Testing New Tools for Doing Good Work

Archive for the ‘Teaching’ Category

Evernote: A 0-to-60 MPH Guide

In All Platforms, Cloud, Strategy, Teaching on 09/24/2012 at 8:50 am

Evernote really can help you remember just about everything.

Evernote is so flexible and valuable you’ll wonder why it took so long to hear about it. Between my phone, my work computer, my personal laptop, and increasingly on an iPad, Evernote helps me keep track of all kinds of things. I use it to track work projects, save recipes and software tips, save (and search for words in) pictures of labels on products I want to remember, to-do lists, voice memos, and a lot lot more.

Evernote is many things to many people because it’s so powerful. But for the same reason, Evernote’s purpose is vague enough that it can be hard to get started with it. First, you have to figure out what it can do for you. Here’s a guide to how to think about Evernote, so you can get better at using it.

This paragraph from Jon Mitchell’s Evernote: A 0-to-60 MPH Guide at ReadWriteWeb above is as good a quick intro as you’ll find. There’s much more about using Evernote in schools and in higher education. Evernote has their own page full of resources for using it in education.



Why Reducing Faculty Stress Should Be An Explicit Goal of Academic IT | Inside Higher Ed

In Administration, Teaching on 09/19/2012 at 10:07 am

image courtesy InsideHigherEd.com
Joshua Kim:

When given the right tools, and the right incentive structures, our faculty are our best champions for innovating around teaching and learning.  Faculty will seek out new ways to utilize technology to better reach their teaching and research goals. 

We should think twice about rolling out new applications and new platforms, but rather focus on the conditions that support experimentation and continuous improvement.   

Paying more attention to our faculty partners state of mind, to the degree to which the the campus technology in which we touch is stressing them out, just might be the right place to focus our efforts on promoting innovation.

The emotional aspect of technology is far too often ignored, by edtech people, by faculty – by too many people. When you’re used to a given set of tools to do your work, and then you’re told to change tools and given little or no training and support, that would cause anyone stress, whether the tool is a new type of welding gun, presentation application, or a tablet. It takes time and a period of trial and error to learn how to use a new tool, and when the stakes are high that only makes it harder.

via Why Reducing Faculty Stress Should Be An Explicit Goal of Academic IT | Inside Higher Ed.

How to create read-only PDFs in OS X | Macworld

In Mac Desktop, Teaching on 07/16/2012 at 9:54 am

Lock PDF files in OS X
How to create read-only PDFs in OS X | Macworld.

Macworld, in a quick video, explains how to make your PDFs secure with the built-in tools in OS X’s Print dialog box. If you can print it, you can make an uneditable, even an unprintable PDF right from your desktop. Think of the uses….

Icon images courtesy Dermalog (PDF icon) and IconArchive (lock icon).

The MacSparky Paperless Field Guide

In iBooks Author, iPad, Strategy, Teaching on 05/11/2012 at 3:39 pm

David Sparks is an attorney and a leading Mac podcaster, co-hosting the Mac Power Users podcast with Katie Floyd on the 5by5 network. (Yes, that’s a lot of nerdy name-dropping, which is sort of the point of blogs. Work with me.)

David is a good explainer of how to do things with technology. He published two books last year, Mac at Work and iPad at Work. I have Mac at Work and it’s a great resource.

Paperless is unique though, and earns this ALT Blog pointer, because it’s sold only through iTunes and is readable only on the iPad. He produced it with Apple’s iBooks Author. Here’s his own description:

The book is a deep dive on paperless workflows for the Mac, iPad, and iPhone. It takes full advantage of iBooks Author and includes picture galleries, interactive images, movies, 32 screencasts, and nearly 27,000 words. There is over an hour and a half of video. Not only does this book tell you how to go paperless, it also shows you.

And here’s an excerpt from one of the reviews on the iTunes store:

[T]he book is beautiful. I think it serves as a model of how ebooks should evolve over the next couple of years. And I say this even though I am very much a bibliophile. The integration of text and screencasts and graphics of various kinds is very effective.

I post this link, even though I haven’t even bought it yet, because I believe he’s earned his reputation as a knowledgeable and trustworthy tech coach, and because I want to see what someone like that can do with iBooks Author, and I thought you’d want to see it as well.

I’m buying my copy this weekend, and I hope to post a review soon.

MacSparky – Blog – My New Book: The MacSparky Paperless Field Guide.

ESPI at work: The power of Keynote | Edenspiekermann

In Mac Desktop, Presenting, Teaching on 03/28/2012 at 9:45 am

The power of Keynote for more than presentations

You probably don’t think of yourself as a designer. You may think of yourself as a teacher or professor or an administrator, or perhaps some combination of those. Think about it though: if you ever use PowerPoint, or Word Art, or if you create anything else that requires visual elements that are more than plain text, that makes you, in that role at that moment, a designer. You are a designer. So, Designer Person, how would you like a tool set that makes that easier and more intuitive and so so much better looking?

I thought so.

If you’ve switched to using a Mac, you have access to that tool set in Keynote. The post I link to here is written by a web designer who describes his switch from the complexity of Photoshop and the rest of the Adobe Creative Suite to the relative ease of Keynote for many kinds of design work, from layouts and graphics for presentations to interfaces for desktop and mobile apps. Keynote makes better use of imported and embedded objects and can output or export to more formats that are more useful in more situations. And if all you do want to do is make presentations, after your initial moving-from-PowerPoint adjustment period, you will slap your own face at how great your work has become. Read this post and take a long look at Keynote. You’ll be glad.

ESPI at work: The power of Keynote | Edenspiekermann.

Via Daring Fireball.

iBooks 2—much more than meets the eye? | Tapity

In Mac Desktop, Strategy, Teaching on 03/23/2012 at 1:41 pm

iBooks Author

App developer Tapity posted this on their blog a few days ago. Tapity developed the Grades 2 iPhone app, which “shows students what they need to score on their upcoming assignments, tests, and finals in order to get the grade they want” and which earned Tapity an Apple Design Award last year.

Here Tapity thinks aloud about what the iBooks Author app means outside the world of textbooks. Thoughtful:

iBooks can compete with all published books, and anyone can be an author and a publisher at virtually no cost. Whoah. No publisher in between author and customer. Whoah. Did you get that?

In our view, iBooks 2 + iBooks Author + iBookstore = a new Wild West of publishing. And not only that, with interactive widgets, iBooks can also be a much less expensive way to create certain kinds of iPad applications, particularly ones that are primarily about presenting content. And not only that, iBooks could become a platform for publishing all kinds of other highly-interactive crazy stuff, from fancy ads to annual reports to digital album extras to college course catalogs to user’s manuals to movie promos to…you get the idea.

I can see students doing reports, even theses and dissertations (eventually), with this tool. I can also see this as a viable presentation software. Oh Apple, what don’t you disrupt?

via Shawn Blanc.

Rob Weir: YouTube to the Rescue | Inside Higher Ed

In Strategy, Teaching on 03/22/2012 at 9:16 am

YouTube can work wonders in a classroom
Rob Weir, at Inside Higher Ed’s Instant Mentor Blog:

Professors are in the decoding business; we teach students textual analysis, the application of theorem and theories, how to evaluate ideas, how to synthesize, etc. To this list add visual literacy. It’s too often a buzz phrase in education, but it doesn’t change the fact that professors are uniquely positioned to show students how to think about images, production values, and message manipulation in sophisticated ways. It’s rather sobering to see how much students are amazed when we take a video and begin to deconstruct it for embedded messages.

Weir provides more than tips for linking to YouTube in presentations. He suggests teaching strategies and even how YouTube led him to start making his own videos. Read the entire essay YouTube to the Rescue.