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Use PrintFriendly to save or print web pages

November 20, 2014

treesPrintFriendly is a tool that cleans and formats web pages for printing or downloading as a PDF file. It removes ads, navigation menus, and (optionally) images but leaves the author’s name and always displays the web page address at the top.

There are two ways to use the tool:

  1. Paste the web page address into a box at prientfriendly.com
  2. Click a browser button (or a bookmarklet on an iPad)

Read more…

Collaborate with paper stickies, then capture and edit on an iPad

November 10, 2014

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Sticky notes are inexpensive and super-low tech. Many of us use them for to-dos, chores, phone messages, or (gasp!) passwords. It’s not surprising that teachers and trainers have invented ways for groups to use them to collaborate. Below are some examples – and there are lots more on the Post-It website.

  1. Use Facilitated Ideation
  2. Set Priorities
  3. Create a Storyboard
  4. Participate in a Gallery Walk
  5. Park random ideas or questions in a Parking Lot
  6. Provide Minute Paper responses
  7. Build a Concept Map
  8. Generate Quiz Questions

Several apps offer a sticky note experience on mobile devices, but I was not a fan of this genre until I co-presented a workshop at the POD Conference last week. We asked participants to jot ideas down on colored notes and add them to large sheets of paper that were labelled with a category and taped to a wall. Then my colleague used his iPad to digitize the stickies onto an interactive virtual wall!

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12 educational uses for QR codes

October 14, 2014

NspireD2-colorQR codes look like jumbled checkerboards. You’ve seen them on posters, billboards, magazine ads, clothing, food packaging – maybe even on a city bus!. Launch an app on your phone and point it at the code to access a website or receive other information.

QR codes got loads of attention in the USA a few years ago as smartphones with cameras reached a critical mass. Now that the hype has died down some pundits allege that they’re passé, but I think not. QR codes have lots of applications and the technology is not hard to use.

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Free online course on learning technologies

October 9, 2014

introl-lt-canvasDo you want to explore how to effectively use tools like blogs, podcasts, and social bookmarking? Do you want to know more about the effects of copyright, Creative Commons, digital citizenship, and digital literacy? From January 12 to March 23, 2015, the University of Saskatchewan is offering a free online course titled “Introduction to Learning Technologies.” Aimed at post-secondary and K-12 educators, the course includes videos, readings, practical activities, online discussion, and weekly Google Hangouts with guest experts. The material carries a creative commons license and is meant to be truly open to anyone interested in learning. For more info, explore the previous edition of the course: access the 2014 website or read the evaluation report.

9 sources of free images for projects

October 8, 2014

icon_17840aImages can be useful to teachers and learners in lots of ways. They can illuminate writing, clarify presentations, illustrate posters, and much more. Most of us lack either the time or talent to take new photos or draw new pictures whenever a need arises. We rely on “the cloud.”

A Google image search is the quick-but-lazy way out. It gives no indication of who created the picture and leaves us with fair use dilemmas. As an alternative, I routinely find great material in (1) Flickr’s massive collection of Creative-Commons-released photographs … but Flickr doesn’t always have what I need.
Learn about more sources

Google forms enhanced

October 7, 2014
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googleFormsIn a blog post last week, the 900-pound gorilla announced several improvements to Google Forms. For one thing, you can now “shuffle” the order of questions on a survey. There is also a new option to limit users to one response. They have to log into Google, but their account info is not saved with the survey. Finally, a short URL is offered when you’re ready to share the survey.

I must have missed this in early September, but Google now also lets you customize the look of your forms. You can change fonts, colors, backgrounds, and more. Look for the “change theme” button on the toolbar.

This blog is a big fan of Google Forms because it affords so many neat strategies for teaching and learning. To learn more, see Twelve Ways to Use Google Forms, one of our more popular articles.

A free tool for creating visuals

September 19, 2014

canva-logoCanva is a free, easy-to-use tool for producing visuals. You start by choosing one of twenty formats – from presentation to poster to business card to Twitter header. Then select a layout: either a preset with colors and fonts and sample images, or a space divided into regions. Finally, drag-and-drop items and change the text to make it yours. When you’re done, download the image as a low-res PNG file or high-res PDF. Social media users can share on Facebook or Twitter.

Personalize  your visual by adding images. The site provides a limited number of free ones, but they make their money by renting very nice images for the reasonable fee of $1 each. The for-pay photos are clearly branded with a watermark and chain-link fence pattern so you won’t use them by mistake. Users are also welcome to upload their own images at no charge.

Business card created with CanvaThe poster and presentation formats are two likely ones for students to use in a college course. To get them started, Canva offers several interactive Design Tutorials.

Make no mistake; this is neither PhotoShop nor QuarkXPress. There are no drop shadows and limited bells and whistles, but that’s okay. Fewer choices can often be a good thing. At right is a business card I was able to create in a matter of minutes. PC World gave the site 4.5/5 stars and I concur that Canva is worth a look.

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