Monday, June 6, 2011

Google Calendar's new "Appointment Slots" feature

Users of the Google Calendar functionality that's built into 1HOPE may want to explore the new "Appointment Slots" feature that was introduced today. It could be particularly well-suited to scheduling student advising sessions, potentially replacing the sign-up sheet on your office door.  Click here for more details.

Friday, June 3, 2011


This page allows you to enter any web address and turn that webpage into a pdf. From what I understand, if there are links on the webpage, they remain active when the page is turned into a PDF (clicking on the link will actually open the webpage).

Enjoy -

Apps In Education

I didn't have time to look at all of them, but this blog seems to be a good read for anyone trying to find apps for teaching with the ipad. Enjoy!


Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Flipsnack ( is an online flipping book software that allows you to convert PDF documents into Flash page flip digital publications. Once created you can embed the book, download them, or share them on social networking sites.

Check it out -
Leigh Sears

Monday, April 11, 2011

Text mark-up faculty consultation report

Faculty met over lunch on Thursday, April 7 to explore how technology might assist us with that time-honored task of grading student written work. We were looking for ways that faculty can comment on student writing, for students to annotate texts, and for all of us to make the work-flow of collecting, marking up, and returning work more efficient and ecologically responsible. The session was lively and lots of experiences were shared, including the following.
  • Lee Forester (DMCL) demonstrated how he uses the free Revisions tool from MSU in his German class to comment on student writing assignments (
  • Barry Bandstra (Religion) demonstrated how his students annotate biblical texts in class using their laptops. The pdf is distributed as a Moodle resource which the student downloads. After annotation, the student uploads the pdf using the "Upload a single file" within the Assignment activity. Mac annotation is done with the free Preview application, which comes loaded with the Mac OS. PC annotation is done with the free PDF-XChange Viewer program (
  • Other possible ways to annotate text: Track Changes in MS Word and Google docs.
Rumor has it that the iPad might be useful for text annotation, but nobody in attendance brought one to demo. Thanks to Tom Ludwig, here is a link to a short list of useful iPad apps -- including something called iAnnotate. Some other apps came up in the discussion, though not related to text mark-up:
  • Prezi ( for engaging presentations, free, going way beyond powerpoint
  • Jing ( for short instructional videos
  • iShowU ( for screen capture movies

This was the last of three ACAT sponsored faculty consultations on emerging technologies for the Spring 2011 semester. If you have a topic you would like to see discussed in a future faculty consultation, send a note to

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Allow Students to Send Text Messages And Use Email to Reply

I think we all want to enable student communication with professors.  We want to enable as much communication as possible.  For example, I'd like to allow students to send me text messages, since that's the easiest way they know to communicate (currently).

However, there are a couple of problems. (1) I really don't want to give students my cell phone number. (2) I hate replying because I hate typing text messages on that little keyboard on my phone.  (3) I really don't want my cell phone to bug me all the time.

The solution is Google Voice.  Google Voice is a free service from Google that gives you a phone number and allows you to direct calls you get to that number to any other phone number you have.  People use this to track them during a day.  By allowing Google Voice to (even automatically) switch forwarding phone numbers, you can give out your Google Voice number and get calls at your office, on your cell phone, or at home -- or all at the same time!

While this forwarding functionality might be of limited use for you (it's not very useful for me), there are several other very useful functions Google Voice provides.  One is that text messages to your Google Voice number can go to the email address you register with the service.  And replying through email sends a text message back to the original sender.  All the problems above are solved: I tell students to text my Google Voice number but I also tell them it goes to my email.  And I can use a nice big computer keyboard to reply.

So go to and apply for a phone number.  You will need to set up a Google Account if you have not already (I used my 1Hope email address).   Last time I checked, all the local numbers were gone, but text messages can go to any number.  So pick a phone number in your favorite area code.

Text markup faculty consultation and free lunch Thursday April 7, 2011

Faculty/admin and staff are invited to an ACAT sponsored faculty consultation, the third and last one of the semester, on the topic of text markup. This will be a lunch with simultaneous discussion on Thursday, April 7 from noon to 1PM. Who said faculty can't multitask--eating and talking at the same time? Please go through the Phelps cafeteria line and then join the group in the Barber Room adjoining the cafeteria. The gathering will discuss ways to leverage technology to collect student written work, annotate it, and get it back into students' hands electronically. This will include a demonstration of tablet readers and pdf markup tools, and talk of efficient workflow to make our professional lives just a bit easier.

*Please note that this event replaces and supersedes the previously announced April 5 consultation, whose date had to be changed because it conflicted with the Religion Department's Danforth lecture event.