Category Archives: Web App

Create a Webmix to get everything you want whenever you want it!

One of our favorite things to blog about is free new web-based tools that are perfect for higher education (can you tell??). During the school year, it may be difficult to find the time to really check out these free tools and explore how you can use them in your classrooms. So, the summer is the perfect time to take advantage of extra time and look into these tools and see how they can help you in the fall! These next few blog posts will be new free tools we have found that we think you might enjoy, so be sure to follow us the next several weeks for new ideas!

Today, we’re going to talk about SymbalooEDU. This free tool is a “personal learning environment” where students and educators can organize all the websites, information, and other internet items they use the most or want to bookmark in the same place. Your personal learning environment consists of several “webmixes”. Each webmix contains 64 tiles where users can add websites, videos, blogs, and whatever they want the tile to link to.SymbalooEDU is the perfect solution to help students stay organize and manage their time in the most efficient manner. They can create webmixes for each class, for their personal interests, and more. In a single online environment, they have everything they use the most organized at their fingertips!

Keep on the lookout for the SymbalooEDU mobile app which is anticipated to be released soon, and it will shortly collaborate with GlogsterEDU, which will allow users to embed their glogs in their webmixes!

 

A Place to Store your Sounds–and it’s free!

Today we’re sharing SoundCloud, a free web-based tool that allows users to create their own sounds and then share them with others through social media or privately to friends.

Simply choose to upload or record a sound, and then trim your sound or even add it to a series of other sounds to create a set. After creating your sounds, you are able to share them in tons of ways-upload your sounds to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, WordPress, Blogger, email, and more! SoundCloud integrates the ability to create sounds with social media. After creating an account, you are not only able to begin creating and uploading your sounds, but you are able to join groups, follow your friends and other individual people, and share your sounds! Store up to two hours of sound on SoundCloud and access it anywhere—SoundCloud has apps for Apple devices and Android.

This tool is great to integrate into a multimedia project. It’s free, easy to use, and can be accessed anywhere. Try encouraging your students to get creative by adding sound clips or narrations to an ongoing project, a blog, a website, and more. Feel free to contact us if you want to learn more about SoundCloud or ways to integrate this great tool into your class!

The Best Ways to Get Creative on your iPad!

We have spent a lot of time on our blog sharing iPad/iPhone apps that are great for higher education and for use in the classroom. Some of the best apps are great for educational purposes, but some are just really cool and fun! Today we are sharing some apps we have discovered that are really interesting, unique, and fun to use for everyday purposes or when you are feeling like getting a little creative!

Face Jack ($1.99)
This app is one of a kind and will surely be a hit with everyone! Create a recording, upload an image of someone’s face, and then within a couple clicks, Face Jack will pair your audio to the face to create a fun and hilarious way of sharing audio!

Drawing Box (FREE)
This is the ultimate app for learning to draw or improving your skills! This app offers tons of drawing tools, and provides users with lessons to learn step-by-step techniques!

Fotolr PS HD (FREE)
This app gives users to tool to edit and enhance their photos with a few clicks! There are even tools specifically for portraits, including lipstick, hair dying, and teeth whitening!

Silent Film Director (FREE)
This app lets you turn your own movies into silent films! Choose from different eras that will add an overall effect to your movie, customize speed at various points in the video, edit sounds by choosing from soundtracks, your own music, using muting, and more.

CamWow (FREE)
This app brings all the features of Photo Booth to your device-choose from tons of filters and effects to add to your images, and then share with others them directly from the app!

Be sure to follow our Best of iPad Apps website for more apps for creativity, and much more!

Have you been introduced to “Glogging”?

We love discovering free, new web-based tools that are interactive and can easily be used in higher education. Today, we have found exactly that for you! We are loving Glogster, a free tool that allows users to create interactive “posters”. But these aren’t just posters-they are glogs. A glog is essentially a web-based poster that includes text, images, graphics, videos, audio, links, and more. Users can create their posters and then share them through social media tools like Facebook or Twitter, or even check out the glogs created by other users in the Glogster community.

Glogster is a great way to encourage your students to express their creativity and think outside of the box for an upcoming project. By using various resources such as YouTube videos, links from other informational websites, images, and audio clips, creating a glog is an exciting multimedia project. Because Glogster is free and web-based, it can be accessed from anywhere with internet service-simply log in and create a new glog or access existing glogs. The ease and accessibility makes it a great tool for the busy college student.

If you are interested in using Glogster in your classroom, or would like to learn more about it, feel free to contact us! We would love to introduce you to “Glogging”!

 

New to Apple? Here are the best (free) apps to get you started!

Have you just started using an iPad? Are you feeling lost? If you are new to Mac products, your first iPhone, iPad, or iPod can be a little overwhelming…where do you begin with the apps? There are so many to choose from, so it can be a little difficult to know exactly what you may need or want right away. We have created a list of some of the best (FREE!) apps that will help you get started using your new Apple device! To view the entire list, click here.

Evernote
This app is one of the most effective apps for organizing and remembering everything that is going on in your life. Take notes, jot down ideas, take recordings, and synchronize all information with a computer or other mobile device

Sundry Notes

With Sundry Notes, users can 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.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary

This app provides users with access to all the definitions from the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. Additionally, users are able to use voice search to look up a word without having to spell it.
Flipboard
Earning the name of Apple’s iPad App of the Year, this app is a great and beautiful way to go through news, photos, videos, and social media updates. Flipboard is like your own personal magazine, with everything you want to see in one single space.

Facebook
Facebook finallay released their app for the iPad, and its interface boasts simple navigation on your apple devices!

If you like this list, you’ll love our Best of iPad Apps website, site dedicated to providing you with the scoop on the best apps for a variety of categories-from the best apps for writing to apps for various specific educational topics, this website will give you a little insight on the best of what’s available to you!

Make the Most of Twitter!

If you haven’t already given in to the Twitter craze and created an account, you may want to reconsider. Twitter is rapidly growing in popularity and is recognized as evolving into a valuable tool in education-particularly higher education. Most of your students probably have Twitter, making it a wonderful tool to use to collaborate and share ideas outside of the classroom. If you are new to Twitter, you probably know the basics-sharing, or “tweeting”, your thoughts and ideas with your followers-but you probably didn’t know that there are tons of great add-ons out there that allow you to customize your Twitter for your classroom. Here are two great ones to get you started:

Twellow

Considered to be the yellow pages of Twitter, Twellow allows Twitter users to browse categories and find people to follow who share their interests. This is a great way for your students to expand their interests and knowledge, and also to follow interesting people all over the world!

TweetDeck

This is the ultimate add-on if you are an avid Twitter user already. While there are many great features of TweetDeck that allow users to make the most of Twitter, a big draw is the ability to create groups to organize and manage contacts (think organizing your students into groups by class).

Twitter has a lot of great uses in higher education, and most importantly, keeps the lines of communication between your students and yourself wide open. If you are interested in Twitter but would like some advice on how to get started, feel free to contact us!

Tools for Online Group Work

Last week, we posted several helpful tips on working with groups online for projects, papers, or other classroom activities. As promised, this week I will be posting some excellent (and free!) web-based tools that can greatly help with organization and communication among members when it comes to working with groups in an online environment. Here are a few tools you can share with your students that will definitely provide them with the foundation for a great group project:

GoogleDocs

This is perhaps one of the best collaboration tool we have come across. It is highly functional, easy to use, and very convenient when members have Gmail accounts. Users are able to collaborate live on the same document with group members and utilize instant messaging chat features-it’s a great alternative if you are unable to meet in person, which is often the case with online classes!

WriteBoard

This free online tool is really neat and easy to use. A user begins a new document and then invites the collaborators. They make their edits and it is tracked just like in Word and Google Docs so you can view who did what. Then you can track the revisions and everything as well!

Collanos

This tool is great for group projects and serves as a central location for everyone to gather and store their documents, organize tasks, and more!

OneNote

OneNote is  tool that is not normally free, but students can use the Web App version through SkyDrive (which is a little more limited, but still has many of the great features!) or they can connect to a campus computer using Citrix XenApp to access the full version. With OneNote, group members are able to create notebooks and share them with others-since it is web-based, they can access it from anywhere. All group members are then able to work on the document live!

Improving communication and access may be just what your students need for successful group projects so be sure to share our tips and tools with them!

Add some pizzazz to your lectures!

Ahh yes, February. The days are short, the weather is dreary, and the only thing that may be on the minds of your students is the fact that there is only one month until spring break. It’s that time of the semester where you may find yourself going above and beyond in an effort to stimulate your students.  We have put together a list of things you can do to add a little pizzazz to your lectures and keep your students motivated and focused!

  • If you are tired of using PowerPoint as your go-to presentation tool, check out Prezi. This free web-based tool will put a unique twist on your presentations and still allow you to add images, videos, and more!
  • To get students more involved in your lecture and keep them focused, try TurningPoint! Each student has their own clicker and can directly respond to questions and you will be provided with instant feedback!
  • Check out TED.com for speeches across the world on any subject you could imagine-a TED video could be a great addition to your lecture! If you like the idea of using educational videos to enhance your lectures, check out Snag Films, Academic Earth, or YouTube EDU for some more great videos.
  • If you like to walk around your classroom during lectures (or like to roam around making sure students aren’t spending the hour browsing Facebook) try out Engage. This tool is an extension of your computer and lets you navigate whatever is on the screen from anywhere in the classroom!

 

 

Socrative brings in the New Year with new features!

This isn’t the first time Socrative has been mentioned on this blog, and it probably won’t be the last. Socrative is an emerging tool that is free and simple to use, and makes any classroom an interactive classroom. It’s the perfect way to easily engage your students and keep them involved in the lecture and class material.

To refresh your memory, the way Socrative works is the instructor logs into their account and asks a question to their class. The students then log into their personal accounts from any devices with a web browser, and are able to answer the question.

The reason we are discussing Socrative again today is because they have recently added more features. They have greatly expanded the options available to instructors while creating quizzes including randomizing the order in which students see multiple choice responses, and disabling them from viewing feedback instantly. Another new feature that will greatly increase convenience is the new variety of reporting options available to collect responses (shown to the right). The report can be downloaded to the device you are using or directly emailed to you.

To view the entire list of features recently added to Socrative, click here. If you would like to learn more about Socrative and how it can be used in the classroom, feel free to contact us!

Some of the Best New iPad apps from 2011!

As Apple continues to release new and updated devices, the apps available for them continue to expand. Here is a list of some of the best free apps that were released in 2011!

Flipboard

Visually browse news from a variety of news sources including Facebook, Twitter, and Flipboard’s built-in categories. The ability to easily flip through your various sources make this app a must-have!

Facebook

Facebook finally released their app for the iPad last year, and it’s interface boasts simple navigation on your mobile devices.

Skitch for iPad

This newly released app by Evernote to annotate and sketch over photos, screenshots, maps, and webpages, and then share with others over Twitter or email!

Qwiki

This is the perfect app to explore literally anything. This app combines images, videos, text, and infographics to create a unique learning experience.

Dolphin Browser HD

This app is for the iPad and serves as an alternative web browser. It offers a variety of unique features including tabbed browsing, a webzine for favorite websites, gestures to access frequent sites, full screen mode, and more.

Tools to Ace Finals

Can you believe finals week is already right around the corner? We can’t, and we’re guessing your students can’t either. Whether they’ve spent the semester keeping up on readings and assignments or will be opening the text book for the first time in the next few weeks, finals can be a stressful time.  But don’t worry-we have a few free online tools that can help your students make their studying a breeze!

Flashcard Exchange

Browse through tons of subjects and find flashcard sets for anything you could possibly need-from vocabulary on the GRE to different languages. Flashcard exchange gives users the ability to not only create their own sets of flashcards but also access sets of flashcards created by thousands of other users. Import information, add audio or images, and even utilize the “hint” feature. This is a great tool to share with your students for them to make use of during finals!

Quizlet

We’ve discussed Quizlet in the past, but it is one of the best free study tools we have come across. It is another flashcard-based study tool available at no cost online, but offers students the ability to compete with other students in “Test Mode” and play other challenging games. Another advantage of Quizlet is the portability-for users of smartphones or other mobile devices, Quizlet offers various apps to make studying on the go easy!

Make sure you share these tools with your students, they will definitely help to make studying time a little more exciting and productive!

Make your Classroom Interactive

As promised in our previous blog, we are going to be presenting new and interesting tools for you to incorporate into your classrooms that are free, simple, and incredibly useful. Involving students in your classroom sessions rather than just lecturing to them can prove to be very beneficial on both their part and your own. One way to involve them throughout the entire class session is to consistently be getting their feedback-in a high-tech way.

We have a few options for you to try this out if you haven’t yet. Turning Point, a tool we have blogged about often, and is available for your use, is an audience response system. By simply providing your students with the “clickers” and using the Turning Point software, you are able to create presentations that look exactly like your PowerPoint, but incorporate questions for the students to answer as you go. It provides instant feedback, so right after they all enter their answers and polling closes, you can discuss the results.

Another tool we have come across recently that does something similar is web-based, free, and allows students to use any device with an internet connection (tablets, smartphones, and laptops). Socrative allows teachers to log into their accounts during class and instantaneously ask a question for their students-the students then are able to log in to their own accounts and answer. This allows real-time interaction and collaboration among the students and educators in the classroom. Additionally, educators can pre-plan activities or assessments and view the data in Google Docs or Excel!

Both of these tools put a new twist on the traditional college classroom and create a more interactive environment (and more alert, prepared students!). If you would like to give them a try, don’t hesitate to contact us to answer your questions or help you get started!

 

 

As promised in our previous blog, we are going to be presenting new and interesting tools for you to incorporate into your classrooms that are free, simple, and incredibly useful. Involving students in your classroom sessions rather than just lecturing to them can prove to be very beneficial on both their part and your own. One way to involve them throughout the entire class session is to consistently be getting their feedback-in a high-tech way.

We have a few options for you to try this out if you haven’t yet. Turning Point, a tool we have blogged about often, and is available for your use, is an audience response system. By simply providing your students with the “clickers” and using the Turning Point software, you are able to create presentations that look exactly like your PowerPoint, but incorporate questions for the students to answer as you go. It provides instant feedback, so right after they all enter their answers and polling closes, you can discuss the results.

Another tool we have come across recently that does something similar is web-based, free, and allows students to use any device with an internet connection (tablets, smartphones, and laptops). Socrative allows teachers to log into their accounts during class and instantaneously ask a question for their students-the students then are able to log in to their own accounts and answer. This allows real-time interaction and collaboration among the students and educators in the classroom. Additionally, educators can pre-plan activities or assessments and view the data in Google Docs or Excel!

Both of these tools put a new twist on the traditional college classroom and create a more interactive environment (and more alert, prepared students!). If you would like to give them a try, don’t hesitate to contact us to answer your questions or help you get started!

The best apps for your note-taking needs!

One of the best uses of an iPad is for note-taking. It’s small and compact size makes it easy to bring everywhere, and all of the apps available for taking notes turn it into an incredible and essential tool. Here are three apps for note-taking you just can’t live without:

UPAD

While this app is not free (only $4.99 though!), it has just about everything you could want from a note-taking application. This app even offers three different pads: a Note PAD, Book PAD, and Photo PAD. Being easy to use with an excellent interface appearance, this app is great!

Neu.Annotate  PDF

This free app offers users the ability to annotate over PDF documents with drawing, highlighting, adding texts, photos, and stamps. Files can be shared via email or exported to iTunes.

PDF-Notes

This is another option of a free app for note-taking. Users are able to easily import PDF files and organize them on a bookshelf, then finger-write on the PDFs with pens, highlighters, and erasers, then export annotated PDF files to email.

Too see more apps for note-taking and a variety of other purposes, check out our website dedicated to sharing the best iPad apps!

Step outside your “presentation comfort zone”

It’s getting to that point in the semester where students may be getting a little restless in class and you might be finding the good ol’ PowerPoint just isn’t really making the cut. If you are feeling a little adventurous and want to step out of the “comforting zone” of PowerPoint, check out these options for your next presentation! They are all free and web-based!

Prezi

Prezi allows you to create a unique, dynamic presentation that is completely different than PowerPoint or any of the other slide-based presentation tools around! Focus in on specific words, phrases, pictures, or whatever you wish, and use the zooming and panning feature to highlight what is most important. Prezi keeps the audience alert to listen to what you say (since the entire text isn’t available for them to see on the screen) and to see what pops up next!

sliderocket

While SlideRocket does use the format of flipping from slide to slide, the possibilities for making it stand out are endless. SlideRocket offers an incredible set of design tools- themes and layouts, shapes, charts, tables, pictures, audio, HD video, and Flash. Share presentations with a click by distributing a URL, collaborate with others in the slide library, and get inspired through watching other professionally designed presentations!

Always keep in mind that the internet offers so many great presentation tools for free, so don’t panic if you don’t have PowerPoint installed on your computer-you have options! Some other tools to check out are Empressr, Google Docs, and 280Slides. Happy Presenting!

The “5” Series is Back-with Blogging!

A few months ago, we launched a “5 ways to use a…” series, giving you new and creative ideas to utilize some of the fantastic tools we have available for your use! To refresh your memory and keep you inspired, here is a “flashback” of…

5 ways you can use… a Blog!

The internet has started a new era of educational tools that have great capabilities to be an effective addition to your classroom.  One of the most versatile and useful tool is the blog. Blogs are a great way to communicate with students outside the classroom in an environment which is both easy to update and easy to navigate. Blogs lend themselves to be useful in various aspects of class including writing and journaling, collaboration, classroom management, and tutoring.  Here are 5 ideas to get you started:

  1. Promote collaboration and reflection among your students by posting a meaningful quotation, excerpt from a novel, or a news article, and ask them to reflect in writing and relate the piece to the material being covered in class.
  2. Blogs encourage participation in discussions, which can be particularly effective with shy students. Post a question weekly to your blog requiring students to respond and comment on their peers’ responses.
  3. Assign a project requiring students to create their own blog and use it as a portfolio of their work and career goals. The blog will become a valuable tool they can use to build connections and network.
  4. Easily incorporate sources from the “real world” such as news articles, videos, or websites to relate class material to the current events in the world.
  5. Try hosting a debate on your blog. Post a question or controversial topic and have students make their points and debate with one another. This encourages collaboration, discussion, and critical thinking.

UIS’ newly launched blog service, WordPress, is available for all faculty, staff and students for free. It is simple to navigate and update, and a great communication tool for educators and students alike. Checkout our WordPress Blogging Service informational page to start your blog today!