Evernote Saving everything was never so easy

Yes, I know I haven’t been very vigilant about posting to this.  As a matter of fact, I’ve been downright negligent.  I apologize.

One of the first posts at I’d placed on here had to do with online storage with a drive, sky Drive, and the other cloud services that allow due to save pre-much everything you wanted.  At the time I was unaware of a service called Evernote.  Evernote has become my new favorite app on my smart phone, my iPad, as well as on my desktop.  I can save anything from anywhere and have it accessible anyplace that I met.  I can save sound, video, music, documents, PDF files on the list goes on and on.  And have them immediately accessible.  What makes this nicer than so many of the other services that are out there is, there are apps that integrate into Evernote to make it easier to submit information to be saved.  Some of these are Evernote clipper hello, which allows you to very quickly import people in your contact list sketch which allows you to draw and annotate on pictures.  Food allows you to post recipes as well as pictures of food and comments about your latest restaurant.  Outline works with Evernote to help you set up outlines.  There are apps for doing meeting minutes.  Pen ultimate allows you to write your entries by hand, and they become searchable text.  Clearly takes away a lot of the advertisements and things on a webpage and saves them directly to Evernote lightly allows you to highlight sections of a document and they were are automatically saved to your Evernote Apollo and dolphin are browsers that work very well with Evernote, as well as every meeting, moleskin notebooks actually have a notebook.  You can carry around in your hand.  You write and not take a picture of it and it again become searchable text.  Evernote has worked with Post-it notes and developed for colors that you can predetermine what notebook you want them to go to you simply write on the Post-it note take a picture of it with your smart phone and it immediately is saved and goes to the notebook that you specified.  The text written on your Post-it note becomes instantly searchable as well.

You can share your notes and your notebooks with your students, if in the medical field with patients or with really anybody you want to.  And you can collaborate on these notes together.

With other apps you can blog utilizing Evernote, or you can use an app to link  through a program like a Asana to work on projects, personal, to do lists, appointments and all kinds of other applications.  Through still another app you can link it directly to your Google calendar and set up appointments.

There are many, many other apps and features that you can use with this.  The free version has a smaller memory than the Pro version does, however, with as many things as I have saved that not even come close to filling up the space you are given for free.  As you can tell I’m pretty well sold on this product.

Please check out http://www.evernote.com   or check out the Evernote app on your smart phone or tablet.  I think you’ll be very pleased.

I’ll be talking to you later.  Have a great day.


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Add pizazz to your classroom presentations with Prezi

Want to add some pizazz to your presentations? Do your students feel like they are being tortured through death by PowerPoint? Are you more of a spatial thinker rather than linear? Or do you just want a presentation program that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg? Prezi may be the answer for you.

Prezi is free for a limited version but for teachers/educators with a school email a more robust version is available for the same price free. Go to http://prezi.comand check out their promotional video. If you like what you see, check out the learning tab and go through the tutorial videos to see just what prezi can do. You can import your PowerPoint presentations too.

With the educator version you can download your presentation if you want but as long as you have an Internet connection you can access and show your presentation from there. No more forgotten USB drives.

If you think better using a form of mind mapping then you will love this program. If you want to easily add pictures and video to your presentation you will find this to be much easier than the traditional presentation software. If you decide you want to customize your presentation you can easily add or skip portions by simply changing the path. The text, picture or video isn’t gone, it’s still there prezi just skips over it because it’s no longer on the path so you can add it back in later.

Give it a try. Check out the videos on YouTube and give it a try, the price is right.

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Storing and Sharing data in the cloud for free

Have you ever forgotten your jump or thumb drive either at home and your at work or left it at work and you need the information at home? Or have you ever accidentally left the USB drive still attached to a computer “somewhere” and when you go back it’s gone? It’s frustrating isn’t it? There are alternatives for you that allow you to access your information anywhere you have access to the internet,. On your smart phone, tablet, laptop, at work, on vacation, and on the road. Where there is an internet connection your data, photos, etc are all available to you.

Currently there are a number of free options available for you to store your data in the cloud and best of all, they are free. The amount of space available at that price depends on the program you opt to use. Box, Dropbox, Sky-drive, A-drive, and Google Drive are just a few of the many options out there for online secure storage of your documents, photos, music, videos, etc.

For some of the programs only you can access the data for others you can choose to share or make as much or as little as you desire open to the public. You are in control of your data and who has access.

Storage can be as little as 5GB with Box and Dropbox to 50GB with Adrive and a lot more with Google Drive and Skydrive. With Box, Dropbox and Adrive you can purchase additional space. I’m not sure if you would even need to with Google or Sky drives.

What do I use this space for? As the regional director of a medical program I have to make sure the programs are all meeting various accreditation and credentialing standards. It’s easy to keep this information on a USB drive but I have at times misplaced the drive or just left it home and I hate having to go back and find all the information again, so I save it and store it on the cloud. The program I use allows me to share the information with others so when I get an update I post it and everyone has access to it immediately without having to save it locally.

If an accrediting body or certifying agency has a question I can easily send them the information from my cloud storage regardless of where I am or what time it is. All that matters is I have a connection to the internet.

We recently decided to go green and convert all of our paper records to electronic. Wouldn’t you know it, I needed access to the records and our main server was down and the boss needed several records now. Luckily I had copied the files to the cloud and even though I was not at my office with access to my computer where the data was also stored, I got the records needed from my online storage and got it to him within minutes of the request while sitting and having breakfast on the road. When asked how I got the information with the server down. I asked him if Captain Kirk ever asked Scottie how he got things done when nobody else could? He quickly pointed out he was’t Kirk and I wasn’t Scottie so he wanted to know. I explained and now he uses it for his presentations and record keeping.

There are uses for these programs for every profession, teacher, student, business executive, manager, chef, restaurant owner and the list goes on. If you use data, and you need to be able to access it from anywhere at any time, these online storage areas are exactly what you need. Check them out.

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Engrade – Free – Online Grade Book with bells and whistles

Would you like a free internet grade sheet that your students and/or parents can access to see their grades securely? Would you like to be able to email your students individually, in small groups or the whole class at the same time? How about online tests and quizzes that grade themselves? How about discussion topics so your students can interact with each other and you can assess just how much they really understand the material? Maybe you would like to create your own Wiki assignment with PPTs, Videos, quizzes and more or set up flash cards for the students to review either directly as flash cards as matching or as multiple choice questions. Do you want your syllabus, files, PowerPoints or other resources available for your students to download when THEY need them? Do you want to do more? How about a calendar your students can view with all assignments and due dates listed including. Do you use a weighted grading system, straight percentages, do you have a custom grading format? You can customize it to suit your purposes. Oh, yeah, Do you want it for free?

You can get it all and more for free at Engrade at http://engrade.com.

I’ve used engrade for about a year now. One of the things I like about it is when I am teaching a course I’ve taught before I don’t have to reinvent the wheel. I can copy everything to the new class then all I have to do is update the dates that things are due. I can archive old classes and when I need them again I call them up duplicate the class then archive them again so I don’t clutter up my class list with those classes that are over.

There is a lot more to Engrade than I’ve listed here. Your school can set up accounts for all of the instructors and they can view your grades at any time and it can be set up so the registrar can access and download your grades in a CSV or excel file.

Are there drawbacks or problems. Sure there are always things that you might want that aren’t there but I’ve found the customer support folks are always willing to listen and they have in may cases made changes to meet our needs. The biggest drawback I’ve found is not with the program, my student drive me crazy if I haven’t posted their scores as quick as they think I should have. “Mr Williams, I took my test an hour ago, why isn’t my grade posted yet?” When they can see their grades in real time and get direct personalized feedback I find they are more interested in doing well and are more motivated.

I highly recommend this program.

Check out their first tutorial video. You can find more about engrade on you tube.




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Hello world!

You can teach on old dog new tricks.  I’m living proof.  I’m 62 years old and I taught for a long time in the military before moving to teaching college.  When I started teaching we did use handouts, but not many, we relied on students reading their assignments from their books and taking notes.  Our visual stimulation consisted of live demonstrations and a few 35mm slides that we show from our projector.  Everything else was on the instructor.  That may or may not have been a good thing.   Today however we have a plethora of software both free and $$$ not so free.  I’d like to use this blog to highlight online resources and applications instructors can use to help their students succeed.    Some will be free, some will not but I would like to discuss them all.  I encourage folks to send me the resources they have found useful in transferring their course objectives and knowledge into their students.  I’d like to hear the good and the bad and if necessary the ugly as well.

I don’t have all the answers because none of us are as smart as all of us, so please let me know what you have found, what works and what doesn’t work.  I appreciate your input and help in making all of us better instructors and in turn produce better prepared students.



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