Monday, June 24, 2013

Flipboard Browser Bookmarklet Turns Reader into Magazines

Flipboard started as an iPad app that allowed users to take content from the web and turn that content into digital magazines for reading.  Users could select Twitter feeds, Facebook, RSS, and other methods of receiving content from the web.  Flipboard has made a bookmarklet available that allows users to create and edit magazines for the purpose of turning content into a digital magazine.  Users can have different magazines for different types of content and also import a magazine "cover" of their choice.

To learn more, check out the article on Make Use Of about the bookmarklet and how to set up a reader using the Flipboard service.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Favebucket - Bookmarking Your Favorites

Favebucket is similar to Pinterest in that it has a layout with boards (called buckets), the major difference is that sharing is a bit more individualized to certain content instead of everything.  Users can pick and choose what they want to share.  Signing up requires Facebook, Twitter, Google, or an email address and then users will want to install the bookmarklet in order to gather content from the web.  After creating an account users will have an existing lists of buckets and tags.  Currently there is no renaming feature (you can create new ones), but that is in the works.

Users can views their "Faveboard" in various ways and from an available menu access their inbox, favorite and private links, and more.  To save a link or create a bucket users must utilize the bookmarklet.  There is currently no feature that allows users to save from within the website.  Creating a new link allows users to select a bucket, enter a description and add tags on your own or from a suggested list.  Each link can then be viewed, shared, and organized to fit your bookmarking needs.  Favebucket would be a valuable tool for students doing research projects or teachers organizing resources for lessons.

See the video below for more information.

Monday, June 17, 2013

5 Easy Tips for Educators to Increase Twitter Followers and Interactions

When I first started blogging Twitter was a great avenue for me to share what I was writing while also providing me with ways to discover and interact with other bloggers and educators from around the globe.  Over time with different jobs (from TIS, to Classroom Teacher, to Curriculum Coordinator) and two kids, my influence and use of Twitter has not been as professionally oriented as I would like, but has still provided me with a method of staying connected to educators and education resources.  Below are some tips that I have learned that help me continue to gain followers and grow my PLN.

1.) Use a service like Twitterfeed or IFTTT (If This Then That) to automatically tweet blog posts from your favorite bloggers.  You can copy their RSS feed and add a mention and hashtag (the hashtag is the important addition).  Anytime they create a new post you will automatically tweet their blog post.  I have gained several followers through using these services.  One person did this for my blog when I was more active on Twitter and with my blog; often times her tweet would go out before my own.

2.) Blogging services often allow users to log in to comment on blog posts using their Twitter account information.  When commenting on blogs, utilize your Twitter account; then when comments appear on those blogs, readers will be able to connect with you.

3.) While working as a TIS I participated more often in #edchats on Twitter.  Following and commenting on this chat is a great way to connect with other educators.  It is also a simple and most likely a common way to gain followers and also discover other people to follow

4.) Search for hashtags and chats in your selected area of expertise, follow those chats, and then start participating in the discussions.  This is a valuable way to not only gain followers and discover new people to follow, but it also helps you easily find people who share the same interest as you.  You can find a chat for different levels of education, different subjects, for administrators, coaches, etc.  When I went back to the classroom for a year I found myself looking at the Social Studies (#sschat) feed daily to discover the newest resources.  I highly reccomend viewing the Index of Education Chats Google Doc to learn more.

5.) Twitter allows users to create lists.  If you create a public list and add people to it, Twitter notifies users when they are added to a list.  Lists are also a great way to organize who you are following and also lets other users know that you value their tweets enough to add them to a list so they don't get lost in the Twitter feed.  This notification might be enough to encourage someone to follow you back.

If you are transitioning or utilizing Google+, Tip 1 and 2 would apply as well.  

Remind 101 Gets a Makeover

Remind 101 is a service for educators that allows users to SMS students, parents, players, community members, etc about what is going on in their classroom.  I have written about the service before and have used it myself with my classroom.  On their blog they announced today some changes to their website and service.

Through discussions with teachers and users, as well as from their own ideas, the creators of Remind 101 have worked to make some great improvements to their product.  From those discussions they realized the need for improvement for tablet use on the website, messaging to multiple classes, improving sign up process, and improving scheduling of SMS messages.

To learn more about the redesign, see the video below.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

D-Day Interactive - 69th Anniversary Today

Today is June 6th, the 69th anniversary of the D-Day invasion.  The D-Day to Victory Interactive is a valuable addition to websites about the history of the invasion.  Users must have updated Java for the interactive to function correctly.  The D-Day to Victory Interactive is an online documentary experience recreating the WWII final assualt on Nazi-occupied Europe.  The site features veteran interviews and traces the Allied journey from the D-Day invasion of Normandy to the seige of Berlin.  Users can engage in virtual commemoration and online sharing of the stories of veterans of a WWII who may be discussing the war for the last time.

3D scenes help visualize and illustrate the sounds of D-Day.  Each scene can access hundreds of original veteran video interviews that provide realistic documentation of the war.  Useres can also view interactive poppies" which provide the views and thoughts submitted by others.  Stories by veterans are coupled with biographies, artifacts, and personal photos that can be shared on social networks.  For more information, see the video below.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

T!PTXT - Speak Up Against Bullying

From Blackboard comes the free* SMS program T!PTXT for schools that hopes to help combat bullying in schools.  To K-12 schools, Blackboard is offering administrators with an easy and confidential way to speak up about abuse, crime, and mental health issues.  The offer includes free access to the TipTxt service, a TipTxt mailbox, and TipTxt client support for each individual school (*$125 per year for the TipTxt line).

Our district recently did something similar by purchasing a cellphone for our School Resource Officers that allow students to text tips to the officer anonymously.  It's a high school version of CrimeStoppers.

To learn more about TipTxt, see the video below.

VideoSci - Play Science!

VideoSci is a website dedicated to providing videos related to science in various categories.  Online videos have exploded which allows users to incorporate videos into their classroom lessons rather easily.  VideoSci aims to collect all the video streaming resources from all the fields of science from all over the Internet.  Videos are streamed from any video source.  Each video comes with information, commenting, and a rating system.  Tags and categories allow for users to discover the various videos as well.  Facebook and Twitter integration allows users to easily use their social media accounts to comment and suggest videos.  There are also articles as well.

Windows 8.1 Video

So Windows 8 came out a while back and I don't have it on any computer that I am using, but I have heard from those that have started using it that they were unhappy with the changes.  It's hard to completely adjust to a new interface and Windows did that in order to meet the "need" of touchscreens.  With Windows 8, they forgot one crucial piece of their product...a "Start Button."  With a new release of 8.1 they have added a start button.  You can learn more about the Start Button and other features in the video below.  The upgrade from 8 to 8.1 is free.

Ten From My Feedly

Been off of my computer for a while.  With two kids at home and it being summer, only time I have a chance to blog is when both of them are not at home.  Today is one of those days.  From my time away, here are some of the top posts from my recently.

1.) and 2.) From A Media Specialists Guide to the Internet comes two lists.  20 Places to Find of the Year Resources is a valuable list for units, activities, games and more.  21 Websites with Summer Reading Ideas for You and Your Students provides lists of books for various grade levels for students and for teachers.

3.) 10 Ideas to Move Innovation Forward comes from The Principal of Change Blog and provides teachers with ways to be more innovative in your classroom and schools.

4.) and 5.) 10 Excellent Digital Citizenship Tops for Students and Kids is an infographic with Do's and Don'ts for the Internet and comes for the Educational Technology and Mobile Learning Blog.  Also from this blog is 50 Google Docs Tips Every Teacher Should Know.  This is a list of archived blog posts related to Google Docs.

6.) From the Technology Tidbits: Thoughts of a Cyber Hero blog comes 40 Sites and Apps for Creating Presentations.  Some of these are new to me and they can be found in alphabetical order as well.

7.) From Edudemic comes 35 Useful Apps and Web Tools for Math Teachers.  This is a good list with short descriptions and the ability to up or down vote the resources.  They can be viewed alphabetically, by rank, newest, etc.

8.) 10 Ways to End the School Year on an Up Note when You're Exhausted is a great post from the Cool Cat Teacher Blog.  Most teachers slowly wear down as the year goes on and these tips can be helpful towards ending the year positively.  These can also be great reminders throughout the school year as well.

9.) Going Global - Tips ad Resources for Global Collaborations provides teachers with tips, information, and resources to globally connect with other educators and the benefits of doing so.  This comes from the Blogging About the Web 2.0 Connect Classroom.

10.) From the U.S. History Teachers Blog comes an interesting share from the Washington Post; 31 Charts That Will Destroy Your Faith in Humanity.  Several students learn visually and these charts could be helpful for economics, sociology, and geography teachers.  At the same time, in advanced classes the charts could provide some interesting writing prompts as well.  

Blekko - The Slashtag Search Engine

WAY back in November of 2010 I wrote about Blekko while it was still in beta and never really gave it much thought after that.  Recently Blekko has gone through some changes to make search results for user friendly and different from what we are used to on other search engines.  Results from searches are now automatically broken down into various categories of different content.  When you search for something you get both the top and latest results as well as specific searches related to your original search.  This new layout allows for more results on one page and the search will automatically adjust to your screen size for mobile devices.  Users can also search Blekko for images and videos as well.

If you have never seen Blekko and are unsure of what a slashtag is, basically it allows users to easily create a custom search and helps to narrow down a search.  The slashtags are a tool that is used to help filter search results while helping to eliminate spam and content farms.  For more information about slashtags, check out the tutorial.