Category Archives: Software

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Defend Against Disruption and Distraction

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Many professionals today struggle to handle interruptions that can pull you away from focused work. Interruptions come in lots of different forms, such as notifications of email or text messages, phone calls, someone knocking on your office door, or your own stream of thoughts.

In a recent episode of the Productivityist podcast, Mike Vardy talks about the distinction he makes between disruptions and distractions:

Disruptions are things that:

  • actually do demand your attention or response
  • are of…
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Web Development: Resources for Learning Bootstrap

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This summer, as part of my efforts to sharpen my web development skills, I’m working on learning Bootstrap. What’s Bootstrap? It’s “a free and open-source collection of tools for creating websites and web applications. It contains HTML- and CSS-based design templates for typography, forms, buttons, navigation and other interface components, as well as optional JavaScript extensions. It aims to ease the development of dynamic websites and web applications” (Wikipedia)

Bootstrap keeps you from re…

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Color Enhancer Extension for Chrome

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Anastasia recently wrote about a variety of Chrome browser extensions that can make your workflow more productive or more fun. Extensions can also be used to add themes or features for accessibility.

Google recently added a new Chrome browser extension called Color Enhancer which allows users to set up a customized color filter that, when the extension is enabled, is applied to all web pages viewed in Chrome. This allows individuals with color blindness to create a filter that will help them pe…

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Schedule Meetings Anywhere with Meet

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In May, Amy wrote suggested Sunrise as an interesting cross-platform calendar option, right before it was bought by Microsoft. I don’t use Sunrise myself (Fantastical for life), but their most recent version does have a feature that led me to install it: The ability to send invitations via any iOS or Android app that accepts text input.

This happens via a 3rd-party keyboard, which is called Meet. (This is ever-so-slightly confusing, as Meet is part of the Sunrise app, not a separate installat…

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Making Accessible Games with Twine Audio

I’ve written about both Twine and Twine 2 as platforms that are very friendly to completely new developers and those who haven’t previously programmed, but Twine is also a platform that can offer accessibility from the user end. All text-based games build with well-structured HTML have a strong potential to be fairly easily manipulated through adaptive technologies, including screen readers. Whenever we’re thinking about integrating a new technology into teaching and learning, it’s important to…

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How Do You Annotate in Your Class?

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I’m teaching Introduction to Literature (with a Digital Humanities slant) in the fall, and I’m deciding on tools and approaches to use. One of my favorite activities is annotation, moving towards thinking about critical editions. But I’m at a loss now for what tool or tools to use in my classroom for this activity.

What am I looking for? A annotation tool that allows for collective and collaborative readings of a text and that can also handle multimedia, as well as linking (in theory) to other …

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Learn Another Language During Your Commute with Duolingo

I live in the Boston area, which means (as for many) I have a decent commute to work every day. I hate fighting traffic in the car, so I make this commute by train. I’ve written in the past about why I started carrying a Kindle rather than an iPad on this commute, so that I could read without being distracted by email, Facebook, and so forth.

I still keep the Kindle for my commutes home, but recently I’ve taken up a new activity on my commutes to work—the language-learning app Duolingo, which i…

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Playful Browsing with Chrome Extensions

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Ever since reading Natalie’s post on the Momentum Chrome extension, I’ve been paying more attention to the Chrome browser app marketplace. I was immediately converted to Momentum, as it’s built in to-do list tool and simple aesthetic make it a really easy way to stay on track. Chrome extensions fit in an odd space between app and websites: some of them simply offer things that could easily be found elsewhere on the web in a more convenient, integrated bookmark, while others include app-like fe…

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Share URLs Quickly with ShoutKey

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Imagine you’re in a meeting, seated around a table with eight other people. You want to share a URL with them, but it’s several levels down in the hierarachy of the particular website. What do you do?

If you’re all already connected online via a shared document or text messaging, then you could just drop the URL into a message for them to click on.

But what if you’re not all connected, or you don’t know the names and email addresses of all the people you want to share the URL with? ShoutKey is …

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New Features on the DiRT Directory

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DiRT (formerly known as Bamboo DiRT) is a repository of digital tools, organized, and curated by users. The idea behind its creation — as explained in this 2013 post by Seth Denbo — was to try and eliminate the re-creation of digital teaching and research tools that already existed. It has always been my go-to resource for finding tools, as well as sending students and faculty there so they can begin to explore and imagine ways that they might integrate digital assignments into their classrooms…