Temporary Stage in Transition

I am in the process of moving my school to Google Apps, and today was supposed to be the day to flip the switch by directing mail to Gmail rather than the highly frustrating email service we currently use. Unfortunately, that was not to be. Instead I, and the awesome consultant from OunceIT, worked all day to create forwards from that service to the temporary gmail address. Why did it take all day? Well, I am also standardizing the three naming schemes, so there were many users who had to have aliases created in both Google and in the old service, and those aliases had to be forwarded to Gmail as well. Of course while doing this, the interface would require several clicks to get back to the screen that allowed us to make changes. This was an enormous investment of time for something that will be meaningless in about a week.

On the positive side, the mail transfer started with only one small hiccup.

Cultivating Evernote

I didn’t plan on getting back to Evernote so quickly, but I have found a worthy long-term project for it–my garden. I am slowly getting into gardening. Last year, I planted a few veggies with my daughter, and this year we are trying a few more. Meanwhile I am getting up and running on composting and other related topics.

To assist this, I have created an Evernote notebook about gardening in which to collect my findings. I hope to get a few things grown this year, but mostly I am learning. Part of the learning happens outside with my hands in the dirt, and part of it happens with my nose in a book or looking up info.

My goal is to find a good garden planner, a source of info about when to plant different veggies, resources for improving my soil and using containers for gardening. I hope to make next year’s garden much better, and part of that is the experimentation that happens this year. Let me know if you have good garden resources, digital or otherwise.


My school’s web project is being managed in Basecamp. In some ways this is a nifty tools to increase communication and create a workflow to complete a project in time. However, in that one-size-fits-all way that many solutions have, it is lacking some features that would make it more useful. One can get around these by uploading files, but that necessitates clicking and opening. I’d love native support for viewing PDFs and much more. Luckily, I only have to use it for a short while.

I wonder how the state of project management will evolve as web capabilities continue to expand.


The Evernoting Story 3: If Disney Can, So Can I

Yes, I can drag this story out into a series of poorly crafted, straight to TV posts. But I won’t. This is probably my last one until I have more time under my belt with this app.

However, I did want to share what seems to be one of my biggest growing uses of Evernote so far. After installing the app on my iPhone, I found the voice memo feature and began recording memos about what blog posts I wanted to make. I know there are so many other apps that can do the same, but this allows me write comments on them and add photos, etc. For the time being, this will probably drive my use of Evernote with more uses building from here.

The Evernoting Story 2

Just like all movies, good and bad, have the potential for a sequel, here is mine.

Today, I messed around with the Evernote iPad app that is somewhat limited. It can’t make new notebooks. However, I did play with the voice recording and typing at the same time. Wow, I could see some really great uses for this. I have decided that I will stay with Delicious for my bookmarks. I like the stacks, and I don’t really want to write copious amounts of notes or do voice annotations on web bookmarks. My task lists either will live in Wunderlist or in SpringPad. I think personal in Wunderlist and work ones in SpringPad where I will use the project management tools.

What does that leave? The first thing that comes to mind is that this is a great tool for digital portfolios! Being able to snap photos of work and put them in different notebooks, have students write or dictate reflections, and see it on any platform certainly lends itself to portfolios. I have already read several articles and talked to Ivan Nieves at Concord Academy about just this process.

What else? The web clipping tool would be great for research. Creating notebooks with the clips rather than bookmarks along with notes, photos, and other stuff could be a good use. I also see using Evernote as a good place to do the expansion at the beginning of a project when I am gathering lots of info. I can dump it in one place, sort through it, and then begin to focus. I don’t know if it will serve as well for that part; that is where I’d probably switch over to SpringPad. I’ll have to use it on my next big project to find out.

The Evernoting Story

Unlike The Neverending Story, the web is not being destroyed by the Nothing. Quite the opposite, in fact. The web is rapidly being expanded, and no flying, furry luckdragon could possibly fly all of the way across it. Tron, himself, would find it hard to navigate the ever expanding infoscape.

I have made attempts to filter this boiling sea of data and only direct pertinent info toward me. It is still far too much to see all of, so finding a way to dip in when I want to, to not miss the really important stuff, and to curate things I want to find again has been my major focus this year. My journey has taken me from Diigo, to Delicious, to Springpad, and now to Evernote. I am not yet sold on this being the solution for me.

So far I have created an account, installed the web clipper, watched a few videos, and made a few test notes. I can easily see many uses, but I really need to get my hands dirty by using it for a few weeks. I would love to hear how others are using Evernote or how they have decided not to and what they are using instead.

One Digital Flow to Rule Them All

It appears that I will attempt to move my digital flow to Evernote. I am hearing it from too many sources, now, that this is the way to go. I am not sure how much of my other pieces it will eat up. Certainly it will replace Springpad, but I have hardly started using that. It might replace my social bookmarks so recently moved to Delicious from Diigo. We’ll see. I am pretty sure I’ll keep GoodReads and probably IMDB Watchlist. Image handling will be the same, too.

This is a weekend project.

Today is Fun Day

My students have finished some testing, so when I asked their teacher what she wanted them to focus on, she said for them to have a fun day in tech class. I sat the students around a table and asked what they thought a fun day would be.

My heart sang as they requested to use InstaGrok, bubbl.us, and other web tools I have taught them this year.


Many teachers use Glogster, including me. It is a nice extension of the classic poster project allowing links, videos, and other features that a foam-core creation would not include. It serves as a very accessible web 2.o tool for teachers who might be more resistant to less familiar formats, and I have seen firsthand how building a glog can engage students or student groups. With the right setup, the projects can present solid research, cite sources, and follow good design principles.

There are a few, major pitfalls to avoid. The first is making sure students, and their parents when they hear of this new website, go to edu.glogster.com. Glogster.com has a great deal of material that is not appropriate for schools. Parents can react quite quickly if they think this is where their students are spending their time during the school day. Next, Glogster makes it appear that students must fill in their profile with personal information to continue working. All they need is a nickname and a password. Under a teacher account, the students will not be exposed to public viewership if desired. However, it is good practice to teach students to recognize what information they have to give and what is optional for any site and why these sites might want a lot more info than they really need.

This week, I will start using Glogster with some third graders. Hopefully, I can avoid some of the pitfalls while helping engage the teachers and students in a digital tool.

Stacks, Sets, Collections. Getting It Together.

Flickr has sets and collections, Diigo has lists, Delicious has Stacks. Making collections of things is very helpful for using them and for getting through material. Some of my oldest collections are labels/folders I use in Google Reader in order to focus my reading. Now that most email readers offer threaded reading, my inbox is much more manageable.

Having recently moved to Delicious, I thought I’d take the Stack feature for a spin. I have some students working on planets right now, so I created a stack with the sites I had tagged planets. Seems simple enough. When I have many more resources, I am sure the stack will be more useful to create a selection of the ones that I really want the students to view. Right now the stack and tag filter are the same, and that is just a duplication of effort.