Apologies, all. Due to unforseen circumstances, there’ll be a one-day delay in this week’s LLO post. Check back this time tomorrow.
For our last bit of visual fun online, let’s look at two apps that take real-world visual art and turn it into a digital treasure.
What Is It?
Art My Kid Made and Artkive are apps for iPhone or iPad (Android coming soon) that let you easily take a picture of a child’s artwork, add information about it, and share it with friends and family. Art moves easily from the refrigerator to the world!
How Does It Work?
Both apps work the same way:
- Download the app and create an account for a child
- Use your iPhone or iPad to take a picture of the child’s art
- Add the child’s name, age/grade, the date created, a title, and any additional information
- Save the image to the app’s cloud storage, easily accessible from anywhere in the world
- Share the art via email (ArtKive) or Facebook, Twitter, & Evernote (Art My Kid Made)
There are differences, though. Art My Kid Made instantly shares images to Facebook, Twitter, or Evernote, as well as uploading to its own web page. It also has a simple photo editor that lets you add “stickers,” effects, text, and crop the image to just the best bits. They also feature an “Artist of the Day” on their website and Facebook page.
ArtKive makes it easy to keep several kids’ worth of art organized by their first names, and you can create a small Share Circle of email address to send the image to only the people who care most. ArtKive will also eventually let you print the artwork as a calendar, on a mug, or as a picture book!
Why Is It Useful?
If you have children in your life at all, you know that one of the hardest things to do is to organize (or get rid of) the artwork they make at school and at home. It’s all precious, and an important part of their growing up. These two tools help you preserve and organize this part of kids’ lives, and share the art easily with friends and family.
If you’re one of those friends and family, you can use either app to help you organize art made by grandchildren, nieces & nephews, cousins, godchildren, children of close friends, students, or any other kids in your life. ArtKive, with its drop-down menu to choose the artist, makes managing multiple accounts a snap.
You can also take pictures of more than just drawings and paintings. Capture and share that A+ school assignment, the clay paperweight, an image from a school play or musical recital, or any other moment from a child’s life. Check out the Facebook pages for both apps (in the list below) for more suggestions and ideas.
Help & Resources
Last week, we looked at Issuu, an online newsstand full of print documents like magazines and reports. This week, let’s take a look at a similar but different idea – creating a magazine or newspaper made up of website and online images and videos.
What Is It?
paper.li lets you create an online newspaper from websites, images, videos, or even searches for particular terms and topics. As these sites add new posts or the searches find new results, the links appear as part of your newspaper. You need to use either a Facebook or Twitter account to log in, and then include additional sources of information.
Scoop.it is similar, but it’s more of a magazine than a newspaper because it has that glossy look and feel. Also, rather than adding automatic feeds from other places, you pick and choose specific pages, articles, images, or videos to add to your Scoop.it magazine. You can use your Facebook or Twitter account to log in, or create an account just for Scoop.it.
For both tools, adding content is as simple as choosing items off a list or copying and pasting URLs. You can create different sections and add your own notes and articles. Other people subscribe to your online newspaper or magazine and as it gets updated, they see new content and information. You can also add your paper.li or Scoop.it feed to a blog or website so that visitors can see the content you’ve curated.
How Is It Useful?
Just like Issuu, paper.li and Scoop.it allow anyone to create an online resource for a specific group of interested readers. With a print newspaper or magazine, you need to be able to see a large number of subscriptions to make it cost-effective. Using online tools, you can easily put together a publication for just a handful of readers who are all passionate about a particular topic.
For example, an editor named Tollcraft curates a paper.li newspaper for crafters in Tollcross and Edinburgh, Scotland. The news might be from anywhere in the world, or from right in their own neighborhood. Meanwhile, Public Relations News curated by Lee Odden is for anyone in the world who’s interested in PR or marketing.
This video from Scoop.it gives you another example:
In all of these cases, it’s the fact that real humans are curating this content – picking and choosing what gets included – that makes it most useful. Someone decided that particular websites, images, videos, or other links were relevant to a particular topic and put them all in one place. This aggregation and content curation are a way for people who don’t necessarily want to create content to be able to share other useful content instead.
Try It Out
You don’t need to create an account with either paper.li or Scoop.it to read the content that other people have created. Just visit the paper.li newsstand or browse topics in Scoop.it, click on something that looks interesting, and enjoy yourself. You can also use the search boxes at the top of each screen to find topics that are important to you.
If you decide you want to create your own online newspaper or magazine, read more about signing up and getting going:
- What Is paper.li?
- Getting Started With paper.li
- A Guided Tour to Scoop.it’s Features
- Getting Started with Scoop.it
Help & Resources
For the month of September, we’re going to focus on some great visual resources in online life. Let’s start with something familiar: an online newsstand bursting with full-color publications.
What Is It?
Issuu is site that features thousands of online magazines, catalog, conference reports and more. Professional-quality digital publications are available to read online, in full color, on a computer or mobile device. It’s free, easy to use, and many of the publications are gorgeous.
It’s easier to show you what Issuu is like than tell you, so click through on an example below to see it in action.
- Print book samplers
- Party craft magazines
- Nanotechnology newsletters
- Sewing pattern catalogs
- Canadian car parts directory
- Austin (TX) Daily Herald Fall Sports Preview
In addition to finding digital publications, Issuu is also a place where anyone can upload and show off their own visual document. All you need to do is create an account and then upload your finished document to Issuu. Share the URL for that document in email, on a blog, or from a social media account, and everyone will be able to see it quickly and easily.
How Is It Useful?
Like most of the tools we examine, Issuu is most useful because it takes a document or publication and makes it available to anyone with an internet connection, wherever they are. In addition, Issuu highlights new and popular publications each month, making it easier for other people to find the most interesting titles. Issuu’s search isn’t the best, but it does organize things by category and popularity as well as by how new it is.
Try It Out
If you just want to browse Issuu and see what other people have done, start at the home page and click on a featured title. You can also start at the publications page, then: Use the search box at the top to look for a particular topic, choose the language you want or the type of document you’re looking for to get more specific results, and use the facets down the side to browse by subject.
Help & Resources
Due to the holiday, there’ll be no Learning for Life Online post today. Enjoy your day in the sun (if you’re in New England) and we’ll be back on the 10th to start a month of exploring visual life online. See you next week!
One of the ways to make any student’s life easier is to give her the tools she needs. With smartphone and tablet use rising, apps for students can be those tools. Here’s a quick roundup of some of the better apps for students of all ages.
Note: I’ve tried to find free or low-cost apps. There are higher-costs apps with more bells and whistles, but there might also be a free version that gives you the basics you need. Shop around.
Familiar Names, In An App
- SparkNotes has a free app for both iPhone/iPad and Android devices. Access study guides online or offline, and check in to SparkNotes to find other students in your area studying the same thing.
- Cliffs Notes has apps for iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch that will help you review texts in English. The app is free, and each study guide is $1.99 (much cheaper than the print versions). They also have a free CramCasts, three-minute overviews of literary works in a podcast that you can subscribe to.
- Encyclopedia Britannica’s apps are geared at kids, but anyone can use them to learn more about snakes, knights & castles, US Presidents, and the solar system.
- Dictionary.com is a great web-based dictionary/thesaurus, now available as an app for iPhone and Android.
- There are several graphing calculator apps out there, but here’s a few for iPhone (one for free and one that costs $1.99) and Android (free and also free)
New Tools to Try
- Evernote is a note-taking and list-making app for iPhone, iPad, and any Apple computer. What makes it awesome is that it will sync up those notes and list from one device to the next, so you always have the same updated information in front of you. No more copying things over or emailing to yourself.
- Quizlet is a flash card website and app that lets you create your own flashcards or study using existing ones.
- Flash card creation apps like StudyDroid (Android) and gFlash (iPhone/iPad)
- Outliner for iPhone and iPad easily helps you break any project or paper down into an outline and task list.
- Adding to last week’s post on time management, here’s iProcrastinate, a Mac/iPhone app that helps organize and break down large projects.
Not an App, but a Neat Site
WebElements.com is a site for high school and college students of all levels that has an amazing amount of information about the elements in a useful format. You can also buy all sorts of posters and displays to help remember more about the elements.
Many, many many more
There are hundreds of apps out there that are great for students of all sorts. Use your favorite search engine to find one on a subject you need, for the device you have. Just type in the subject you want, then “app for” and the device you have. You should get a few great lists to start with. You can also search the iTunes App Store or Android Market/Google Play for more.
- Teacher Reviewed Educational Apps for 2012 from WeAreTeachers.com
- A few “best apps for college students”: Android and iPhone/iPad
- A few “best apps for high school students”: Android and iPhone/iPad
- GWhiz Mobile has dozens of apps for students. Note: Many of them cost a few dollars.
- Gizmodo’s Essential Apps of 2012 for students and anyone
- Top Chrome Apps to Help Students Stay Productive Online from Library Journal‘s The Digital Shift (added 8/29/12)
One obvious way to use online tools for school and study is to help keep things organized.
What Is It?
There are different tools that will keep track of your to do lists for you, but they all have the same basic features. You can create specific tasks, organize them into lists or projects, set due dates for each task, and view these tasks in a single agenda or project-by-project. Some tools can do more, like send you notifications of tasks as they are due, or give you a mobile app for your smartphone to use wherever you go.
To see a variety of to do list tools, take a look at these:
- Remember The Milk
- Vitalist, an online tool for the Getting Things Done system
- Use your online account to keep track of tasks: Google Tasks in Google Calendar and Gmail; To Do lists in Yahoo Calendar, MSN/Hotmail/WindowsLive
How Is It Useful?
When you write out your to do lists on pieces of paper or on a calendar on the wall at home, it’s easy to lose track of updating the list or remembering what was due when. Using an online task organizer, you can keep that list in one place and get to it wherever you can connect to the web. If you have a smartphone or tablet, it’s even easier. Just like all of the online account or online collaboration tools we’ve looked at, it’s about keeping things in one easily-accessible place and not having lots of information in different spots.
Try It Out
If you have an online account with Google, Yahoo! or Hotmail/WindowsLive, use the help below to create a basic to do list and try organizing just one project to start with. It might be a class you’re taking, a report you’re writing, or even a project at home. Don’t try to organize everything all at once – start with something simple and add projects as you get the hang of it.
For a little more organization, or if you don’t have an online account, give one of other tools a try. Remember the Milk and Todoist are the simplest to use, but all of them are good for different kinds of projects. Look at the lists of features and see what works for you.
Help & Resources
- ToodleDo has a list comparing the major task managers. They only compare the free versions, however, so make sure to look at the features available with upgrades to Remember the Milk and Todoist.
- Remember the Milk: Getting Started, help, FAQ
- Todoist: Quick video demonstration of features
- ToodleDo: list of features and pricing, help, discussion forums
- Vitalist: Quick video demonstration, newws blog
- Google Tasks: help
As folks head back to school, let’s spend the rest of August finding ways to study and learn from wherever you are: still on vacation, away in a dorm room, or hanging out at recess. Watching TED talks is fun, but sometimes you need a little more structure.
What Is It?
After more than ten years of colleges and universities offering some kind of online access to courses for their students, today anyone can find lectures, courses, and more available online – some for free, some for a reasonable fee. Here’s a few to give you an idea of what’s out there.
Free Resources, Open to Everyone
- Wikiversity was created by the same people who started Wikpiedia. Educators and experts worldwide offer free educational resources and courses on hundreds of topics.
- Several universities are offering online courses that you can explore at your own pace, or take with a registered class of other students. Check out what’s available from MIT’s OpenCourseware project, Stanford’s Free Online Courses, Open Yale Courses, and Harvard’s Open Learning Courses.
- Imagine searching for lectures as easily as you look for the latest pop hits? That’s the premise behind iTunesU. If you have iTunes on your computer, open it up and click on the iTunes Store, then iTunes U up at the top. Search for a subject you’re interested in and then subscribe to listen or watch it.
- For online courses from around the globe, read through this list of 200 Free Online Classes to Learn Anything from the Online Education Database
Something brand new and very different is the edX project, a partnership between Harvard University, MIT, and University of California at Berkeley to offer free courses online. Unlike the resources above, edX does require registration and will offer a certificate after you complete a subject of study. Read more about edX and ‘the future of online education.’
- Looking to learn more about computer programs you need for work or school? Try Lynda.com, a resource for online training tutorials. For a monthly or annual subscription, you have access to nearly 1500 tutorials on everything from Microsoft Word to Adobe Photoshop and more.
- Many colleges and universities offer formal distance-learning programs, but the University of Phoenix has one of the most well-known online degree programs.
- The Museum of Modern Art in New York offers art courses online, both self-study and instructor-led. Discover art from MoMA from wherever you are!
How Is It Useful?
World-class education, for free, from whatever computer or mobile device you have that can get to the internet. Learn at your own pace, on whatever subject you like, whenever you have time, wherever you are. How isn’t this useful?
Try It Out!
Take a look at a class from any of the resources above and listen to a recorded lecture, read through the notes, or watch a video. Expand your mind and get back in gear for learning.
Help & Resources
- “9 Essential Tips for Students Taking Online Courses” from US News & World Report. It’s written for people taking paid courses, but the suggestions are useful for anyone learning online
- “Taking Online Classes While Working: Time Management Tips” from Onlineclasses.org
- Tips on distance learning from About.com
Since the first week of August is apparently one of the busiest travel weeks of the year in the United States, let’s take a look at a perfect travel companion: TED Talks
What Is It?
Straight from the About page: TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. Since then its scope has become ever broader.
TED helps find and spread ideas worldwide in many ways:
- Two annual conferences: the TED Conference in Long Beach and Palm Springs each spring and the TEDGlobal conference in Edinburgh UK each summer
- TEDTalks video site, where you can watch talks from TED events
- Open Translation Project to translate those talks into as many languages as possible
- TED Conversations – discussion forums to talk about the ideas presented at TED events
- TEDx local conferences held around the world
- TED Fellows program
- The annual TED Prize, “for a wish that can inspire the world”
Anyone can watch the hundreds of TED Talks available at the TED website. They range from just three to 20 minutes long, and are on every topic imaginable. Use the search facets on the left to find talks that appeal to you, or just keep browsing and clicking on whatever catches your eye.
There have also been at least two Boston-area TEDx events: TEDx Somerville and TEDx Boston. These self-organized events bring people together to share a TED-like experience, focused on locally-important topics. Take a look at the talks from TEDxSomerville and all four years of TEDxBoston.
Why Is It Useful?
Once you’re out of school, it’s harder to find lessons in life that will challenge you or get you to imagine new possibilities and consider alternatives to ‘the way things have always been.’ Watching TED talks online bring some of the most amazing thinkers from around the world to your screen, and can fill you with hope and wonder. It’s as useful as anything else that makes you think, dream, and play.
Try It Out
Unless you happen to have a TEDx event coming up nearby, the best way to get to know TED is by watching TED Talks. Try these on for size…
- Bobby McFerrin playing the audience at the World Science Festival
- Michael McDaniel demonstrates his solution to cheap, effective shelter for disaster relief
- Sarah Kay, performance poet, tells us what she would say to her daughter
- Markus Fichter of Festo demonstrates their robot that flies like a bird
- Blaise Aguera y Acras demonstrates Photosynth, an amazing zooming image display….from 2007, years ahead of iPhone and iPad zooming
- Sam Liberty and Kevin Spak talk about game design at TEDxBoston 2012
- Aatish Salvi looks at programs to move people from poverty to a comfortable life at TEDxSomerville 2012
- More of the most viewed TED talks
For the rest of August, Learning for Life Online will focus on getting ready for the school year and showcase ways to help study, learn, and discover online. Whether you’re heading back to school or just looking for something to do over the winter, LLO will have something for you.
Good morning. Over the weekend, many Facebook users were told that as of August 4th, their profile pages would be switching to the new Timeline format. Let’s take a look at Timeline’s features and see how you can prepare for the big switch.
New Features in Timeline
The major updates with Timeline are a new look for your own information and your Wall and an easier way to navigate a person’s history of posts in Facebook.
- New layout. In Timeline, there’s a Cover photo up at the top (just like on many websites), your information underneath, and then your posts down below. On a laptop or desktop computer, you’ll see two columns of posts. On a mobile device (smartphone or tablet), you’ll just see one. The stories scroll down the page in reverse chronological order – newest first and older as you go.
- Timeline to get to older posts. One of the big problems with the old profile page is that you could only go back a few dozen posts at a time. There was no way to see what you or someone else had written last month, last year, or back when you started on Facebook. Now, there’s a ‘timeline’ off to the upper right – just click on a year or month to look at posts from that time.
- Cover photo. This image should be a large-ish, interesting picture either taken by you, of you, or is of something important to you. It’s the first thing people will see when they look at your Timeline, and you can have fun with it. Later this week, we’ll be adding a separate post on uploading photos to Facebook, to walk you through the process of adding a Cover photo.
- New kinds of updates. From your timeline, you can add different Life Events and use Facebook as a true online documentary of your life.
A Few Facebook Tips
- Change settings easily. Watch what happens when you put your cursor over things on the screen. There are a lot of settings hidden in plain sight on Facebook pages. Put your cursor over text, images, and empty boxes on the page and wait a moment – a box with an X, a small gear, or some text might appear on the right to offer you choices. Click on them to see what your choices are.
- Edit link previews. When you post a link, Facebook automatically creates the link and adds an image if there is one. Remove the image by clicking the box next to No Thumbnail. Change the description by clicking on the text until it turns yellow, then delete or type until it says what you want it to.
- Unfollow posts. If you’re tired of getting notifications for new comments on a post you’ve commented on, Unfollow it. Up at the top left, click on the globe icon and put your cursor over the latest notification for that post. Click on the X that appears in the box, and then click on Unfollow.
- Create lists of friends. Now you can create different lists of friends, so you can easily choose which people can see which posts. Make a “Close Friends” list for the people you know well, add your parents and cousins to “Family,” and keep your “Work Friends” separate. You can also click on the list name under Friends on the left side of your News Feed page to just view posts by those people.
Why some folks don’t like it
Facebook has been moving users to the new Timeline for a few months now, and many people have said they don’t like it. Some don’t like the layout, some think it’s slow to load, some think it’s just broken. Some people don’t like the fact that it’s easier to get to older posts, and some don’t like all the ‘extra work’ they think the new layout makes them do.
But before you decide you don’t like it, please do three things:
- Really try using it. Add a life event, look back at old posts you made when you first got on Facebook, add friends to lists, quickly and easily change settings on a post. Like your parents said, “Try it before you say you hate it.”
- Remember that it only affects your personal page. Your news feed page will stay just the same.
- See what Timeline does really well, and what your News Feed page does well. Ask yourself if it might be okay for one to work one way and the other, another?
In the comments or on the Learning for Life Online Facebook page, tell me what you think of Timeline. Good or bad – we want to know.