App Essentials: Blogsy

As a mobile professional, and one who logged 50,000 miles of travel in the last year alone, I have a remarkable need to be able to work on the go. In all of my work, the only thing that is remarkably difficult from a mobile device was updating web content. The Wordpress App has such a terrible interface, that I found it hard to work for hours at a time on each post. What is strange about this situation is that I love using Diet Coda on the iPad – it is intuitive and a great HTML/Code editor.

Where Wordpress stumbles, Blogsy takes off at a sprint.

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App Essentials: Evernote

It has taken a long time, but I have been converted to using Evernote for all of my online note-taking. I was first introduced to the program in 2012 at the ISTE Conference. I hated it. At that point in my life, I was an avid doodler, spending the majority of my page area on drawings. When I downloaded and started using the Evernote platform on my PC, it was lacking in the ability to integrate services and features that I wanted. Since my account was created in 2012, there have been some significant changes to the platform and my use of it. The biggest change in my use of note-taking services is my reliance on my iPad.

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Game of the Week: Democracy 3

Democracy 3 is a game that snuck up on me! I was happy and minding my own business when an article came across my desk about a new App with an in “Depth Government Simulation.” I scoffed a bit because who would be able to explain the nuances of government in a single Application. I downloaded the game, and there it sat while I was waiting to review a couple of other simulations. During this past summer, I was cleaning off my iPad and stumbled across the app again, in my queue to delete. It did not seem fair that I delete the App without even launching it, so I took a few minutes to fire the game up. An hour later, I but the game down unable to think straight.

At its core, Democracy 3 is a government simulation game. You take on the role of the newly elected ruler of a country of your choice. Each turn in the game is the span of three months of your reign. During that time, you earn and spend political capital, try to balance the budget, and make changes to further your society. Where the app excels is in its description of the interconnectedness of policies. I was immediately tasked with wanting to reduce the crime rate in my country. I banned drugs, criminalized prostitution, and provided additional support to the legal system – which all made logical sense. After six months, my GDP was down, my parents were upset, and crime had drastically increased.

In an education context, I see this game as a very powerful way to model government. Students have the ability to manage policies and then see the downstream effects of those policies. In the skilled hands of a seasoned educator, this will be a wonderful way to engage students in Government.

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App Essentials: Buffer

If you are like me, you find social media to be a bit tiresome. It used to feel like I spent all of my time cross posting the same information to all of my social networks. “This blog is updated”, “Check out this thing”, and “Here is this new feature”, took hours to post across my personal and business accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn. In previous years, I used Tweetdeck as my social media aggregator, but it has been somewhat lacking as of late. As an Integration Technologist, I love finding apps and services that integrate with what I already use. With the BufferApp, I found three great things: A native iOS App, a WebApp, and a Chrome Browser extension.

With BufferApp, I can cross post to all of my social networks in a single click. One of the first things that I did when I started using Buffer was install the Chrome Extension. As I am surfing the web and find the next best education article, I simply hit the Buffer Stack Icon in my extension tray, and I can compose and cross post a direct link to that site. Since some of my employers do not like me using Social Media during the work day, I can also set the Buffer to post at specific times of the day, rather than as I add them.

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App Essentials: Dolphin Web Browser

Before I get started, I must admit: I am a chrome user when I plugin to my desktop. There are such a huge number of web-browsers out there, and I simply have removed myself from the browser update and review pipeline. Back when the iPhone first came out, I was pretty content with the just using Safari. As a Mac User at the time, it was easy for me to transition to the Safari browser on the iPhone. A few years went by, I tried Opera (and un-installed it), and then Chrome came to the iPhone and I almost cried.

Now I have reached a point where the iOS Chrome browser is being eclipsed by other third party software. I will always use Chrome on my Mac and PC computers, but when I am on the go with my iPad and iPhone, I find that both Safari and Chrome are lacking in functionality. As an avid Evernote User, and someone who is always looking for apps with Educational Connotations, I decided to try Dolphin, the Evernote integrated web-browser. It only took a few minutes for me to latch on to the Functionality that Dolphin has to offer.

When you factor in Desktop Chrome Extensions to sync Bookmarks, and send websites to your phone, you come away with a great productivity app. You can see those amazing features in the video review below.

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