rAPPido Review: DKFindout.com

Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 9.17.37 AMAt the conference I attended, I dropped by The DK (Dorling Kindersley) booth to check out what’s new (Ok, Ok. They were giving away free bags. So sue me.)

I was checking out this flyer for their website, which looked chock full of information. When I enquired as to the subscription price, they told me it was free!!!

It is a regular website, but gives you that particular DK sense of design as well as a world of information. Though it is geared towards the younger crowd, there are still a lot of crossovers into our curriculum:

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I quickly checked out the Science tab and searched for “Cell” which I know the Grade 7s study:

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If you click on the image, it will take you to the site, where you will see that the black dots give you more info when you click on them:

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As a teacher, you can also sign in with your Google account and create lesson plans within the site:

Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 9.27.00 AMIt works great on the iPad, the design is simple and elegant, and is especially relevant to the Grade 7 and 8 curriculum. Check it out!

rAPPido Review: Mendeley (reference manager)

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As promised, I have begun looking at reference managers for the iPad. The reason? To give our students easy-to-use tools for citation and bibliography creation so that they are prepared for Cegep and University. It is never too early to install good academic practices!

My criteria is a little different as we are a high school and not a University. Most of our students do not write research-heavy essays. Most of their research needs are satisfied by general reference sources articles online.

Yet it is still important that they know how to properly cite their sources.

I am looking for a lightweight tool that:

  1. Allows students to collect all their sources from websites, youtube videos, online encyclopedias and even print books (through a barcode scanner) and quickly format them into a bibliography.
  2. Is easy to use and intuitive. To be able to search via Safari or Chrome and have a bookmarklet that saves the article and its metadata to the app.
  3. Allows students to import and export articles and information with ease.

That is all good and fine, but a lot of the apps are heavy-weight, reference managers like EndNote and are very expensive. I am very cheap, so I thought I would begin with the free app.

What is it? Mendeley is a Reference Manager application that works on your computer as well as your iPad. It will collect all your online sources and keep them in one place. It is also supposed to help you with your citations and bibliography, but more on that below.

Price: free

Does it meet my criteria? The iPad app does not. The free desktop version allows you to add a plug-in to word and add citations and bibliographies really niftily:

See the upper toolbar that says Insert or Edit citation? That takes you straight to the Mendeley application on your desktop and allows you to choose the article you want to cite:

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Here is my MLA citation:

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The bibliography was as easy as clicking “Insert Bibliography”:

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But for the iPad? Nope. Although I took a lot of screenshots in order to write this review, I don’t think I will bother showing you as it became very clear after I set up my account andf the bookmarklet in Safari that allowed my to add the article to the app, that this tool did not do what I needed it to do. In fact, there is nothing that the Mendeley app doesn’t do that Diigo doesn’t do. In Fact, the Diigo browser app is free and allows you to search the internet whiteout having to leave the app.

Although Mendeley works wonders on the desktop in terms of adding citations and bibliographies, the iPad app does not have the same functionality. Its purpose is really as a lightweight companion, one where you can access your articles and annotate them while on the go, then as a direct substitution you get on a computer.

The Best Citation and Bibliography Apps for Student Researchers and Academics ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning

When I was at the OLA conference last week, I stopped by the Papers 3 booth. It is an app to help University students with their research. Here is the little blurb from their website:

Papers helps you collect and curate the research material that you’re passionate about. From citations to search, Papers will improve the way you find, organize, read, cite and share.

After talking to the very nice women, I realized that this kind of tool is a little too sophisticated (not to mention expensive) for our needs. But it occurred to me that it would be really useful to have an app like the software used in Universities (Endnote, etc.) to help gather research materials and then collate bibliographies. As we attempt to arm our students with the necessary skills needed to properly cite their sources and avoid plagiarism, it might behoove us to put a research/citation app on the required list for students.

As a preliminary to the search for the best tool for us, I found this handy dandy site that lists the top apps for this category. Although there are a few free ones, most of them you have to pay so I will be picking and choosing carefully during the following week and giving each a whirl. Stay tuned!

Source: www.educatorstechnology.com

See on Scoop.itipadyoupad

How To Actually Use Wikipedia In The Classroom

See on Scoop.itipadyoupad

  via Edudemic With more than half of all US college students now using the site for background information before embarking on an essay, it’s clear that Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia tha…

Lina Gordaneer‘s insight:

Thanks Libby for sharing this!

I like the idea of getting students to look at an artilce for whatis not there and then to try and fill in the gaps. This could have some interesting uses when researching more local subjects or for Ethics when the students must research a local religious institute or charity. Can you think of any other uses?

I always tell the students that wikipedia is a great place to start your research but never to end it. I like flipping this on its head by getting them to edit it (with much supervision!) themselves!

See on fluency21.com

rAPPido Review: Encyclopedia Britannica

Encyclopedia Britannica

Price: Free (lite version) $1.99/month for full access

Yes, I’ll admit it. My library world slows down a little during this last week of exams, which gives me the opportunity to troll the app store. Checking out what’s new in the Features section, I came across this app, released in November by the folks at the prestigious (some would say crusty) Britannica people.

Now. If you have never seen their full online Encyclopedia, you have not witnessed the transformation of this reference institution from voluminous, cumbersome tomes to easily accessed information, including hyperlinks, images and media as well as the ability to bookmark your preferences ready made citations as well as what we like to call in library speak, Xrefs (which is now commonly known as related articles).

I love online Encyclopedias, I won’t lie. So yes, I jumped at thew chance to download my very own Britannica app for free!

Here is the search interface. Simple. Elegant. Easy to use.

Now be warned:  the free version doesn’t give you access to all content, as witnessed by the the first article I searched for:

Oh. And on the subject of the deceased North Korean Dictator, I happened to read this article in the New Republic listing his greatest crimes. I am suitably appalled at my own ignorance. The only thing I knew about him was that he was building his army along with a cache of nuclear weapons. Didn’t make the connection (though I should have) that it was on the backs of his starving people.

However, I digress.

As you can see, we only get 100 out of a 1024 word article. We are cordially invited to subscribe however.

But the lovely peeps at britannica has made it easy for us frugal educators, and posted a link to all of their full-length, free articles:

These include full length articles on many scientists, countries such as Canada, and even the whopping World War II which clocks in at 137 pages (don’t worry- they give table of contents with hyperlinks).

Here is the article on the atom:

If you click on the image, it gets bigger and gives you a caption.

The link map option at the top right hand corner is extremely cool. A replacement for the old school “related articles” hyperlink, the Britannic app gives it to you as a visual map:

Articles connect to the Atom article

Click on any of the icons and the map will expand to include all related articles to that article. To actually view an article in the link map, you simply press and hold.

All in all, the Encyclopedia Britannica is intuitive to use, provides easily understandable and accessible information. With the free articles, they also offer the possibility of saving for offline viewing, the ability to star an article as well as the option to change the font size. The help pages are actually helpful. The only thing I can’t find and (I am very sad about it) is the already configured MLA and ALA citations they provide in their online version. Hopefully this will be added soon.

Oooh. And in honour of the newest member of the Traf community, they also have an “On this Day” page on the app, where you can browse the people born on this day from the 16th century on as well as peruse the events that happened on this day in history. It turns, out that little Sophia shares a birthday with Billy Bragg!

Here is Mr. Bragg with his love song, The Milkman of Human Kindness:

Happy Tuesday and remember to always leave an extra pint.