Tag Archives: internet

Crucial Internet Tools

The World Wide Web is simultaneously a means of entertainment, education, productivity, and innovation. In the business world, whether you are working from home, in a small office, or are part of a global corporation, the Internet provides you with the resources you require to complete any creative or professional project. The tools available online can also help with marketing, scheduling, file conversion, document storage, and note taking. There are even websites that can lock you out of Facebook for a few hours or remind you to pick up the dry cleaning.

Many of these free and readily available web applications are well known, but there are others that are found in the cracks and corners of cyberspace− and since I know few people have the time to dedicate to hunting them down, I wanted to share several websites that I find practical and useful, not only in the business world, but also for the stay-at-home moms, the pseudo photographers, and those just getting started online.

For the designers, web developers, and photographers:

Creatine Marketing Reviews | Crucial Internet ToolsDid you know that Google Chrome offers a free, full-featured photo editor that is available in your browser? It’s called Pixlr Editor. You don’t have to download or purchase any software; there is no waiting, no product key− it’s 100% free. If you are familiar with Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro, you will be right at home with this software; it offers many of the same features but without the headache. Some of the tools included are: red eye reduction, spot heal tool, drawing tools, clone tools, sharpen and blur tools, and many more. You can turn your modern digital image into a vintage looking photo with the many filters that are available, and the program even offers Adjustments that are fairly advanced, such as Levels, Curves, Cross process, Desaturate, Auto levels, Hue/Saturation, and Brightness/Contrast. You can upload images right from your Desktop and once you are done working with the file, you can save it, email it, or print it out.Creatine Marketing Reviews | Crucial Internet Tools

Another alternative site that provides a similar service is BeFunky.com, a Turkish startup website that is known for special effects. The site also has a popular mobile app option that contains more filters and editing options than Instagram and any other photo editing mobile app put together. The image-editing process is easy and accessible, and gives you the opportunity to create beautiful, professional-looking photographs from your computer, tablet, or phone. What makes this site different is that the editing process is merged with an intriguing social aspect. You can work with your photographs to bring out their best qualities and then you can share them with others placing them into categories like nature, tattoos, music, pets, and more.

Have you heard of Sketch Toy? This website provides another tool for people to practice their creativity by offering drawing tools. Sketch Toy is a free use site that offers a simple drawing interface but with a unique twist− the lines you draw appear as shaky animations as if watching a still image or cartoon on an old television. The canvas you are given has a texture that highlights this animated effect. You can choose from a solid drawing or a dashed one, there are various colors and effects, but there are no regular shapes because all the drawing is done freestyle by using your mouse.

For the savvy, productive, office-bound busy bee:

Creatine Marketing Reviews | Crucial Internet Tools

Your coworker emails you a document that cannot be opened on your computer because the file format isn’t recognized – what do you do? A few years ago, you might have panicked or responded with an email asking him or her to save it again, some other way, and resend it. This is no longer an issue today thanks to online file conversion websites. I like to use Online Convert. Here you can convert m4a files to mp3s, or videos to mp4− and the converter lets you specify dimensions, video quality, audio quality, frame rate, and video duration of the resulting video. If the file you want to convert is online, you can provide its URL instead or uploading it from your computer. You can convert image files, documents, videos, audio files, and there is even a hash generator. Zamzar also offers a similar service.

Creatine Marketing Reviews | Crucial Internet ToolsMany of us have heard of Evernote, I could write an entire article just about the productivity and efficiency of this one application, but I will offer a short summary. To say that Evernote is simply a note taking software is a severe understatement. With this application you can capture images, create voice recordings, edit screen shots, and create lists. You can then add your notes directly to the images you create or the voice recordings you’ve saved. For example, when we have a business meeting, I can record the entirety of the meeting while taking notes and then go back and edit what I had missed. Evernote works on a cloud system so it is available on any device, at any time. If you make a shopping list on your iPad, the list shows up on your mobile device so you can access it while you’re at the market. There are even little check boxes so you can mark off the items as you locate them. You can store recipes, project ideas, and reminders all in specific folders, then easily access them by searching for keywords in the top corner of the app’s home screen. If you aren’t already using this application, you need to be, and you can download it for free on any device.

Creatine Marketing Reviews | Crucial Internet ToolsWhen I first found wakerupper.com I was slightly amused. I thought the site was kind of a joke, not because it wasn’t useful and well designed, but because I thought that perhaps setting alarms and reminders on my phone was all I needed− that maybe this site was designed to be fun and silly. I was half right. This site offers an amazing resource; scheduling reminders I can do from my phone, but setting a wake up call? Now that is incredible. You can have your phone ring to wake you up and even record or notate a message to your ‘not a morning person’ self. Some of the alternative uses that people have been raving about are that you can schedule calls to remind your husband or children to clean the house− you can schedule calls that can save you from a horrible date or a boring business meeting, and you can even set calls to urge your elderly parent to take his or her medication when you are on working or on vacation.

For the academics and overachievers:

Creatine Marketing Reviews | Crucial Internet ToolsHas anyone in your circle of friends or coworkers mentioned something called a TED talk? Maybe you’ve heard of or even seen one of these presentations, but on their website you can watch hundreds of them for free. TED talks are inspiring conversations written and presented by remarkable and highly successful people. You can find one on almost any topic. There are conversations about biomechanics and engineering, and others explaining why we see colors when we smell certain things. There are talks on social media, the obesity epidemic in America, sustainable architecture, and our education system.

The Khan Academy is another incredible tool; the website offers a library of over 2,100 quality educational videos on various subjects including math, physics, biology, test prep, literature, history, and more. Read more about the Khan Academy, and how people are using it here.

Creatine Marketing Reviews | Crucial Internet Tools

Another service that is well known, but worth mentioning, is Dropbox. Dropbox and Google Drive actually function in a similar fashion, so this paragraph can be applied to both resources. Dropbox lets you sync selected files or folders between computers and mobile devices. Any file you save to Dropbox is instantly transferred into a cloud storage system that is then accessible from any other device anywhere else on planet Earth. The main difference when using Google Drive is that once you share a document in the drive, the parties that have access to the file are able to download it or edit it right in the browser providing a dynamic and collaborative workspace. With Dropbox, once the receiving party has access to your document, they would have to download it, edit it, save it, and re-upload it to Dropbox. While both are easy, the Google Drive option is more immediate.

I found most of these web tools using Stumbleupon.com, the final site that I want to talkCreatine Marketing Reviews | Crucial Internet Tools about. This web service is not only a means of inspiration, but also a source of knowledge, a research aid, an entertainment center− and sometimes a time suck. But if used properly, you can sometimes avoid being lost in its trance forever. When you create an account, you are urged to select your interests from a list of various choices like travel, music, literature, online games, Internet tools, fitness, philosophy, art, humor, and more. You then hit the orange button that says, “Stumble” and the random generator brings you to one of billions of webpages. With every click of the stumble button you arrive at a new website that suits your interests− and you can choose to remain in one category or stumble all of your interests at once. Sometimes you will land on a picture of some tropical paradise, other times you will land on a gardening blog, a space exploration tool, an article about collecting jazz records, or a digital relaxation experience− a website that uses satellite imaging and ambient noise recodrings to make you feel like you are on a private Caribbean beach.There are unlimited possibilities when you stumble, and each time you are guaranteed to find something new and interesting. Stumble Upon is like a flashlight illuminating the dark shadows and unexplored spaces of the web.

Every day new websites are erected out of a human necessity for efficiency and time management. Like stars and planets, there are hundreds in the works this instant and millions that we have yet to discover− the web was nicknamed cyberspace for a reason. For more interesting and useful web applications, you can select the sub-category “Internet” or “Internet Tools” on Stumbleupon.com and continue the hunt. There are useful tools everywhere if you take the time to discover and play− and if you don’t have that kind of time, then I hope this article was helpful in highlighting some of the amazing resources that are just one click away.

By Sasha Novikov | Creatine Marketing

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Engage Your Classroom | Social Media and Education

Social Media and EducationSocial networking tools aren’t just for advertising, flirting, and making us jealous of the dessert you’re eating. The evolving world of Internet communication—blogs, podcasts, tags, file sharing—offers students radically new ways to research, create, and learn. Computers and tablets should not be used solely as glorified workbooks, teachers should be embracing networking because certain platforms have the ability to transform and improve education.

It seems obvious, right? Social media allows people to come together around an idea or topic of interest, to discuss that topic, to lead and follow debates, to add new information, to share existing information, and the data can be shared all over the world—why isn’t every single classroom utilizing these resources? Bloggers write detailed pieces about Shakespeare, Greek history, advancements in microbiology, and grammar. An instructor could use this information in his or her classroom and encourage students to leave comments, ask questions, or even write their own articles. We live in a social world, and it is crucial that we teach students how to be effective collaborators in that world, how to interact with other people, how to be engaged in current events, and how to be well-informed citizens. And, here’s the kicker; it’s free. Even in low-income communities, one computer and a projector in each classroom can offer unlimited educational potential.

Teachers all over the United States have already attempted to incorporate social media into their teaching strategies. Here are a few examples of how three movements, using social networking, are making significant impacts in the lives of students and working to change the face of education by bringing it into the twenty first century.

The Buffelgrass Shall Perish Facebook “Fan Page”Social Media and Education

In Tucson, Arizona a science teacher at a local middle school called upon his eighth grade class to pick a problem in their local community, and solve it. The students converged and came to a consensus. Buffelgrass is a weed that grows rapidly, is flame resistant, and is being imported by some states as a cheap alternative to control erosion and as cattle feed. This grass is a menace; it has the shelf like of a Twinkie, and where it’s left to spread, it destroys the natural ecosystem by hording all the water and depleting the soil of nutrients.

The students were sure they needed to educate the community about the dangers of this plant, and began by creating a Facebook page devoted to uncovering the horrors of its behavior. They also created a YouTube video to promote their cause, and used the Facebook page to update the world on their progress.

Using the networking tools of their generation, they became advocates for their town and spread their message to politicians, farmers, other schools, and parents.

Digital Youth Network: Remix World

Screen shot of Digital Youth Network Webpage

In Chicago, the Digital Youth Network runs a private website called Remix World, which emulates popular online social networks like Facebook and MySpace. Students create profiles and include images, profile information, and links to their friends’ pages. They use this platform to post digital artwork, videos, and other creative work to their pages, and then they interact with other users. They can comment on the work of their friends and participate in discussions with other users through the Remix World forums.

By providing these students with a safe space to share their work and ideas, Remix World allows them to solicit feedback and offer constrictive criticism—some have even found the process so enriching that they have continued to post their work on public sites, like YouTube. Children ranging from middle school age to seventeen years old are posting graphic art, original videos, and computer games.

When students are motivated to create work that they can share online, it ignites an independent learning cycle driven by their ideas and energized by responses from peers. Through trial and error, they are able to add new media skills to their repertoire. These innovative skills are critical when looking for work after high school or college, and the activity helps to stimulate the mind.

The Khan Academy

The Khan Academy is a “not-for-profit organization with the goal of changing education for the better by providing a free world-class education for anyone, anywhere.” The academy offers an extensive YouTube video library that includes thorough lessons in all levels of mathematics, science and economics, computer science, history, civics, art history, SAT prep, and more. The website also includes interactive challenges and assessments that are available to students, teachers, home-schoolers, adults returning to the classroom, and pretty much anyone with access to the Internet who is looking for a quick brush up on biology.

Khan Academy- Math Problem Screen ShotThe system is customizable to suit each individual student’s needs, and the lessons are self-paced—so unlike a live classroom, where if you day dream and miss the crucial part of a lecture, you panic—when using the Kahn videos, you can rewind the material multiple times until it makes perfect sense. Some teachers will assign Kahn lectures to their students, and use class time to go into detail on that lesson. They let students work problems out, or ask questions in order to clarify ideas—so rather than teaching a topic at one pace, and hoping every student keeps up, the teacher lets the student learn at his or her pace and then uses class time to let students put the lessons into action.

The Academy’s content is used in classrooms and by individuals in over 20 languages around the world. More than 920,000,000 interactive math problems have been solved, and the videos have been viewed over 225,000,000 times. This virtual classroom offers a high quality education to students all over the globe. Even Bill Gates uses this software when teaching his children.

This project, and others like it, is possible because of the ubiquitous power of social media. YouTube enables the founders of the Kahn Project to share university quality knowledge, for free, with eager minds all around the world. Instructors are able to share groundbreaking research with their students, and students are able to share their work with others using Facebook, Twitter, Delicious, Reddit, YouTube, and Pinterest, just to name a few. In this way, social media has been repurposed—it has evolved from being solely a means of chatting and following, into a remarkable tool that fosters immeasurable advances education.

By Sasha Novikov, Creatine Marketing

Tagged , , , ,