A previous roundup mentioned Lifehacker‘s annual series of posts on the best current apps/software for different operating system. Now they have published editions of best apps/software for college students, for Windows, Mac, Android, and iPhone.
Blog/Website of Interest
App of the Week is a new feature here on Faculty Focus written by Dave Yearwood, PhD, associate professor and chair of the technology department at the University of North Dakota. Dave is an avid collector of apps and is always on the lookout for new ones that can improve student learning or simply make academic life more organized, productive and fun. Through this column, he’ll provide tips for getting started, app reviews, best practices, sneak peeks, and more. Reviews from guest contributors are welcome as well.
The Evernote blog mentioned an app called RefMe, which can read the barcode of a book and create a citation for it. It is available for Android and iPhone. There is also a web version, through which you can manually add citations, or search for a book or journal article and it will fill in any information it finds. The web page has a paucity of information, it needs more thorough explanations of features, but looks like it works with a variety of document formats and citation styles (though it may be that the free version has eight styles, while the premium has thousands). The document formats is impressive – includes types such as artwork and interviews, as well as more common ones. It also integrates with Evernote, Gmail, and Microsoft Word. Like most apps these days it syncs in the cloud.
In this blog, we do tend to prioritize discussing productivity tools that are freely available. But now and again other tools are worth mentioning. If you campus has access to lynda.com, they have a category of tutorials for education, and it includes what looks like a number of useful videos. There is one on writing a research paper (haven’t looked at it, but have high hopes for it), plus ones on Google Apps for students, visual teaching techniques, flipping the classroom, and many many more.
Top Ten Educational Tools, by our friend Bonni Stachowiak, is an annotated list of tools useful for higher education faculty. Her list does not overlap much with other lists I have seen. Bonni’s post are always well organized, thoughtful, and infused with her warm personality. Tools mentioned are Tapes, Zotero, Heads Up (which sounds like a good game to play with friends, as well as having educational uses), Poll Everywhere, Drafts, TimeTrade, Attendance2, Planbook, iAnnotate, and the Livescribe Pen. Be sure to read Bonni’s post for her reasons for choosing these tools.
10 Killer Ways to Tackle Your Email Inbox gives some useful tips and tricks for reducing the time you spend on email… which makes it timely. ;-).
In a previous links roundup I mentioned an article on how to export your Kindle highlights and notes to Evernote, but this article Kindle + Evernote = [heart symbol] goes much more in-depth and includes annotated screen shots. The article is on Tim Challies’s blog.
8 Evernote Tips for Book Nerds is an article on Ebook Friendly by Piotr Kowalczyk. It has some nice tips, like taking pictures of a stack of print books, or a set of pictures of a bookcase (the spines must be readable). Evernote will make the text it can OCR so that you can search on the titles. That and some of the other tips might be useful for researchers.
Cindy Grigg, About.com’s Office Software guide, has published several posts on tips and tricks for Evernote. They are 10 Tips and Tricks to Customize the Evernote User Interace, 17 Tips and Tricks for Sharing and Collaborating with Evernote, 10 Basic Tips and Tricks for Evernote, 15 Intermediate Tips and Tricks for Evernote, and 15 Advanced Tips and Tricks in Evernote. An earlier links roundup mentioned her wonderful article Comparison Chart of Evernote, Microsoft OneNote, and Google Keep, which also links to more complete reviews of Evernote, OneNote, and Google Keep.
11 Tools to Create Awesome Images for Social Media is a post by Leslie Walker, who is the social media expert for About.com. The tools can be used for other purposes than social media.
Georgia State University has released as open source a WordPress app Library Instruction Recorder (LIR). If those of you who are instruction librarians don’t already have a system for keeping track of sessions offered and statistics about the sessions, this might be a nice option.
Readcube has been a desktop application that improves readability of PDFs by adding links to article references where it can, allows you to find altmetrics for the article, add notes and highligts to the PDF, and more. Now there is a web version available.
Any.do for Android Now Lets You Attach Files to Your To-Do List Items is an article by Paul Sawyers in TNW. The article discusses this new feature in the Android version, and mentions that some other to-do list apps such as Wunderlist offer a similar feature.
In What Twitter Changes Might Mean to Academics, Anastasia Salter‘s Profhacker post discusses that Twitter users are less active than previously and so Twitter is considering changes to its algorithm that might negatively impact the features most useful to academic discourse.
Microsoft Fix It Solution Center is a review of the Microsoft site by Bob Rankin. Looks like a useful page, though as he points out, it falls down in a few areas. Give it a try when having troubl with Microsoft products.
Here’s How to Be the Worst WordPress Designer on the Planet (In 8 Steps or Less) is a really really tongue-in-cheek post by Karol K. in the CodeinWP blog. The one that resonated with me is the use of flat design which I just hate – I have mild cataracts and I just can’t see flat design elements well at all.