Here are five apps that I’ve either discovered and used over the last several months. In no particular order, they are:
- PDFEscape: This app is great for creating form fields on a PDF document. Users can then download, fill in, and save the file. I’ve used this one extensively in my Adult Bible Fellowships for editable, electronic handouts. Another use could be to fill in the fields and then return the file to the owner (i.e. registration forms, homework, work applications). It’s a free app, but make sure you store your file because PDFEscape only keeps it for a few days (free version).
- Bitly: This app is fantastic for customizing URL’s and tracking the number of hits on a link. Got a really long or obnoxious URL? Change it to something short and easy. This app is really handy for distributing a URL to an audience or just to make it more reader-pleasing and memorable. Another nice feature is that after creating a URL in Bitly, you can go back and see the number of hits on that link. The benefit of this app over Google URL Shortener is the simplicity in customizing the URL.
- Conceptboard: This app appealed to me immediately as a math teacher. Not only do I spend a lot of time writing on a whiteboard, I feel like I waste a ton of time erasing a whiteboard. Some teachers solve that problem by using a Smartboard or Promethean board. However, the beauty of this app is that the whiteboard can be shared out and students can collaborate with the teacher. The best part is that it can all be erased with the click of a button.
- Assistant.to: This Chrome extension simplifies a feature of Google Calendar that always seemed awkward–scheduling an appointment. Google Calendar has a “Find a Time” function, but this involves a lot of back-and-forth between appointees. Assistant.to attaches Gmail to Calendar and allows you to offer the person you’re inviting several time slots for a meeting. All the invitee must do is click on the time that suits them and it’s automatically entered into both your Calendars. Props to my friend Dave Warren @pdavid21 for steering me toward this scheduling-headache solver!
- ClipConverter.com: This isn’t technically an app or extension, but I’ve found nothing else like it and I use this all the time. Have you found a YouTube video you want to use but only want part of it? This site will help you download into any format using the URL, then you can edit if needed (in another app or program like MovieMaker). You can also download just a section of the video, saving you editing time.