Friday, 25th November 2022

      Imprint – learn visually

We all learn differently. If you would like to try an app that displays information more visually, try Imprint.

Simply download and allow/disallow tracking your activities. A short introduction explains how this app works. Its aims are to help people to stay focused, master complex concepts, and retain information long-term by presenting information more visually and through interactive bite-sized sessions. Answer a few questions to personalise the experience: chose topics of interest (e.g. history, science & technology, or health & wellness); indicate you favourite ways of learning (e.g. through books or videos), why you would like to use this app, and related questions on these preferences. The app also asks you to compare yourself to others. The final step is to set yourself goals for the first week ranging from 2 – 10 minutes of use.

The main menu displays today’s goal (in my case “read three chapters”). Choose from recommendations or most popular topics. You can also browse the subject areas for inspiration. Quick reads are visual explanations of complex topics – in 2 minutes or less.

The chapters consist of pages with one sentence only plus interactive graphics. You need to tap to get the next sentence.

You can report a typo or a factual error, suggest an edit or ask a question by selecting the ‘comment’ box at the bottom. Save, print, or copy pages. The main ideas for each chapter are being summarised in the recap session, which takes the form of a short quiz.

Could be used for: exploring a range of topics with your students.

What I liked about it: content is broken down into small components and the graphs really supplement the text.

Watch out for: free only for the first seven days. A lot of the content is only available when you subscribe.

Available from the App Store.

More information here: https://imprintapp.com/

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Friday, 11th November 2022

ADHD in Adults

The HSE launched a new app this week which had been developed in partnership with ADHD Ireland and UCD’s School of Psychology.

It is designed to help adults:

  • who think they may have ADHD
  • diagnosed with ADHD and seeking further information
  • diagnosed with ADHD as children and requiring on-going treatment as adults
  • attending mental health services in whom ADHD has not been recognised
  • and family and friends of adults with ADHD

Download the app and open. If you allow the app to use your location, you will be notified of upcoming events and nearby clinics. You can also allow/disallow ads and notifications.

The menu has three options:

  • ‘mindful breaks’ are short audio podcasts (around 2-3 minutes) encouraging users to take a break, handle difficult emotions or thoughts, or to focus
  • ‘HSE ADHD clinics’ contains information on the latest developments (including some short interviews with key medical advisers
  • the news section links to ADHD Ireland’s website, to news, events, and research

Additionally, you will find sections on ‘what is ADHD’, ‘living with ADHD’, interventions, self-help techniques, and further help information. All of these lead to short texts and infographics, which are well written.

Could be used for: finding up-to-date information on ADHD. No prior knowledge is needed.

What I liked about it: clean interface which makes navigation easy

Watch out for: it is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment

Available from the App Store and on Google Play.

More information here: https://tinyurl.com/4jdhcdvb

 

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Friday, 4th November 2022

Happy Midterm!

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Friday, 28th October 2022

Peak brain training

Brain training are very popular. Here is one you might want to try to give those little grey cells a bit of a challenge. First you need clarify your goals. One game to boost your memory has been developed in partnership with Cambridge University; one on language skills with City University New York. There are also problem solving, focus training and mental agility games. Even one for emotional skills.

A short assessment examines your skills at present. Three short ‘workouts’ explain how the games work. ‘How to play’ shows your instructions.

Your performance insights pop up after you finish playing comparing you to other players (average). As you are playing against time, you can train to get faster.

The result, your peak brain score, will then be displayed in the form of a map. You can compare that with other people your age by selection your age bracket. Or, interestingly, by profession (no ‘librarian’ option here, sad). There is no way of knowing if you are being compared to other people, but the ranking might act as a motivator.

Set yourself reminders (day/time) by allowing the app to alert you to your workout and enable notifications if you want to know about new games.

You can save that image or share it with others. Sign up for a free account to save your stats. You can track your improvements over time and for each game.

Could be used for: with learners who enjoy short game-based activities.

What I like about it: no need to sign up if you want to stay anonymous.

Watch out for: The pro version has more games, but you need to pay.

Available from the App Store and on Google Play.

More information here: https://www.peak.net/

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Friday, 21st October 2022

 

Teaching about plagiarism is sometimes a bit difficult. Most students understand that you cannot just copy and paste a text taken from the Internet and claim it as their own. This app can show them at a glance just how easy it is to spot that.

Simply download the app and create an account or log in with your Facebook or Gmail credentials. Type in your text, paste it from some other document, or upload a file. WORD, .txt extensions, or pdfs are supported.

I nicked a text from an exam preparation site, changed a few words and uploaded it. The app took a few seconds to come back with the (expected) result: I had a score of 94% J. It had underlined the bits that were plagiarised. The next tap ‘matched sources’ gave the “referenced” site I had taken the text from. You can download your results – if you use the web version of this tool, you can choose between a pdf and an html document which opens in browsers.

The free profile has a limit of 200 queries – each of them has a limit of 1000 words.

Could be used for: explaining what plagiarism is and giving students a chance to check their own work.

What I like about it: easy to use.

Watch out for: check your consent form before you agree to use the app – you can refuse all options.

Available from the App Store and on Google Play. Also as a desktop application for Windows and MAC.

More information here: https://www.prepostseo.com/plagiarism-checker

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Friday, 30th September 2022

 

Tablets and smart phones have powerful cameras, but sometimes you need to touch up your photos. Infltr is one of the most widely used app for this purpose. Simply download it and open. The app allows you to “edit Photos, Videos, Live Photos, Animated GIFs and Depth Photos.” A short introduction explains how it works.

You need to allow access to your photos. Notifications can be switched off. Keep panning your finger on the screen to discover other filters. They range from a diversity of colour schemes to ‘monochrome’. Only 16 original filters are free.

There are plenty of editing tools, which are quite sophisticated: shadows, saturation, contrasts, and highlights are just some of the options. ‘Collage’ is a handy tool where you can combine photos, videos, or gifs. There are a selection of frames, different types of canvas, and text features. Save this to your device or export this as a jpg and share it with others.
‘Stickers’ need a subscription. ‘Stock photos’ contain a database of high-resolution photos.

Could be used for: creating professional photos and videos for your college website.
What I like about it: easy to use.
Watch out for: ads to try the paid version pop up regularly.
Available from the App Store.
More information here: https://www.infltr.com/faq-website

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Friday, 23rd September 2022

 

The CDU team worked at the Higher Options Exhibition at the RDS.

 

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Friday, 16th September 2022

 

NSF Science Zone

The National Science Foundation in the US is supporting many projects and initiatives in STEM subjects. Their app is a handy resource if you are looking for short videos for your teaching: biology, engineering, chemistry & materials, physics, computing, astronomy, nanoscience, earth & environment, or on the Arctic and Antarctic.

The menu is very attractive and intuitive. A carousel of pictures contains photos of science-related topics. Short explanatory texts are hidden behind them. These can be shared or saved to your device. Some articles are quite academic and might require a bit of explaining.

More useful for teachers are probably the videos, which are accessible when you click on ‘categories’ in the main menu. They are between 1 and 5 minutes long.

The news section reports on results of research supported by the Foundation and its website. These articles were by and large written for lay people, so could be used in a classroom.

This app is clearly an advertisement for the work of the Foundation, but there are no ads and the interface is easy to navigate.

Could be used for: a quick overview – topics are very narrow, but it’s fun just browsing through them.

What I like about it: captions can be switched on for the videos.

Watch out for: the app recommends using Wi-Fi as it uses a high volumes of data.

Available from the App Store and on Google Play.

More information here: https://www.nsf.gov/  

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Friday, 9th September 2022

 

Kickresume

 

If you want a quick way to create a job resume, try this app.

Download and sign in with your Gmail, Facebook, LinkedIn or email account. Allow or disallow notifications and tracking.

The menu is simple: you can create either a resume or a cover letter. Choose from a number of templates and customise the look and feel: format, colours, fonts, etc.

The resume menu has four pre-installed categories: personal information, work experience, education, and skills, but you can add additional sections. These are easy to fill in. If you are stuck for descriptions, use the search and choose from over 20,000 pre-written phrases. You can indicate the level of skill, ranging from elementary to native – or else use a custom name.

You can preview at any stage. A proof reading service is also available (€27.99).

When you are finished, simply download your work onto your device or share it using your usual channels.

Could be used for: showing students how to build a quick resume.

What I like about it: really easy to use.

Watch out for: this app was clearly created with a smartphone’s display in mind, so looks small on an IPad. Only the basic template is free.

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Friday, 2nd September 2022

This app claims to help you with a healthier, chemical-free lifestyle. A short tutorial shows how to use it. You can sign up with an account or else skip that step. The app needs access to your camera and photo gallery.

 

You can take a photo with your camera or upload a picture of the product’s ingredients. They recommend capturing the whole list of ingredients by moving and cropping the selection to get a better result. This is easy to do – simply move the inbuilt cropping box with your finger.

 

The scan then reveals the product’s overall hazard level (ranging from green to orange to red), but you can also delve into each ingredient to learn more. Each component lists a short description; classification and hazard statements; information on toxicity, irritation, allergies, and cancer concerns associated with this source as well as references (including pharmacological classification details). Products can be saved to a personal library on your device.

 

There is also a database which lists all kinds of chemical additives. The ‘market place’ links to two Greek companies. Additionally, the app contains ‘detox guides’, which you can buy for €1.99.

 

Could be used for: a quick scan to see what the products you use every day contain, e.g. in Home Economics or sustainability classes.

What I like about it: could be helpful for people with allergies – the traffic light system is easy to understand.

Watch out for: some of the information provided is clearly aimed at experts, so the language is not very accessible to lay people. But full marks for using proper references, such as Pubmed.

 

Available from the App Store and on Google Play.

More information here: http://www.ingred.io/