CintaNotes – a Free Quick and Easy Text Grabber !

CintaNotes – a Free Quick and Easy Text Grabber !.

This looks like a great option for those doing research papers/projects.  CintaNotes allows you to gather and collect snips of information and URL links from the web in one place.  I could see students loading this on a USB stick and running it from that.

Just thought I would share that quick tidbit today.

yWriter

typingI have had a lot of time on my hands lately so I’ve been doing quite a bit of reading. My preference is fiction and fantasy novels in particularly of late. Terry Brooks is one of my favorite fantasy authors. I know he’s a bit soft for the die hard sci-fi/fantasy readers but I like his style. I have always been a sucker for a good story and that’s what Mr. Brooks does: tell GOOD stories. Most of his books take place in the Four Lands, an post-apocolyptic planet Earth that is now inhabited by all sorts of creatures. His books are clean and, yes, they do have magic but as with the Lord of the Rings series, good conquers evil although it is sometimes at great cost. I just started reading The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara trilogy. For those who might care, I am reading his books according to his suggested reading order (which I think is the order he wrote them in) for first time readers of his works. He has a great website and seems to stay in touch with his fans.

I like to think of myself as having a creative mind. I’ve been playing around with the idea of writing my own novel for years. I’ve just had so many ideas and never enough time to sit down and commit them to paper (or computer). I don’t really know if I have what it takes to write a novel or even the necessary commitment to see it through. When I ran into this free novel-writing software a few months back, it sparked my interest in writing again. Over the last few days I dug back through my Diigo bookmarks and found the link. The software is called yWriter and it’s a free download (donations are accepted and encouraged, of course). It’s a light program and I’m running it on Vista with no problems (except I can’t seem to get the dictionary installed yet but will hopefully have an answer to that one soon).

What yWriter does is help you organize thoughts: characters, locations, items, scenes, etc. and provides a word processor to type it up in. Files are exportable to any other type of word processing program if you really want more tools to work with (like Word for example). There is a word counter and a storyboard so you can keep up with multiple character viewpoints.

So far, I have been pretty pleased with the program. Sure, I could type up something in Word but yWriter keeps up with which characters are in which scenes, allows me to easily drag and drop scenes into different chapters, and keeps a daily log of my work.

I’ve never taught writing but I think English and language arts teachers should give it a look. It’s a great tool for beginning writers as well.

Stat Check

I had such an increase in traffic over the last few days that I decided to cruise my stats and found some neat features in WordPress in the process.

I had to dig around to find the stats because it had been a while since I’d bothered to look. I logged in to my blog and then on the ribbon at the very top, I clicked on “My Account” and selected “Global Dashboard.” Then I clicked on “Blog Stats” and voilà! (Of course, a glance at “My Dashboard” shows me that I can also access my “Blog Stats” from there too. LOL)

Blog stats showed me a number of interesting things:

  1. A nice little flash line graph that shows my traffic flow over a period of days, weeks, or months. It’s nice to see spikes!
  2. Referrers–“People clicked links from these pages to get to your blog.”
  3. Search Engine Terms–“These are terms people used to find your blog.”
  4. Blog Stats–Summary of total views, my busiest day, views today, and totals of posts, comments, categories, tags, and how much spam my blog has been protected from.
  5. Top Posts & Pages–“These posts on your blog got the most traffic.”
  6. Clicks–“Your visitors clicked these links on your blog.”
  7. Incoming Links–Shows what other web pages have directly linked to my blog.

This is handy information for evaluating your own blog. Sometimes I wonder whether leaving certain pages up on my blog is worthwhile, well, now I can see that directly by looking at my top posts and pages or by looking at the clicks. It’s also interesting to see how people go about getting to my blog, what search terms they enter, etc. Such a neat feature!

I mentioned the fact that I could see what search engine terms people use to find my blog to a friend and he said, “There goes privacy!” I had to laugh because I understand the concern. I know he visited my blog today but I still don’t know exactly how HE got there. His stats are shuffled in along with others who viewed my blog today. Even though I can see how people get to my blog, I still don’t know their identity. The fact is that readers are still anonymous unless they choose to leave a comment and put their name in.

Blogged with the Flock Browser

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In Love With FLOCK!

Ok, I’ve seen Flock mentioned here and there in my Google Reader so I decided to give it a try. I am blown away! Flock brings some of the best Web 2.0 tools to your fingertips in one browser. Download, install, and then log in to the Web 2.0 apps which are friends with Flock, click on the “Remember Account” button and BINGO! With one click I’m in my Gmail account, another click I have my blog editor open so I can post something new, one more click and I’m posting to my del.icio.us account. What kept me from hopping over to Flock all this time????

Flock is based on Mozilla’s Firefox and has its own add-ons but some Firefox add-ons are also compatible. I was thrilled to find out that Fireshot works as well as my favorite little status bar calculator.

The browser integrates with Twitter, WordPress, Blogger, Gmail, and del.icio.us just to name a few apps. Digg and Facebook are also popular offerings. Since I’ve been delving into Diigo, I added its toolbar and away we go.

The “My World” tab reminds me of iGoogle. It has widgets and helps you organize your feeds, keep up with your friends’ activity, and post media etc. to your blog. I have to play with this one some more.  (Update:  I did play with it some more after posting last night and it isn’t nearly as versatile as iGoogle but still a neat feature.)

I see so many possibilities here and I’ve only played with it a little tonight. Can you tell I’m already in love?

Update:  Ok, some things that I would love to see added to Flock:

  1. Integrate My Space and Diigo into the Flock toolbar.  Can’t we all just get along?
  2. Make the “My World” page like iGoogle.  That would be too cool.
  3. More add-ons specifically for Flock.  We are warned on the extensions page that while some Firefox add-ons will work with Flock, they may slow the browser down.  So it would be nice to have add-ons that are definitely compatible.

Ok, those are just a few thoughts but I really love Flock as it is. 

Blogged with the Flock Browser

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TILT!!

I am blown away.  Danny Maas has been posting comment after comment on my blog and now I want to give him props on TILT! 

I went through some of his screencasts today and I have learned a few things.  Most importantly, I have been inspired and I’m sure my teachers will be too.  What a great blog with so many how-tos, ideas, and resources.  Thank you for sharing with us all, Danny!

http://tilttv.blogspot.com/

Oral Histories: Can we fathom the reality of the Katrina disaster? » Moving at the Speed of Creativity

Can we fathom the reality of the Katrina disaster? » Moving at the Speed of Creativity

Scrolling through my Google Reader today, I was captivated by this post by Wesley Fryer.  He tells of an encounter he had with a Katrina survivor and the harrowing events she experienced.

What struck me the most were these comments:

Listening to this woman tell her story, I was further convicted of the importance of recording and archiving the stories and experiences of others in our communities and in our homes. It was impossible to listen to her tale and not be moved. Too often in school, I think we focus too much on facts and dates, and fail to connect personally with a context. Listening to the lived experiences of others who have survived harrowing circumstances can be an impactful learning opportunity.

A search this evening on YouTube for “hurricane katrina” yields over 9000 videos, and I will readily admit I have NOT taken the time to watch many of these. Of the videos I have seen, however, none communicate the desperation and all-out battle for survival which the woman on our train shared in her story Sunday night. I have an abiding sense that much of “the story” of the Katrina disaster remains untold and undocumented, at least for those of us who would be students of this recent history.

So here are some ideas I have right off the bat that could be put to use (especially in those days after EOGs when teachers struggle to keep students engaged).

  • Have students find someone to interview in their community, someone with a story to tell and interview the person
  • Have students document the interview by taking photos of the person telling the story, shooting digital video, or record the audio digitally
  • Take not only the words the person says but these digital captures and mash them up in a project that tells the story visually and aurally

For these types of projects to have the most impact, they need to be shared and not just in the form of a presentation in the classroom but online through teacher blogs or the school blogs.  Ok, ideas for mashing:

  • Create a PowerPoint and insert video or audio clips of the interviewee; save them as web pages, upload to the web; link to blogs
  • Create a PhotoStory using still images and audio files; upload finished projects and link to blogs
  • Create podcasts of the interviews (there are many tools out there for this) and link to blogs
  • Create a VoiceThread project with the movie footage or still shots; share the links of the finished projects on blogs
  • Publish digital video to Google video and create a PowerPoint slideshow to accompany it with thoughts or comments; publish in Zentation where the video and the slideshow are presented side by side; link to blogs

There are probably a million ways to do this but these are some thoughts that struck me right off the bat.