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Cool tools: Diigo

One of the quiet achievers in my online working is Diigo which, in its simplest form, is an online bookmarking tool, but has powerful features including tagging and ‘lists’ and even annotations, which allow you to keep track of web pages you want to remember for later in much more powerful ways than the traditional ‘bookmarks’.

I’ve been using Diigo for a few years now, ever since I gave up on ‘Delicious’, which was an earlier entry in this style of tool. I’ve now got nearly four thousand links added to Diigo and I never use the built in bookmarking tool that comes with Chrome or IE, which means I never lose my bookmarks or favorites when I change computers either. I can log into my Diigo account from any computer and see my ‘Library’ there, all ready to go.

I’ve used Diigo lists and tags in my teaching too. As I add things to my library (with the handy little browser tool) I tag them, or add them to a list. And it’s simple to email that list to my class. For example, when I was reading up and researching prior to teaching Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway to Year 12 a couple of years ago, I tagged anything I found ‘woolf’. Then, I could just search that tag, and send the class a handy URL with them all in a list, like this: WOOLF

Now, I see that Diigo is replacing lists with an ‘outliner’ tool, which I’m looking forward to exploring. (see introduction to that feature below)

Diigo is a free tool, but has a premium model too which allows you to work more with images and PDFs. One of the essential cool tools for me.

OneTastic Calendar

A quick (and I mean quick!) look at OneTastic, which I blogged about earlier this month.

OneTastic

I’ve come to rely on the OneNote add-in OneTastic; a great little tool, with my favourite feature a OneCalendar which shows you what OneNote page you were working on for any day. Nice. It looks like this:

onetastic_2014-11-13_12-52-32

Recently, it broke down and wouldn’t load, and I emailed the guy who programmed it (Omer Atay) and he replied, looked at some of my settings and sent me a fix! How’s that for service?

You can ​get OneTastic here: http://omeratay.com/onetastic/

A deluge of possibilities

When you come back from some time away, particularly when you’re wandering around beautiful landscapes like I was, you do get out of the pace and rhythm of a school. So, it’s been a bit of a jolt coming back and getting used to timetables, bells, hundreds of daily interactions and the pace of the day.

And, one thing that has particularly struck me, in an area I’m very keen about, is technology. Schools seem to be at the center of a perfect storm of change, particularly in terms of ed-tech.

At my own workplace, for example, we’re grappling with the virtues of OneDrive and Google Apps for Education and probably going to opt for some of both. The OneNote notebook creator (see video below) looks like a great leap forward to this product that is so powerful, but so tricky for setup at times. We’ve been a school that uses Outlook and Office, so the collaborative features of OneDrive will be welcomed, but the sites and the survey tools in Google are excellent.

At the same we’re weighing up options for an LMS that might supplement or replace our current wikis, with teachers looking at things like Blackboard, Schoology, Edmodo and others. It’s an arms race of features out there. I’ve been using Schoology with my own teaching, and I think it’s terrific, but what about a reporting tool? And how’s the mobile app look?

Finally, we’re talking a lot about ebooks and replacing / supplementing the paper text books with e-book versions. Do we go with a single vendor, try to accommodate a range of vendors and portals or look for an aggregator? And how do we transition our teachers and parents to that model?

Lots to think about. Sometimes I think back to the simplicity of a day’s walking in Skye last term, but it sure is an exciting time to be a teacher. I’m pretty sure that OneNote will be part of my teaching next  year. Here’s that video:

Walking in nature

I’m back from my leave, and thinking back already to some wonderful walking in England and Scotland, especially in the Lake District and on Skye.

I needed the break, and the restorative and recuperative power that walking in nature can give me. There’s something meditative about walking, especially in a beautiful place, that helps things connect somehow.

Now, I’m looking forward to getting back to work, re-connecting with colleagues and students, and firing up Outlook and surveying the damage there! I also intend to re-start the posting and thinking process here about issues and inter-connections in teaching, learning and technology.

Meanwhile, enjoy this view of Skye.  (Photo:me!)
Skye, Scotland

Winter sunset

Windy sunset

No, I don’t intend wandering off into the sunset, but I am on leave from now through term 3 in my first break like this in over twenty years. So, I won’t be blogging much about education in that time. Instead, I’ll be doing some of my own poetry and textbook writing, taking some photos like the one above, last night at Mornington Pier, riding the bike and getting stuck into some of those jobs around the house that have teased me for ages. And, I’ll be travelling to Europe at the end of July: to Holland, France, England and Scotland.

I hope to be blogging back here in Term 4. I  hope you all have a great term.

My school has been looking closely again at various models for 21C learning, both in terms of student learning but also what it means for 21C teaching practice. I’ve been revising my old blog post about this stuff and looking at new things.

And I liked the simplicity of this model. I like that it specifically mentions global citizenship. I’m not that keen that it assumes that this stuff ‘beyond’ the 3Rs. I think that maybe those basic skills still need to be referenced specifically. I found this HERE

21C1

 

 

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