Evernote is the Swiss Army knife of iPad apps. I use Evernote for a little bit of everything from bookmarking websites to dictating notes to myself. The app automatically syncs with my online Evernote account so that I can access my notes, bookmarks, and saved files from any computer or device that is connected to the web. Learn more in the video below.
I subscribe to the RSS feeds of a few hundred blogs and websites. The way that I keep up with all of those updates is by spending thirty to sixty minutes a day flipping through Feedly. Feedly takes my RSS subscriptions and lays them out in a nice magazine style format that makes it easy for me to quickly scan the headlines and images attached to the articles. If I want to read the full article I can simply click through to read it. If I want to save the article to read later, I can mark it for reading later. If I want to share an article to my favorite social networks I can do that too.
If you want to make your own short instructional videos for students, Knowmia Teach is an app you have to try. Some of the highlights of Knowmia Teach app include the option to use your iPad’s camera to record yourself while drawing on the whiteboard. You will appear in the corner of the screen so that your students can see you while you’re talking them through the lesson. The app includes the option to import images and graphics from your iPad to your lessons. You can draw free-hand on the whiteboard screen, type on the whiteboard screen, and insert pre-made shapes and figures.
Box is another service that I use for file storage and sharing. On Box I can create public and private shared folders to which I can send files that I want others to access. For example, I created a folder just for video files that I share with my editor at School Library Journal. She can access the folder and download the files whenever she wants. A bonus aspect is that I get an email notification when she’s accessed the files. Box on the iPad offers the same features as Box on the web. Currently, if you download the free Box iOS app they will give you an additional 10GB of storage for free. The iOS app will sync with your online Box account so that you can access your files whenever you connect to the web.
It took me a while to come around to Pinterest, but now that I have I really like it. I like it for the same reason that I like Feedly, it’s visual interface makes it easy to browse through my favorite boards and find things that are of interest to me. And of course, I can Pin things myself through the Pinterest for iPad app. Here’s the board that I started for this blog.
Haiku Deck is an iPad app that all students and teachers should have installed on their iPads. Haiku Deck enables anyone to create beautiful slide presentations. There are two features of Haiku Deck that stand out. First, Haiku Deck intentionally limits how much text that you can put on each of your slides. Second, Haiku Deck helps you find Creative Commons licensed images for your presentations. When you type a word or words on your slides you can have Haiku Deck search for images for you. The images that Haiku Deck serves up are large enough to completely fill your slide. You can also upload your own images from your iPad or import images from Instagram and Facebook.
Skitch for iPad is an app that I use when I want to quickly edit, create, and or draw on an image. I can use Skitch to draw on and label a screenshot to aid my explanation of how an application works. I can also use Skitch to blur or enhance a part of a picture that I’ve taken with my iPad. And if I just want to sketch out diagram and share it, Skitch for iPad lets me do that too.
A couple of years ago a friend of mine set a New Year’s resolution to watch one TED Talk a day. The purpose of his goal was to try to expose himself to new ways of looking at the world. That year I used TED Talks once a week in my homeroom for the same purpose. The TED Talk iPad app allows you to search for new talks, organize playlists and watch your favorite talks on you iPad.
You may have noticed that this list is comprised entirely of free apps. Free apps are great because it doesn’t cost me anything except my time to try them out. Apps Gone Free is a great app on which you can find apps that would normally require a purchase. The Apps Gone Free app lists new apps every day. Some of the apps are only free to download that day while others may remain free for a week or longer. I check it every morning.
Resistance is Futile... Managing Resistance to Change
Change is hard. Trying new things engages a fear of the unknown that makes most people uncomfortable. It has been my job to help my faculty and students to work their way through their discomfort to a place where they can see the benefits of implementing new ideas and programs.
Here are a few of the ways that I have found success managing resistance to change.
Ultimately, I believe that if good pedagogy is at the core of the change, and there is enough support for new ideas, educators will move from resistance to acceptance over time. It is my job to help them through that process.
From updating reports, tackling to-do lists, scheduling meetings, organizing messages, reading blog posts on how to save time… our workdays are filled to the brim with different responsibilities. Why not let technology do some of the work for you? Luckily, there are great features of Google Apps that help us get these things done more quickly and efficiently.
In this post, we will highlight ten features of Google Apps that help to increase productivity and save time throughout your workday.
1. Priority Inbox in Google Mail
Priority inbox makes checking your mail much easier, by separating your mailbox into up to four different sections. The default sections include: Important and Unread, Starred, a Custom/Optional Section and Everything Else. The result is a more manageable inbox and the ability to recognize higher priority messages in the top sections, as opposed to them coming in chronologically and being mixed in with less important messages.
Importance markers are applied automatically to messages that Gmail recognizes as important using signals like who you email, which emails you open and keywords that appear to be of interest to you. If messages are classified as important and you disagree, you can train you importance ranking by clicking on the yellow importance marker next to a sender’s name to remove it. Gmail will adjust its ranking automatically and priority inbox files your messages appropriately into sections for you, which saves you time when you’re checking your emails throughout the day.
In the example below, we configured priority inbox with a third section for messages in our Inbox with the “Action Items” label applied to them. This section is optional and customizable.
2. Find a Time in Google Calendar
If you are often scheduling group meetings, you know that it is very time-consuming to determine a meeting time that doesn’t conflict with guests’ busy schedules. Instead of comparing the schedules of those individuals you want to invite to your meeting, let Find a Time in Google Calendar do the work for you.
First create your event, add a description, add guests, and add rooms or resources. Next, click on the Find a Time tab on the Event details page and the feature will recommend a time that works for all guests and resources added to the event. If you have permission to view the calendars, Find a Time will display up to ten schedules side-by-side. You can move the timebar to different times and use the arrows to scroll to different days, if needed. The time and date you select will auto-populate into the event details.
3. Real-time Collaboration in Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms or Drawings
Real-time collaboration in Google Drive documents makes the processes of creating, editing and proofreading much easier. Just share your document with your colleagues and allow them edit, comment or view permissions. Depending on their permissions, everyone can work in the same document simultaneously on revisions. Edits are auto-saved so everyone with access to your document can rely on having the most up-to-date information. Additionally, collaborators can ask questions or give direction via chat, or add comments throughout the document to share their suggestions or opinions.
4. Collaborative Inbox in Google Groups
A collaborative inbox is a great type of Google Group for project teams, support departments, hiring managers and other groups of individuals who use shared mailboxes. In the Google Groups forum, team members can read and track messages, reply to posts, take topics, assign topics to other group members, tag topics to categorize them, mark topics as completed, mark topics as no action needed, and more. Group members can save time and avoid duplicating efforts by managing and organizing topics in the forum view. For convenience, they can also receive messages and replies to the group in their Gmail inbox. For more information on Collaborative Inbox and the other Google Group types, check out our previous post on Best Practices in Google Groups.
5. Embed a Calendar in Google Sites
If you use Google Sites for creating a company intranet or for managing projects, you may want to consider embedding a calendar into the site to display your upcoming events. Your intranet could include a calendar, so employees can quickly check out important upcoming events, company-paid holidays, pay days, and so forth. Your project site could include a calendar to display timelines, deadlines, tasks and more. A calendar on a project site is a great way to display project milestones to team members as well as clients.
You could even embed a calendar in a Google Site and make it public on the web, so individuals outside your company can view your scheduled events and recognize availability of things like rooms or resources. For example, if you allow people outside your company to book rooms or resources, you can embed a Google Form into a site right next to a Google Calendar, and allow others to request reservations via your form, for specific dates that appear to be available on your calendar.
6. Include a Google Form in the Email Body
Google Forms are a quick way to collect data from individuals inside or outside your organization. For example, you can send a form to gather feedback on services, or collect menu selections when planning an event. Why not make it easier for individuals to respond to your form by including the form directly in the body of an email? This will encourage others to respond more quickly since they won’t have the extra step of clicking on the link to access the form.
After creating your form, click Send form in the top, right corner of the Form. Next, add email addresses and check the box next to “Include form in email.” The form appears when recipients open the email, where they can mark answers and click submit. Form responses are received in real-time, so you can start analyzing the data immediately. For more information on Forms, check out our previous post, How to get the most out of the new Google Forms.
7. Turn an Email into a Task
Google Tasks allows you to keep track of your own to-do lists, as well as items that others have delegated to you. You can create additional task lists for different projects, add due dates and notes to tasks, mark tasks as complete, and email a task list to someone. Additionally, you can turn an email into a task in just a few clicks. So, the next time you receive an email that includes a to-do item(s), select the email and click on the More menu above your mail list. Choose "Add to Tasks" and a task will be added to your task list. The subject of the email will be the name of the task, and a link to the email is included with the task so you can quickly reference the email at a later time.
8. Create Filters in Google Mail
Filters save you time because they can automatically take action on emails that match a specific criteria as they flow into your mailbox. For example, you can create filters to automatically archive messages from a specific sender, star messages from your boss, or apply a label to messages with certain keywords. Check out our previous post to learn How to use filters in Google Mail.
9. Download Drive for Mac/PC
When you download and install Google Drive for PC/Mac on your computer, a Google Drive folder is added to your computer. There is a two-way sync between this folder and your Google Drive on the web, so you can open or organize the contents saved in Google Drive right from your computer. A great time-saving benefit of Google Drive for PC/Mac is the ability to sync files to your online account by simply saving the file or moving the file to your Google Drive folder on your computer. After doing so, your important files are accessible on any device - your computer, tablet or mobile phone - where you sign in to your account.
To get started, sign in to Google Drive on the web and click on “Connect Drive to you desktop” in the left sidebar. Next, select theDownload Drive for Mac/PC button and follow the steps to begin syncing your important files so they are saved securely in the cloud in Google Drive.
10. Share a Folder in Google Drive
If you need to share several files with the same group of colleagues, don’t spend the time sharing each document with each person. Instead, create a shared folder for your team. You can move files into the folder and share the folder with individuals who need access to its contents. To do so, select the down-arrow next to the folder and choose Share. Just as with sharing of documents, you can choose different visibility options and limit permissions for those individuals or groups you invite to access your folder. The contents of the folder will inherit the sharing permissions you set for the folder.
Kahoot is a new service for delivering online quizzes and surveys to your students. The premise of Kahoot is similar to that of Socrative and Infuse Learning. On Kahoot you create a quiz or survey that your students respond to through any device that has a web browser (iPad, Android device, Chromebook). Your Kahoot questions can include pictures and videos.
As the teacher you can control the pace of the Kahoot quiz or survey by imposing a time limit for each question. As students answer questions they are awarded points for correct answers and the timeliness of their answers. A scoreboard is displayed on the teacher's screen.
Applications for Education
Students do not need to have a Kahoot account in order to participate in your activities. To participate they simply have to visit Kahoot.it then enter the PIN code that you give to them to join the activity. Using Kahoot, like Socrative and Infuse Learning, could be a good and fun way to conduct review sessions in your classroom. Using Kahoot could also be a good way to gather informal feedback from your students.