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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Two Tools for Turning Outlines Into Mind Maps

Some students prefer to see ideas organized in an outline style while others see large concepts better when they're in a mind map format. Text 2 Mind Map and MindMeister's Google Docs Add-on bridge the gap between the outline format and the mind map format. Both tools allow you to type an outline then see that outline turned into a mind map.

To create a mind map on Text 2 Mind Map type out an outline in the text box. After typing your outline click "draw mind map" to have your mind map created for you. If after creating your mind map you need to add more elements to just add them into your outline and click "draw mind map" again. Your mind map can be downloaded as a PDF or PNG file. The mind maps that you create on Text 2 Mind Map can also be shared via email, Facebook, or Twitter.

To create a mind map with MindMeister's Google Docs Add-on create a bullet point list in your document. Highlight your list then select the MindMeister Add-on and click "insert as mind map." A mind map will then be generated based on your list. There are a couple of tips to note about MindMeister's Add-on. First, you cannot edit the position of cells in the mind map. Second, you must use bullet points or number lists generated by the list menus in Google Docs. I tried just selecting a list without the bullet points and MindMeister didn't create a mind map for me.

Tagboard - Follow Hashtags from Multiple Networks in One Place

Tagboard is one of the tools that we looked at today in my NCTIES15 workshop about blogs and social media. Tagboard is a free tool that allows you to enter any hashtag like #NCTIES15 and view all of the Tweets, Instagram pictures, Facebook posts, Google+ posts, and Vine posts associated with that hashtag. All of the posts are displayed in a bulletin board/ grid display. You can reTweet and or reply to messages while viewing Tagboard, provided that you are signed into your Twitter account.

Applications for Education
One of the things that I always mention in my talk about online personal learning networks is that you don't have to always be connected in order to benefit from having an online PLN. You can check in for fifteen to thirty minutes per day during the commercial breaks of your favorite television show and glean a lot of useful information in that time. A tool like Tagboard could enable to you catch up even faster because you will see more messages in the same amount of screen space. You can also participate in multiple social networks from the same screen while using Tagboard.

Bullet Points on Blogging and A Guide to Using Blogger in School

Today at the NCTIES15 conference I facilitated a workshop on blogs and social media for teachers and school leaders. The workshop was similar in content to the online course of the same name that I offer. The opening slides from the workshop (all five of them) are embedded below along with a PDF about using Blogger in school.


How to See The Way a Webpage Used to Look

The Internet Archive: Wayback Machine is a good tool to use when you want to see how a webpage used to look. This is helpful when you want to verify the citation of a webpage in an academic work. Using the Wayback Machine is also a good way to verify that a website was working at a previous point in time. In the video embedded below I provide a short overview of how the Wayback Machine works.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Tozzl - Create a Multifaceted Message Board

Tozzl is a message board platform that I just learned about this afternoon when its lead developer emailed me. My initial thought was, "I don't know that the world needs another message board tool." But as I explored it a bit I changed my mind.

Tozzl allows you to quickly create private, password-protected message boards as well as public boards. To get started visit Tozzl and select "create a new Tozzl." Then you can name your message board and set a privacy password (optional). Tozzl assigns a new, unique URL to each message board. On your message board you can add sections for chat, file sharing, to-do lists, and YouTube videos. You can also import the feed of a Twitter hashtag. In my demo board available here you will see that I imported #NCTIES15.

Applications for Education
The many facets of Tozzl open it up to a bunch of possible classroom uses. You could use it simply as a backchannel tool in which students ask questions through the course of a lesson. You could have students use it as a project management tool when they're working in groups. Tozzl message boards also have the potential to be used for simply distributing digital handouts and videos to your students.

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