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Evernote as an ePortfolio: Postach.io, Voice2Note, StudyBlue

Posted by admin | Posted in Anastasis Academy, Classroom Management, Create, iPod, Knowledge (remember), Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Subject, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), web tools, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 11-06-2013

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You know what no one tells you about starting a school?  That ending a school year is WAY more work than starting a school year.  Also, no one warned me that I would be licking cheap envelopes while everyone else was enjoying the freedom of summer.  We have just wrapped up our second year of Anastasis Academy.    I’m not sure what it is about heading into year 3, but it feels substantial and important.  Odd numbers are like that I guess.  This feels like the year that all of those nagging things that we wish we had time to tweak are going to happen.  Like we have a great groove to work from and now anything is possible. (This could also be the optimism that comes with every summer when schedules are a little looser and there is more time to dream).

I digress… this post is about Evernote and some neat new add-on apps I’ve been playing with.  At Anastasis, we use Evernote as our digital portfolio.  For the most part, this works brilliantly!  Students can record text, images, and audio directly into Evernote.  Notes can be shared and emailed to teachers and parents alike.  Evernote makes it easy to capture learning that isn’t natively digital in their eportfolio.  Snap a picture or create a short audio recording directly in Evernote and the learning is captured, searchable and sharable.  All of the incredible projects that our students create during inquiry can be reflected in Evernote portfolios.   Another HUGE benefit to the Evernote/iPad combo: it goes with them everywhere.  Recording learning on a field trip? Check. Recording learning at home? Check. Recording learning on the fly? Check. Teachers often send students a PDF instructions for an assignment or a picture to the student’s Evernote account. Parents can login to their child’s Evernote account from any computer or iDevice to see what they are working on.  Not only is learning captured on the device, but it is stored in the cloud.  This means that if a student iPad gets lost, damaged, etc. their work isn’t gone.

Postach.io

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Postach.io is quickly becoming my new BFF.  You see, we had this truly convoluted way of getting student work from Evernote portfolios to an edublog or an edu 2.0 blog.  It worked smoothly about 1% of the time.  BUT, we want kids to be able to “publish” their work for the larger community (Anastasis community and the wider education community).  Postach.io is the answer to our frustrations!!  Here is how it works: Create a pistachio account, click “create site”, authenticate your Evernote account, choose an Evernote notebook subdomain… finished!  Postach.io creates blog posts and pages from student notes in Evernote. All the student needs to do is create a note in a Notebook they’ve specified when creating a site. Postach.io then converts those notes to published posts and pages.  Add “published” or “page” to the tags in Evernote to publish it to the Postach.io blog.  So, now our students can quickly edit their notes to be post worthy, add a little tag, and voila! they have a blog post.  Currently Postach.io uses Disqus to add threaded comments.  (This is a secondary account for your students to create.)

Voice2Note

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Voice2Note is a fantastic way for students to turn their Evernote voice notes into text.  Students record their voice (just like they normally do in Evernote), Voice2Note takes that note and converts it into text.  Students can even tag their notes by saying “Tag with” at the end of their note!  Now students can search even their voice notes!  To use Voice2Note, students need to login to the Voice2Note website to register and connect their Evernote account.  Then, students just record their voice note as they normally would.  The rest gets taken care of by Voice2Note.  This is another app that is going to make some of our students HAPPY!! Many students have fantastic ideas but struggle with getting their ideas out in writing. Voice2Note means that they can say their ideas, have them transcribed into text directly in Evernote, and edit from there.  Not only is this ideal for struggling writers, it is also helpful for emerging writers who may have a large spoken vocabulary, but their writing is limited by what they know how to spell.  Voice2Note could also be really helpful as a pre-writing brainstorming activity, during the design thinking process, or during group discussions.  Previously our students were copying/pasting from Dragon Dictation…not a huge problem, but those extra minutes count!

StudyBlue

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A connection with a StudyBlue account means that students can turn their Evernote notes into digital flashcards they can study from. Study Blue makes it simple for students to turn their Evernote notes into study guides, digital flashcards, and quizzes.  Students can even set up study reminders. When students create an account with StudyBlue, they have the option to Sync with their Evernote account.  The integration will create a new notebook in Evernote called “Study Blue.” If students wish to, they can upgrade their account to StudyBlue+ which will allow them to share their study guides and flashcards, merge with other teachers and students.  StudyBlue gives students more efficiency in their school lives.  They can easily maximize their time by taking notes in Evernote (or recording voice notes and using Voice2Note to make them text) and seamlessly creating study materials with StudyBlue. Students can download the StudyBlue app to their device or log on via web browser.

***Please note that while we use iPads for our Evernote eportfolios, it isn’t necessary!  Any device that has a web browser will work (even that dusty old desktop in the corner of your classroom) and all of the add-on’s mentioned above will work with or without an iPad.

We use lots of other apps that enhance our Evernote portfolio experience because of their integration with Evernote.  Click here for a guide I made last year with some of our favorites!

 

Quicklyst: Note taking web app created by student

Posted by admin | Posted in Interactive Whiteboard, Knowledge (remember), Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Subject, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), web tools, Websites | Posted on 18-01-2011

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What it is: Senior in high school Shantanu Bala emailed me yesterday with a link to a new web application he built called Quicklyst. Quicklyst is a web application for note taking. Shantanu created Quicklyst to make taking and studying notes easier.  Quicklyst makes it easy to take notes, deliver notes to a Kindle device, look up topics in Wikipedia, and define words within notes automatically using the Merriam Webster Dictionary.  It is free and easy to use from any web connected computer. Students can quickly organize their notes into study guides and even create a study queue for important notes.  Notes can be searched by topic or subject.  Quicklysts can be delivered to a Kindle, printed, or downloaded as text files.  There is no need to register to create a Quicklyst, to save a Quicklyst, students will need to create a username (could be email address but doesn’t have to be) and password. While students take notes, they can instantly include definitions and search information in their notes.  Type a question mark followed by the word you want searched and Quicklyst will automatically add information from Wikipedia and DuckDuckGo. Type a colon followed by the word you want defined and Quicklyst will automatically insert the definition into the notes. Students can click on the + sign next to their notes to add the notes to their Study Queue.  The study queue is a place for students to save notes that they want to reference and study later.

How to integrate Quicklyst into the classroom: Quicklyst is a great addition to any student (or teacher) tool box. It makes note taking a breeze, quickly importing definitions and search information into the notes. In a one to one setting (where every student has access to a computer) Quicklyst could be used by students to take notes during discussion, lecture, or any type of whole class learning activity.  In the one or two computer classroom, Quicklyst could be assigned as a student job in your classroom. During the class, the student assigned can take notes that can later be downloaded and sent to students, or printed as a study guide.  The class job should be rotated so that each student has an opportunity to be class recorder.

Quicklyst is also excellent for teachers taking notes in staff meetings, professional development, or conferences.  It is such a simple tool to use and has just the right amount of extras (instant definitions) to make it really useful!

Use Quicklyst with younger students to create KWL (know, want to know, learn) type notes with students.  Using a projector-connected computer, interactive whiteboard, or classroom computer, students can begin the chart and fill it in as they learn more.  The simple built in search and definition make it ideal for this type of use.

Tips: Quicklyst is a fantastic example of student innovation, it once again begs the question are we providing opportunities for this kind of creativity in schools?  Shantanu created Quicklyst in his free time for fun, amazing! I asked Shantuanu where the idea for Quicklyst came about and how he learned how to program, here is his response: Mainly, notes were something I always had a problem with. I’d either lose them or forget them, or just use a textbook since my notes weren’t very good. Although my school doesn’t have laptops for every student, schools are slowly getting more and more computers for use directly in the classroom. I realized it might be interesting to create something that stores a person’s notes online and allows a person to search his or her notes easily. That solved my first problem of losing and forgetting my notes. But there was one thing I found missing when looking through some of my notes: structure. I’d try to continue my notes chronologically, but sometimes there’s a gap when a teacher stops teaching one subject and jumps to something else that’s more urgent. Other times, I’d miss a lesson, and I’d forget to copy someone else’s notes. On a computer, this process is much easier, and copying/moving things around can happen in a couple seconds. I also realized that notes feel very disconnected — there’s a wealth of information available online, and there’s only so much a teacher can fit into a class period that’s less than an hour. Providing that information to a student while they take their notes in class seems like the right direction. It encourages active learning by allowing a student to ask a lot of questions and find answers themselves.

Part of the reason I am really excited about the amount of information available online (and the quality of the information) is because I was able to teach myself how to code in the 6th grade. I just followed some tutorials online, and whenever I was confused I just asked a question on a forum and I’d get an answer pretty quickly. There are a ton of people who write excellent materials and answer questions completely in their free time. It’s really amazing. Once I got into high school, I found out that I could get credit by taking some community college courses in programming, so I took Java and C++ classes. But my favorite programming language is really the one I learned first — Python.

Thank you Shantanu for creating such a useful application and sharing it with all of us!

Leave a comment and share how you are using Quicklyst in your classroom.

iKnow Social Learning

Posted by admin | Posted in Foreign Language, Fun & Games, History, Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Science, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Spelling, Teacher Resources, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 04-12-2008

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What it is:   Wow, I just spent two hours playing on and reviewing this site and could have spent the rest of my day here!  iKnow Social Learning is a social networking study tool created by Cerego in Japan.  The site brings social networking to studying and learning in a really inventive way.  Students (or you) sign up and are asked what languages you know, and what languages you want to learn.  Then you are led through a short questionnaire about your interests.  Study recommendations are made based on the questionnaire.  Courses are available to enroll in (all free) to help you study and learn.  The courses are created by Cerego and its partners or by other users.  After logging in and filling out the introductory information, you are taken to a personal homepage.  The homepage shows courses that you are enrolled in, your profile, friends, progress, a message center, and any items created by you.  Courses are personalized language learning tools.  Courses are geared for learning English and Japanese with more languages coming soon.   Current English courses created by Cerego include vocabulary development, and SAT study prep.  Courses created by users include everything from introduction to binary to the first presidential debate speech.  There are three modes of study options for each course.  The iKnow study section says the word aloud, gives the definition, and part of speech (if applicable to the course) and then uses the word in a sentence, and gives students the opportunity to practice spelling the word.  After the study session, students are quizzed on the vocabulary.  The next study section is called Dictation.  In this section a sentence using the vocabulary is said aloud, students type the sentence (using correct spelling) as it is said.  This is great for memorization, spelling, and those typing skills.  The last study section is called Flash Study and provides students with a beat the clock type game to improve speed and accuracy.  The current provided courses are appropriate for intermediate English language learners, and high school and college students.  However, iKnow allows for users to create courses (called lists).  With the ability to create lists, the iKnow study site could be used as early as second or third grade and up.   As a teacher, you can create lists for your students to study based on your curriculum.  The lists are very simple to create and you can attach sound, video, and images from Flickr Creative Commons (integrated) or upload your own images.   Students have access to all courses they have enrolled in, an online journal, and their study results.  Each course shows who created the course or list, the level of study, the number of items to learn in the course, the recommended length of study, and the privacy setting on the course.  After a student enrolls in the course, their progress is tracked to provide students with exactly the practice they need.  iKnow has the capability of connecting and integrating with other social networking platforms like Twitter, Skype, Delicious and Facebook (and a substantial list of others!)  The high school, college, and professional age group will appreciate the integration capabilities.  As you can tell by the length of this post, I am extraordinarily impressed with this site and the study options it opens up for students (and teachers!).  

 

How to integrate iKnow Social Learning into the classroom:  iKnow Social Learning is the best study tool I have seen in a while!  I love the way that it encourages students to study together, challenge each other, and create solid study habits.  iKnow Social Learning is an amazing way to learn and taps into multiple learning styles with each study session.  Auditory, visual, and kinesthetic learners will all benefit from this site!  Because teachers can create lists (courses) of study, you can create interactive study guides for your students based on your curriculum.  The current courses on iKnow Social Learning are too difficult for the elementary and middle school crowd.  I created a list of my own for third grade vocabulary, it was simple to put together and students would benefit from the properly leveled guide.  Younger students may not use the social aspect of the site as much, but the study options would be perfect for creating and setting up on a classroom computer,  as a center or to use with students in a computer lab setting, or even just to suggest for home use.  The layout of the study sessions makes it ideal for vocabulary words, math vocabulary (or expanded notation), history facts, spelling practice, learning a foreign language, and science vocabulary.  I think that iKnow Social Learning would also be a great place for PLN (professional learning networks) to challenge each other, collaborate, and learn.  Personally, I think with this setup I could know Italian by Christmas :)  This is a really incredible tool, I can’t say enough about it!

 

Tips:   Right now the language options for iKnow are English and Japanese but Cerego has just opened up development for 188 additional languages, many more language options will be available shortly.  Sign up for an account today (you can even sign in with your Google or Yahoo account) to check out my course called 3rd Grade Vocabulary.  You can also add me as a friend: ktenkely.  My warning to you, this is addictive learning!

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using iKnow Social Learning in your classroom.