Wednesday, April 6, 2016

All You Need Is Chrome - Report on Dimitris Tzouris’ Session

Dimitris Tzouris welcomed the attendees of his talk with the relaxing sounds of nature, rivers flowing and birds chirping, using Noisli an app that improves focus and relaxation. The tech savvy started his presentation with a short introduction of himself where he characterized himself as a “geek” and a big fan of technology and gave some information about Chromebooks, which are cheap laptops that use Google’s operating system. His presentation of Apps that can be used by teachers was divided in four categories.

                                                                                                                      Photo by Margarita Kosior

The first category was Studying and Research and a plethora of apps was presented by Dimitris. He started by introducing Google Play Books, an app which can be used to upload ebooks and which can be accessed from the Web, smartphones and tablets. Then he talked about Amazon’s Kindle Cloud which syncs Amazon books and docs and can be used to upload ebooks. It is also accessed by multiple sources like the Web, smartphones and tablets. The third app presented was Google Dictionary a very useful app to look up word definitions and one that works on all websites and also offers the option of listening to the pronunciation of the words. Another app used to look up word definitions and gives examples of word use is Word Reference. Another app presented was Diigo, an app for online bookmarking, which also offers annotation tools and sticky notes. Then we learnt about which is also used to annotate the Web. Evernote Web Clipper is an app that clips web content to Evernote and gives the choice of organizing everything in notebooks. A very interesting app was StayFocusd, an app that helps you stay focused on your work by limiting the time spent on distracting websites. The next app is very useful to teachers because it provides flashcards on lots of topics and it is called StudyStack. Pocket is an app used to save articles to read later and offers a clean reading interface and it is available for phones and tablets. Open Attribute app generates Creative Commons attribution on websites that support such licenses. The last app presented in this category was EasyBib Tools and, which helps the user, generate citations automatically and has a multiple style support.

The second category that Dimitris talked about was Collaboration. Here again several apps were presented. Drive is an app that works both online and offline, it is available on all platforms and it is useful to store and share files with your students. Docs, Sheets and Slides are the equivalents of Word, Excel and PowerPoint and they all offer easy sharing options. Forms is an app which can be used to get quick and easy feedback and live results and it is very useful for seminars or workshops. Hangouts is an easy-to-use app available on all platforms and offering easy sharing and collaboration options. Finally, Dimitris informed us that Skype is available on the Web now and does not need to be downloaded anymore.

                                                                                                                       Photo by Margarita Kosior

The third category had to do with Productivity. The first app introduced is available through Gmail and is called Tasks. It offers multiple to-do lists and a quick access in Gmail. Keep is a useful app if you need to take notes quickly, it offers to-do lists, you can add reminders and it supports images, handwriting and audio. offers advanced to-do lists and is based on Getting Things Done trend. What is special about this app is that it organizes tasks in projects. Pushbullet app shows your Android phone notifications, it shows who is calling or texting you and pushes links to your mobile devices. Mighty Text can be used to send and receive Sms from your computer, but it is an app for Android tablets only. The last app introduced in this category was  Auto Text Expander which uses keyboard shortcuts to retrieve saved pieces of text and is very useful to save time.

The last category of apps introduced by Dimitris had to do with Creativity and once again a lot of interesting apps were introduced. Lomo+ is an app to add instant filters. Pixlr I can be used to edit images online and can be used with Google Drive. A third app was We Video for online video editing. is an app used to add notes next to online videos, to sync notes with specific timecode and can be used with Google Drive. Voice Recorder is a simple voice recorder app. Audiotool is an app with a skeuomorphic design used as an online music production studio. Google Play Music offers to users the option of uploading 50 thousand songs, to stream music online and it is available for phones. Until AM for Chrome is a full fledged DJ setup. Screencastify is an app useful for recording tutorials. Techsmith Snagit is an app for capturing screenshots, add annotations and record screencasts. Kaizene is an app used to add voice comments to docs or to leave audio comments. Movenote is an app useful for online presentations with audio and video and also has the feature of presenting documents next to videos. The last app introduced by Dimitris was Build with Chrome. An app which  uses Lego bricks to build in a virtual world. 

Dimitris stressed that Chrome browser syncs on all devices and that it has a new bookmark manager with many more options available. He also mentioned a new app that prevents online abusive behavior called Reword, a very useful tool against bullying. The link of Dimitris’ presentation is where all the app icons are links and you can try out all the apps above.

Report by Emmanuel Kontovas

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