources - print, markup, convert and more

PDFBinder - simple tool to merge PDF documents into one

BabyPDF - Edit PDF documents for free


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Google makes some big announcements this week!



Google's I/O conference is this week and they have made some big announcements. Here's a summary and some places you can find more information.


1. Google Docs offline now available - edit and create Google Docs offline and they will be synced with your Docs account once you have an internet connection.

2. Chrome Browser exits beta and is available for all Android 4.0 devices and is available for iOS. Use the worlds most used browser on your Android and Apple devices.

3. Project Glass demo - Project Glass is a new project uses glasses and

4. Google+ Events - events planning and social networking combined

5. Jelly Bean - Android 4.1 - newest version of Android with some cool new features, including a new notification center.

6. Nexus 7 - new Google branded 7" Android Tablet

7. Google Maps ability to save maps for use offline - great when you have no signal, like in a subway.

8. Google Now - voice control and widgets that show you information based on your location

9. 3D buildings in Google Earth - fun and educational

10. Lots of updates to existing Google and Android apps (like Docs, Google+, Hangouts on Air, Chrome, and more)

11.  Pinterest for Android - popular app officially comes to Android

12. Nexus Q - streams audio and video from the cloud to your TV and Stereo, and is controlled by your Android phone or tablet. It's also built in the USA. You can also have your friends stream their content through your Q.

13. Google Drive released for iOS - access all your files on your Apple device.



Pretty exciting stuff, much of which will benefit educators and students with the updates. New devices for use in education, updates to already great apps, and more Google apps available for Apple devices. Very cool.

I'm jealous of those attending. While the tickets were $900, you got to attend a great conference, see a great opening keynote that many said was the best they've ever seen, and you get a swag bag with the Nexus Q, Chromebox, Nexus Phone and Nexus 7 tablet. Pretty cool.

In related news, my CR-48 beta Chromebook got updated to Chrome v 20 today and it's awesome. It was surprising because the CR-48's weren't originally supposed to get the update.





Resources:

Android Central - great resource for Android and Google
http://www.androidcentral.com/google-io-2012-day-one-round

The Official Google Blog 


The Verge - great resources for all things technology 
http://www.theverge.com/2012/6/27/3121011/google-i-o-highlights-news-2012-nexus-7-nexus-q



Related:

Google for Education Resources

Android for Education Resources

Google Chromebooks and Chrome OS revisited - great for education







Tips for Preparing for a Presentation



Giving a presentation or teaching takes preparation. There are lots of tips and help for both, including the two links below in the "related section".

Lifehacker has a great article "How to Prep for a Presentation" with some great tips like knowing your audience, knowing their needs, knowing the subject, knowing the room (size, resources and technology, etc),  rehearsing, getting rid of the jitters and nervousness and more. 


There are some great tips for conference presenters and teachers there. 




Related:

Survival Tips for Educators and Presenters

Backup plans - some tips for teachers






More Great Uses for Binder Clips


Our Favorite Office Objects: The Endlessly Versatile Binder Clip

Last month I wrote an article entitled "Binder Clips - lots of great uses for these little guys" with some ideas and resources for finding new uses for Binder clips. Here are some more. 

1. Binding student work (kind of obvious) but use different colored ones to code your classes and assignments

2. Cable organization - clip them to your desk/table and feed the cable through the handle to keep them organized. 

3. Use them to wrap and organize cables and headphones (another great idea from Lifehacker).



4. Hold open curtains, or hold them closed - clip them on the curtains

5. Hang them on a bulletin board or at top of whiteboard to hold papers - great for holding signs, like "Do Now", "Homework" etc. ]


6. clip bags closed to keep food fresh

7. Hanging file folder stopper / organizer

Hanging Folder Stopper

8. Create a notepad using scrap paper - all those scrap / extra copies of memos and papers found in schools can be cut into quarters and then clipped with a binder clip for an easy notepad. 

9. bookmarks - use the small, colored binder clips as color-coded book marks 

10. Save your spot in a filing cabinet - when pulling papers out of a hanging file folder, put a binder clip there so you can easily find your spot to return the papers. 

11. Smartphone stand - prop up your smartphone for easy viewing
binder-clips_TheSocialNewspaper (4)




Do you have any cool ways to use binder clips?






Google Docs now works offline!



Google announced today that Google Docs now works offline, so you can create an edit files without a internet connection. All your work will be saved locally and then updated with Docs when you get a connection again.

This is great news and makes Docs even more useful, allowing use without an internet connection.



Learn more about Google's many apps and resources for Education here.


Related:

Google Resources for Education

Why I use Google's apps and products as an Educator









Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Microsoft Office 365 for Education now available for Free


Office 365 for education

Microsoft 365 is an online version of Microsoft's well known Office suite. Office 365 for Education is free for schools and is already being used by many public school districts and colleges.

Office 365 is cloud based and includes Microsoft Office Web Apps, Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and Lync Online.



This is Microsoft's answer to Google Apps for Education. It can be a good option for schools that are heavily invested in Microsoft apps as there would be almost no learning curve or training required. It includes Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Email, Calendars, web sites, and much more, including the ability to collaborate online with others and even run an online course.

You can find more information about features here. (including deployment guides and training)

You can go here to register: http://www.microsoft.com/education/en-us/products/Pages/office-365-for-education.aspx

Related:

Free Teacher Guides from Microsoft - great resources

Microsoft Surface - Windows 8 Tablet/PC - announced

Why I Use Google's Products as an Educator

Google for Education Resources






Google launches free online classes to help you learn better internet search skills



Google is having a lot of announcements today at the Google I/O conference with lots of updates and new products. (Go to Android Central to get updates on all the news).

But yesterday they announced something that is a great resource for educators and students alike. "Power Searching with Google" is a free, online community based course that helps participants learn how to do better searches and use some of the cool features of Google, such as using the search box as a calculator and finding data right from the search box itself.



The course contains six 50-minute classes, interactive activities to practice your new skills, community integration and connections with Google Groups, Google+, and Hangouts on Air (with search experts) and Googlers will be available to help. You can even get a printable Certificate of Completion upon passing the post course assessment.

Lessons will be released daily starting on July 10th and participants can take them on their own schedule during a 2 week window.

Registration is open from June 26, 2012 to July 16, 2012. We recommend that you register before the first class is released on July 10, 2012!
New classes will become available Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday starting on July 10, 2012 and ending on July 19, 2012.
Course-related activities will end on July 23, 2012.
Teachers can take the course and then share what they learn with their students next school year.

You can also go to the Google Inside Search page for other tips and help with better searching that can be used by students and educators.


Source: Official Google Blog

Related:

Lots more great, free resources from Google (especially for education)






Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Remind101 - safe way for teachers to text message students and stay in touch with parents. Free



Remind101 is a free service that allows teachers to safely send text messages to students and parents.
Teachers never see the students' or parents' phone numbers and the students and parents never see the teachers' phone number, helping to maintain privacy. Students and parents sign up by sending a text message or email instead of visiting a website. Teachers can have up to 10 classes and send messages to a class of students, or parents, or both. You can even schedule messages to occur in the future.

This is another tool that teachers can use to communicate with their students and parents and help remind them of upcoming due dates and events.

You can learn more about it here: https://www.remind101.com/learn_more

Feature_privacy

Feature_send_a_message



Related:

ClassPager - send students quizzes and reminders

50 Excellent Online Professional Development Resources for Teachers



Professional Development for educators is something that I believe still needs to be improved. Many educators have turned online for some of their professional development. Social media provides a great resource for educators, especially Twitter, to connect, share and learn with other educators. There are new forms of in-person professional development, like Edcamps, that are also a great way for educators to learn new things.

Here is a list of 50 online resources for professional development for educators:

50 Excellent Online Professional Development Resources for Teachers

Check out some more great information and resources on educator professional development.

Professional Development for Educators needs to change

11 steps to planning quality Professional Development

The Endangered Languages Project: Supporting language preservation through technology and collaboration



Google has a new project it is a part of: The Endangered Languages Project: Supporting language preservation through technology and collaboration that is pretty cool. The Endangered Languages Project, is a website for people to find and share the most up-to-date and comprehensive information about endangered languages. It is a way to try to preserve over 3000 languages that are on the verge of becoming extinct. Preserving these languages, and the cultures that go with them, is an important project.

The project is working to make recordings of people speaking the languages, as well as documenting as much as possible about the languages. Through the site, people can upload and access research, advice, information, resources, manuscripts, videos, audio and more.

This is a great resource for our world, and also for teachers and students to use to learn about these languages and cultures, as well as contribute to the project.

Here's more about it: http://www.endangeredlanguages.com/









Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Learnist - create online learning resource pages



Learnist is a new site that is still in beta but looks promising. The site allows you to create "Learn Boards" on any topic you want to and then add "learnings" by linking to websites, online videos, blogs, images, documents, etc. It is similar to Pinterest in some ways. You can also collaborate with others on the same board.

You can search for existing Learn Boards by topic and search term. Here are some from "Education":


And here is an example learn board:




It's easy to use and there is a whole section on how to use it with videos, tips, and more.

This is a great way for teachers to create online learning resources for their students and even for students to use for projects.










Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Great Resources for Educators/Admin from Upstate Tech Conference




Last week was the Upstate Technology Conference in South Carolina, which included an Administrator's Day of Discovery. Porter Palmer from Discovery Education just posted the link to all of the great resources from the sessions that day: http://bitly.com/bundles/ktschutt/8

There are some great resources there for administrators and educators, so take a look and see what's there.

Porter also did a presentation that day on anytime learning. The slides are available here:
http://blog.discoveryeducation.com/blog/2012/06/18/what-do-you-want-to-learn/