Friday, February 1, 2013

5 Good Task Managements Services for Teachers and Students

This afternoon I was looking at a web-based to-do list service and I was about to write a review of it when I realized that it wouldn't function well on my iPad. The way that we work today requires that our to-do lists and task management services be accessible from whichever device we're using at the time. Here are five to-do list and task management tools that work on the web, on Android devices, and on iOS devices.

Astrid is a to-do list management service that functions on the web, on Android devices, and on iOS devices. To get started using Astrid you can register with a Google account, Facebook account, or you can register for an Astrid account. Once you're registered you can start creating lists of tasks to complete. Astrid provides four default list categories but you can add more if you like. Each task that you enter can be assigned a due date. Astrid can be used collaboratively. If so desire you can share your task lists with others in Astrid.

 Todoist is a task management service that impresses me with its clean design and intuitive user interface. Todoist on the web makes it easy to create to-do lists in chronological order or in order of priority. One of the features that I think a lot of people will like is its synchronization with Outlook and Gmail. This synchronization makes it easy to set reminders to follow-up on emails. Todoist allows you to share your lists with others so that you can divide the work load of group projects. Todoist offers Android and iOS apps that provide a variety of ways to manage your to-do lists anywhere that you go.

Fetchnotes is a neat service for creating and keeping notes online. Fetchnotes uses an interface for creating and sharing notes that will feel familiar to Twitter users. When you write a note, just use a hashtag to label your note. Then whenever you want to search for a note just enter a hashtag. For example, if I was a student taking notes in a history course I might use the hashtag "#revolution" for all notes related to revolutions. Then I could go back and read all of my notes about revolution by just searching for that hashtag. When you want to share a note with someone in your contacts you can do so by just putting "@" before the person's name. Fetchnotes works on the web and offers Android and iOS apps.

Any.DO is a slick collaborative task management tool that initially launched as an Android app. Any.DO now offers iOS and Chrome apps too. Any.DO is designed for creating to-do lists and sharing them with your friends and colleagues. On Any.DO you can type out a list of tasks or enter tasks by speaking into your phone. Once you've entered your task you can assign it to a day and time for completion. After assigning a completion deadline you can share that task with anyone in your contacts list even that person doesn't have the Any.DO app installed on his or her phone. Any.DO also gives you the option to attach notes to your tasks, set reminders for your tasks, and put notes into folders that you've created.

Wunderlist is a free task management service that syncs across all of the devices that you use. Wunderlist works the same way on iOS, Android, and in your web browser. Creating task lists in Wunderlist is an intuitive process. Just click the "new list" button and start typing out your list of things to do. You can create as many lists as you like within your account. You could create a list of things to do at home and things to do at school. Or you could create lists for the week, the month, and the year. You can set a due date for each task in all of your lists. All lists can be shared if you would like others to access them.

FREE Webinar - 10 Easy Ways to Participate in Digital Learning Day 2013

Next Tuesday I will be a guest on a free webinar hosted by Pearson's Online Learning Exchange. The webinar is titled Ten Easy Ways to Participate in Digital Learning Day. The copy below was written by the OLE team. I'd never call myself a "guru."

Pearson's Online Learning Exchange is celebrating this year’s Digital Learning Day with Ed Tech guru Richard Byrne, author of the 2012 Edublogs, Best Ed Tech Blog award-winning website, Free Technology for Teachers. Richard will share 10 easy ways for you and your students to participate in this year’s Digital Learning Day event.

Learn how to host your own student TED Talks, how to search for quality digital educational content, how to share your knowledge with your community of peers and much more. Use these ideas to create authentic learning experiences and prepare your students to become productive global citizens in the 21st century.

Don't miss out on this opportunity to hear from one of the most prominent professional's in education technology. To learn more about this FREE webinar visit

Event Details 
Who: All K-12 Teachers When: Tuesday, February 5th, 3:00-4:00 MST
Where: Register at
Goodies: All webinar attendees will receive a snazzy certificate of attendance as well as a Free 30-day trial of Pearson’s Online Learning Exchange. One lucky attendee will receive a year-long Online Learning Exchange subscription for their entire school!

200+ MOOCs and Free Online Certificate Programs

It seems like every day a new MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) comes online. Some of these courses offer "certificates of satisfactory completion" or similar recognition while others do not.  To help you find a MOOC that interests you and or your students Open Culture has created a list of more than 200 MOOCs and free certificate programs.

Stephen Downes also has a nice MOOC listing going on his page. 

Applications for Education
Some MOOCs, like this biology course through Harvard and MIT's EDX program, can provide a good challenge to high school students who have the interest and initiative to complete it. I'm not aware of any high schools that are doing this yet, but it seems like it's only a matter of time before some high schools start awarding some type of recognition or credit to students who earn a certificate of completion from a course through EDX and similar programs.

Inspire Students Through a Google+ Hangout With an X-Men Editor

In three weeks the Purple Feet Foundation, a non-profit whose purpose is to spark students' interests in career options, is hosting a Google+ Hangout with Nick Lowe. Nick Lowe is the Senior Editor of the X-Men titles at Marvel Comics. The Hangout will happen at 1pm ET on February 22. You can register for the event here. Learn more about the hangout and Nick Lowe in the flyer embedded below.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

A New Crash Course in U.S. History

At about this time last year John Green launched Crash Course World History. That video series now contains 42 short video lessons on World History.

Today, John Green launched a new Crash Course series. This one is all about U.S. History. The first video in the Crash Course U.S. History series is now up on YouTube. I've embedded it below. The series starts before Europeans arrived in North America.

Applications for Education
The fast pace of the Crash Course videos makes them better suited to being reviews or introductions to topics rather than a replacement for lectures and documentary videos. Green definitely puts a bit of his own bias into some of the videos. You may want to discuss that with your students. Green also occasionally makes some remarks that border on PG-13 so keep that in mind before playing the videos in front of a classroom of middle school students.