Category Archives: Software

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2014: 5 Games to Learn From

As the year winds to a close, it’s a great time to take a look back at some of the games that stood out in serious and educational gaming. If you’re thinking about picking a new game for a class, keep an eye on the coming game awards season. There are a number of venues that showcase great educational games each year. The Serious Games Showcase & Challenge highlighted several winners this year, including National Geographic’s game The Underground Railroad: Journey to Freedom and University of …

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Hour of Code


December 8th through 14th marked Computer Science Education Week, along with a week-long push for Hour of Code, an initiative in procedural literacy through beginner-friendly tutorials with particular attention to groups that remain underrepresented in STEM. While many of the community events and initiatives are aimed at K-12, the tutorials and resources from the project and the initiative itself can be valuable for us to take a look at in higher education.

Obama kicked off the week of code by

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#TAGS: New Homepage for Twitter Archiving Google Sheet

Screen shot of "TAGS" home page.

Here at ProfHacker we’ve written quite a bit about Twitter over the years (as our archive of posts with the twitter tag reveals). One Twitter topic that we’ve addressed often is how best to maintain an archive of Tweets, whether your own or those associated with a particular hashtag. In two different posts, Mark introduced readers to what is, arguably, the best free solution for this: Martin Hawksey’s TAGS, “a free Google Sheet template which lets you setup and run automated collection of searc…

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ProfHacker 2014 Holiday Gift Guide

Round trees at night, lit with holiday lights Why is this post different from all other posts? Because it’s the annual ProfHacker gift guide! If December is a busy time for most people, it’s always seemed that much busier to me since becoming an academic: there’s finals, grades, and all those department parties competing for my attention when what I really need to do is figure out what I should get my wife. That’s where this guide comes in. We’ve got the recommendations you need for the coffee / exercise / tech enthusiast in your life, as …

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Batch Convert Word Documents to PDF in Google Drive

pile of paper

PDF format is very useful for any documents that are going to be shared with others, whether by posting online, via email or printed as hard copies. Using PDF means that you can control not only the content but also the presentational formatting, and ensure that what you create will remain consistent for your audience. PDF was designed to be cross-platform and is accessible from a variety of machines and devices.

Recently, I was reminded of a simple approach to batch converting Microsoft Word d…

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Evernote and Markdown: Two Tools that Work Great Together

Evernote and Sublime Text togetherSometimes, I come across ideas for posts quite by accident.

Early this afternoon (November 6), for instance, I was looking at the wiki that we use for scheduling our posts, trying to figure out my posting schedule for the next few weeks. I was also wondering whether I’d be able to post something for the week of November 10. We try to have our posts in by midnight on Thursday of the week before the post runs, and I was, quite frankly, drawing a blank on post ideas.

I’d pretty much concluded I’d h…

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Digital Distractions: ARGs and Endgame

A new book by James Frey and Nils Johnson-Shelton, Endgame: The Calling, launched earlier this month. The book chronicles twelve players representing ancient cultures who are trying to save their societies with the fate of the world at stake. If you picked it up without knowing the full story, it would seem like a disappointment as a book: the players are presented with clues, but the puzzles and mysteries are left unsolved. This is because Endgame isn’t so much a book as the launching point fo…

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Seeing Full URLs in Safari

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Last week saw the release of Apple’s newest version of OS X, Yosemite. It has a refreshed visual design, several cool new feature–including, at long last, the ability to share documents, photos, and links between iOS devices and OS X devices via AirDrop. And I’m sure we’ll cover many of these in due course.

Today I want to talk about one of the most aggravating features: In Safari, the combined address/search bar no longer displays the full URL of webpages. Instead, it just shows the domain nam…

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Using Evernote in the Classroom

Cat reading in Evernote on an iPadLast week, Jason asked readers how they work with their tablets. In the comments section, I noted that one of the ways I use it is for keeping my class notes. I keep those in Evernote.

(Yes, we’ve mentioned that app a few times in this space. I also use Evernote for storing information I might want to retrieve later; I recently reorganized my notebooks and notes after reading about Michael Hyatt’s setup, and I’ve found that approach really helpful).

Once my class notes are in Evernote, it’s very…