Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Collaboratively Annotate PDFs on Your iPad

On Sunday I ran a post about using Crocodoc to collaboratively annotate PDFs online. One aspect of Crocodoc that I forgot to mention is that it uses HTML5 which means that it will work on iPads. I was reminded of this aspect today when TechCrunch ran a story announcing Crocodoc's newest features for app developers. Try the personal version of Crocodoc here.

Applications for Education
As I wrote on Sunday, Crocodoc could be very useful for students to use for peer editing activities. In the comments of my Sunday post Maru Busico-Flight shared the idea of using Crocodoc to grade and comment on  her students papers then return them online.

Month in Review - April's Most Popular Posts

A new month has started but that doesn't mean we can't take a quick look back at the month of April. As I do every month I've compiled a list of the month's ten most read posts.

Here are the most popular posts from April 2012:
1. Google Docs for Teachers - A Free eBook
2. How to Print Posters Using a Standard Printer
3. Snapify - A Tool to Quickly Find Definitions and Related Websites
4. Three Questions to Consider Before We All Flip
5. QR Codes Explained and Ideas for Classroom Use
6. File Sharing Just Got Easier Through Dropbox
7. 7 Services for Sending Group Texts to Parents and Students
8. An Idea for Instagram in Education
9. Google Drive - Store Files, Share Files, and Talk About Them
10. Pinball - Tools for Organizing Ideas

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Tinker in 3D with Tinkercad

Last month I wrote about 3D Tin which allows you to build 3D models within your web browser. Over the weekend, through Kevin Jarrett, I learned about Tinkercad which does much of the same. I gave Tinkercad a try this morning and found it very easy to use because of the clear how-to lessons that Tinkercad provides to get you started. Tinkercad is also easy to use because the editing options are limited compared to what 3D Tin offers. Tinkercad provides pre-made pieces that you can assemble to build a model. You can also select a model from the public gallery and edit it in your Tinkercad account. If you create a free Tinkercad account you can save your work online. The video below provides a great introduction to Tinkercad.

Applications for Education
If I was going to introduce a new 3D modeling tool to students I would probably start with Tinkercad because it is so easy to start using compared to 3D Tin. Then if my students needed a modeling program that had more options, I would move them on to 3D Tin. Both modeling programs allow for 3D printing of the models your students design.

Both 3D Tin and Tinkercad will only function correctly in Google Chrome and the latest versions of Firefox. They will not function correctly in Safari or Internet Explorere. 

Follow Along on a Mount Everest Expedition

One of last week's most popular posts was 7 Resources for Teaching and Learning About Mount Everest. A couple of days ago I discovered that National Geographic and North Face are sponsoring a team of climbers who are posting daily pictures, videos, and blog posts from Mount Everest.  Dispatches from the Roof of the World is being led by Conrad Anker who is the climber that found George Mallory's body on Everest in 1999.

For an inspirational look at climbing Mount Everest, it's hard to beat Farther Than the Eye Can See. Farther Than the Eye Can See is the story of blind mountaineer Erik Weihenmayer's climb of Mount Everest. A preview of the film is embedded below.

So You Wanna Be a Leader?

Over the last year or so I've had a lot of requests for guidance on how to monetize a blog, how to get consulting work, and how to reach a larger audience. I wasn't alone in getting asked these kind of questions. My friends Angela Maiers and Chris Dawson get the same kind of questions too. So we got together and decided to create a four week course in which we share how we have built our small businesses through writing and speaking.

A Bit of My Story
When I started Free Technology for Teachers I did not have any idea that it would grow into the small business that it has. After about a year of blogging two things happened that made me try to make a little money through ad revenue. I saw a video in which Robert Scoble interviewed Pete Cashmore about the origins of Mashable. While watching that video, I realized that it is possible to make money through blogging. Second, and probably more importantly, I was struggling to pay the bills on my teaching salary alone (that year my salary was under $28k). My options were to get a part-time job or try putting advertisements on my blog. I tried advertisements and the rest, as they say, is history.

More About the Course
In this four week course, So You Wanna Be a Leader? we'll walk you through how to create your personal brand, expand your influence, market your skills and personal brand, and finally how to handle the logistics of your new small business. Throughout the course we'll share the lessons we've learned the hard way so that you can avoid making the same mistakes. And section of the course has clear action items to get you started on the road to building, expanding, and marketing your personal brand. You can see the course outline here.

So You Wanna Be a Leader? is not a free course. I realize that marks a stark shift from everything else I've offered through Free Technology for Teachers over the last five years. The reasons that we're charging for participation in the course is that we're sharing knowledge and experience that you can take and use to make money for yourself. In fact, if you do carry through with building your own small business, your course tuition could be a tax deduction (consult your tax professional). And just like when I go to speak at a school or conference I'm paid for my time.

If you want to learn how to create your personal brand, expand your influence, and make some money for your efforts, So You Wanna Be a Leader? is for you.

Free Technology for Teachers Is Not Changing
Free Technology for Teachers is not changing one bit because of this course offering. I will still be publishing five or more blog posts every weekday. And I will still be working to publish new free ebooks. An update to Google Docs for Teachers is in my to-do list right now.