Tuesday, December 17, 2013

10 very handy websites and tools you may not have seen

1- Publisher to PDF
Publisher to PDF is a website that allows you to convert a Publisher document to a PDF file without scanning and without any cost to you. You simply upload your file and submit your email and the site emails you a link with your PDF file. The final step is to download the file to your computer but please be aware that the message that explains this final step is below a more pronounced advertisement. While  Publisher to PDF does take a few steps, it is well worth it because it works and it is free.

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2- Book RX
Here is a very cool web tool from Northwestern University called Book RX. This website will generate a list of book recommendations by analyzing your Twitter activity. The site works best if your primary language is English and it does tend to recommend best sellers over more obscure books. Book RX could be good way to come up with book ideas for yourself or you could use it to find gift ideas for friends and family who love to read.

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3- Make Use of Guides and Tip Sheets
Make Use Of is one of my favorite sites and one of their great features is their collection of tips sheets, guides and shortcuts for popular programs and websites such as Gmail, Twitter, You Tube, Drop Box, Evernote, Google Drive, iTunes, and Facebook and that's not all. As of this post they have 42 of these help guides and best of all they can be downloaded for free. So you certainly should take advantage of these free help guides but be sure to check out Make Use Of, you'll probably become a devoted follower like me.
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There are many ways for you to keep all your favorite websites in one location but there is none quite like  All My Favs. This free website turns your bookmarks into your home page by allowing you to store all your favorite sites onto one all encompassing, visually impressive, web page. Creating your page is simple to do and when you are done you can share your page with others. All My Favs is a handy site that provides quick and easy access your favorite websites plus the sharing feature makes it a useful tool for anyone who wants to share resources with colleagues,friends and family.
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5- BAM Radio
BAM Radio is the largest radio network dedicated to education. They have a wide variety of shows for just about anyone involved in education. There is a parents channel, an educators channel, and a leaders channel. They also have shows for school nurses, education technology, after school help, music, and the list goes on and on. They even have a "Quick Scan" section in case you are too busy to listen to full broadcasts. Their website is free to join and membership gives you unlimited access to their library of shows and podcasts. All of their shows are accessible through iTunes and are free to download to your device. BAM Radio offers great information and discussion about topics that everyone in education will find valuable.

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6- Jump Share
Jump Share is a site that will allow you to easily and quickly share files with other people. To get started you simply type in your name, email address, and password and you are on your way. The next step is to upload your files and the site gives you a link that you can email to anyone who you wish to share your files. The recipients will get an email message and can preview the files before they are downloaded. This site is free to use but the maximum size for any one file is 100MB and the total limit you can send collectively is 2GB. Jump Share supports over 200 different file formats and is a great tool if you have a variety of files to share with many people. It is simple to use and best of all it is free.

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7- Toogles
You Tube is great but there is so much video clutter on the side that accompanies the video you are watching. These "suggested" videos are distracting at best and can cause an uproar in a classroom full of students if they appear to be inappropriate. While there are options to make the You Tube experience less cluttered, none that I have seen are as good as Toogles. With Toogles, you can search and view You Tube videos with none of the accompanying distractions and you don't have to install any extensions or add ons. So the next time you are using You Tube in the classroom, use Toogles instead, and watch without worry.

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8- Learners TV
Learners TV is an online resource that provides thousands of videos, lectures, tests, and animations on a wide array of college subjects and disciplines. The website currently has over 29,000 video lectures on topics such as biology, history, law, philosophy, and economics to name a few. This website is an excellent way for college students to support their classroom instruction and best of all it is free to join. If you are a college student, or know a college student, then I would recommend you take a look at a long look at Learners TV. 
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9- Teach Parents Tech
Have you ever had to deal with people who are so technology deficient that you would rather do the tasks for them because it would take too long to teach them? Do you know anyone who has avoided technology for so long that even using a mouse is a challenge? Well Teach Parents Tech has the solution. Teach Parents Tech is a website that can address dozens of the most basic technology problems with one email from you. The site is a standard help form that you fill out by typing the name of the recipient, checking a few boxes, then typing your name and finish by entering your email and the email of the recipient. The entire process takes less than a minute and the person who needs help gets a series of videos that assists them with their problem. The site is great for helping parents, grandparents, or colleagues who have technology phobia or have yet to join the 21st century. I strongly urge you to check out Teach Parents Tech today, it may save you a lot of time helping friends and family.

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10- Have Fun with History
Have Fun with History is a website for people who love learning about the past. The site contains an extensive library of educational videos on American history topics. You can search either the "History Videos" or the "History Subjects" sections to get to their video collection. There is a third section, titled "History Activities" which has a small selection of fun puzzles and games for kids to enjoy. Have Fun with History's video selection is really impressive and their wide range of social studies topics means that teachers should have no problem finding material that will be useful in the classroom.

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