Jul 22

95. Five Writing Tools to Inspire Creativity

Guestpost by Melissa Burns

Melissa is a student of journalism. She is passionate about digital technologies and tries to implement them in the sphere of education. Recently she has started working on development TutorsClass and believes it will become a great platform.

 

Even talented writers have troubles finishing the work they started. There are too many ideas in their heads, and it is sometimes impossible to fit them into a single piece of writing, whether it is an online article, blog post, academic paper, or an entire novel.

If only you could launch the word processor of your choice and start typing from dusk till dawn, you would be much happier with your achievements. However, being productive doesn’t come easily if you don’t find the right tools that will help you organize your ideas. The following list of tools is mandatory for all contemporary writers who want to reach their greatest potential:

1. Kiwix

The Internet is your biggest distraction, but it’s also something you need for your writing projects. What happens when your connection goes down and you desperately need to find information to support your discussion? Don’t worry; you can always use Kiwix and save yourself from such disasters. With this program, you can have the entire Wikipedia whenever you need. Everything will be stored on a DVD, USB flash or your computer, so you won’t need the Internet to get the information you are looking for. This is also a tool that can help you stay focused on your writing, since you can turn the Internet off and devote yourself to the work. Kiwix will provide you with the information you need, but you won’t get distracted by the urge to check what’s new on Tumblr while writing.

2. TreeSheets

All writers need to take notes. With a mind as busy as yours, you cannot limit your creativity flow within a single document and end up with a logical text that won’t lose your reader’s attention. TreeSheets functions like a spreadsheet where you can insert a lot of data in the form of text, images, and other types of content. You can elaborate each list with further information and add extra dimension to your ideas. When you stay organized like this, it will be easy to keep track of your ideas and combine them into an amazing piece of writing.

3. Sigil

If you are working on an eBook, then you need the best editor that holds all features you could possibly need. Sigil is an entirely free editor that works on multiple platforms. When you gain the needed experience with e-book formatting, you can easily fine tune your projects with the EPUB code.  With Sigil, you will be able to update the formatting and text, create a table of contents in the most convenient manner and make your eBooks look as clean as possible.

4. TheSage

All writers have habit words, and their common usage dilutes the text and makes it less impressive for the reader. TheSage is one of the most extensive dictionaries available online. The tool will provide you with a definition of the word you are looking up and a guide to pronunciation, but that’s not what you will benefit the most from. TheSage will also give you synonyms, hyponyms, hypernyms, and meronyms of the words you using too commonly when writing.

5. EssayEagles

If you want to become the best writer you could possibly be, then you have to base your works not only on creativity, but on knowledge and verifiable information as well. When you are writing on a topic that you don’t know much about, then your content may seem silly to a reader who has deeper insight into the matter. You can save yourself from such embarrassment with the use of EssayEagles. At this website, you can hire professional assistance of writers with graduate degrees in all fields of study. If, for example, you are writing a short story associated to architecture, you can hire an expert who will provide you with the right resources and make sure that your content is logically grounded.  In addition, you can also hire professional services of editing and proofreading at a very affordable price.  The right online tools will make you a better writer!

Even when you face an obstacle during the writing process or you are too distracted to complete your daily limit, you shouldn’t give up because there are tools that can help you achieve any goal you set. It doesn’t matter what type of content you are working on; the resources we listed above are valuable for all writers who want to discover a more effective use of modern technology.

Permanent link to this article: http://mulloverthings.com/2014/07/95-five-writing-tools-to-inspire-creativity/

Mar 03

94. Manage Forms Electronically with Chalk Schools

Chalk schools logo

Do you wish there was a more effective way to send out and collect permission forms or parent signatures?  Now there is, and it’s free!  Chalk Schools allows educators a simple way to distribute, receive, track, and organize digital paperwork.  According to Chalk’s website, 28% of K-12 spending in the US “is wasted on repetitive administrative tasks.”  Paper copies can get expensive, it takes time to use the copy machine, and paper copies can easily be lost or destroyed.  Chalk aims to save schools time and money spent sending out, collecting, and filing paper copies of forms.

Here’s how it works:

1.  Educators upload an existing form, and use Chalk’s drag & drop editor to add “request boxes” to the form.
Chalk Drag and Drop Editor
2.  After the form is saved, it can be distributed with a link that can be emailed or put on your class or school website.

Chalk Sample form

3.  Parents or students fill out the form and click the submit button.
Chalk Form Preview
4.  Educators receive the forms which can be viewed individually or in a list as a spreadsheet.

Chalk spreadsheet

Here’s a video that gives an example of how to request a signature:


Chalk Schools is still in Beta, so check it out and contact the company if you have suggestions or questions.  They will be glad you did!

Permanent link to this article: http://mulloverthings.com/2014/03/94-manage-forms-electronically-with-chalk-schools/

Feb 27

93. Text Selected Students with Remind101 – New Features!

Remind101 logo 2013 on-light

I first posted about Remind101 in 2011 (see that post here).  My most recent post about Remind101 is from the beginning of the school year.  Since then, the company has continued to grow at an incredible rate (they now have over 10 million users).  Along with this amazing growth, the company has continued to add new features and improve the look and feel of the site and apps.  Here’s what’s new…

Send Messages to a Selected Few:

Now teachers can send a message to a group of (three or more) students in their class.  This could come in handy when just a few students are missing an assignment, or you want to message only the absent students from your class.

Remind101 send to few
Watch a short instructional video here.

Enhancements to Subscribers Lists:

Now your subscribers list is updated in real time!  Teachers can verify that students have opted-in right away.  Teachers can also edit subscribers’ names, which is really handy if you’re wanting to sort by last name or fix capitalization errors that drive many of us educators crazy!

Remind101 has also made improvements to its UI (User Interface) that make it even slicker than ever!

Remind101 cellphone screenshot

Future Features:

According to this TechCrunch article, Remind101 plans to “give teachers the ability to poll families for feedback and sign paperwork.”  Sending RSVPs and the ability to send home forms or images via text would add another layer of awesomeness to an already great communication tool.

Remind101 app logo

If you haven’t gotten the Remind101 app yet, you can get it on your mobile device here:

Apple iOS App on iTunes

Android App on Google Play

If you use Remind101 already, how do you use it to communicate with parents or students?  How effective has it been?  My blog is awaiting your comments.  Thanks!

Permanent link to this article: http://mulloverthings.com/2014/02/93-text-selected-students-with-remind101-new-features/

Feb 24

92. Check for Student Understanding with Geddit

A common practice for great teachers is to periodically check for student understanding throughout a lesson.  If students are lost or need more time to process the information, the teacher should slow down or go back a step before proceeding.  A few methods for getting student feedback during a lesson are thumbs up/down, stand up/sit down, raise hands, verbal feedback, or even short quizzes.  Problems with these methods are that there are no in-between options for students (yes/no only) and they are difficult to count or track with precision.

Geddit Logo

Geddit seeks to provide an intuitive solution to this problem with an audience response system that allows students to “check in” with any internet connected device during a lesson being taught in class.  Here are all the choices students have:

Geddit Check In

Geddit-check-in-poster (click to download)

Students can also answer quiz questions (multiple choice, open, or poll), or tap the hand which means “waiting for attention”.  Geddit is ideal for large 1:1 (student to device ratio) classrooms with diverse populations of learners.  Checking for understanding with Geddit can help teachers focus their attention on every student so that the quiet or shy students can have an equal voice in the classroom and not fall through the cracks.

Here’s a video demo that shows how teachers and students can create accounts and use Geddit in the classroom:

Geddit has a Student App for iOS.  Geddit here! 

Geddit App iOS

Geddit’s teacher dashboard is color coded, and auto-sorted so that it is quick and easy to check which students need additional support.  Take a look at the graphic below:

Geddit at a glance

Geddit_Flyer  (click to download)

Have you used Geddit in your classroom?  If so, please explain how it worked for you in the comments.  Thanks!

Permanent link to this article: http://mulloverthings.com/2014/02/92-check-for-student-understanding-with-geddit/

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