QAIS EASY TECH 101 CONFERENCE: WHAT I LEARNED #3

Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 10.07.38 AMDiigo Browser

What is it? Marries Chrome Browser with the social bookmarking and web annotating powers of Diigo!

Price? Free!

Although I already knew about Diigo (actually, from a previous QAIS conference) I never really used it, mostly because it didn’t really work so well on the iPad. But a couple of years will do wonders for functionality as we have seen with Google Drive (though they still have a ways to go in my opinion.)  Diigo still works most effectively on your laptop , with the ability to install bookmark lets and simply click the Diigo link when you h=find a website you want to save and annotate, the iPad app allows you to do almost all of the same things. You just have to get in the habit of using it as your default browser.

What does it do?

Diigo lets you:

  • Save websites. Here is an example. I am currently researching the travesty that is Gamergate. I did a quick Google search through my Diigo browser for Gamergate and found this article:

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I save it to my Diigo library, where I am asked to write a description (annotate the link) and tag it:

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Add it to a folder (which you have to create before hand. Super easy.)

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You can also share it to a group (which you also have to create beforehand, but would be super useful if you have an ongoing research project with your students.

And what I was very excited about:

  • Lets you add highlights and drawing to websites:

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And then you can save it to your photos, sort of like a built in Skitch!

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The presenter for this workshop was Daryl Bambic from west Island College. She uses Diigo with her philosophy students. They create their own portfolio of articles and then annotate them by first describing why it is a reliable site and secondly writing a summary for it. She also uses it as a place to hold discussions on certain articles.

A very useful knowledge management tool that you can use for your classes but also for your own professional development reading!

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Rethink How We Assess Group Research

Once again, the ladies at Langwitches serve up an extremely interesting and relevant discussion about the nature of group research work, how to get students to collaborate in a more equitable way as well as how online tools can help0 with that. As always, there are some amazing visuals. Check it out!

My brilliant colleague from Brazil, Silvana Meneghini, was wrapping her mind around group research at the high school level. In a FaceTime call she expressed her frustration of traditional assessme…

Source: langwitches.org

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rAPPido review: iBrainstorm

ibrainstorm
Price: free

As the English department can probably tell you, one of the hardest parts for students when writing an essay is organizing their thoughts. Most students want to dive right in – start writing before they have any idea of what they want to say. Focusing on the before part of writing- of gathering all your points and then lining them up so they flow nicely into each other- does not get enough play.

I was thinking about this when I came across this review of the app ibrainstorm:

iBrainstorm is a free brainstorming application for the iPad and the iPhone. The app allows you to record brainstorming sessions using a combination of free hand drawings and sticky notes. You can share and collaborate with other users of iBrainstorm. Sharing notes and drawings between users in a local setting is a simple matter of “flicking” an item to another user.-free4teachers.com

So I decided to give it a whirl.

The interface is a basic cork board-esque background:

Nice, simple, and relatively intuitive.

The first thing I did was name my project (I get too many untitled documents from students. It is annoying):

And then I started brainstorming some possible scenes:

To add a sticky note, you tap on the square with the plus sign. I wanted to have my scenes  in yellow and my settings in blue.  Apparently you are supposed to be able to change the colour of the sticky note, but that option wasn’t working when I was trying this app out (just tried again and still not working- hmmm.) Hopefully this is just a temporary glitch.

You can also tap the pencil and draw:

You can collaborate with other people on a project- just tap the vibrating phone icon and it will “listen for devices”:

I think it must listen for a device that is running ibrainstorm, because it didn’t find any…I am trying right now to connect to iPads -I am still getting the wheel of death… Hmmm. Another strike against ibrainstorm- Although it looks like it should be very intuitive and minimal, the options they do provide don’t work.

You have the option to send your brainstorm session via email or save it to your photos:

Conclusion:

Although I like the interface- it provides a simple and intuitive blank slate with which to visually map out your ideas, I am not so happy with the so-called collaboration option- as I write this my devices are still trying to connect to each other (I gave up). As well, the relatively simple yet essential option of changing the colour of your sticky notes doesn’t work.

In terms of collaboration, I would suggest syncspace, which also happens to be on the iLab iPads. It works better and the real-time collaboration actually happens in real time.