Monday, January 30, 2012

Thing 6: Evernote

The tagline for Evernote is "Remember Everything"--and they mean it. Evernote is a cloud-based application used to take and store notes. You can access your notes anywhere you can get online--on a computer, your iPad, or your smartphone.

Some of the features of Evernote:
  • Sort notes into different notebooks
  • Notes sync between devices--if I update something in Evernote on my phone, it will show up the next time I log in on my computer.
  • Tagging notes makes everything easily searchable
  • Take audio notes and picture notes on any device with a microphone/camera
  • Create checklists for organizing long-term projects
  • Send notes to an Evernote notebook via e-mail (great for information you want to keep, but don't want clogging up your inbox).
  • Many of the databases we subscribe to export to Evernote, making it easier for students to keep track of their research
How can students use Evernote?

To learn more about Evernote, check out:
How to get started with Evernote:
Evernote 101

To complete Thing 6:
  • Sign up for Evernote
  • Create a notebook and add some notes, tagging them so you can find them later
  • On your blog, write about your experience with Evernote. Is something you'd find useful? Do you think students would find it useful?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Thing 5: Wikis

A wiki is a collaboratively edited website. Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, is probably the largest and most well-known example of a wiki, but the wiki platform can be used for many other things.
Watch this Wikis in Plain English video from Common Craft (you'll need to click through to YouTube
) to get an idea of what wikis are and what they can do.

What do wikis let you do?
  • Anyone can edit content--you can have an open wiki, or restrict the wiki to be edited only by those you invite (you can even set page-level editing permissions)
  • You can easily track who's making changes, and what they're changing
  • If you accidentally change or delete something, you can easily revert back to an older version of the page.
  • You don't need to know HTML or any other coding language in order to apply styles and formatting
  • It's a great way for students to gather and share resources on a project or unit
  • Wikispaces provides ad-free wikis for educational use
Here are some examples of wikis being used in educational settings:
I've created a wiki for you to play with; for ease of use, I've set it up so that anyone (with or without a wikispaces account) can edit it. There are a few quick tutorials for editing here: Editing Wikispaces
Wikispaces changed their layout shortly after I made those videos, but hopefully they'll still be useful.

To complete Thing 5:
  • Watch the video about wikis
  • Visit the examples of wikis being used in classrooms to get some ideas
  • Go to the 14 Things to Tame wiki and follow the directions there to edit the wiki
  • Copy and paste the comment you leave there into a new blog post.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Thing 4: Social Bookmarking

Online bookmarking helps you organize all of your favorite and most useful sites--and access them no matter where you are.

The site/service has changed quite a bit since that video was made. I'm going to recommend using Diigo instead--it has all of the same features as, and works the same way.

To get started, go to and set up an account. Add and tag several of your favorite websites

You can add bookmark on any computer by logging in to and clicking Add. On your own computer, you can install either the Diigolet tool or by installing the Diigo toolbar in your browser; both of these are located under Tools, and with either of them you'll be able to bookmark sites.

You can check out my Diigo page at formanlibrary. I have over 1800 websites that I've saved using over 800 different tags; feel free to search for sites you might also find interesting.

Once you've joined Diigo and added a few of your favorite bookmarks, explore the social aspects of Diigo. Click on My Groups. On the right there will be recommended groups, and the option to browse other popular groups. You can search for groups that interest you, and find what other people have been bookmarking. If you'd like to follow a group and get updates, you can subscribe using RSS. You can also choose to be alerted via e-mail when new links are added to the group.

I set up a group for Forman, which you can find here: Forman's Diigo group. Join the group and add resources that you think will interest other teachers.

Want to use Diigo on your iPad? Check out the Diigo browser for iPad. The built-in toolbar allows you to save bookmarks directly to your Diigo account.

On your blog, write a post about your experience using Diigo. Is this something you would use? How could it be useful to you? How could it be helpful in a school setting?

In order to complete Thing 4 you need to:
  • Start a Diigo account and add websites.
  • Explore groups and join the Forman Diigo group
  • Write a post reflecting on your experience using Diio

Monday, January 9, 2012

Thing 3: RSS

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. It allows you to check for updates on blogs, online newspapers, and other regularly updated sites by visiting one page, rather than visiting ALL the different sites. The orange RSS icon that appears on many websites lets you know that you can subscribe to the site's updates.

Common Craft does a great "Plain English" explanation of what RSS is:

(You may need to click through to YouTube to watch this video)

Many of you probably already have websites that you check regularly-and hopefully you're planning on following this blog and your colleagues' blogs as well! The best way to do this is to use a RSS feed reader like Google Reader; here's another Common Craft video about GoogleReader (please note that the video is a few years old, and layout/some features have changed):

Your task for this week is to sign up for either Google Reader or another news reader, add your colleagues' blogs (you can find them listed in My Blog List to the right), and at least three other blogs, or online newspapers. Chances are, some of the websites you regularly visit already have RSS feeds! In your blog, write about your experience using Google Reader, if you think you would use it, and how you could use it professionally.

Not sure what to add to your Google Reader account? Here are some news sites that have RSS feeds available:

And here are some of my favorite blogs (i.e. these are where I get many of the ideas and resources I share with you), and links to places to find other great blogs:
You can also search for blogs in your content area using Google--or subscribe to blogs that have nothing to do with education!

So, to complete Thing 3, you need to:
  • Set up a Google Reader account
  • Add the blogs of your colleagues
  • Add three other blogs or newsites
  • Write a post reflecting on your experience with RSS and news readers

Beyond the Thing:
The Edublogger's Guide to Using Google Reader

Want to add an RSS button to your blog? You can do so by going to Design --> Add a Gadget --> Feed

Use this Firefox Add-on to add an RSS icon in your location bar (if there isn't on there already)

For those looking for help, I am generally available during B and D blocks (and of course other times by arrangement).

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Managing Blog Comments

Managing Blog Comments

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Your Blogs!

Thanks to all who are joining in (and even those who are watching from the sidelines for now)!

I'm thrilled that several of you have gotten started already. I'll update this list as more blog links are submitted--in the meantime, check out what your colleagues have created, comment on their blogs (or feel free to comment on the video I posted), and enjoy!