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TechTools

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Tech Tools for learning, teaching, connecting, collaborating, playing and creating online

Not in logical order… If it has “App” after the name then it is primarily a mobile app.

Video creation

Trio – App – by Meograph – This a mashup creator for iPhone primarily. Trio lets you pull in video, pics, gifs and music to create your own unique mashup. You can view other people’s mashups and swipe right to like and left to .. not like I suppose. There are some real gems and some chunks of coal.

PowToon – Create animated videos and presentation including kinetic text. Free and paid versions. A bit of a learning curve made infinitely less steep by the inclusion of editable templates. This is one app you have to at least try!

Vine –  App – Create looping videos – 6 seconds max. Fun and really useful for marketing, contests and short how tos. Now owned by Twitter and coming to other platforms near you soon.  Reserve your custom URL before some else does! Here are just 6 of the many ways you can use Vine in marketing your small business.

Periscope – App – By Twitter – Explore the world though other people’s eyes. Very addictive. Live streaming from your smart phone. Could be great if used for social good!

Photo

Instagram – App – Take a picture or video with your smartphone, choose a filter to transform its look and feel, then post to Instagram – easy. Share to Facebook (now owners of Instagram), Twitter, Tumblr and more. It’s a new way to see the world. Very social. Free. Want to know how n earth you can use it for business – check out the Instagram blog for business and this sweet post on Social Media Examiner – 26 Tips for using Instagram for Business

Morgue File – Great free high resolution stock photos.

Stock Exchange –  Another awesome place to find free high quality photos. You have to join the site but that’s free too. Some photo’s have specific criteria for use, like you must notify the owner but in most cases the photos are free to use, modify and don’t require attribution. Do share the luv though.

Pixlr –  Now that you have all those great photos you may need a way to modify and edit them. Pixlr Editor is a free online (no downloading software) graphic editor. It does come with a bit of a learning curve but for simple edits it’s amazingly easy.

Visual helpers

Visual.ly – Simply the best place for infographics. Lots of automated ones for messing around with and a marketplace where you can get custom ones done.

Thinglink – Take a photo or graphic and add hot spots – clickable areas that link to online content.. It’s like an infographic on steroids. Static photo’s become interactive, very cool! Fee and paid versions.

Prezi – Another alternative to PowerPoint. Free and paid versions and now includes collaboration capability. If you want a more dynamic and visual presentation this is the way to go. Be careful not to add to much movement though. I’ve had several folks say it makes them kind of queasy. Less is more when designing. They just launched Prezi resume and many. many more templates that look pretty cool – Prezumes? Free and paid versions.

Augmented reality

QRlicious – QRlicious takes your plain Jane QR Code and pretties it up really nice. If you want your logo or brand colours integrated into your QR code these folks will do it quick and right. I gave them my head-shot superimposed on a brick wall type texture just to see what they could do.. and they made it work. I was and still am impressed. Cost involved but not out of reach for most folks.

Layar – Layar makes print media clickable and I love them for that. “Layar specializes in mobile augmented reality (AR) – the most popular medium through which the average person interacts with AR content. The mobile AR world consists largely of two different types of experiences: geolocation- and vision-based augmented reality.” Free and paid options, lots of fun to play with.

Writing

Scrivener by Literature & Latte –  “Writing a novel, research paper, script, ebook or any long-form text involves more than hammering away at the keys until you’re done. Collecting research, ordering fragmented ideas, shuffling index cards in search of that elusive structure—most writing software is fired up only after much of the hard work is done. Enter Scrivener…” Seriously, this is what a word processor should do. It’s 45 bux, Apple app store or download,  and worth every single dime!

Medium – “A better place to read and write things that matter. Medium is a new place on the Internet where people share ideas and stories that are longer than 140 characters and not just for friends. It’s designed for little stories that make your day better and manifestos that change the world. It’s used by everyone from professional journalists to amateur cooks. It’s simple, beautiful, collaborative, and it helps you find the right audience for whatever you have to say.” I use Google Plus for this but I have to admit Medium is pretty and reads well.

Audio

SoundBible and Soundcloud are great places to find the sounds you need for videos and podcasts.

Curating and sharing

Storify – I probably use Storify more than any other application on this page. It works seamlessly with Twitter and you can drag pretty much anything you can find online into your story. “Make the web tell a story”. 1 Collect media from across the web; 2 Publish on Storify, embed anywhere; 3 Share and notify sources, go viral”

Scoop.it! – Create your topic-centric media by collecting gems among relevant streams. Publish it to your favorite social media or to your blog. I love the idea and have a few topics the go. Still not quite a seamless as it needs to be for me to get into the habit of keeping my topics fresh and worthwhile. Free.

Learnist – By Grockit – Kind of like Pinterest for thinkers. Or maybe a cross between Scoop.it, Paper.li and Pinterest.. I dunno.. I do know I like it. You create and add boards to keep and show off.. uhm, share what you have learned. I have a couple on the go and will add more. I really like that the applet/plugin works well so as I browse I can “Learn it” and it lets me choose which of my boards to add a found article or post to.

Paper.li – The first (I think) auto aggregating platform for Twitter and Facebook. Paper.li pulls your social media content, in some mysterious way, and creates an online newspaper for you. You can publish daily or weekly editions and they even auto post to your Twitter account. I have several. Free and paid versions.

Time savers

Rapportive – Free add on for Gmail, Firefox, Safari, Mailplane and Chrome. It offers real time information about anyone who emails you like their Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn profiles and more. One of my faves!!!!! Read more about it here.

WriteThat.name – Scans your email for changes in your contacts signatures and automatically updates your contact list. Very handy! Free to affordable.

IFTTT – Stands for If This Then That. Lets you create “recipes” with your online content. For example you can create (or follow) a recipe so that when you post a new blog post the laborious task of promoting it on your Facebook page, Twitter and LinkedIn channels is all done for you. Last time I check there were 77 apps aka channels that could be used as ingredients. Want to save your Instagram masterpieces to to Diigo and Evernote? This will help you do that.

Mind and concept mapping

Mindmeister – Mindmaps, great mindmapping tool that can be used by individuals or with groups of people. Free and paid versions.

The Brain – Really this is the ultimate concept/life/planning tool around. Upside it does more than any other concept or mind mapping software out there and even the free version is robust. Downside is that their is a bit of a learning curve.

Popplet – Desktop and app versions – “See what you think together”. Collaborative and kinesthetic concept mapping tool. Works great! Kinda addictive really. No learning curve but doesn’t do much as much as The Brain. Free.

Collaborating

Voicethread – Possibly my fave although I have yet to have a lot of success in enticing others to play with me in this beautiful space. This is a great tool for educators and those wanting multiple voices, literally, around a topic. And yes, there is a app. Free and paid versions.

Yammer – “The Enterprise Social Network”. Like Twitter or Google Plus for closed communities. I haven’t used Yammer in a while. Still may be a good option for companies or organizations that want an extra layer of privacy.

Timelines and maps

iJourney – Not sure if they are still up and running but still have them listed just in case. Offers and “interactive graphical timeline”. Lets you create diaries or biographies with a page a day. You can curate, aggregate, embed social media like your Twitter stream, keep it private or share it. This is very smooth! Free.

Crowdmap – Map anything! By the folks from Ushahidi.. actually it’s the hosted version of the Ushahidi platform. Its easy to use, free and paid versions available.

Information finding and sharing

Quora – “A continually improving collection of questions and answers created, edited, and organized by everyone who uses it.” I fondly refer to it as  the rabbit hole. Go ahead, sign up, ask and answer a question or two… Go ahead, I dare you.. Stick to just one or two 🙂 Free.

 

Twitter related

Twitter Chat List Schedule – This Google doc holds a growing list of current Twitter chats including times, moderator handles and links. At this writing there are 458 chats listed. Free.

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “TechTools”

  1. Oh so many cool new tools and so little time 🙂 I hear ya.

    I was just looking at Jane Hart’s list and there’s a few on there I haven’t tried yet. http://c4lpt.co.uk/top-100-tools-for-learning-2011/

    Scoop.it’s fun for collecting and sharing, as is Storify and Prezi is just fun to play with.

    ijourney is my fave of the newer ones but they seem to be having some problems with stability right now..

    jamie

  2. That’s a really nice collection of apps you’ve got! I don’t have as much free time as I used to have, so I won’t be able to try out a whole lot of them, but I’ll for sure check out the QR code creator and that twitter newspaper thing. What are some of the others that you think are the best?

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