Category Archives: Apps

Take Your Apps in a Flash!


Ever wish you could take all of your favorite apps with you from one computer to another? Maybe you’re out of town or don’t own a personal computer.  Now you can always have your desktop in reach with free software from

The PortableApps platform has over 300 free apps that you can take with you wherever you go by storing them locally or on a portable device like a flash drive. Once you download the PortableApps interface, You will quickly and easily be able to add apps, pictures portable apps interfaceand documents to the platform. Then, you can take them with you wherever you go! PortableApps has a library of open software including Chrome, Skype, Audacity, Mozilla, KeePass, McAfee, Fotografix and more for you to choose from.

Loading the PortableApps interface on different computer is as simple as downloading the PortableApp platform from the Cloud or external hard drive. You can even update or add apps from any computer with the app store embedded into the platform.  The userface is entirely customizable, from the organizational layout to colors and fonts; you can make the platform work just for you!

For more information check out DotTechs review!



Augmented Reality?

Augmented reality isn’t just what happens when you indulge a little too much. It’s the latest trend in instructional technology! You can now take a static picture and have it turn into video before your eyes without the help of hallucinogens! All you need is a smart phone, tablet or computer and the Aurasma App! Aurasma uses trigger images to automatically link to and play a video or as Aurasma likes to call them auras. They’re kind of like QR Codes, but better!

So, I bet your thinking this sounds cool, but how could I use it in my class? Well, luckily for you, I have come up with some great instructional uses. A few weeks ago I was sitting in on an Trigonometry class. The instructor was reviewing the previous assignment. He worked out all of the problems that students had questions about on the board. The students who asked the question were engaged. The others were just on their phone or daydreaming until it was their turn. At least 40 minutes of class time was gone and not all the students were actively engaged. Seems like a lot of time wasted!

What if the professor recorded himself working out the problems and then posted the trigger images around the room. He could then direct students to locate the problem they needed clarification on and watch the video. All the students would be able to get the review they needed and this would free up the professor to work with individuals or small groups of students that need additional assistance. Seems like a win-win for everyone involved.

I know what your thinking. When will the professor have the time to record all of the videos? And I get it. I understand the grind. You have to think of it this way. Once you record the video, you’ll have it for all future classes. Not only can you use it for Aurasma, you can embed it into Blackboard too!  With a little upfront time, you will be able to use your time more wisely in the future.

Auras could work for any type of class. I can envision it working in the lab setting to review safety procedures or directions. Or in language classes to master the basics. The Ted Talk below gives an excellent example of how it can be used in history and art class. Check it out for yourself!

And remember, if you need assistance with incorporating instructional technology into your class, The Annandale FSRC in CG 206 is here to help!



How Can I Engage My Students?

Student engagement is the key to the student’s success! Gone are the days of having the students sit quietly in class taking notes and memorizing long lectures. Millennials want to explore and apply what they are learning in a risk-free supportive environment that aids growth and deep understanding. Having students demonstrate their understanding is an important part of this process. Millennial’s grew up in technology rich environments. They embrace multimedia and want to share their creativity in a multitude of formats that not only express their knowledge, but their personality as well!

Luckily, there are many instructional technologies out there to help you reach your students and keep them actively engaged. One such tool is called Glogster! Glogster is a web-based presentation tool that allows you to create interactive stand-alone presentations that are great for hybrid and online courses.  You can customize a presentation with text, graphics, video, and audio that can be shared with anyone, anywhere. Check out my Glog and then give it a try for yourself at our next Make & Take on Friday, June 5th.



educreations logo

Ever wished you had a portable whiteboard to capture all of your epic ideas?  Educreations is a whiteboard app for your iPad that allows you to record and share all of your mental masterpieces. You can work out a math problem, diagram an image, make a route on a map! The uses are endless. Check it out at

A Walkie-Talkie on My Phone? – App of the Month

Ok, so before I start discussing the app, I would like to apologize for my lack of posts for the last couple of months. No real excuse other than I’m just not very good at this and need to get better!
Well, in honor of Hector’s birthday today (Happy Birthday Hector!!!) I am making a new post, and a promise to post a little more often from now on (I’ll try).

Also, you may notice, I’ve changed the title from “App of the Week” which was a little ambitious on my part, to “App of the Month” which may be more doable. We’ll see…

SO on that note, let’s begin….

Today I have for you, a fun and possibly useful app called Zello.

Zello-LogoZello is an app that simulates a two-way walkie talkie. Download the app, create an account, and encourage your family and friends to do the same.

Zello keeps a history of your conversations, and you can replay the messages. You can also create groups and set up a “party-line” to include as many people in the conversation as you want. Pretty nifty if you ask me.

Zello is available for Android, iOS, Windows Phone, and Blackberry. Zello can also be accessed from a Windows PC if you go to

Have fun!

See you next time 🙂

Happy Monday

Good morning! I hope you all had a good weekend.
I’m always in search of new ideas, so if any of you have downloaded any great apps or software recently, or come across any amazing websites that you think the rest of the world should know about, then please drop me a line and let me know!

Also, I always welcome comments, questions, corrections, etc about any of my previous posts. Let’s share the knowledge!

App of the Week – LiveSafe

LiveSafe_logoSo, first of all I would like to apologize for not posting anything for a while. I have been a little busy transferring from my old P14 position, to my new position as Annandale’s Webmaster (!!). Now I am situated, and ready to start blogging again.

While I was attending the orientation for this lovely job, I was told about this fantastic new app that has become available to the NOVA community and thought I just have to let you know about it immediately.

LiveSafe_ImageLiveSafe is a great app that gives you access to the right tools and information to keep yourself and your community safe. There are four main sections – Report Tips, Emergency, View Map, and SafeWalk.

Report Tips –  Send GPS tagged audio, video, picture, and text to the nearest authorities to report accidents, assaults, theft, disturbances, vandalism and suspicious activity.

Emergency – Call 911. Also call or text Campus Police.

View Map – View the latest alerts and crime reports in your area. Find the nearest medical facility, or gas station.

SafeWalk – Share your location with friends and chat on the go. Access a panic button if necessary. Walk by yourself with confidence.

LiveSafe is a free download onto your IOS or Android device. For more information go to:


LiveSafe_Image3          LiveSafe_Image2           LiveSafe_Image4

App of the Week – CardStar

CardstarLogoAs the avid shopper that I am, over the years, I have built up quite the collection of store cards, otherwise known as “points cards” “club cards” bonus cards” or “rewards cards”. I have been seen many a day holding up the checkout line while rummaging around in my purse for the right card, and you know I’m not the only one…. Some people collect the ‘credit’ sized cards, some people collect the mini cards and keep them on their key-chain. Either way, there are far too many of them, and as useful as they are, it’s just a pain trying to find the one you need right when you need it.

CardstarImage2CardStar is a great app to help you get rid of all of those annoying cards, but still get your points and discounts. Once you download the app onto your phone or tablet, you can start adding cards. CardStar allows you to enter the card number manually, or “scan” the bar code by taking a picture of it. Your cards are entered into CardStar in alphabetical order by the name of the store so they are easy to find when needed.

CardstarImage1When you enter the checkout line and are ready to access your store card, simply open CardStar, scroll down until you find the name of the store. Select the store name and allow the cashier to scan the bar code.

You also may notice that a little gift tag icon appears next to some of the store names. This means there is a store offer or coupon available. Click on the gift tag and follow the directions to access the offer.

Please note that CardStar doesn’t work for payment cards or credit cards, or for any card that uses a magnetic strip rather than a bar code.


App of the Week – Evernote

So is it just me, or is it normal to be obsessed about note writing and list making? My house is covered in post-it notes with reminders of everything from the new neighbors phone number to where I put my head… I also love to write lists  – and when items start getting crossed off the list, I’ll rewrite it to make it neat again.

Evernote logoExample of EvernoteIf you are anything like me, then you will LOVE Evernote. This is a note-taking, list-making app that can be shared across all of your devicescomputer, tablet, and phone. So no matter where you are, you always have access to that list of items you need from the store, or the notes you took at the last meeting with your boss.

The Evernote app is downloadable on you phone and tablet, and you can also access Evernote online from your computer – or from any computer.

Penultimate LogoAnd if you thought that was amazing – wait, there’s more! You can also use handwriting in Evernote!
IOS users can download another app called Penultimate. Evernote recognizes and imports any notes taken on Penultimate.
If you are an Android user you don’t have to do anything.  Handwriting has now been added to the latest update of Evernote. Take a look at the following video for more information.


App of the Week – Word Lens


I would like to introduce you to one of the most amazing apps I’ve seen in a long time. Word Lens is a language translator – but not just any language translator. With the help of the built in camera on your iPhone or Android smart phone, Word Lens actually translates foreign language in real time!

Photo credit: Apple
Photo credit: Apple

It’s super simple – Just point your phone at a sign or a menu, choose the language you want to translate it into, and watch the words transform before your very eyes! The app seems to have trouble with handwriting or stylized fonts, but most clearly printed text is translatable.  The great part is you don’t need a WiFi connection for it to work, so – as long as your phone has battery power – this app will work anywhere.

This app can be useful in so many different situations, travelling being the obvious one, but how about when you’re trying to assemble that swing set you bought online and the directions are all in Russian? Hurrah for Word Lens! And, yes, Russian is available. Translations are also currently available in Spanish, French, Italian, German, and Portuguese.

Originally developed and owned by Quest Visual, Word Lens was recently purchased by Google and has been made available as a free app to Apple and Android customers for an undisclosed length of time. So, pull out your smart phone, or iPad and download Word Lens now while it’s still free!