Share & Organize Your Files with Pearltrees, An Online Library for Your Students

Pearltrees
Pearltrees
Image screenshot from Pearltrees

What is Pearltrees?

Pearltrees is a free online library that lets you organize your files, web page links, photos, notes, and even your personal stuff. It allows you to create mindmaps with a general idea linking to other related topics. These mindmaps may contain bookmarked pages from your blogs or articles from your favorite websites. Pearltrees also allows you to upload files from your hard drive and organize them online.

Sharing

Sharing your mindmaps is also easy as Pearltrees works like a social bookmarking site. You may share your mindmaps and your files anywhere you want. Pearltrees aims to connect people with the same interests.

Accessibility

Access to your files, bookmarks, and mindmaps has been made effortless by Pearltrees as you can use Pearltrees in various devices. It also comes in an iOS and an Android App which you can use on your mobile devices.

Community

Pearltrees also works in a collaborative manner that’s why you can view other people’s stuff that suits your interest. You may also follow other people’s activity by picking pearltrees made by them and adding it to your account.

Applications for Education

Since Pearltrees works like a social bookmarking site, you may ask your students to collect their favorite stuffs online. This may include their favorite photos and videos. You may also ask them to collect and organize their online portfolios found on their blogs or websites and put it on their Pearltrees account.

As a teacher, you may also instruct them to merge their online projects together with their offline portfolios. For example, give them a project on making a paper mache and ask them to make one based on a video tutorial they can find online via video sharing websites like YouTube, Vimeo, or DailyMotion. Have your students take photos of their offline work such as the paper mache and organize it on a mindmap together with the link containing their reference video tutorial.

Creating Mind Maps Online with MindMup

Mind Maps Online - MindMup
Mind Maps Online - MindMup
Creating Mind Maps Online with MindMup
Image screenshot from MindMup

Students can now create mind maps online using an opensource mindmapping canvas called MindMup. Using this application, you can make your own mind maps and you will also have the ability to choose where to save your mind maps. You may opt to store them on Google Drive, save it on your computer hard drive, or publish it online. If you’re a blogger or a website owner, you can also get embed codes of your mind maps which will enable you to publish them on your blog.

The good thing about MindMup is that it enables internet users to freely draw and create mind maps without requiring them to register for an account. You may also access your mind maps using their free cloud storage service. MindMup also comes with a clean and user-friendly interface.

Applications for Education

MindMup can be used by teachers and students in creating a graphic organizer which centers on a general or central idea and has links towards various people, events, concepts, and methodologies. The advantage of MindMup over other online mind map creating tools is that it offers teachers or students a convenient experience by not forcing them to register thus helping students without email addresses to create mind maps without hassle.

How to Make Your Computer Faster, A Basic Guide for Teachers

Due to their busy schedules, teachers often forget to clean up their computers or laptops. Common complaints you would hear from them sound like the following:

Why my computer is so slow?
Why it doesn’t work like it used to be?
Or worst, why my computer is not booting up?

A computer may slow down due to the following factors:
1. Virus
2. Fragmented hard drives
3. Congested memory
4. Antivirus
5. Insufficient RAM
6. Lots of start-up programs

For some teachers, the terms above might sound ambiguous. (Pardon me for that). But if you’re interested in working in a steadfast computer, you’ll surely learn such terms, just gear up yourself with a little more patience, and practice.

Today I’ll be listing down several ways on how you can make your computer faster. Through my six years of experience in computing, I can prove that these tips actually work. Here they are:

Consider a lightweight antivirus

If you’ll observe the terms I listed above which slow down a computer, you’ll notice that I added antivirus as one of the factors, but why? It’s supposed to make my computer better right? Yes, that’s true, an antivirus makes your computer better by eliminating the viruses but it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t affects your computer’s performance. The fact is, most antivirus like Norton and Kaspersky eat a lot of resources especially when performing a scan.

anivirus
Image source: Pixabay

What should I do?

I would advise you to choose a light-weight antivirus. There are good and free antivirus out there like Avast Free Antivirus and Microsoft Security Essentials. These two doesn’t consume much of your computer’s resources and at the same time protects your computer from viruses.

Use a Memory Cleaner

Over time, after playing games online and offline, encoding documents, watching movies, downloading files, and surfing the net, your computer (as expected) will be more sluggish. An effective remedy to this issue is to install a memory cleaner. I’ll suggest a free but efficient software called, CCleaner. It will help you clean your computer’s memory and free up some space. It’s also easy to use and has a user-friendly interface.

Consider upgrading your RAM

Running several programs simultaneously can instantly use a huge chunk of your computer’s RAM (Random Access Memory). As a result, you will notice a poor performance from your computer. Adding more RAM will surely help your computer to run faster. You may want to consider upgrading your computer’s memory with a 2-4 Gigabytes of RAM.

make your computer faster
Image source: Pixabay

NOTE: Upgrading your RAM might be complicated especially for the non-techies. I would recommend that you consult a technician before purchasing and adding RAM for your computer.

Remove unnecessary start-up programs

When your computer starts up, there are programs that are set to run automatically eating up a lot of your computer’s resources. You should remove the unnecessary programs from starting up automatically. To do this, install a free version of CCleaner. Run the program. On the left side, click the “Tool” button (See image below). Next, click on “Startup”. A list of startup programs will be shown. Enabled programs are marked with “Yes.” To disable a program which is currently enabled, select the program on the list and on the right side of CCleaner, click “Disable.” You may also enable programs you want to start automatically from there.

CCleaner

But wait, what programs should I disable?

You may leave your antivirus as the only program which should run automatically when your computer starts up.

I hope these tips will guide you in speeding up your computer. If you have any question or suggestion, you may leave a comment below. Also, if you like this post, please share it on Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus so others will also be informed. Thank you.

How to Make a YouTube Rewind, Creating an Interactive Video for Your School’s Year-end Flashback

how to make a YouTube Rewind

Recently, Google has released an interactive YouTube video entitled “Defining Moments of 2013 (Interactive YouTube Rewind Timeline)” which showcases the most popular videos of 2013. The video which lasts for about 30 seconds features an interactive screen from where you can watch and jump into other videos by clicking on annotations that contain links to other videos.

[youtube url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ido8s_vGqcM”]

Cool right? Now integrating one like this in your classroom set up might be cooler. Today I’ll be guiding you in creating your own YouTube Rewind.

Christmas and New Year is fast approaching and it would be an out of the box idea if you would create your own version of YouTube Rewind regarding the most relevant activities of your school in the year 2013.

But how would you do this?

First, think of how you would categorize the video your students will be making. You may take it as a simple assignment, a group project, or even an individual contest. It depends upon your preference.

If you already have a decision, ask your pupils to list down the most important activities in your school for the year 2013. e.g. District Camping, Regional Jamboree, School-wide Sports Fest and many more.

Now that you have your topics listed, you may now instruct your pupils to create short videos about these events. If they can’t find video clips, a photo slideshow will do. Duration of 30 second to one minute for each video will be good enough.

Ask them to upload these videos to YouTube.

To finish this tutorial, here are the steps on how to make a YouTube Rewind by putting annotations to your videos.

We will be using YouTube’s spotlight annotation tool in the YouTube editor to create hyperlinks from one video to another.

1. After uploading, select one of your videos. Go to editor and on upper part of the screen click on “Edit Annotations”

2. A new window will show up. On the right side of the window, select “Add Annotation” then click on “Spotlight.”

3. Drag a square or rectangular shape on your video (Imagine you’re cropping your Facebook profile photo).

4. On the right side of the window, put the text you want to appear on the annotation.

5. Lastly, you’ll see a box for the links. Here you can put the links of video(s) you want to play when a user click on your annotations. e.g. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ido8s_vGqcM

A sample output would look like the image below.

how to make a YouTube Rewind
Image source: Pixabay

That’s it! You have just created a Year-end Flashback for your school’s most important activities.

For a more detailed tutorial on how to put annotations on your YouTube videos, here’s a video tutorial courtesy of Peggy Duncan.

[youtube url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XbPq_vePlmg”]

The Use of Social Media in School – Infographic

Use of Social Media in School

For the past five years, social media has blossomed into an online phenomenon. From Friendster to Facebook and Twitter, from diaries to blogging, all has emerged into a community of online socialization. Google, on the other hand, offers more information than any of the books a school can offer. This is a clear evidence that internet has changed the way students socialize and the way they search for everything they need. Every bit of information, assignments, and research projects are now a click away from students especially for those who have access to the internet. Teachers on the other hand have no choice but to go with this trend. Most of them are starting to create their social media profiles to enable them to further monitor the online activities of their students.

But of course there’s a down side of these social media websites. One of these disadvantages is the overload of information. Because of the countless resources available online, students sometime get confused on the reliability of information they gather. So how do the teachers use social media to effectively organize the information needed by their students? How would they use social media into the school setting? To answer that question, here are a couple of examples on the use of social media in school.

Utilize Facebook Groups and Pages

Talking about Facebook alone is a very large topic to cover so for now let’s focus on Facebook groups and pages and how it can be used inside or even outside the school for instruction. Teachers can use Facebook groups to organize an online classroom. From there, they will be able to start group conversations to talk about a particular lesson. They can also establish games, polls, and contests using Facebook groups. On the other hand, a Facebook page will allow teachers to publish updates regarding projects, deadline for submissions, events, and even debates among their students. Aside from these ideas, there are lot more ways to utilize Facebook for educational purposes and that still remains to be seen soon.

Twitter #Hashtags

Twitter, though a microblogging site has millions of users across the globe. Using its features in a school setting can be really effective. A good example is to use a hashtag for a particular subject matter or topic where students will discuss these topics or even start a debate, a survey, or a question and answer activity together with the teacher. It is just one of the several ways to integrate online education into a real life setting.

Help Students to Keep a Blog

Maybe the most personalized and most effective way for a teacher to observe his students’ performances is to keep a list of blogs made by the students. These blogs will feature their daily journals and their portfolios regarding the lessons or activities they have tackled. There are wide varieties of blogging platforms students can choose from such as WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, and Weebly.

It will be a long list to write up so to keep you going, here’s an infographic on the use of social media in school.

The Use of Social Media in School 

The Use of Social Media in School
Image source: www.bestmastersineducation.com