I’ve been a Mac user since August, so these two tricks may be old news for some of you, but for me, they were game-changers.
1. Zoom-in while presenting
It seems that during any presentation, the speaker will say something like, “If you look at the top right of the screen,” and attempt to describe something in the presentation display. If only the presenter could zoom in on a slide during the presentation… But he can! Check it out:
2. Create audio files from text
By highlighting text and right-clicking, you can turn any text into an iTunes audio file. This is great for personal use (listening to blog posts, for example), and it’s also great to help students who might be struggling readers.
Turn an article, PDF, or blog post (like the one pictured below) into an audio file like this:
Watch the short tutorial below to learn how:
I’m loving having a Mac, and these are just two of my favorite newly-discovered Mac tricks. It seems like I discover something new every day (or at least every week).
What do you think? Have any tricks you’d like to share? Comment below.
As both a parent and an educator, I place great value in documenting a child’s progress and growth. However, providing detailed information regarding growth isn’t as convenient as checking a box or assigning a grade. Documenting growth takes time– but it is certainly time well-spent.
Last year, my son was in PreK-3 and in December we received a progress report. It was my first “report card” experience as a parent– very surreal. I enjoyed reading over his progress report and it took every part of me to not want to “fix” all of his “deficiencies” (which we didn’t “fix”).
But let me ask you something: Which of the following tells you more about my son’s progress with using scissors?
Option A- Progress Report Checklist
Option B- Picture of Cut-Out
Option C- Video of Student Cutting Out a Shape
Clearly, the video communicates progress more than the checklist and picture! How awesome would it be if teachers would combine video and audio along with a checklist to document their students’ progress in a digital portfolio that parents could access at any time?
Evernote is perfect digital portfolios. Click here to read how I used Evernote for digital writing portfolios in my 8th grade English class.
If you’d like to learn more about using Evernote for digital portfolios, here are some great resources:
Digital Portfolios Workshop (perfect for faculty training/professional development)
Evernote as Portfolio blog by Rob van Nood
The Power of E-Portfolios by Rob van Nood (ebook)
Reading by Example blog by Matt Renwick
To maximize online reading, I use several services to find great articles, to stay organized, to save articles for later reading, and to annotate while reading online. I’ll briefly explain the services I use below.
Zite- This is my new favorite! Zite allows users to create a personalized online magazine. After creating an account, users enter their interests and Zite combs the internet for blog posts and articles matching those interests. My Zite interests include blended learning, BYOD, classroom, classroom 2.0, Evernote, leadership, personal development, principal, teachers as technology trailblazers, and 12 other keywords. When I read an article, I can favorite it, share it, and I can also subscribe to other keywords.
Instapaper- Instapaper is how I save articles to read later. When I see a post on Twitter, Facebook, or anywhere else, I save it to Instapaper (using the toolbar extension). When I have time to read, I open Instapaper and have a list of posts I saved for later reading. I’ve used Instapaper for a while now and I love it!
Delicious- Delicious is new for me. It’s a lot like Instapaper but has some great social media functions built in. In addition to saving articles to read later, other users can subscribe to my Delicious channel and I can subscribe to other users. This is a great way to let others find the good stuff! Click here to check out my Delicious page.
IFTTT- If This, Then That is a pretty awesome service that finds resources for me and sends them my way based on a recipe I set up. For example, one of my recipes is “If I like a Twitter post, then send the post to my Delicious account.” So as I’m going through Twitter and come across something I really like, I’ll favorite it and the link is saved in Delicious. There are so many pre-made recipes on IFTTT that I just have gone through and picked the ones that might work for me. There are several that work with Evernote that are really helpful!
Clearly- I use the Evernote Clearly toolbar extension when I’m reading an article or blog post online because it clears out everything except for the text (no more ads, side links, flashing pop-ups, etc.) and it allows me to annotate directly on the article. Clearly links to my Evernote account, so when I highlight or make a note, the article and my annotations are automatically sent to my “Articles” notebook in Evernote. Click here to read more about how I use Evernote Clearly.
Lightly- This one is brand new for me, but I’ve already found it very beneficial when I’m reading on my iPhone or iPad. This app allows me to highlight key ideas while reading, and then the article is clipped (saved) directly to my “Articles” notebook in Evernote.
With so many articles and resources out there, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, but these systems have really helped me manage my online reading. If you’re not already using a service similar to one of these, I suggest you give one of them a try.
If you are already using a service to manage your online reading, I’d love for you to post a suggestion below. I’m always looking for something new to try out.