Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Soon Offline Access Will Be the Default Setting for Google Docs and Slides

For a few years now Google Docs users have been able to sync their accounts for offline use. Over the last few years offline access has been added for Slides and Sheets too. All that said, the process for enabling offline access was a bit tricky for some users (directions are available here). Fortunately, Google has just announced that using Docs, Slides, and Sheets offline is about to become a lot easier.

Over the next couple of weeks offline access will become the default setting for folks who sign into Chrome on the web and visit Drive, Docs, Sheets, or Slides. Bear in mind that you have to sign into Chrome. If you're using a public or shared computer, you probably don't want to sign into Chrome on that computer so that you can avoid accidentally granting access to your Docs, Slides, or Spreadsheets.

Google Apps for Education users should note that their domain administrators can still disable offline access from the domain administration panel.

123D Circuits - Design and Test Electric Circuits Online

123D Circuits is a free tool from Autodesk for collaboratively designing electronic circuits online. On 123D Circuits you can design your circuits and test them on the simulator in your browser. You can create circuits from scratch or use and modify templates and other publicly shared projects.

Autodesk recently published a short playlist of videos containing demonstrations of how to use 123D Circuits for various tasks. Short engineering lessons are included in the second half of the videos. Embedded below is one of the videos about designing a circuit to light an LED.

Applications for Education
123D Circuits could be a great tool for students to use to design and test circuits before moving on to creating them with real components in your classroom.

Click here for seven other resources you can use to teach students about electricity and circuits.

Highbrow Delivers Short Courses to Your Inbox

Highbrow is a new service that delivers short courses to your email inbox. The idea behind Highbrow is to provide you with one short (5-10 minutes) lesson per day for your chosen course. Lessons are delivered in the form of videos, images, and text. Courses contain 10 to 20 lessons.

Applications for Education
Highbrow allows you to create your own courses that people can subscribe to. Using Highbrow might be a good way to deliver to students a course on studying habits, test-taking skills, or content to supplement your in-person instruction.

How to Use Twine to Write Choose Your Own Adventure Stories

Last week I wrote a post comparing three platforms for writing choose your own adventure stories. In that post I featured an open-source program called Twine. In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to write choose your own adventure stories on Twine.

Pause Twitter Chats With TChat

One of the complaints about Twitter chats like #edchat that I have often heard and sometimes lodged myself is that the chat moves too quickly. Last night I learned from Todd Bloch that there is a tool that allows you to pause a chat. allows you to enter any hashtag that you want to follow. Through you can follow all of the Tweets associated with a hashtag in real-time or you can hit the pause button if things are going too quickly for you. You can also tell to ignore reTweets for a given hashtag.
Click image to view in full size.

Applications for Education could be a great tool to use if you're new to Twitter chats and you're feeling a bit overwhelmed by the pace of the conversation. It could also be a good tool for folks like me who need a little more time to think about what is being said in the chat before diving into the conversation.