Sunday, February 24, 2013

Streamline Your Life! Productivity Apps by Android

Every educator has too many tasks, not enough time and is pulled in a million directions. Here is a quick run-down of my favorite apps to use with my Sony Xperiatablet (or other Android-enabled device) to streamline life, while still staying effective.

Evernote - Take notes on your tablet, add pictures, audio recordings or attachments quickly to your notes, along with sharing “notebooks” to collaboratively edit; also has a complimentary website

Dropbox - Save files of any type to access anywhere and easily share folders. The advantage to using Dropbox is that all types of files can be saved in one simple place; also has a complimentary website

Chrome Browser - One of my favorites: Sync tabs across devices to access your tabs from anywhere, anytime on any device

Remember the Milk - Task management and list-making that syncs across devices and has a complimentary website. You can share tasks with others, categorize easily, set quick due dates, priority levels and more

Power Note - Allows you to take notes, audio recordings, photo, video or bookmarksand sync them all with your Diigo account. Diigo is an excellent social bookmarking tool, and one thing I really like about Power Note is that the default setting is that anything added is private. You can choose at any time to make is public, but it’s great for confidential notes from meetings.

Flipboard - Combine YOUR favorite news and magazines to create your Flipboard and get all of the information pertinent to your life whenever you want it.

Kindle - This is a great e-reader for multiple reasons: it uses your Amazonlog-in, so it’s one less password to remember, your notes and annotation sync online so you can access those annotations even when you don’t have your tablet, and using your Amazon account allows a lot of other functionalities, like syncing with your Shelfari account, if you use that, as well.

DocuSign Ink - Create a free account and easily sign, initial, date, add checkboxes or more to any type of file and instantly email to back to your intended recipient. Great for times when you don’t have access to a printer or a fax (do faxes still exist?). DocuSign Ink also provides a one-page verification page for your recipient’s assurance that it is a legitimate signature.

  • This post was cross-posted from the resource-building that I do with Sony, Inc., located at - please visit there for more information and great suggestions from other ambassadors across the United States.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Google Apps for Administrators: An Introduction

This post is the first in a monthly series of posts about Google Apps for Education and how it can make an Administrator’s life more efficient, so you spend less time with paperwork and more time in classes, at school activities, and with parents, students and teachers. If you’re not familiar with the power of Google Apps for Education, welcome! Here’s a quick overview:
Here’s a quick outline of what’s to come in this blog:

Google Drive: Learn how I facilitated a Middle School faculty change their paper-based methods of conference-scheduling using Google Spreadsheets. In addition, learn about how Forms are a Principal’s best friend and the Revision History function in Docs can make discipline much, much simpler.

Google Calendar: One calendar. Yes, that’s all you need. One calendar. Learn from my wins and failures in rolling out Google Calendar to one staff and how you can always make sure that you are never (unintentionally) double-booked, or miss an appointment. Integrated with Google+ Hangouts allows you to have all of your resources for any meeting in one place. No more looking for one attachment in your email, the location of the meeting in your calendar and the link to the directions to find the meeting in another spot! Streamline streamline streamline!

Gmail: Gmail is so much more than just mail! Instantly prioritize and filter your emails to your preferences, use Gmail offline and learn about some up-and-coming apps you can use in Gmail through “Labs”.

Google Apps on Tablets: Learn how to leverage the power of Google Apps on your Android-powered tablet and how students can easily use their school- or home-provided on theirs!
Further series entries will include topics, such as:
Maps & Earth

  • This post was cross-posted from the resource-building that I do with Sony, Inc., located at - please visit there for more information and great suggestions from other ambassadors across the United States.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Social Networking for Educators - A Beginner's Guide

I was a Facebook late-comer. I was teaching, I had a family and a life, and if I wanted to “connect” with friends and family, I would pick up the phone or email them. I eventually gave in, joined and it’s moderately useful for me, but the ways I’ve seen it used by other teachers is amazing to me. So, if you’re hesitant about joining a social network, let me break it down for you.

You don’t have to join a social network to leverage its power in the classroom. Try usingFakebook and ask students to create fake Facebook accounts for historical people, authors or fictional characters, complete with “friends”, “life events” and photos, like the following:

But Fakebook isn’t the only way to use Facebook in the classroom. Try creating a page specifically for your classes that provides all of those great extra resources that you just don’t have time to get to in class!

There’s also a social networking tool that is, by far, the most robust in terms of connecting with educators worldwide in meaningful conversations. If it weren’t for this particular social network, I might not have ever known about the job posting that landed me the job of my dreams. Yes, Twitter. Here’s an easy three step way of finding the right people for you to follow and gain resources from:
  • Follow one trusted person that you know is active on Twitter. Then, ask for recommendations from your trusted source for others to follow.
  • Go to CybraryMan’s Educational Hashtags website and search for hashtag(s) (hashtags are number signs, i.e. #, that is followed by a topic that allows anyone to search for common interests) that is of interest to you. If you’re interested in educational technology, search for #edtech and see the great conversation happening.
  • When you find a great website, share it on Twitter with a hashtag to help other educators find it. When it gets retweeted or “favorited”, you’ve just helped another educator learn a little bit more!
Lastly, here is a quick list of awesome educators to follow on Twitter:@web20classroom @coolcatteacher @willrich45 @nmhs_principal @elemenousand some great organizations: @educationweek @discoveryed @smithsonian@weareteachers @hgse
Of course, don't forget to follow the Sony Education Ambassadors, too! 
If you are brand new to all the social networks and you just want to dip your toe gently into the shallow end, try LinkedInLinkedIn allows users to create online resumes with as much, or as little, information as the user chooses. Power users will have their entire work and educational history, recommendations written from those who have worked with them, an on-going Twitter feed along the side of their profile, belong to dozens of groups and be “endorsed” for dozens of skills.
Or, if you’re more interested in getting quick, visual snapshots of other resources, givePinterest a try. Look at the Category, “Education”, or any topic of interest and you will find oodles upon oodles of websites to curate for yourself. Many educational organizations have Pinterest pages, as well. Be warned: it can be addicting.

But for the average user, all of these social networks are ways to create a digital footprint of YOUR choosing. Ultimately, social networking can best be used to control your digital footprint and what is posted about you online. If you are the one who is posting valuable resources on Twitter, or Facebook Group class information, then you begin to manage your own information.

  • This post was cross-posted from the resource-building that I do with Sony, Inc., located at - please visit there for more information and great suggestions from other ambassadors across the United States.