Monday, January 7, 2013

3 SMS Resources

KikuText is an additional method for teachers to engage in communication with parents.   With the free version, teachers get 60 messages a month and 2 classes for messages to 15 parents.  A pro version is just $10 a month and you get unlimited messages, up to 7 classes and 170 parents.  With the service, parents would get a text message with a comment about their child which they can respond too.  The conversation history with the parent would be saved so it can be viewed and know where the conversation left off.  An inbox allows for easy viewing and conversations remain safe and private.

Kikutext has messaging templates that make it easy to update parents about what the students are doing in class and they can be customizable as well.  Scheduling of the messages is also available.  To make it work, you provide a code to the parents that they text in and the information the parent provides is automatically captured.  If the cell phone number of the parent is available, you can text them directly as well.  See the SlideShare presentation for more information.

Understoodit is a audience response services that allows users to get simple feedback on whether a lecture/discussion/activity was understood or not.  With the creation of an account (Free or Paid...although free is limited) users can provide students with a simple URL to provide to students.  Using any device students can respond "understood" or "confused."  As students answer, data is provided in real time informing teachers on whether or not re-teaching is necessary.  See the video on their front page for more information.

ClassParrot is another option in the growing market for SMS messaging with students and parents.  Like Remind 101, this service provides many of the same features.  You provide students a code which gets them into the system.  You create messages on your computer, therefore keeping the students number private. (NOTE: Upon trying to update this post this site was experiencing an error)

As a bonus, if you are interested in texting while driving and you have children of the driving age, you might want to look into Detext.  It's a service that allows the parents to be the "Big Brother is Watching," over their child's cellphone.  From a web browser, users can review driving history, restrict certain settings, and set up alerts, when a child is speeding for example.  Receive alerts via text or email as they happen.

Mobento - Search for Spoken Word in Videos

I have always thought about a search engine for videos based on the content within the videos for when certain words were spoken as part of the dialogue.  I always thought it would be great for finding and logging quotes from movies.  Mobento, currently in beta, provides users the opportunity to do just that; search videos for words that were spoken.  Since it is currently in beta, the database of films is not a large one, but as the word gets out and popularity grows, I can see the popularity of Mobento growing.

When you search for a text you get a listing of all the videos that contain those words.  For each video you get a color coded time stamp of when those words appear and then you can play those sections of the video.  There is currently an Android App which contains over 600 videos which can be streamed or downloaded.  Below is a sample of what a search looks like:

Grant Wrangler

I recently wrote about Get Ed Funding, and after looking through my Google Reader I came across Grant Wrangler.  This is a free service that provides a list of grants and contest opportunities for educators and students.  With a decrease in funding consistently an issue in education, finding sources of money for projects, technology, and other resources is becoming another aspect of the education profession.  It is almost to a point where Grant Writing should be an elective course in university teacher education programs.

Through Grant Wrangler, users can search for grants and awards by content area and grade level.  There is a bulletin that you can subscribe to as well that will update you as new grants are available.  The main page also has featured grants that might be of interest.  You can search by key word and provide a deadline to ensure you don't get results for grants that have passed up already. 

If you are looking for free money, check out Grant Wrangler.

(h/t to Free Technology for Teachers)

10 Apps for Students to Take Notes

As schools and districts move towards "1 to 1" and to "Bring Your Own Devices," the process of taking notes will take on a new meaning.  It the past couple years, for me personally, it has gotten to a point where writing for very long makes my hand hurt because I don't use a pen or pencil very often anymore.  While attending Master's classes and Professional Development meetings, I have started using my laptop and iPad to take notes.  I have a feeling this will become the trend in future years in education.  As we move towards this, it will be important that students have a functioning way of categorizing and keeping notes organized.  Here is a list of ten possible tools.

Evernote - A staple among educators and almost a necessity for me these days; Evernote provides users the ability to take notes, save images, and other documents, as well as record audio to go along with your notes.  For a lecture, this would make a great tool for students in the classroom.  Evernote, like most of the apps I will share provides users the ability to share notes as well.  This could be handy for teachers and students working on a group project.  Evernote is available for desktops, mobile and tablet devices.

Google Docs - A lot of schools have gone to Google as their choice for spreadsheets, word documents, and presentation tools.  Google Docs provides great note taking opportunities and also makes is easy to share notes among other users.  It is also available for mobile and tablet devices and notes are stored in the cloud for access anywhere.

Fetchnotes - More of a to do App, but does allow users the ability to take longer notes as well.  One sets it apart is the ability to apply hashtags to your notes for organizing them.  This would be a helpful addition to labeling notes as you go and easily categorizing them as well.  Fetchnotes is available for both Android and Apple devices.

Jjot is another web app option that allows users to take notes in a post-it type format and makes the notes available from any computer.  The notes can easily be shared and printed.  It allows user to bold and bullet a list and each note can have a unique URL.

Listhings is a cork board type notebook app that allows users to create notes and share them with ease.  Not necessarily meant for longer note taking, but does provide the space if desired.  Notes are stored in the cloud and therefore area available from any computer.

Penzu - More like a journal, but when taking notes, organizing by date is very important.  Penzu is an app that users can use to take notes and then easily share them with other students or teachers.  You can also get Android and Apple version of the app for mobile devices.

Simplenote is an app that makes taking notes...well, simple.  Notes can be found on the web, desktop or on a mobile device.  Search tools and tagging make it easy to organize and find your notes.  Like other note taking apps, it also allows users to share their notes, making collaboration even easier.

 Quicklyst - A note taking app that helps users create outline style notes in a structure that helps with organization and understanding of those notes.  Available for use on all devices and requires email and a password to get started.  What sets it apart is the ability to include formatted mathematical equations.

Workflowy - Another option for creating an outline style of notes and also viewing those notes in an easy way.  Email and password are required for use and contains a lot of the other features note taking apps provide, but like Quicklyst, is an app for creating outline/list style notes. is a simple, no sign-up required note taking app that allows users to easily type notes, then share them with a simple URL.  Currently, printing, attaching, and sending directly are in the works to improve this service even more.