Category Archives: Software

There’s an App for that…

I’ve been spending a lot of time lately scouring the internet and finding some of the best and most functional iPad/iPhone apps for higher education. It is truly remarkable how much some of these apps can do and after trying some, you may find yourself wondering how you were able to function without it. Here are 5 (FREE!) iPad/iPhone apps that both educators and students alike will find to be extremely useful.

Sundry Notes

As one of the most convenient apps for the iPad, Sundry Notes allows users to write text, draw anywhere, research with the internet, import PDFs, images, and documents from Evernote, GoogleDocs and Dropbox, and share notes via Facebook, Twitter, or Google. Make it a multimedia note-taking experience by recording audio.


This app allows users to sync and share files online and across computers. Simply said, yet extremely practical.


This app is highly valued amongst avid iPad users for its effectiveness in organizing everything that one may need to remember. Through notes, recordings and synchronizing with other computers or devices, you won’t forget that deadline again with Evernote.

Offline Pages

Spend a lot of money on your new iPad but don’t feel like forking over extra money each month for internet service? Offline Pages is the app for you. Users can save entire web pages to be reviewed for offline reading when that beloved Wi-Fi is unavailable.


I’ve blogged about TED before, mostly because I just can’t get enough of it. This app offers users access to talks from fascinating people all over the world; from medical marvels to business gurus. There are over 700 TEDTalk videos available, with more constantly being added. Users can create playlists, and select to watch videos when a network connection is unavailable.

And a bonus-GoodReader

Although this app is not free (it costs 99 cents), it is a valuable companion for note taking. Open large PDF files and markup, annotate, highlight, and then share with others. Definitely well worth the 99 cent price tag!

Your New Favorite Web Tool

It’s a pretty well-known fact that college students aren’t exactly “rolling in the dough”, so when it comes to buying software packages like Microsoft Office, it can be a bit of a problem. Instead of trekking through the cold and snow to the library every time Word is needed to write a paper, or PowerPoint to create a presentation, try Microsoft Office Live.

This tool is available to anyone with a Windows Live ID (which is free!). Simply sign up, sign in, and start creating documents in condensed versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. While these applications may be condensed versions, they still offer many of the features that are most often used in the full versions. Another perk to using Microsoft Office Live is that after creating their documents, users are able to save their files to SkyDrive so they can access them anywhere, anytime. Free versions of Office plus a storage space for documents in the cloud? I’m sold, and your students will be too! So save them (and yourself!) some money, time, and stress by utilizing the greatness of Microsoft Office Live.

Workshop Planning

We are starting to plan our workshop schedule for the Spring of 2011 and we want your help. What workshops do you want? We have many content areas that we can present on so let us know what you are interested in by leaving a comment to this post and we will try to accomodate your requests.

Let’s mix things up a bit…

If there is one thing I appreciate as a graduate student, it is the opportunity to get creative with projects. Students get consumed with notes, papers and studying for exams, so when they receive a task where they can get their creative juices flowing, it’s not as much work as it is fun. Try switching things up and give your students the opportunity to get creative with a project.

This is an easy way for you as an educator to incorporate new and exciting technology into your lessons, and into the projects assigned to students. There are a variety of websites that offer free ways for educators and students to create videos or slideshows, so put yourself and your students up to the challenge of using these new programs to spice up presentations and assignments.


Prezi is a web-based tool that allows users to create a presentation using a map layout. They are able to zoom in and out of different images and text to show relationships from an interesting point of view. Prezi can be used as an alternative to PowerPoint, however, design options are limited, users cannot insert clipart, and the presentations are not meant to be printed. View a handout of how to use Prezi here.

Photo Story 3

Photo Story 3 is a free application offered through Windows.  Users are able to upload images into slideshows, add text, audio, and even voice narration. Click here to view a project made with Photo Story 3.


With Animoto, users can create movies using still images complete with music and text. It’s easy to use, and free. Signing up for an education account will increase the length of which the movies can be.  Click here to view a clip of an example movie.

The ways that you can incorporate these programs into your class are endless; students can create advertisements, public service announcements, creative videos, slideshows, presentations for speeches, or they can just be used as an alternative to a PowerPoint presentation. Plus, anytime you incorporate utilizing new technology, students are instantly more attracted and become more involved.  The Instructional Support and Training team offers support for integrating technology, so contact us if you would like to get together and talk more!

Did I Miss Anything?

This is one of my favorite questions from students who have missed class. Many days, I want to answer ‘No, we decided that we couldn’t continue without your presence and invaluable input, so we just waited until your return.’

Missed classes are unavoidable for many students – perhaps they are student athletes, have health issues, are primary caretakers for family members, etc.

Since it’s unrealistic to reenact class each time a student is absent, you might consider class capture as a solution. Class capture allows you to record your class, with the end result being a link to the recording. This link can be shared with students via Blackboard, iTunes, or e-mail, where they can view the recording at their convenience. It also serves as a great review for students who attended class.

ITS has two solutions for class capture:

– Camtasia Relay, which captures both audio and whatever is displayed on the computer screen.

– Echo 360, which captures video of the instructor along with audio and whatever is displayed on the computer screen

For more information about these solutions, visit our Lecture Capture webpage.

The Dog Ate My Homework

Hopefully, by this point in your students’ educational career, the excuses are more creative. In fact, I’d venture to guess that technology is blamed more than unruly pets.

“My computer died. I lost my Flash drive. I e-mailed it to myself, but the e-mail server is down. I saved it on my friend/boyfriend/girlfriend/parent/neighbor’s computer and they are out of town now.” Sound familiar?

While I can’t promise the elimination of excuses, I can offer a solution for your students. eDocs, UIS’ document management system, is available for faculty, staff, and students to store and share files. eDocs is a web-based resource and can be accessed on or off campus, 24/7, from any computer with Internet access. If students would get into the habit of saving their work to eDocs (which ITS backs up nightly), there might be fewer excuses for not submitting work on time.

For more information, please visit our eDocs webpage.