Posted by John McDowell, Ph.D.

I focused on a science tool, a twitter related tool (that sounded interesting given our interesting discussion yesterday), and a brainstorming tool that could be useful in communicating for collaboration. I hope everyone has a good break and great start to next semester.


Knotebooks is an online reference for physics and
mathematics. Lessons on specific areas are presented in paragraph-sized information “packets.” The content of each packet can be altered to make it easier or more detailed, or to add videos or additional content as desired just by selecting the option from a pull-down button, altering the level of information distributed to match the needs of the intended student audience. Users can  also submit their own content to be added to the customized lesson. Once customized as desired, the lessons are presented online for students to view. While only focused on Math and Physics now, it provides a way for instructors to  present additional information for either review or enhanced understanding of concepts in these areas.


Twiducate allows students to sign-up for a class specific twitter-based environment. Instead of the instructor and each student having a personal, universally accessible twitter account, all students in a class enter into the twiducate environment. I can see this being appealing to students or instructors that are wary of having a personal accounts linked or having course and/or personal information disseminated to the world. This set-up also allows for more direct contact with students where the group drives information dispersal, not allowing for the distraction of all the other twitter feeds students may choose to read in a non-curated twitter environment.

Spiderscribe is an online brainstorming and idea mapping application. It allows for general mapping of ideas, linking together of text, photos, maps, .pdf, or other file
types. These maps can be shared with others which would benefit any type of collaboration, especially at early stages of the project. I can also see this being a helpful program for organizing materials when working with students involved in research where it can be difficult to pull together ideas, flow charts, and data in a format that can be easily utilized.

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