April 7, 2015
Here are a few of my favorite things (apps)
As I sit here in a coffee shop in a small town in Poland, I ponder what to write for my (somewhat) weekly blog post. Well, firstly I asked myself, why do I blog? And to answer my own question, I would say, blogging is a great way to organize and sythesize information. Countless studies show that teaching information to others actually makes the person teaching understand that material much better. So there is that first, if not altogether altruistic, reason. Secondly, becoming a part of the global learning network and sharing your expertise, experiences, and notes of wisdom helps create a snapshot of your learning and life for your own posterity and as an artifact to share with others. I have read countless blog posts when trying to find specific information, so this is a way to “pay it forward” in terms of information exchange. And amazingly enough I was just talking to a new aquiantence who had watched one of my youtube photoshop tutorials, so it is a small world after all!
Lastly, I believe that in this day and age of the post-industrial information overload, we should all be engaged in the digital world in whatever context makes the most sense for our own “individualness” (and yes, I like to synthesize new words, English is an amazingly agile language, deal with it). Finding focus in the big, bad world of the internet can be paralleled to branding yourself. And by this I mean, who is your digital self? We create our a version of what we want to be online everyday with each thing we post, share, tweet, blog, instagram, etc. Carefully curating and focusing this online version of ourselves is important to create an appropriate and appealing digital self. It can help open new opportunities, increase your marketability, facilitiate a change of job or career, or you can be narcisistic and just look at your digital self and marvel at your own amazingness!
My example for you is that I have my personal digital self and my professional digital self. My personal digital self is centered around Facebook and Instagram where I share my travels, activity enthusiasms, etc. My professional digital self is based around educational technology, teaching, digital arts, and education. This version of myself has a youtube channel with tutorials, blog posts on tumblr & my website that then get shared on twitter, google plus, and sometimes linkedin, as well as a behance site, pinterest for use in the classroom and to curate material, twitter, and my own website, to name a few.
Wow, you might say, that is a crapton of sites, BUT… I have carefully curated my online professional presence and much like the process of dieting, once you get your “weight” in check, maintaining it is much easier and is a matter of a few checks, clicks, and everything is all set.
Well, if you read all my blatherings, kudos to you, here is your treat, a few of my favorite apps! I have people ask me all the time to share this with them and sometimes to organize their digital life (more on that in future blog posts), but here are a few that I love using on my iPhone/iPad…
CalenMob – For my google work calendar, I like how it maintains my color-coding
Gmail – I prefer the functionality of Google’s Gmail app to the native Mail app on the iPhone
Wunderlist – I love to do lists! And this one is awesome, cloud based with an app, browser version, and suppported as a desktop app on both mac and pc operating systems.
30/30 – Task stacking app, it allows you to create stacks of tasks that you can give specific times to, I use it to motivate me to do do a series of mundane tasks to build good habits
Translate – The Google translate app is particularly awesome to those of us who live abroad, you can use it and the camera to translate written things, I use it often times in the supermarket in Bulgaria
Lynda.com – I love this site, it isn’t free, but they have an awesome ever-increasing library of courses on so much, everything from photoshop to productivity! Love them, use them all the time, and this is a great way to access the courses because you can download them to your device, I used to watch some of the videos when using the subway when I live in NYC
Duolingo – A language learning app that I use sometimes to brush up on my Spanish
CameraTimer – Sometimes you just need more than 10 seconds to set up for a selfie!
Here are the three most used photo editing apps that I use, in order of workflow – Snapseed, PS Express, VSCOcam
Mint – for keeping track of my expenses (though this can be a bit depressing)
Days+ – A pretty way to countdown or up to an event or goal
And, last but not least! Evernote’s app, I adore Evernote, a cloud-based note taking, article storing, digital workspace. I love Evernote because it is cloud-based, has an app, accessible via a browser and has a desktop application for both Mac and PC operating sytems.