Inbox Is A New App Released Today by Google

October 22, 2014
 In a surprising move today, Google announced the creation of a new app called Inbox. This is a new email app that is designed by the same engineers who created Gmail. Inbox is separate from Gmail and  is, in Google's words, a completely different type of inbox, designed to focus on what really matters.



Some of the features Inbox provides for its users include:

1- Bundles
This function is an extension of the "categories" feature of Gmail. It helps you organize your emails by bundling them into separate categories.You can even teach Inbox to adapt to the way you work by choosing which emails you’d like to see grouped together.

2- Highlights
"Inbox highlights the key information from important messages, such as flight itineraries, event information, and photos and documents emailed to you by friends and family. Inbox will even display useful information from the web that wasn’t in the original email, such as the real-time status of your flights and package deliveries. Highlights and Bundles work together to give you just the information you need at a glance."

3- Reminders, Assists, and Snooze
Inbox makes it easy to focus on your priorities by letting you add your own Reminders. It also helps you create and manage your to-do lists.Inbox helps you cross those off your list by providing Assists—handy pieces of information you may need to get the job done.For example, if you write a Reminder to call the hardware store, Inbox will supply the store’s phone number and tell you if it's open. Assists work for your email, too. If you make a restaurant reservation online, Inbox adds a map to your confirmation email. Book a flight online, and Inbox gives a link to check-in. Also,  Inbox lets you Snooze away emails and Reminders. You can set them to come back at another time or when you get to a specific location, like your home or your office.

Inbox is still in invitation-only phase, you can request an innovation by sending an email to inbox@google.com . Also, Inbox works only on Chrome (for web), Android version 4.1, and  iOS 7 or later.

Watch the video below to learn more about Inbox


SMAR Model Explained by Students

October 22, 2014
Here is an awesome video explanation of SAMR model I stumbled upon today on my Twitter feeds. SAMR model this time is explained by students and provides some very good examples of how technology is being used in each of the four SAMR levels: Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition. The idea to get students working on a video project such as the one below is really inspiring. The web provides a multitude of all kinds of tools that students can use to unleash their creativity and enhance their learning. What is needed is motivation and support from teachers. And as is stated in this video , it is not the tech itself that matters, it is rather what you create with this tech that matters the most.

The SAMR model explained by Students



A Handy Chart on Traditional Vs Authentic Assessment

October 22, 2014
Today I spent sometime reading this white paper from Educause Learning Initiative entitled "Making the Grade:The Role of Assessment in Authentic Learning". While the paper discusses at length the the concept of assessment and its relation to students learning, I particularly found the chart in page 6, see below, of particular interest. It captures the essential differences between two models of assessment : Traditional Assessment model (TA) and Authentic Assessment model.

I am pretty sure  that, knowingly or not, we have all tried these models intermittently  in our own teaching practice. However,  talking about them explicitly and highlighting the key points of each of them will definitely help you better understand how to incorporate them constructively in your instruction. To this end I am inviting you to have a look at the chart. I would also recommend that you read the whole White paper PDF (16 pages long) as it is really so insightful and also provides a  goldmine of resources and links for further research into authentic assessment.

Source: http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/eli3019.pdf

NASA for Educationp Is A Good Resource of Educational Materials for Teachers and Students

October 22, 2014
NASA Education is a website owned and operated by the popular NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration). It provides teachers, educators and students with a wealth of meterials and resources geared towards the enhancement of the learning and teaching of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). NASA Education also offers professional development and research opportunities for preservice, inservice, and informal educators as well as university professors, you can read more on this from this PDF document.


The resources NASA for Education provides are divided into two main tabs: For Educators and For Students. The earlier is a section in which  teachers of all grades and ages will find   education pages for NASA missions, print materials, list of NASA websites organized in alphabetical order and several other materials for teaching STEM. The For Students section features a wide variety of materials and programs to enhance  students STEM learning.You may want to spend sometime browsing through the content of NASA for Education and see what you can find for your students.

Top 5 Citation Manager Tools for Academics and Student Researchers

October 22 , 2014
The first thing you want to start thinking of when you start your graduate studies is to find a suitable citation manager to help you organize and store your references. This is something that will save you a lot of time and effort down the road. In this post, I want to share with my fellow student researchers some of the top citation managers out there. Most of universities worldwide support one of them. Check out your university library and see which of the citation managers below it supports. That will make it easy for you to organize and store the references you come across in your university library.

1- Mendeley


Mendeley is a free reference manager and academic social network that can help you organize your research, collaborate with others online, and discover the latest research. Here is what you can do with Mendeley:
  • Automatically generate bibliographies
  • Collaborate easily with other researchers online
  • Easily import papers from other research software
  • Find relevant papers based on what you’re reading
  • Access your papers from anywhere online
  • Read papers on the go, with our new iPhone app

2- Zotero

Zotero is the only research tool that automatically senses content, allowing you to add it to your personal library with a single click. Whether you're searching for a preprint on arXiv.org, a journal article from JSTOR, a news story from the New York Times, or a book from your university library catalog, Zotero has you covered with support for thousands of sites.

3- Endnote

EndNote gives you the tools you need for searching, organizing and sharing your research. It allows you to easily create bibliographies while writing your next paper with features like Cite While You Write . Maximize your time with features like finding full text for your references and automatically updating records. Whether you’re on your desktop, online, or iPad, EndNote’s syncing capabilities let you access all of your references, attachments, and groups from anywhere.

4- RefWorks




This is an online research management, writing and collaboration tool. It is designed to help researchers easily gather, manage, store and share all types of information, as well as generate citations and bibliographies.

5- EasyBib

Create accurate MLA, APA, and Chicago style citations in seconds by scanning a book bar code or by typing the name of a book. Build and manage your works cited. Once done, email your citations and then export your citations to EasyBib.com's popular bibliography management service.


Google Released Two New Updates to iPad Google Drive Apps

October 22, 2014
It seems like Google is still in its "update frenzy". During the last couple of months, almost not a week goes by without hearing about a new update to one of Google's services. The last we have covered here was an update released a couple of days ago concerning the new Google Drive interface.



Today, Google announced through its Google Drive page on Google Plus some new features to its iOS apps : Docs, Sheets, and Slides. Now, when you open these apps on your iPad you will be able to access all the files and docs shared with you through a tab labelled "Incoming". The second update to these apps is about enabling users to easily and seamlessly edit docs on iPad and also allowing them to apply headings and use shortcuts when typing with bluetooth keyboards.

Easily Turn Pictures Into 3D Models with This Free iPad App

October 21, 2014
Somebody asked me about a good iPad app to turn pictures into 3D.123D Catch is the one I would recommend. This is a free app that allows you to easily capture pictures and turn them into interactive 3D models that can be shared with others. Some of the features provided by 123D Catch include:


  • Turn your photos into realistic 3D models by taking a series of photographs from different angles.
  •  Be guided through the process of capturing all angles of your subject with the Integrated Photo Compass.
  •  Capture 3D portraits of your friends, museum displays, architecture, plants, cats or anything else you can photograph.
  • Share your captures with friends through Twitter, Facebook, Email and SMS.
  •  Showcase your work and follow other amazing 3D photographers from around the world through the in-app gallery.
  •  Store your captured objects in the cloud to access them from all your devices.
  •  Use the 123D Catch web app for healing and 3D printing your captures in a web browser! (123d.autodesk.com/catch)
  •  Export 3D models in a variety of formats from the 123D online community for use in other 3D tools and projects.
  •  Works on your iPad/iPhone & iPod Touch.
123D Catch is also available for Android users from this link.

Watch this video to see how 123D Catch works.