Category Archives: Reviews

Reviews on various products.

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Techsmith Snagit: Easy Screenshots in Chrome

Let’s face it, using a computer can be hard, and it can be even harder to explain how to do something on the computer. Techsmith Snagit for Chrome is a free-to-use tool that makes it easy to take and annotate screenshots of webpages. It’s easy to install from the Chrome Web Store. Once it’s installed, it’s easy to use. Just click on the S icon, then choose the type of screenshot. You can drag and select a section of the page, take a picture of the entire page, or even use the Scrolling mode, which will capture the entire webpage, even if it doesn’t fit on a single screen. Once a picture is taken, you can name it and use the easy tools to draw annotations. Once saved, the files are placed in the Techsmith folder in Google Drive. You can alternatively download the snapshot directly or copy a link to it for easy incorporation in a website. In the example below, I take a picture of the AHS website and highlight the link to iParent. To view any of these images in more detail, click on the thumbnail to see the full-size version.

Opening the Snagit menu
Opening the Snagit menu
The editor after taking the screenshot
The editor after taking the screenshot
Annotating the screenshot
Annotating the screenshot
The final, annotated screenshot
The final, annotated screenshot

For more information about Snagit for Chrome, please visit the Techsmith website at https://www.techsmith.com/snagit-google-chrome.html.

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Citation add-ons in Chrome: Paperpile and Easybib

Paperpile is a free, easy to use, add-on in Google Chrome (especially in Drive and Docs). Basically, it is a citation device that allows users to research topics in a side bar and then easily make customized citations and annotations. While Paperpile is a highly professional tool and used by researchers and university students alike, it is simple enough and useful enough for high school and possibly younger children to utilize. It could also be useful for teachers working toward degrees (such as a Master’s).

Paper Pile Academic User Stats
Paperpile Academic User Stats, released by Paperpile.

For instance, when Paperpile is added into Chrome, should you need help navigating and using it, it provides a simple guide to help you get started, as well as many other resources.

Paperpile Quick Start Guide
Paperpile Quick Start Guide and beginning instructions in the research bar, screenshot

The simplicity and availability of Paperpiles would be useful both for students prone to forgetting to record their citations until the end of the paper to quickly research and save their citations in just a couple of clicks, staying in the document the whole time. Usually, myself included, students must go through the time-consuming process of researching something (in a book, a website, etc.) and then going to an external website to cite sources. While websites like easybib.com or owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/ make citing sources much easier, it is annoying to have to leave the document and spend valuable time inputting sources. This is why many students forgo this process while writing, only to have to laboriously re-research their sources at the end. Students and teachers can save time by using Paperpiles or even the easybib add-on. Here is what the Easybib add-on bar looks like to the right of a document:

Easybib bar, screenshot
Easybib bar, screenshot

In addition, multiple add-ons can be acquired without cluttering the document. For instance, the bar on the right can be closed when not in use, ready to be accessed with just one click.

Ready to use add-ons
Ready to use add-ons, screenshot

These in-document citation add-ons are user-friendly and efficient, and can be easily downloaded free of charge right into the document. 1,399,188 people are using the easybib add-on at the time of publication, and there are 13,572 users of Paperpile. Both teachers and students could benefit from these Google Chrome add-ons.

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Smartpens for Classroom Use

Some teachers hand out notes. Some teachers use powerpoints. Other teachers use fill-in-the-blank style packets, sometimes alongside powerpoints.

Then there are teachers who don’t do anything that could help the note-taking process. These teachers give lectures, and expect the students to learn the content, regardless of whether or not they can take notes. In these teachers’ classes, by the time you finish writing down the first sentence of the lecture, the teacher has said three more.

Usually, students in these classes end up not taking notes, relying instead on their memories alone to learn everything they have to.

Allow me to introduce smartpens, or rather a specific brand of smartpens: Livescribe.

A picture of Livescribe's Sky Smartpen.
Livescribe’s Sky Smartpen

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Google Play Music

Hello all,

just wanted to talk about a tool I use very often that works quite well on desktop. It’s called Google Play Music (Those who have Android smart phones may be familiar with this app), and it is basically a music player for your desktop that automatically can upload your music based on file location. It’s also very clean and neat looking so if you use the app version on your phone, you’ll notice how easy it is to use and how some of the features actually make sense.

A view of the home page Continue reading

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Ipad app review

 

 

 

icon_256Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 8.46.51 AM

Mathpad is an easy to use app that allows you to write equations and it makes them look nice as the image above shows. It makes it easy to export the equations as pictures that have no background color and can be used in something such as a test or quiz and can be used in science for complex equations to help students remember them and for new or multi-stepped math equations.

All of this is simple to learn how to use and can be used after looking through the built in tutorial.

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Educreations Tutorials for iPad

itunes-app-store-logo1Educreations Interactive Whiteboard is a tool that students and teachers can use to create lessons using images, text, drawing, and voice. It is a free app that is easy to use, and allows you to record yourself writing and speaking. It may be most useful for teachers who want to make tutorials for subjects such as math that students can follow along at home. It is easy to use, however an account is needed to make tutorials, but a Google Account can be used. You are able to add photos to draw on as well as pause and play recording, allowing the user to make more complicated tutorials. Continue reading

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Doceri Interactive Whiteboard – The way to go

The  awesomeness of awesome

Do you know how when teachers are absent, sometimes student don’t ger their work done just because the teacher isn’t there? Ever wanted an app that has all three optios of combining screencastimg, desktop control, and an interactive whiteboard?  Well now that problem is solved with the Ipad app by the name of “Doceri Interactive Whiteboard”.

It has many important features, and options that a teacher would need like:

  • The ability to control your lesson or presentation live with Airplay, or through your Mac or PC.
  • Unlike other drawings and screencast apps, Doceri uses timline-based editing, so original lessons are always saved.
  • Gives your the ability to control your computer through it with full access.
  • Using the above ability, you can use it to show presentations just from your Ipad, as long as you are connected wirelessly.
  • Lets you share any images, PDFs, and videos in many easy ways.
  • Lets teachers take videos of kids for projects or of themselves if they want tod
    teach something while being absent.

With all of those helpful options, this app should be teachers’ most wanted resource out there.

 

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Photo Editing Apps

3 photo editing apps for the iPhone.

Aviary and Photo Editor-Axiem Systems:

Although these are two different apps, I’ve put them together because they are pretty much exactly alike. Both apps have all of the following features. Each edit can only be applied one at a time. For example, with the Enhance options, you can’t apply HiDef and Illuminate to a photo at the same time.

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