A Great Resource for Evernote


If you’re not using this magnificent program, you owe it to yourself.  From notetaking, to sharing, to web clipping, to integration with your other tools, Evernote has to be one of the very best tools that you can use to streamline your workflow.

Justin Stallings has created a very comprehensive Livebinder to support its use by educators.

Whether you’re a beginner and trying to determine what the buzz is all about, or you’re sold and are looking for tips, tricks, or browsers extensions to get the most from the program, or you’re an expert and looking for ways to exploit the program to make your digital life more productive, this Livebinder has it all.

Navigation in Livebinders is dead simple.  Just click on a tab of interest like “In the classroom” and …

…it opens to reveal web resources that Justin has arranged by topic.  The Livebinder experience is designed to make working with a collection of resource so handy.  There’s no leaving the original document to follow a link and get lost.  Clicking a link just opens the resource in the same window so that you can enjoy the current resource and move on to the next.

Regardless of your level of expertise with Evernote, I suspect there’s something new in this excellent collection for everyone.

 

Highlight Your Reading


Recently, I read an article that listed 4 Tools to Simplify the Blogging Process.  Yeah, I know, they don’t come much simpler than me.

As I read the article, I thought – OK, I’m doing this. Feedly, One Tab, Evernote and then a new one – CruxLight.  Never heard of it.  I took a quick read of the descriptor.  I’m very interested.  It reads the webpage on your screen and summarizes the main points.

I’m really interested.  This was a skill that was taught throughout school in English and French classes.  Of course, on paper, you would use a highlighter.  That made reviewing for tests and examinations possible.

I’ve got to check out this Chrome Extension.  Off to the Google Chrome store I go.

A quick download later and I’m ready to go.

I decide that the first thing I’ll do is check my instance of Hootsuite.  I’m not sure that I was expecting but I wasn’t expecting this!

The page you are trying to view is loosely connected. Try summarizing wikipedia articles, news articles, etc.

Although, when you think about it, it makes sense.  A typical Hootsuite screen is really a collection of usually non-related topics.  I figured that I’d try a different page – I tried one of my blog post pages and was immediately impressed.  It seemed to be able to instantly understand when I was making a point and when I was providing background information.  The points were highlighted so that I could focus just on them.

Here is my post about Symbaloo after the CruxLight treatment.

Symbalo

A click again and I’m into a layout with only the most important parts visible from the post and on the right side, CruxLight pulls out what it was determined to be the Focus of the page.

And, the second layout.

Symbaloo2

It’s an interesting extension.  Over the time that I’ve had it, I just leave it running and let it highlight what it thinks is important.  I’ll be honest; I don’t trust it 100% yet and I do skim through the non-highlighted material just to see what I’m missing.  To date, it really does seem to do a good job.  I wonder if I’ll ever fully trust it.

In an English class, I could see this being a very interesting tool to be use when you’re teaching how to read articles online.  It does ignore advertising and seems to do a pretty nice job of pulling the important points from an article.  I’d be very interested in any language teachers’ thoughts on its use.  For me, I’ve added it to my version of Chrome and am enjoying it.

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Ongoing Professional Learning With OTF Connects


Sometimes, it’s just nice to be able to do a little professional learning in the comfort of your home.  To that end, the Ontario Teachers’ Federation is providing a series of online webinars for Ontario educators through their OTF Connects program.

Here’s what’s offered in the immediate future.

Date Topic
November 13          Creating Critical Challenges 
November 14  Financial Literacy: A Sound Investment 
November 15  Voicethread 
November 20  Financial Literacy in the Elementary Curriculum 
November 22  Reaching Reluctant Readers and Writers Through Technology 
November 27  Critical Thinking in an iPad Classroom 
November 28  Developing a Cascading Curriculum 
November 29  Financial Literacy in the Secondary Curriculum 
December 4  Heartware in the Classroom: Using 2.0 to Connect Students Globally 
December 5  Making it Easy with Evernote 

All of the sessions require registration.  All that you need to take part is a computer and access to the internet.  A microphone is recommended so that you can share your voice with others in the session.

Complete details and registration links to these free webinars can be found here.

 

Doug’s Dozen


Anyone who’s been keeping their eyes open to great blog posts have seen posts like “Top 10 Word Processors for the iPad” or “Top 10 Utilities for the iPad”.  They’re pretty much a summary of what all is available within a particular category.

That got me thinking…that would be great if I had a 64GB machine and could download all 10 and do a head to head comparison and then make a choice.  Then, I thought of a couple of scenarios.  Maybe I don’t have 64GB to play around with.  After all, there are smaller units which are much more affordable.  Couple that with the time that it takes to give an application a good shakedown and it gets a little scary.

The process is pretty subjective – many people will opt for free applications to get started and then upgrade to get the one with more features.  Others will go for the gusto and pay for all 10 and then have buyer’s remorse!

To make things more difficult for the new iPad owner (grin) or perhaps you have a class set and are wondering what to load, I offer Doug’s Dozen.  Taken from the experience of a guy who has nothing better to do that search for the best in class in any application, I took a look at the top applications that I use regularly and offer them below for your thoughts, criticisms, and one-up-ed-ness.

In making my choices, I looked at the applications that I use regularly.  Functionality in the iPad environment was extremely important in my choice of applications.  Above all, I looked at them from a teachers lens and put together this Popplet.

Twittelator – Hands down, I feel this is the best Twitter client on the iPad.  I think it may well have been the first application that I purchased.  At $4.99, it’s a real deal.

Popplet – I’m a big fan of graphic organizers to pull my thoughts together.  I’ve linked to Popplet Lite but you may consider upgrading after you enjoy brainstorming with your fingers.

Zite – In a crowded world of online content readers, this is the first one that I open in the morning to get my daily fix of what’s going on.  Free and configurable.  You can’t beat that.

Pearltrees – This is a combination of graphic organizers, bookmark tool, theme creator.  Tuck away those graphics and links into a single pearltree.

Google Chrome – In a crowded world of really good web browser for the iPad, this recently released browser has bubbled to the top for me.  The ability to log in to my Google account and share recently browsing is but one of a big list of features.

Prompterous – If you do a lot of podcasting or need reference to notes, you own personal teleprompter can’t be beat.

Evernote – No list of “best of” applications is complete without Evernote.  It’s a quick and efficient production environment with cloud storage and applications for all your computers.  Never lose a document on another machine again.

Dropbox – In the category of always having access to files, Dropbox is one of the leaders.  Even the image above taken from my iPad and brought into this editor on the computer made its way via Dropbox.  If your iPad is going to be your everything machine, you will need a strategy for transferring files effectively.

ScreenChomp – I’ve always been a fan of Techsmith products for screen capture, editing, screen casting and ScreenChomp just continues the tradition.  It’s a great way to create short instructional videos or to have students self-document a project they’re working on and share with you.

Office HD – I think I paid $10 for this originally but now see it’s priced at $7.99.  If you’re looking for a way to edit word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation files on your iPad, you’ve got to have this.

Skitch – Screen captures and picture taking are easy with the iPad.  How do you do a little post production like cropping, resizing, and editing?  Skitch is your tool.

Gmail App – My email application of choice is Gmail.  It can be accessed via the web but the Gmail App makes it so much handier.  Plus, a recent upgrade lets you open links in Google Chrome rather than Safari.  That’s worth a bundle and yet the app is free.

That was so hard to get things down to a dozen.  Grudgingly, I had to leave some off the list to keep it to a dozen.  But, you’ll need at least a good calculator, a good mapping program, a dictionary, and so much more.  That’s just on the productivity side of the house.  There’s so much more when you head off into curriculum land!

Got better choices that my list?  Argue your choice!

IFTTT and Evernote


After my post yesterday, there was some interest in the IFTTT service so I thought that I’d share another example of how you might find it helpful.  In my original post, I explained how I used IFTTT to backup my Diigo account by following the RSS Feed and creating a new entry to Evernote whenever I bookmarked something new.

Evernote has become my #1 place for most everything, it seems.  Whether I’m online, offline, on a computer, on a portable device, the Evernote app has so much of my notes and records that I would like to archive.  Whenever possible, I like to automate things so that I’m not physically doing all the work whenever possible.  So, the marriage of IFTTT and Evernote for Diigo backups was a natural.  I also received a premium account with the LiveScribe pen that I got over the summer so I’m extra motivated to use it.  But, a premium account isn’t necessary to do this job.

So, that establishes Evernote as a place to pull things together.  Are there other ways that IFTTT can really shine?

I want to share an example – this may or may not be directly applicable to you but it sure helps me.  How many times has someone sent you an @ message on Twitter that you really remember but are challenged to go back and find it.  Twitter’s search seems to have its limitations and has its good days and its bad days.  It’s no longer a problem if you do something as simple as setting IFTTT up so that all of your @ messages are sent to Evernote.  Once they are there, they are quite easily searchable or found by applying a filter.  In fact, Evernote gives a really nice selection of filters.

FIlter

If you can’t find it with these tools, maybe it wasn’t mean to be found!

Here’s how to set it up.  First you need accounts on both Evernote and IFTTT.  You then log into IFTTT, which will require access to Evernote,  and then create a new task.  You’ll be presented with a screen that looks like this.

 

ifttt

The blue and underlined “this” is just screaming to be clicked so go ahead!

triggers

Each of the icons represents a “trigger” that IFTTT knows about.  You want the Twitter icon.

 

triggers1

Look at all of the options that you have. In this case, I would select the trigger “New mention of you”.  But, look at all of the others.  Another intriguing one is “New favorite tweet”.  Imaging having all of you favorites put together in one spot rather than having them open to the world on your Twitter page.  Or, perhaps you’d like a list of your new followers.  Or, …

When the condition is met, what do you want IFTTT to do?

triggers2

 

Like before, click on “that” and you’ll have a listing of services that can perform an action if the condition is met.  In this case, select Evernote and then tell it what you want to do.

 

triggers3

 

You have some options.  Decide what you want to do.  I like the concept of the link note.  You’ll have the opportunity to customize just what happens during the post – I’d advise sticking with the defaults until you understand how it’s all going to work and then save your task.

 

action

Magic truly happens.  Just go about using Twitter as you would normally, but now whenever someone mentions you, the mention not only goes out on the Twitter stream, but you have a copy nicely tucked away in your Evernote account.  And, this copy is nicely filed away in its own folder automatically.

The process of setting up these tasks is very easy.  In fact, as I type this blog entry, I realize that I could have created a dozen tasks in the time that it’s taken to type and format this.

There are huge amounts of data floating around the internet that you may find a purpose for.  I really like the ease and functionality of IFTTT and Evernote to pull it all together.  Give it a shot.  If nothing else, you’ll be creating a personal archive of your content.  That’s not a bad start.