Friday, January 11, 2019

5 Alternatives to Google Keep for Task Management

Last weekend I received an email from a reader named Shayne who had experienced a problem with Google Keep notes randomly disappearing. Shayne's research indicated that other people had the same problem. So if you're someone who has run into glitches with Google Keep, here are some other task management tools that you might consider trying.

Wunderlist is a task management service that will synch across all of the devices that you use. Creating task lists in Wunderlist is an intuitive process. Just click the "create list" link or 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 made collaborative by sharing them with other Wunderlist users.

As reviewed earlier this week, Taskade is a task management tool for individuals and teams who need tools for communicating with each other about their tasks. When you create a list in Taskade you can set a deadline for each item within the list. Files can be attached to each item in the list. And you can write comments on each item in the list. If you invite others to view a list, they can comment on list items too. Taskade users who are working in teams might enjoy the options to be notified whenever a team member updates a list. There is also an integrated text, voice, and video chat that you can use to communicate with team members about list items.

Randomly Remind Me is another task management tool that I reviewed earlier this week. Randomly Remind Me is only available on Android devices. It does not have any collaboration features. It's simply a good app for setting reminders for yourself to complete a list of tasks. My full review of Randomly Remind Me is available here.

Flask is a simple tool for making to-do lists and sharing them with others. To create a to-do list on Flask just go to the site and start writing your list. You don't have to create an account to use Flask. Unique URLs are assigned to each list that you create. To share your lists click the share button to send the link to your list to others. Watch my new video for an overview of how to use Flask to manage task lists.


OneNote has a task list function that you can use. While I enjoy using OneNote for bookmarks and sharing of notes, I don't find the task list function to be as user-friendly as some of the other tools on this list. That said, it could be the option for you if you're already a OneNote user and you don't want to add another app and corresponding account to your phone.

Bonus Option:
Use a paper notebook and pen. That's what I do every morning. The really important tasks then get copied into Google Keep on my phone.

How to Show a Portion of a Video in Google Slides

It's easy to insert a YouTube video into your Google Slides presentations. If YouTube is blocked in your school you can insert a video from Google Drive into your Google Slides instead. Both of those things can be done from the "insert" drop-down menu in Google Slides. But what is often overlooked is the option to specify which portion of a video you want to display in your slides. That can be done from the "format" menu that appears after you have inserted a video into a slide. Watch my new video to learn how to add a video to Google Slides and how to specify which portion of it should be displayed.

How to Display the Same Event on Multiple Google Calendars

On Thursday morning Amira asked me, "do you happen to know if you can copy an event on multiple calendars on Google Calendar?" My answer to her question was, "yes, you can." In the following video I demonstrate how to display the same event on multiple Google Calendars.


There are lots of reasons why you might need to copy the same event to multiple Google Calendars. In the example in the video I had one calendar for members of a school basketball team and one calendar for school-wide sporting events. Some, but not all, of the events for the team members calendar were also relevant for the school-wide sports events calendar. You might find yourself teaching multiple sections of a course and rather than re-writing events on each calendar, you could just copy to all of the calendars and modify as needed.

Learn more about Google Calendar in my on-demand webinar Get Organized With Google Classroom, Calendar, and Keep

Thursday, January 10, 2019

In Case You Forgot That Someone Is Always Watching...

From the pages of "Google knows when you are sleeping" comes Google's latest search feature. Google has launched new activity cards for mobile search users. These new activity cards will appear at the top of your search page. The cards will suggest pages to you based on the last searches that you conducted. Google says the idea behind this new feature is to help people resume a previous search or retrace the steps of a previous search. You will be able to save and add links to your activity cards.

The new search cards in the Google mobile app and in the mobile version of Chrome should start appearing today for users in the United States. According to Google's announcement, you will be able to remove items from the activity cards and or completely turn-off the activity cards feature.

Applications for Education
I have mixed feelings about this new feature. On one hand, it could help students continue the momentum of a good search session. On the other hand, it has the potential to skew students' search results or serve them results that are influenced by past searches when what they really need is to start from scratch. Of course, it can be argued that Google already does that.

Ten Awesome Updates to Microsoft's Learning Tools

Microsoft's free Learning Tools keep getting better. This week Microsoft announced ten updates that are either available now or will be available soon to Word and OneNote users. And if you're not currently using Word or OneNote some of these updates just might make you give Word and OneNote a try. Here are some of the highlights of the updates announced this week.

More Implementations and Options for Immersive Reader
Immersive Reader is a fantastic tool that greatly improves the accessibility of documents and notes. You can watch my short introductions to it here and here. For 2019 Immersive Reader will have the following new options:
  • Microsoft Translator features are being added to Immersive Reader. This means that you will not only be able to hear pages read aloud while words are highlighted, you'll also be able to hear and read those pages in multiple languages.
  • Immersive Reader + Math Assistant = reading aloud the steps to completing a mathematics problem. This feature will be available in OneNote for Windows and OneNote online.
  • Immersive Reader + Math + Word = Immersive Reader reading aloud math problems that appear in Word documents.
  • IT administrators will now be able to push out the Immersive Reader app from the Microsoft Store. This applies to the OneNote 2016 Learning Tools add-in. 
Dictation and Dictionaries
In addition to Immersive Reader, Microsoft's Learning Tools include some excellent dictation and dictionary functions for students. Here are the highlights of what's available in 2019:
  • The dictation function is now available to all OneNote Online users.
  • Dictation in the online version of Word will be completely rolled-out by February.
  • Parts of speech and image picture dictionaries will be available in Korean, Arabic, and Hebrew. These options will be available in Word Online, OneNote Online, Windows 10 app, iPad and Mac, Outlook Online, Teams and Flipgrid. 
Read the complete list of ten updates with illustrations of the new features right here