When I first heard about the text-messaging service for educators, Remind101, I had many reservations. My concerns have all been eradicated and Remind101 has become integral in my educational technologies toolbox. This post addresses how Remind101 meets my needs and about a recent update that will no-doubt make the service even more beneficial.
I've been creating some courses around the subject of personal knowledge management (PKM). One aspect of my own lifelong learning system that I didn't address comprehensively in those modules is the subject of podcasts.
Below are the podcasts I find most integral to my PKM system.
This podcast entertains my husband and I each week, as they review the week's news in a light-hearted, humorous way. I look forward to listening to it more than any other podcast I subscribe to…
We started a couple of EdTech groups on our campus last semester. One piece of guidance I gave at the start of almost every gathering was to not to try to implement every good idea that participants heard about, but rather to pick one thing at each meeting that would be of most benefit.
As I think back to our groups' collaboration last semester, here are five ideas that might be a good fit for the one thing to focus on for the Spring 2014:
USE iANNOTATE TO GRADE ON YOUR IPAD
Most of our group members have an iPad. The iAnnotate application comes highly recommended as a good tool for those people who like to “write” on students' papers when giving feedback. I prefer the TurnItIn iPad app, but with that comes the downside of not being able to “write” using a stylus, etc., in giving students input.
LEARN STUDENTS' NAMES AND MORE USING THE ATTENDANCE2 iPHONE APP
The Attendance2 iPhone app is a great way to track attendance, ensure you are engaging more of your students, and to learn students' names faster. It also allows you to import students' names, data, and photos, so you don't have to manually enter information that is already contained elsewhere. Finally, there are reports you can send to students, or to yourself, to keep up with how many times a student has missed and what specific days they were absent.
USE TEXT EXPANSION SOFTWARE TO AUTOMATE COMMON REPLIES
If you're on a Mac, TextExpander is a terrific tool to use to store commonly-used “snippets” of text that you can have automatically typed in, whenever you type a shortcut. When students ask me about how to get a recommendation from me, I just type in a shortcut (VU-rec) and a couple of sentences are entered into my reply to them, along with a link to my web page where I instruct students on how to request a recommendation from me. On a PC, the software that does a great job on text expansion is Breevy.
TURN OFF NOTIFICATIONS
Sometimes, the best boost in productivity we can get is when we shut off the technology. I recently turned off all but a couple notifications that pop up on my iPad and iPhone and I really don't have anything that regularly notifies me of stuff (incoming email, messages, etc.) on my computer. I have a relative who has their phone set to make a noise and vibrate every single time he receives an email. I can only imagine the kinds of distracted thinking that practice leads to… Let's all agree to be less “alone together” this semester.
TRACK YOUR PROGRESS TOWARD GOALS
There is a surge of interest in what is called the quantified self, tracking the small choices we make in our lives, in order to produce big results. My family uses technically-enhanced pedometers called FitBits, which allow us to track our steps and compare our results with each other. Even in my final month of pregnancy, I still find myself motivated to park a little bit further away, or to go for a short walk most days.
My husband has been benefitting from an iPhone app that tracks his daily habits called Lift. My husband, Dave, recently interviewed the founder of Life on his podcast, in case you would like some broader advice on how to create and track effective leadership habits.
Now… it's your turn…
What is your pick for the one thing you're going to implement this semester to make it better than last year?
Jane Hart has released her annual survey of the top 100 tools for learning for 2013. Some of the top tools aren't much of a surprise. Between Google announcing it was no longer going to offer their Google reader product (which allowed people to subscribe to different blogs/feeds in one place) and more people wanting to avoid having a bunch more things to keep up with, it isn't surprising that Twitter is once again on top of the list. I've stayed with my newsreader service, called Newsify, though I now subscribe to RSS feeds via a free, online tool called Feedly (#19 on the list).
It isn't surprising to see Evernote so high on the list. They just keep on innovating, making it easier to store and share important information. One of the ways I've been using Evernote lately is to answer students' questions that require a more lengthy response in audio format, from within Evernote. I also have really enjoyed the tight integration that Evernote has with an iPhone app called Drafts, which completely does a 180 on how you think about capturing a thought or a note. With most apps (including email), you start with where to save whatever it is you're typing, or who to send that email or text message to… With Drafts, you start by capturing the thought/idea, and then decide what to do with it.
One of the simple ways I'm using Drafts is to compose and send an email, when I don't want to be distracted by other emails that might have come in to my inbox since I was last on email. It also offers a quick way of sending a text message (far faster than the built-in iPhone messaging app), as well as a speedy way of appending or prepending some text to an existing Evernote note.