Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Ronseal sites for educators

This is my little collection of Ronseal sites - sites that do exactly what you want, just when you want them to.  It's hard to know how to categorise the following other than they're 'sites that once you know about them you'll find them pretty darned useful even if you didn't realise you needed them'.  And they're especially useful for educators because part of the battle of working online / blending face-to-face with online is trying to manage your time, so anything that can help make the online bit easier is all good by me.  So, here they are.  My top five Ronseal sites:

I've gone on about this before but it's a brilliantly simple idea - If this then that.  You create recipes from tasks which are associated with services - the recipes basically trigger things to happen automatically.  For example, when a new blog post occurs here, create a note in Evernote there.  When I favourite a tweet here, create a bookmark in Diigo there.  There are so many combinations and 'recipes' other people have created before which you can use / adapt yourself to get you started.  Definitely one of those 'didn't realise that would do what I wanted' sites.

Down for everyone or just me - I barely need to explain this one.  If you want to use a site and it doesn't appear when you go to visit it, it can be extremely frustrating.  That's where this site comes in.  Just enter the address and you'll know straight away if the problem is yours or not.  Very handy to know about.

More of it is a hidden gem - I only discovered it recently but there are plenty of uses for it.  For example, the classic of a particular website or service being blocked (YouTube is frequently victim of the web filter police within education) is frustrating, but all you need to do is go to 'more of it' and enter the name of the site you're wanting to find similar sites to, and it'll suggest some.  Great simple idea.

Google Analytics are absolutely fantastic - and free.  The reason they're so useful is that once you've installed the simple little tracking code you get access to a whole load of stats about how your content is being used.  If you've created a wiki or a blog for use with your students, then knowing how and when they're accessing it / knowing what they're looking at and how long for can give you great immediate feedback and food for thought with designing your content.  Don't be put off by the need to install a tracking code - it's straightforward and with things like Google Sites or Blogger, it's just a copy and paste exercise and you're away.

Very like 'more of it', but this time with applications / software.  You can choose free, open source, commercial alternatives to just about anything you can think of.  Again, very handy for the educator who might not have the biggest budget when it comes to getting software and needs to know what options are out there.


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