Monday, August 29, 2016

6 Tools That Can Help Students Keep Track of Tasks

Services like and Remind are great for sending reminders about important school and classroom events to parents and students. That said, students shouldn't rely on teachers to remind them of their assignments. These are some of my favorite tools that students can use to keep track of their assignments and other school-related tasks.

Google Calendar has a great "add reminders" feature that works on the Google Calendar mobile apps as well as in the browser-based version. Students who have the mobile apps can If on their iOS or Android devices should see a red "+" button on the calendar. Students just need to tap that button to add a reminder to your calendar. In the browser version of Google Calendar students can click on a block of time on their calendars then select the "reminders" option to schedule a reminder. The reminders should synchronize across all of the devices a student uses while logged into his or her Google Account.

Strike App is a simple to-do list creation and management tool. To use Strike App just title your list of things to do and start typing your list. When you've completed a task just come back and strike it out by clicking on it, dragging it off the screen, or "x-ing" it out. You can share your to-do lists by sending people the link to your list. For those people who like to experiment with different backgrounds and themes, Strike App offers a handful of designs to choose from.

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 in your web browser and offers Android, iOS, and Chrome apps.

Dayboard is a free Google Chrome extension that opens your daily to-do list every time you open a new tab in Chrome. When you open a new tab for the first time Dayboard will appear and ask you to enter your to-do list for the day. After creating your to-do list for the rest of the day whenever you open a new tab you will see your list. You can place a checkmark next to items as you complete them. Dayboard does not require you to create an account, it works offline, and when I installed it it only asked for permission to view activity on the Dayboard website.

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. For example, if I have notes of a personal nature like my grocery shopping list I can put that list into my "personal" folder instead of my "work" folder.

Google Keep can be an excellent to-do list app for Android and Chrome users. You can color code notes, make lists, and share notes. Google Keep includes reminder functions for students too. The videos embedded below illustrate the features of Google Keep.

Khan Academy Adds 21 Free iPad Apps to Their Offerings

In what looks like a clear move to try to reach the elementary school market, Khan Academy has acquired Duck Duck Moose. Duck Duck Moose is the developer of 21 popular iPad apps including ChatterPix, Draw and Tell, and Moose Math. Duck Duck Moose has also published eight Android apps.

ChatterPix and Draw and Tell are great apps for students to use to create animated videos. One of my favorite student-produced videos of the last year was created by Kindergarten students and their teacher using the ChatterPix app. That video is titled A Healthy Meal.

A Healthy Meal, provides a great example of using ChatterPix to create talking images to use in a video. As you can see in the video below, the students used ChatterPix to create talking vegetables and other foods. Those clips were then put together in a video editor (I can't tell for certain, but I'll guess that they were assembled in iMovie or WeVideo). Watch the video below. It just might be the cutest academic video you'll watch this year.

H/T to Danny Nicholson.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Download Your Videos - Knowmia and ScreenChomp Close In Three Days

Earlier this summer TechSmith announced that they were closing some of their free apps that teachers loved. That list includes the whiteboard video creation apps ScreenChomp and Knowmia Teach. On August 31st those apps will stop working. If you have created videos in either of those apps, you'll want to download them ASAP!

Watch this video to learn how to download your Knowmia Teach videos. 

Watch this video to learn how to download your ScreenChomp videos. 

In related news, SnagIt for Chrome is also being discontinued by TechSmith. Fortunately, all of that content should already be automatically stored in your Google Drive account.

Earlier this month I published a list of alternatives to Knowmia, ScreenChomp, and SnagIt for Chrome.

Remind Introduces a New Way to Coordinate Activities

Remind is one of my favorite tools for keeping parents informed about what's happening in your school. Last week Remind released a new feature that could help you organize and keep track of registrations for school events like field trips. The new feature is called activities.

Remind's new activities feature enables you to create activity registrations that are sent through Remind's platform to parents and students. Teachers and or school administrators create the activities and invitations are sent to specified students and or parents. Parents and students can respond through the Remind apps to register for the activity.

Activities created in Remind can be free events or events that require a payment such as for a field trip. If you choose to create an activity that requires a payment, parents can pay through the Remind app. Remind charges a transaction fee for events that require a payment. The transaction fee is paid by the parent in a manner that is similar to buying tickets to a sporting event and having a "convenience fee" tacked on to the purchase. As Audrey Waters pointed out, the transaction fee is clearly part of Remind's plan to move away from reliance on venture capital funding.

Applications for Education
Free events should be fairly easy to create and track in Remind's activities function. There could be plenty of problems enabling the payment option in schools. The people at Remind must be anticipating that because they have published a bunch of resources about managing activities and money collected through the app.

Padlet's Remake Feature Lets You Use & Create Templates

Last week the folks at Padlet introduced their fourth update of the summer. In June they overhauled the user interface and published a best of education gallery. Earlier this month they added a new post attribution feature. And late last week they added a new template copying feature they're calling "remake."

Padlet's new remake feature lets you make a copy of your own Padlet walls as well as those of anyone else who chooses to publish and enable the remake option. When you click on the remake option on a Padlet wall a copy will be created in your account. You can choose to copy all of the posts on a wall or you can choose to copy just the template/ layout of the wall. See the screenshot below for an illustration of the remake options.
Click image for full size.

Applications for Education
Padlet's remake feature could be quite handy when you want to use the same format for a wall, but don't want to reuse the posts on a wall. For example, I often create Padlet walls to use as exit tickets in which I want students to share something they learned that day and to share something that they still have questions about. Rather than recreating a wall for each class, I can now simply click remake and reuse the template across multiple classes.

Check out my playlist of Padlet tutorial videos to learn more about the many features that Padlet offers to teachers and students.