Clip web pages to Evernote with Dolphin Browser for iPad

We’ve made no secret of our love for Evernote here at Bright Ideas, as it’s one of the best ways to keep notes and bookmarks together. One great feature of Evernote is the Web Clipper which works in most major web browsers and makes it easy to save articles for later reading. But on the iPad it’s a bit of a different story, as the iPad’s built in Safari browser doesn’t integrate very well with the Evernote web clipper.

We’ve written about a rather complicated solution to this problem in the past, but this tends to be a bit unreliable. A much more sturdy solution has now come along in the form of the free Dolphin Browser for iPad. Dolphin integrates with Evernote to make saving web pages to your account easy.

To set up Evernote integration, first install and open the Dolphin Browser for iPad app. When you find a page you’d like to save follow these steps:

  1. Select the sharing button (a small rectangle with an arrow)
  2. Select the Evernote elephant logo.
  3. Choose Login (you should only have to do this once).
Once you’d entered your Evernote login details you will see the Save Article option (circled below). The small drop down menu next to this button lets you choose to save the entire web page instead. You can also add tags, choose the notebook to store the note in and add comments. When you are happy select the Save button. The page or article should now be saved in your Evernote account for posterity.

Dolphin browser also has some interesting features apart from Evernote integration, including the option to draw commands on your screen (for example you could draw a G to take you to Google). It’s well worth a look as a good alternative to Safari.

The one draw back is that unfortunately Apple still don’t let users choose their default web browser (unless you want to jailbreak your device) so you’ll have to remember to open Dolphin for your browsing sessions instead of Safari. Hopefully with the upcoming IOS operating system upgrade this option will finally be available to users of Apple devices. But if you are a regular user of Evernote and you own an iPad then it is definitely worth remembering to use Dolphin browser to make saving those articles easier.



Evernote on the move

With the weather improving now is the time of the year when many students are heading out on city experiences, excursions and orientation programs. As students explore, answer questions, conduct interviews or take photographs they will need to find a way to keep all of their work organised and the perfect tool for keeping all of this work together is Evernote.

We’ve written many times about the virtues of Evernote as a note taking, research and organisational tool. But Evernote also has a number of features that makes it ideal for use before, during and after excursions. Here’s how it could be used:

  • Students could conduct all of their planning before the trip and organise an itinerary or task list. Checklists can be created in Evernote, so students heading out on a self paced city experience or conducting fieldwork could have their day planned out in a checklist. They could also share their notes with the surpervising teachers so each teacher has the itinerary of each group
  • Notes can include text, hyperlinks, audio recordings and photographs so students can record their reflections or observations in a number of different ways. This means that students are considering the best way to capture their work during the day, and also presents them with more options when they return to school than a standard text report.

Notes can contain text, images and audio recordings


  • All notes can be automatically tagged with a geographic location, making it much easier for students to find the work they are looking for based on the location of a note. Students completing fieldwork or city experiences will have a comprehensive record of the day with notes sorted via location. You can also add location details onto notes manually. Use this handy tool to find the latitude and longitude of any location on Google maps.

Evernote’s Places view shows all geo tagged notes on a map

  • Because notes can be added into a shared online notebook teachers could be receiving automatic updates of the work of students. This would be particularly useful for those programs where students are out on their own for a number of hours. Seeing that real time update of student work while you are sitting in a coffee shop gives that added peace of mind that your students are active and, more importantly, safe. This is another benefit of the geo-tagging feature of Evernote notes.
  • Evernote integrates well with the annotation tool Skitch. This means that students could use Skitch to annotate photographs of places they visited, or annotate maps.
  • One of the great hassles of having students collate all of this information on excursions is getting all of the content off the device and on to a computer. But because Evernote synchronises online it means that everything will be waiting for your students back at school to get started. If your students are able to access free wifi in the location they are working then they can even synchronise their notes during the day. If they lose their device, at least the work has been backed up in the cloud.
  • After the excursion your students can use Evernote to complete their work about the day. Evernote also lets you share notes to the web, so it works well as an easy to use publishing tool for sharing reports or digital stories.

It is important to note that if you are a non premium user of Evernote (not a paid user) that notes can’t be viewed on a mobile device without an internet connection. Consider this if you want students to be able to access their notes created before the event.  However, notes can be created in the mobile app even if you are offline, then synchronised back when a connection is available. Increasingly you will find that many places your students visit will have free wifi available.

Let us know if you’ve used Evernote with students on excursion, or how you’re planning to use it when your students next head out of school.


Appy holidays

Apps to get you started

With Christmas and the holidays fast approaching, there’s a chance that many of you may be unwrapping a shiny new phone or tablet this weekend. So after the obligatory first step (downloading Angry Birds) what apps should you download next?

Here’s our list of some of the great apps to download so you can make the most of your new toy. The list includes apps for Apple (IOS), Android, Windows mobile and Blackberry devices. Let us know your about your own favourites on Twitter or in the comments section.

Feedly (IOS, Android):  Feedly integrates with your Google Reader account and presents your feeds in a clean, attractive interface. You don’t need to create an account as you can just login with your Google account, and any changes you make to your feeds and folders in Feedly are also updated in Google Reader.

Tune In Radio (IOS, Blackberry, Android, Windows mobile):  Tune In Radio allows you to listen to thousands of internet radio feeds from across the world. There is a free version but the paid version adds the ability to record and save content for later.

Hootsuite (IOS, Blackberry, Android): The official Twitter app has come in for quite a bit of criticism, so we recommend Hootsuite as a great Twitter alternative for mobile devices. It’s reliable, allows you to  access multiple accounts and also allows you to add columns which monitor hashtags. Tweetdeck is another good option and offers similar features.

Flipboard (IOS): Considered by many to be the IPad’s flagship app, Flipboard takes your RSS feeds, social network accounts and curated content to create a beautifully presented, personalised magazine. Flip through your articles, tap on content to browse and pinch to close. It’s a great example of why tablets are so good for consuming content. Zite is another good option for IOS, while Google is also testing out the newsreader market with its upcoming Google Currents app.

Evernote (IOS, Blackberry, Android, Windows mobile):  If you haven’t signed up for Evernote yet, then prepare to be more organised than ever before. Evernote allows you to store notes on multiple devices, including your computer, and keep them all synced and updated. The mobile app lets you record voice memos and take pictures. All notes can be tagged and text is fully searchable, making this one of the most powerful organisational tools available.

Read It Later (IOS, Blackberry, Android) or Instapaper (IOS): Both of these apps allow you to save articles on your computer and then read the text version on your mobile device. The articles are presented in a clean, simple interface and are stored on your mobile device so you can read them even when you don’t have an internet connection.

Dropbox (IOS, Blackberry, Android): Dropbox gives you 2 gigabytes of online storage for free, and the mobile apps allow you to access your files on the go. This can also be a good way to get files to your IOS device without having to sync your device with a computer. Another powerful tool for transferring many types of files to your IOS device is GoodReader, which removes much of the hassle of trying to get documents from your computer to your IPad or IPhone.

Strip Designer (IOS): A powerful yet straightforward comic design tool, Strip Designer allows you to use your photographs and pictures to create comic strips. Add text, export directly to Facebook and make the most of your photographs.

Star Walk (IOS): Inevitably when you are showing off your new tablet someone will say “Well it doesn’t do anything a computer can’t do.” This is the app for putting these people in their place. Star Walk is a paid app, but it’s worth it for the wow factor when you hold your Ipad up to the night sky and see a full, interactive map of the stars and planets. Search for constellations, learn about the universe and more importantly get envious glances from your non tablet-toting friends.

Mobile computing is education’s future

A recent article in eSchool News outlines the need for schools to acknowledge and use students’ mobile phones for good rather than evil. Summit: Mobile computing is education’s future explains that currently there are one billion people connected to a 3G network, rising to three billion in 2014.

As the 2010 Horizon report stated, mobile computing is set to become mainstream within the next six months. The eSchool News article gives an example of the success of mobile phone use for learning:

At-risk ninth graders taking part in the project have access to specially created mobile applications that help explain algebraic principles, and they also can watch videos of other students explaining these principles. In addition, they can text or IM their peers for advice when they get stuck.

According to early studies of the program’s efficacy, students taking part in this Qualcomm-funded project outscored their peers who did not have access to the mobile phones and content by an average of 30 percent in algebra proficiency.

“Kids are excited—[they’re saying,] ‘Wow, we get to use cell phones in class?’” Johnson said. “It lets them learn in a way they’re learning outside of school.”

I recently learned that students’ internet use at home far outweighs that at school. This is due to a number of issues including school access. However the proliferation of mobile phones within students’ pockets could help change that. Are we ready to start using this type of technology regularly in schools?

K-12 2010 Horizon Report

The 2010 Horizon Report for schools K-12 has recently been released. Predicting the technologies that will be influential in teaching and learning over the next 5 years, the K-12 Horizon Report is a must read for all educators.

The top trends to watch are:

  • One year or less – Cloud Computing
  • One year or less – Collaborative Environments
  • Two to three years – Game-based learning
  • Two to three years – Mobiles
  • Four to five years – Augmented Reality
  • Four to five years – Flexible Displays


The Horizon Report explains:

The “cloud” refers to surplus computing resources available from specialized data centers, each often hosting thousands of servers, that power the world’s largest websites and web services.

Examples of this include:

  • Flickr
  • Google Docs
  • Wikis
  • Blogs
  • Twitter

Virtually anywhere were information is not stored on your own computer and accessing to it is via the internet.


Collaborative Environments are defined by the Horizon Report:

Collaborative environments are online spaces where the focus is on making it easy to collaborate and work in groups, no matter where the participants may be. As the typical educator’s network of contacts has grown to include colleagues who might live and work across the country, or indeed anywhere on the globe, it has become common for people who are not physically located near each other to collaborate on projects. In classrooms as well, joint projects with students at other schools or in other countries are more and more commonplace as strategies to expose learners to a variety of perspectives.

Examples include:

  • Ning (but for how much longer as it seems they will be charging for use in the near future)
  • Wikis
  • GoogleDocs
  • DropBox
  • Voicethread
  • Netvibes
  • Wikipedia


The Horizon Report explains more:

The interest in game-based learning has accelerated considerably in recent years, driven by clear successes in military and industrial training as well as by emerging research into the cognitive benefits of game play. Developers and researchers are working in every area of game-based learning, including games that are goal-oriented; social game environments; non-digital games that are easy to construct and play; games developed expressly for education; and commercial games that lend themselves to refining team and group skills. At the low end of game technology, there are literally thousands of ways games can be — and are already being — applied in learning contexts. More complex approaches like role-playing, collaborative problem solving, and other forms of simulated experiences have broad applicability across a wide range of disciplines, and are beginning to be explored in more classrooms

Examples that use consoles include:

  • Little Big Planet
  • Guitar Hero
  • My Word Coach

Examples that use PCs include:

  • Arcademic Skill Builders
  • National Geographic Kids


The Horizon Report gives more information:

The mobile market today has more than 4 billion subscribers, more than two-thirds of whom live in developing countries. The global network supporting mobile devices of all kinds now covers more territory than the electrical grid. A massive and increasing number of people all over the world own and use computers that fit in their hand and are able to connect to the network wirelessly from virtually anywhere. Tens of thousands of applications designed to support a wide variety of tasks on a host of mobile devices and platforms are readily available, with more entering the market all the time. These mobile computing tools have become accepted aids in daily life for everything from business to personal productivity to social networking. The range and number of educational applications for mobiles are growing at a rapid pace, yet their use in schools is limited — more often constrained by policy than by the capabilities of the devices they run on.

Examples include:

  • Smart phones such as iPhone and Android
  • iPod touch
  • iPad


The Horizon Report explains:

While the capability to deliver augmented reality experiences has been around for decades, it is only very recently that those experiences have become easy and portable. Advances in mobile devices as well as in the different technologies that combine the real world with virtual information have led to augmented reality applications that are as near to hand as any other application on a laptop or a smart phone. New uses for augmented reality are being explored and new experiments undertaken now that it is easy to do so. Emerging augmented reality tools to date have been mainly designed for marketing, social purposes, amusement, or location-based information, but new ones continue to appear as the technology becomes more popular. Augmented reality has become simple, and is now poised to enter the mainstream in the consumer sector.

Examples include:

  • Second Life
  • ARIS Mobile Media Learning Games
  • eTreasure

It is vital that we all start considering and using these tools to keep pace with the use of technology across all aspects of society so that our students are not disadvantaged or left behind.

Top 5 mobile services for libraries

It might be a bit much for us all at the moment, what with many schools having bans on mobile phones, but this innovative presentation is worth keeping in mind. Teacher librarians have always been wonderful at managing change, so is this our next frontier?

Go Mobile: Top 5 Mobile Services for Libraries ALA2009

View more presentations from Joe Murphy.

Thank you to Lisa Carlucci (@lisacarlucci) and Joe Murphy (@libraryfuture) for the poster and this abstract:

Today’s patrons expect information in the palm of their hand. Using cell phones as their primary interface, patrons expect libraries to seamlessly meet their information needs on the go. This poster introduces and describes the leading methods innovative libraries will use to deliver services through mobile devices. Text Message Reference: Answer reference questions sent by patrons on their cell phones by SMS. Electronic Collections: Promote and enhance access to online library collections via mobile devices, and consider best practices for developing new digital projects with mobile interfaces. Access Services: Provide interactive account information and support access services functions for patrons anywhere, anytime, on their cell phones. Online Social Networks: Provide services and resources to build community and develop a sustainable home for your library on popular mobile social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Mobile Applications: Create software that serves as a customizable mobile interface to the library for patrons to download and access on their iPhones and other smart phones. Together, these top five methods promote the relevance of traditional services in the modern environment and advance the ability of librarians to think forwardly about new mobile services. “Think Forward, Think Mobile.”

Some schools are rethinking their ban on mobile phones; allowing them in schools but not allowing students to make or receive phone calls. This paves the way for school libraries to consider using these technologies.

Thanks to Lisa and Joe for the excellent presentation; certainly food for thought.


Worldcat is a catalogue that links users to approximately 10,000 libraries worldwide and contains details of over 1.2 billion items.

People interested can use Worldcat just as a catalogue, to see if an item is available in a library near them. The advantage of using Worldcat is that if you are a member of several public library services, one simple Worldcat search can list where the item is located. By simply selecting what type of item you are looking for (books, DVDs, CDs and articles), entering a search term and then your postcode, Worldcat will then list the libraries nearest you that hold that item. Often Worldcat can give you the distance from your postcode to the nearest libraries with the item. Users can also set their ‘favourite’ libraries which will be listed first. Currently some of the Victorian libraries that have their holdings listed on Worldcat are:

Please be aware that some results pertaining to libraries holding particular items are not always 100% correct. Some items are listed in Worldcat results and some are not. Not sure whether that is a Worldcat issue or participating library issue.

However, users can also signup for a free account that enables them to add content to the Worldcat website. Currently lists (think Librarything or lists created in Amazon), bibliographies and reviews can be added to the site. Users can modify or delete their own review, ‘but other users can edit information that has been contributed under Details (similar to Wikipedia).’

For those library staff out there that occasionally need to do some original cataloguing if items cannot be found on SCIS, Library Link Victoria or Libraries Australia, Worldcat is a great last resort before having to invent the wheel yourself.

Worldcat are also currently trialling Worldcat mobile where according to their website, users can:

  • Search for library materials—Enter search terms such as keywords, author or title
  • Find a WorldCat library near you—Enter your ZIP, postal code or location in the Libraries Locator
  • Call a library—Highlight and click the phone number in a library listing to place a call
  • Map a route—Find the fastest way to a WorldCat library using the mapping software already on your device
Worldcat mobile
Worldcat mobile
Currently this service is only available to residents of the US and Canada, but here’s hoping for wider coverage once the trial is complete.


The Horizon Report (Australia and New Zealand edition) focussing on emerging technologies, where next generation mobile phones were selected as one of the six most important emerging technologies (out of over 100 considered) has been released. And recently, one new application for mobiles has caught the attention of Bright ideas.

aka-aki is a kind of scary tool (users do have the option to turn on privacy settings if they don’t want to be contacted) that once downloaded to your mobile phone, enables other aka-aki users to contact you if you come within 20 metres of them. Bluetooth technology enables user profiles to be viewed by you once another registered user is within the 20 metre distance.

aka-aki homepage

aka-aki homepage

The main difference between aka-aki and other social networking sites is that aka-aki is designed for people who are not in front of their computer. aka-aki is a German development that offers free unlimited messaging and chat to other aka-aki users in groups of your choice, but beware that your phone carrier could charge for data use. Texts can be sent from phone to phone, computer to phone and phone to computer. All mobile encounters are saved on the aka-aki website, so you can follow up contacts later via the Internet.

No doubt there is at least one enterprising and creative soul out there who can think of an educational application for aka-aki. If so, please share it with us!

Roman Hansler, Founder of aka-aki says that it is available for use in Australia now. For more information, go to the aka-aki blog. And for a laugh, have a look at this video.