Quick test for www.blogtrottr.com – WordPress RSS to Evernote

Again, not much of a blog post, just a test to see if WordPress RSS can be fed into my Evernote account as it looks like feedmyinbox doesn’t work!

I set up an account with www.blogtrottr.com using my Evernote email address, then changed the account settings so each post is delivered as an individual message with the post title as the email subject line.

Once they have arrived I plan to move them into my Postach.io notebook within Evernote, retag them if necessary and – hopefully – they will appear in that blog!

I’m now waiting to see the individual posts appear in my Evernote.

Has anyone else tried archiving their blog posts in Evernote? Do you have any tips you would like to share? Are there any success stories?

 

If blogtrottr.com doesn’t work, perhaps I need to use an email redirect to feed into Evernote?

Quick test for www.feedmyinbox.com

Not much of a blog post, just a test to see if WordPress RSS can be fed into my Evernote account.

 

I set up an account with www.feedmyinbox.com using my Evernote email address, then changed the account settings so each post is delivered as an individual message with the post title as the email subject line.

Once they have arrived I plan to move them into my Postach.io notebook within Evernote, retag them if necessary and – hopefully – they will appear in that blog!

I’m now waiting to see the individual posts appear in my Evernote. Nothing so far though, hence the test blog post!

 

Has anyone else tried archiving their blog posts in Evernote? Do you have any tips you would like to share?

Edmodo and custom RSS feeds from Pinterest and Pocket

(This is a cross-post. Original blog URL is http://familysimpson.postach.io/post/edmodo-and-custom-rss-feeds-from-pinterest-and-pocket)

 

In just over a month I will be running a workshop at the CAS Scotland conference about using Edmodo to help deliver CPD to staff. One of the first things I want to cover is custom RSS feeds which can populate an Edmodo group or small group.

It is easy enough to set up Edmodo to receive posts from an RSS feed. Once you have decided which group to populate simply click on the cogwheel next to the group name and select “Subscribe to RSS feed”. Paste in the RSS feed URL then click Subscribe to add as many feeds as you want to that group.

This has worked really well in the past with student groups when we have added a BBC news feed, but, at times, I felt that some of the stories have been ill suited to the class or current topic. I began to investigate different services that would allow me to quickly populate an Edmodo group with links, videos or stories relevant to the student or teacher.

Please remember that pasting a new feed into Edmodo will not work instantly. It takes about an hour for feeds to begin to appear in the timeline.

Pinterest

Pinterest is a wonderful visual catalogue of resources and can be used to populate an Edmodo group. First find or create a board containing links you want to share with your class. Then open a new tab or webpage which only shows that board. If you change the URL a little you will see the RSS feed.

The advantage of Pinterest is that you can create as many different boards as you need and have different RSS feeds populating different Edmodo groups. This is great for student differentiation, but also for subject specific information fed into staff Edmodo groups.

(with thanks to http://blog.dlvr.it/2013/06/how-to-find-your-pinterest-rss-feeds/)

Pocket

Pocket is an invaluable service which allows you to quickly add content you want to read at a later time to a list. Articles can usually be accessed offline, tagged and archived. At the moment, Pocket is my CPD reading list and is linked through IFTTT to Wunderlist (which reminds me that I have specific articles to read at some point and tracks my reflections after reading).

The default setting for Pocket is to password protect your articles and archived lists, but this can easily be turned off. Once this is done you can get the RSS feed in the following way:

Right-clicking on the three links Unread List, Archive and All and selecting Copy Shortcut will give you the URL for those RSS feeds. You can then paste them into Edmodo as before.

This is limited to one feed, but offers speed over Pinterest as you can email articles into Pocket.

Edmodo

Of course, in some cases it isn’t necessary to go to the trouble of creating a workflow. Edmodo allows you to post links directly to a group and, if you only intend to post a few, this might be the most efficient option. An added bonus is that posts can be scheduled for later so you can make sure the links arrive at the right time in the course.

17 iPad apps for teachers #RGCdevicetrial

Tomorrow I hand over the iPad to a colleague, so I’m signing out of all linked accounts and removing whatever personal data I can.

I’ve also purged the apps installed and categorised them so the next person using the iPad isn’t overwhelmed with pages upon pages of apps to investigate. Here are the apps that survived the three weeks:

20130317-212027.jpg

When designing the timescale for each part of the device trial I thought three weeks would be enough. Judging by the feedback received from my colleagues it can either be too long (for example if they don’t like the device) or not long enough!

Some highlights:

  • Being able to create documents with the Pages (£6.99, link) app has been great although I do agree with reviews about its value for money. See my previous blog post about how I used it with my Higher Computing class.
  • I had really hoped to make better use of Explain Everything (£1.99, link) but, most annoyingly, I found it wasn’t able to record browser screens that contain HTML5. My planned walkthrough of Snap! on the iPad for the blog is still on the to-do list…
  • …Synchronised to-do list app Remember the Milk (free, link) to be exact. I use it as I’m still not 100% happy with my Evernote workflow (especially using the web version we access at work) as the searches suggested by The Secret Weapon do not always work. Remember the Milk is on my Android phone, in the Chrome browser on my laptop and I’ve made good use of it on the iPad too.
  • That said, Evernote (free, link) has been fantastic for helping me carry less paper around. Using the iPad to quickly scan documents (from my notebook) into an Evernote note has been a real eye-opener. At the moment I don’t have a notebook at all, but I feel I still need a small amount of paper to jot ideas down quickly.
  • Being able to create Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents is still necessary and given that it’s a three week trial I’m not going to throw away years of knowledge in an attempt to break away from Microsoft Office. I’ve used CloudOn (free, link) quite a bit although you have to be online to use it so I’ve made best use from home. It is fairly fast, allows quick sharing of files (great for discussing prelim marks over the weekend with your boss! Sorry…) and keeps documents compatible with the desktop at work.
  • Marking music has been essential and I’ve enjoyed the Podcasts (free, link) app. However apart from that I didn’t use it nearly as much as I had envisaged. I realised that I listen to most of my podcasts on the train or walk home and the form factor of the iPad doesn’t suit. Time to transfer what I’ve downloaded onto the Samsung Galaxy Y…
  • I never thought I would type this but my other half has made good use of the Kindle (free, link) app. Strongly against eReaders in the past, she was convinced to try reading on the iPad as her book group choice was 20p on Amazon and out of stock in the local libraries. Her feedback was that the iPad felt cold and it was a bit tricky to hold while in bed, so she would choose to have a suitable case to protect it if dropped and to make it more enjoyable for the reader to hold.
  • For image editing, Aviary (free, link), Luminance (free at the moment, link) and Snapseed (free, link) have been great. I hated the Photoshop app – everything seemed to require an in-app purchase – and it was quickly deleted.
  • iDownloads+ (free, link) allows iPad users to manage downloads and extract compressed files. I found this especially useful when looking at the Computing At School site, with email and also to access my zip files on Dropbox (free, link) which has always been a favourite app of mine since the days of the iPod Touch 2G!
  • Programming on the iPad was covered in an earlier blog post, but I still want to recommend Pythonista (£2.99, link), A.L.E.X (first 25 levels free, link), TouchDevelop (web link) and Snap! (web link). Textastic (£5.99, link) looks great for creating code but I haven’t yet had time to use it fully. Something else for the to-do list!
  • GoSkyWatch Planetarium for iPad (free, link) is such an amazing app to use. I downloaded this for my three year old son and he found it really easy to use. I don’t think I could use it to enhance my teaching, but it definitely enhanced our learning!
  • Flipboard (free, link) is such a beautiful app, full of interesting stories to inspire and inform your lessons, that I’ve just spent ten minutes reading it instead of finishing this blog post! Oops…

Using Excel, Macros and @Evernote for Course Planning

I use Evernote a lot. I store interesting tweets, grab sections of web pages for later, have a form of GTD in there (The Secret Weapon) to keep me focussed. I took part in the 30-day paperless challenge in September and had a lot of fun seeing what was possible. I’ve even started to get my colleagues interested in using Evernote. And last month I was very happy to discover my work opened up access to the web version of Evernote.

I’ve been thinking about this for a while now: There has been a distinct disconnect in my workflow. Found an interesting link? Send it to Evernote. Got a unit to develop? Plan it up in Evernote and assign a task in my GTD stack. Plan my weekly lessons? A paper desktop planner with scribbled notes on which resources I need to have ready?! It’s really daft but, up until recently, it was the most accessible way to work. I’ve even found myself taking pictures of my planner pages and sending them to Evernote so I can check I’m ready for the coming week!

Two weeks ago I attempted to set up an electronic planner in Evernote from my workplace. The web version didn’t really like being pasted into from a Word document and screwed up all the formatting and numbering so I figured I needed a few hours investigation time and a desktop version of Evernote to make progress. This weekend I made time.

Firstly I wanted to be able to create a template with the correct number of rows for each particular class for each term, so I created a simple macro that took values (class name, start date, end date, number of periods per week) and used them to populate a new Excel worksheet. Here’s the VBA if you want to use it yourself:

Sub btnCreateTermPlanner()
Dim AddSheetQuestion As Variant
Dim StartDate As String
Dim EndDate As String
Dim noPeriods As Integer
Dim noPPW As Integer

StartDate = Worksheets(“Start”).Cells(1, 2)
EndDate = Worksheets(“Start”).Cells(2, 2)
noPeriods = Worksheets(“Start”).Cells(5, 2)
noPPW = Worksheets(“Start”).Cells(4, 2)

AddSheetQuestion = Application.InputBox(“Please enter the name of the sheet you want to add,” & vbCrLf & _
“or click the Cancel button to cancel the addition:”, _
“What sheet do you want to add?”)
‘ create new workbook
Worksheets.Add
ActiveSheet.Name = AddSheetQuestion
ActiveSheet.Move After:=Worksheets(Worksheets.Count)
‘ add header text
Worksheets(AddSheetQuestion).Range(“B2:F2”).Merge
Cells(2, 2) = AddSheetQuestion
Worksheets(AddSheetQuestion).Range(“B3:F3″).Merge
Cells(3, 2) = StartDate & ” – ” & EndDate & “, ” & noPPW & ” periods per week.”
Cells(5, 2) = “#”
Cells(5, 3) = “wb.”
Cells(5, 4) = “Topic”
Cells(5, 5) = “Learning Objectives”
Cells(5, 6) = “Resources”
‘ number rows
Call NumberPlanner(noPeriods)

‘ date rows
Call DatePlanner(noPeriods, StartDate, noPPW)

Worksheets(AddSheetQuestion).Columns(4).ColumnWidth = 30
Worksheets(AddSheetQuestion).Columns(5).ColumnWidth = 30
Worksheets(AddSheetQuestion).Columns(6).ColumnWidth = 30
End Sub

Sub NumberPlanner(ByVal noPeriods As Integer)
Dim count1 As Integer
For count1 = 1 To noPeriods
Cells(count1 + 5, 2) = count1
Next count1
End Sub
Sub DatePlanner(ByVal noPeriods As Integer, ByVal StartDate As Date, ByVal noPPW As Integer)
‘ One date at the start of every week
Dim date1 As Integer
Dim wb As Boolean
Dim daycounter As Integer
Dim weekcounter As Integer
wb = True
daycounter = noPPW
weekcounter = -1
For date1 = 0 To noPeriods – 1
If daycounter = noPPW Then
wb = True
daycounter = 0
weekcounter = weekcounter + 1
End If
If wb Then
Cells(date1 + 6, 3) = StartDate + (weekcounter * 7)
wb = False
End If
daycounter = daycounter + 1

Next date1
Cells.Columns.AutoFit

End Sub

It’s not refined and I have to admit I can’t remember how to make the macro populate a Word document directly yet but the code above generates something a little (ok, exactly) like this:

A little manual formatting after copying and pasting into Word resulted in this:

Finally, copying and pasting into the desktop version of Evernote was a breeze. It even took in the document header and footer (I’d recommend removing the footer as an Evernote note does not have a page break!).

The time consuming part will be linking Evernote notes into the resources column for each lesson, but I’m happy the structure is there. The aim is that, once completed, these plans will not only be synchronised between home and work (reducing the need for those photographs of paper planners!) but that revising them will be much more efficient as I can immediately add in a new resource or interesting news article link when I find it (because they always appear three months before or after you actually need them). If my colleagues need to look at them for any reason I can send it quickly via email.

The ultimate goal? No paper planner at all for my lessons. These folk have already managed it and, if the web version can handle editing the newly created notes, it won’t take long until I manage it too.