Tuesday, April 28, 2015

One Last Blog

Hi everyone and welcome back for another week of my blog.  You can find me on twitter @barlottn  This will be my last blog of the semester.  I may resume my blog in the future but for now lets just day this will be my last blog.  This semester really seemed to fly by.  For some reason it seemed to of faster than my first semester at Stockton.  All in all it was definitely a successful semester.  I had my struggles during my first semester but I have definitely grown up a lot and become more professional since then.  I have learned to manage my time better and to give my very best on all my work.  Some of my classes have been introducing me to the professional world.  When I first signed up for Exploring Your Digital Toolbox I didn't really understand what I was getting myself into.  I figured it had something to do with technology but I didn't know exactly what it meant.  After taking this class I'm definitely glad I took the chance on this class.

This semester I learned a lot of new things in a short amount of time.  I had been on Twitter for some time but I learned that Twitter can be used as a PLN or a personal learning network.  My previous experiences with Twitter had been with my personal account which I used to communicate with friends and stay current with all the breaking news.  I never thought of it as a way to network myself or to use it in a professional way.  I learned that Twitter is a great way to network myself and it could even lead to a future job or professional relationships.  I also learned about linkedin which is a great app that helps you make professional connections.  I have already made a few connections on linkedin and its something that I will use more in the future when I look for a career.  Haiku Deck is another tool I will use in the future when creating presentations.  You can check out my previous blogs for my Social Media Project that I created about Larry Johnson.  And last but not least I used Weebly to create a professional website.  This was an awesome experience.  Creating a website brought back memories for me dating all the way back to high school when I took a web design class.  Web Design was one of my favorite classes in high school so I was pretty excited to hear that our final project was to create a website.  Feel free to check out my website and let me know what you think.  Any type of feedback is greatly appreciated: professional website link

Overall I really enjoyed this class and I will miss it.  This class has added a lot of great tools to my tool belt that I will continue to use.  This class also helped me develop myself in a professional way and taught me how to use Twitter the right way and to not abuse it which could hurt me when I try to get a job.  Thank you professor Calderwood and I would recommend your class to anyone at Stockton University.  

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The future of a connected educator/Circuits

Hi everyone and welcome back to my blog for week 10.  I can't believe this will already be the tenth week of my blog.  I only have a little over a week of school left.  It feels just like yesterday when I was at Ocean County College and now I'm almost done with my first full year at Stockton university.  Now let me get to what my class did this week.  This week class was very different.  Professor Calderwood had us work together in groups to make a circuit.  I remember building circuits my senior year of high school in physics class.  Lets just say anything science or physics related is my least favorite and probably my worst subjects.  So I was definitely a bit weary of this activity.  In the end it was enjoyable to work together with my classmates to build a circuit.  We use the circuit to operate the game frogger which was on one of my classmates tablets.  We were able to get the circuit board to work like a controller so we could play the game it was pretty interesting.  After that we played guitar hero with a cardboard cutout of a guitar.  We used play doh as if they were the buttons on the controllers.  We put the play doh on the cardboard and connected the wire to the play doh.  It was a fun activity.  Here is a picture of one of my classmates Jake playing the guitar:

I also read chapter nine of the Connected Educator this week.  The author talks about how social media has impacted and changed his life for the good.  He's been able to make so many relationships with other teachers, authors, and experts.  Without social media he would have most likely never of met this people.  His journey into connected learning is something he will never forget and most likely never give up.  You never know what the future holds for you.  The web is a place where connected educators can go out and find people to exchange thoughts and information with.  The web is so much more than just websites and databases with articles and other types of information.  Go out and make connections with people that could last a lifetime.  Don't just be a teacher become a connected learner so you can expose your students to a new wealth of knowledge.  It's impossible to master all the knowledge out there but teachers need to be able to expose student to all the knowledge out there.  

Thats another week of my blog.  Next week will me my last blog.  Until then be safe everybody.  

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Creating Websites Can be easy

Hi everyone and welcome back to my blog for week 9.  I hope you didnt miss my blog too much and if you did don't worry I'm back this week.  You can find me on twitter @barlottn.  This week I'm going to talk about social networking tools and how to create websites.  First, lets talk about social networking tools.  Social media gets a bad reputation at times because some people use it improperly or it can get you in trouble if your venting problems or opinions.  With all that being said its still a great tool for schools to use.  Being involved online with social media is great for staying up to date with all the latest education and technology.  Being social online will allow for the best education for any student today and in the near future.  There are so many great web tools out there for students to use so that they can express their opinions and talents.  TodaysMeet is a great way for teachers and students to communicate.  TodaysMeet gives teachers the opportunity to create a private back channel can be used to discuss and document classroom interactions.  This is a great way for students to have their questions answered even when their not in class.  Another great communication tool is Skype.  Skype is one of the earliest video chat technologies to gain significant popularity.  It allows two people in different places to have a face to face conversation.  Skype is an awesome tool for teachers.  Teachers can get a guest speaker and have a live interview with that person for the entire class to experience.  Edmodo is one of the first social networks designed for the classroom.  Edmodo is a great way for teachers and student to share assignments with each other.  Teachers can sign up for free with Edmodo and create a digital class for them and there students.  I got most of this information from Untangling The Web.

Now I'm going to talk about integrating websites with social media.  First, I'm going to talk about IFTTT.  IFTTT stands for "If this, then that."  IFTTT's are great for saving you time and can be used as  short cuts or reminders.   IFTTT allows users to create "recipe's" which are a chain of simple conditional statements which are triggered by other web services like twitter or Instagram.  Here are some examples.
1. This recipe will make it easier to change profile pics.  When your Facebook profile changes so will your twitter profile picture.
2. When someone tags you in a photo on Facebook it will automatically be sent to your dropbox.
3. Receive a text when the weather changes.
4. If your a reader you can have an email sent to you when a new free e-book is added to the top 100 on kindle.
5. You can have your tweets sent to a google spreadsheet.
6.  You can create a google calendar of your tweet schedule.
7.  Add Instagram photographers to a twitter list.
8. You can create a photo album with iOS and have them automatically uploaded to Facebook.
These next few recipes are for Instagram users:
9.  Send tagged photos to tumblr.
10. Post Instagram pics on twitter as a picture.
11. Save all Instagram uploads to a folder in Google Drive.
12.  Have your Instagram photos sent immediately to your Facebook album.
I hope you all can use some of these great recipes.

Now let's talk about creating websites.  Creating a website sounds hard but its actually easy.  There are a few websites out there that are designed to help create websites and its super easy.  Wordpress, Wix, and Weebly are just a few great website to help with creating your own website.  Here's a video on how to use Weebly:

Wix is also a great website to use for web building.  They have a bunch of great templates so that you can develop a website rather easy.  Just plug in any information you want and Wix will help you create a fantastic website with ease.  These websites do all the heavy lifting so you can develop a website without having to pay for it.  I hope you enjoyed my blog.  I will be back next week.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Connected Learning

Hi everyone and welcome back to week 8 of my blog.  You can find me on twitter @barlottn.  Last week was a really busy week for me.  I had two presentations on the same day last week which was kind of nerve racking.  It definitely was not easy trying to put together two presentations and practice for the presentation.  One presentation went well while the other not so good.  I had to dress formally for my presentation in my Business Law class.  That presentation did not go well because my group ran out of time while presenting and I got cut off due to time.  My other presentation went pretty well.  This presentation was for my Exploring Your Digital Toolbox class.  I did a presentation on Larry Johnson the former Kansas City Chiefs running back.  I took a public speaking class at OCC which has really helped me with presentations.  I did my best to use bullet points to remind of what I needed to talk about.  You never want to read directly from the slides because your not connecting with your audience at all.  Sometimes I get nervous and forget important information that I want to say about my topic but for this presentation I did not forget anything at all.  So overall I felt like the presentation went pretty well for me.  Its always a great feeling to the presentation out of the way without embarrassing yourself.  I also used a Haiku Deck to create my presentation.  Haiku Deck is something that I have been using and its great for presentations.  It keeps your slides short and simple so that you don't just read off them.  Heres the link to my presentation, feel free to check it out.

This week we read chapter 5 from The Connected Educator.  The chapter started off by discussing social bookmarking.  Social bookmarking is a great way to organize your favorite and most used websites.  There are millions of webpages out there so its important that you can organize and share articles and different websites with friend or co-workers.  Delicious is one of the most popular social bookmarking sites out there.  When researching you can just throw the links into your Delicious account so that you can sort through them later and gather the best information possible.  You can also connect with other users or educators on Delicious and share different sites with each other.  Diigo is another social bookmarking site thats rather similar to Delicious but it has some cooler features.  There is a feature called My Groups where you share documents and sites with people in your local professional community or global community.

Twitter is a great place to communicate, express your feelings, and share information.  You can use it professionally or personally.  Twitter is considered to be a microblogging service because it allows you to share information quickly and efficiently with your personal learning network.  With Twitter you can also direct message a person which is like an email and is more private so its not out there for everyone to see.  Twitter is great for networking because there a tons of people in the Twitterverse that share the same field or career as you.

Google Docs is tool a great tool to use in place of Microsoft Office especially if you don't have the money to pay for Microsoft Office.  For a group project Google Docs is awesome because it allows you and your group members to work on a paper or slideshow simultaneously.  Google Docs is used online instead of having software saved to your computer.  You can also work from different computers since your work is saved on the web.  You no longer have to worry about losing or forgetting that pesky usb drive.

Thats another week of my blog in the books.  See you all next week.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Apps and Chrome extensions that will make your life easier

Hi everybody welcome back to my blog.  I know I took last week off but hopefully this week will make up for it.  You can find me on twitter @barlottn.  Last week I learned about iPad apps and Chrome extensions.  Our professor Kyle Calderwood set us up with some great guest speakers on google hangout last week.  The guest speakers were @dwmalone, @geekyteach, and @teachintechgal.  It was awesome having them as guest speakers and I really learned a lot.  They showed us a ton of Chrome extensions and iPad apps that I had never heard before.  Even if you don't have an iPad like me, you can still learn about some great chrome extensions that you can use for your home computer or laptop.

What exactly is a Chrome extension?  A chrome extension is an application that runs inside your Google Chrome browser.  It allows you to customize your browser with helpful everyday tools that will provide you more functionality.  These extensions can also be shortcuts to websites so you don't have to waste extra time browsing.  There are a lot of great extensions out there but you have to be careful not to download too many.  Having too many Chrome extensions can slow down your browser.  You can have as many extensions as you want but always keep in mind that your memory, your computer speed, and your wifi speed can be effected by how many extensions you have.  So just keep an eye on those three things as you add new extensions.  A couple of cool Chrome extensions are Quizlet which can you study for test and quizzes, Readability will clear up all the clutter like adds and such so you can read articles without being distracted, and EasyBib which can help students created citations, reference pages, and find credible sources so they don't plagiarize.  To find more great extensions click on the link that I have embedded in the beginning of the paragraph.

The Chrome extension I am about to talk about is great for when you don't have enough time to read a long article but you have to read it.  Too LongDidn't Read (TLDR) is a fantastic extension that summarizes an article of your choose.  It condenses the article down and gives you the main points which are the most important.  In less than a minute you have synopsis of an article that your either needed to read or just wanted it to be condensed.  Most people like myself don't have the time or just don't feel like reading an entire article.  Theres only 24 hours in a day and they go by pretty fast so don't waste them reading an entire article that you don't want to read.  It also has some good reviews from other customers in the Chrome Web store.  It's always important to check the reviews of an app or extension before downloading so you know that it's legit and you don't waste your precious time.

This next app is for iPads.  It's called ZooKazam and its a really fun app especially for kids.  You print off different targets that the app gives you and the app will bring that piece of paper to life.  You can take pictures and videos of the animal with the app.  It also allows you to change the weather and the light effects around the animal to make it even more realistic.  You can even change the scene that the animal is in to make it more realistic or to teach students what environments these animals live in.  There are 40 different animals including 10 dinosaurs.  This is a great tool for a elementary or science teacher who wants to bring animals to life in their classrooms for the kids.  The app is free but you only get limited animals.  For just .99 cents you can unlock all the animals.  This app also has great reviews in the app store.

 That's it for this week.  I hope you enjoyed my blog and I will be back next week.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Alternatives to Powerpoint

Hello everybody welcome to my blog.  My name is Nick Barlotta and you can find me on twitter @barlottn.  In this week of my blog I will be talking mostly about presentation tools and alternatives to powerpoint.  It seems like everyone uses powerpoint designed by Microsoft for their presentations.  Its time to branch out and explore some alternatives that are more interesting and possible even better than powerpoint.  The first alternative is Haiku deck which is somewhat similar to powerpoint but differs in some areas.  Haiku deck has styles and formats already made up for you to chose from for your slides.  You can also incorporate your own pictures from your library into your slides.  Haiku Deck is all about whipping together attractive slides without having to spend an eternity on them.  Haiku Deck can also be shared via Facebook, Twitter, or email.  The next alternative is Kingsoft Presentation Free 2013.  This alternative is extremely similar to powerpoint.  This program runs in Windows and emulates the standard slideshow building process.  You can add backgrounds, music, sounds, and animations to your slides.  They also have templates to give you ideas for your slides.  The final alternative I will talk about is Prezi.  With Prezi, you can develop eye catching presentations that stray from the traditional slideshow presentations.  Instead of going from one slide to the next Prezi flies from one slide to the next.  You can add videos, music, and any info you need.

Im going to continue along with the idea of using alternatives to powerpoint.  Next up is Google Slides.    This article gave me five reasons to use Google Slides over powerpoint.  Reason #1 is collaboration.  Being able to easily share and simultaneously edit your Google Drive documents is a great feature.  Reason #2 is Simple UI Encourages Simpler Presentations.  Google Slides has less features but this allows for a cleaner presentation.  Sometimes powerpoint presentations have too much going on which can be distracting and annoying.  Reason #3 is Offline access for Editing and Presenting.  You can now download a Google Slides app from the Chrome Web Store which allows you to access Google Slides offline.  Reason #4 is Access Presentation from any device.  You can access Google Drive from any browser.  Reason #5 is Easy Web Publishing and Sharing.  Google slides makes it easy to share a presentation on the web.  Google Slides has many advantages which powerpoint does not.

Powerpoint can be complicated and distracting with its multitude of features.  Haiku Deck is great for making a simple yet elegant presentation.  Haiku Deck makes it difficult to make a cluttered slideshow which is great so your viewers can focus on whats important.  This application restricts you to just two lines of text and five bullet points.  This makes the presenter learn information about the topic he/she is presenting.  No one likes when a presenter just reads off the slides.  One of the problems with Haiku Deck is that you cannot deviate from the default setting for layout and style but that can also be a good thing.  All in all Haiku Deck is great for making presentations.

The final thing I will be talking about in my blog is chapter 3 of Untangling the Web.  This chapter gives us some alternatives to boring powerpoint slides in which the presenter just reads the info off the slides.  SlideShare is a social hub that allows you to upload your presentations and share them with other educators across the globe.  They are also integrated with Facebook and LinkedIn.  They have tons of information and not just presentations like powerpoint.  Word documents and PDFs can also be shared through SlideShare.  Poll Everywhere is a mobile based student response system.  Poll Everywhere can be simple but the deeper you explore the more features you will find.  All you have to do is enter in questions and add answers to create polls for free.  Poll Everywhere is great for the classroom.  Its a great way to get valuable feedback for Teachers and even parents.  Prezi is another great alternative to powerpoint.  Its a different interesting way to create a presentation.   Prezi doesn't have slides.  Prezi basically takes you on a tour of the presentation taking you to the next bit of information, video, or picture.  Prezi is one of the first two display that there is so much more to a presentation than the traditional powerpoint with slides.  Prezi is a great tool for presenters.  I hope you enjoyed my blog and I will be back next week. Thanks.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The many uses of Evernote

Hi, my name is Nick Barlotta and this my blog.  You can follow me at @barlottn on twitter.  This week I got to watch a google hangout video that previously recorded by Professor Calderwood and uploaded to youtube.  The video had some interesting information about how teachers can use twitter to find other professionals in their field and connect with them.  Adam Taylor who is a science teacher, used twitter to connect with scientists and later have them interact with him and his students. He has created his own hashtag and chat on twitter.  He has hundreds of people that interact in the chat.  He found out that twitter is a great tool to connect and interact with people who can further your knowledge and share experiences with each other.  Twitter is a fantastic tool when its used properly.  Finding hashtags on twitter that are related to your field is a great way to connect with people and learn more about your major.  Twitter could even get you a job if your able to connect with the right people.  Creating a personal learning network on twitter is a great way to help jump-start your career and meet new people.


Evernote is a wonderful web tool that allows users to bookmark, record voicemails, take text and voice notes, upload pictures, docs, PDFs and files, and capture images and information on the web.  There are also applications that you can use on your phone to access Evernote and do different things.  Evernote is really great for keeping notes and organizing them.  For people who have trouble keeping notes and different things organized don't worry cause Evernote is their for you just sign up.  Evernote allows you to make different folders so you can keep your notes separated.  You can also search documents and key words in Evernote to find specific information in your notes that you were trying to find.  Evernote also allows users to share notes via email or social media.  One of the best and most important reasons for using Evernote is that you can access it on the web or download its software to your computer.  Anyway you slice it Evernote is a fantastic tool.  

Ever forget you had something important to do but it just slipped your mind.  Thats pretty much me everyday of my life,  always forgetting something.  For someone like me that can barely remember what I had for breakfast that morning Evernote is awesome.  Evernote has a reminder feature that the user can set to for anytime of the day to keep them on track.  For students this feature is fantastic because we have busy schedules and its not easy balancing work, school work, and class.  The reminder feature is also a great tool for teachers.  They can use it to download documents and remind their students when its due.  If can also get reminder notifications to your phone which is the best way to keep yourself up to date with what you need to do that day.  The Evernote reminder feature is even great for people who have graduated from school and have careers.  Need to remember that you have a meeting in the afternoon just set your reminder and have a notification sent right to your phone. 

Even a New York Times bestseller like Michael Hyatt uses Evernote.  He uses Evernote for public speaking.  Hyatt has setup his Evernote into four different notebooks: Illustrations, Jokes, Quotes, and Statistics.  He goes through his notes or web articles and takes information he likes and copies into it notebooks for later use.  He can highlight things from digital books and just copy and paste them right into his Evernote.  Even with Traditional books Hyatt can take pictures of what he has highlighted and put them into his Evernote.  In general, Evernote is a great way to manage time and set reminders, organize and take notes, and share great information with other users.  Thank you for reading my week 5 blog.  I hope you enjoyed it and have a great week.