Tozzl – A simple, registration-free pinboard

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 5.34.10 PMI am giving a presentation at REALIZE 2015 on the use of collaborative bookmarking and I stumbled upon this neat little online pinboard that is free and registration-free as well! I think it could be a really great curation tool for the classroom. The teacher or the students could create boards that they share with others and invite others to add to as well. The content can be files, texts, links, videos, and even Twitter hashtags. Here is how it works:

  • Go to tozzl.com and click on ‘Create a new tozzl’.

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  • Type in a name for your board, a short description, a password to edit and add content to the board, a different password to allow you delete the board, the ‘captcha’, and then click on ‘Create a new tozzl’.

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  • You will be presented with two main boxes: one that shows the title and description, and another with a chat box. You can hide the title/description box by clicking on ‘hide’ link in the bottom-left corner of the box.

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  • To add content to your board, click on the little pencil icon in the top right of the blue bar running along the top of the screen. Enter your password and click on the ‘Enable’ button.

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  • You now have a series of icons appear on the left side of the blue bar along the top of the screen. These allow you add all sorts of content:

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Text: You can enter rich text along with lists, images, and links within a box.

Tasks: You can create a task list with check boxes.

Picture: You can upload an image from your computer or phone.

File: You can upload any file up to 10MB in size.

Links: You can post web links (you can add more than one by clicking on the plus button in the bottom left) with a description and short text.

YouTube: You can paste in a YouTube link and it will be embedded in a box on your board.

Twitter: You can add a Twitter hashtag and it will show you a live feed of the last 15 tweets with that hashtag.

Information: If you have hidden the title/description box, you can bring it back by clicking on the last icon.

  • To share your tozzl with others, simply copy the URL from the top of your browser. Remember, anyone with the link can view it, but to edit it, they will need the edit password as well.

Notes:

  • You can edit and delete most of the boxes you have added, but you can’t delete or add or new chat box. You can hide the chat box by click on the down arrow at the top left of the chat box and choosing ‘hide’.
  • You can move the boxes around by clicking and dragging the title of each box. The exception to this is the chat and information boxes.
  • You can make the boxes different sizes by resize button in the bottom left of the screen. It will toggle through the different sizes as you click on it.
  • There is no way to password protect the viewing of the board, so be careful when sharing the link.

Application:

  • Group projects
  • Listening and reading labs (the subject of my session coming up)
  • Presentations
  • E-portfolios
  • Blogging
  • Brainstorming
  • Sharing content with students (flipped classes)

Let me know what you think of tozzl! You can post a comment below or share with me on Twitter (@nathanghall). Thank you!

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WriteURL: A Simple, Registration-Free Collaborative Writing Tool

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Recently, I wrote a short post talking about collaborative writing and I shared the various ways in which students can work together on a document. There are a number of online options, but most of them require the students to register which isn’t always ideal. WriteURL is an online document creator that does not require any registration to create and share documents and also allows users to collaborate on a document in realtime. Here is an overview:

Steps:

  • Go to WriteURL and click on the ‘New Document’ button.
  • Create a title by editing ‘My Title’ at the top of the document. This will become the title of page in the browser as well.

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  • Along the top you will find various tools. Here they are from left to right:
    • Home button: this will take you to the WriteURL homepage in a new window or tab.
    • Headings: this gives you six heading options
    • Fonts: this gives you five options
    • Bold, Italics, Underline, and Strikethrough
    • Text Color: you can choose from a palate or type in the RGB numbers
    • Line Color: same as text colour, but for borders and lines.
    • Superscript and Subscript
    • Indent
    • Alignments: the usual left, center, right, and justify
    • Line Spacing: there are sixteen options from 0.5 to 2
    • Bullets and Numbering: there are two bullets and five numbering options
    • Special Characters: choose from five different sets
    • Links (add and remove): puts in or takes out a weblink
    • Image: insert an image from a URL and define the size
    • Undo and Redo
    • Share: this will give you Write, Read, and Publish URLs. You also have the option to email it from the program.
    • Export: you can download a Word or HTML file (only works in Chrome)
    • Online/Offiline: this shows you if you are connected to the server or not.
    • Saved: this shows if the document is saved or not (automatically saves when connected)
    • FAQ: a short help index
    • Feedback: you can submit ideas and problems to WriteURL
  • Type your document and WriteURL will automatically save whatever you type as long as you are connected to their server. Other users will also see the changes in realtime.

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  • Once you have created a document, you can have others join in or you can just share it using the Share button along the top. Choose the URL that fits your situation. If you want others to add to the document, give them the Write URL and they will be able to type in your document, even as you are typing and you will see the changes. If they only receive the Read URL, they will only be able to view the document without editing it. Once you have completed the document, you can Publish it using the Publish button under the Share option.

This is a fabulous registration-free writing option and I will likely use this in my classroom. I only wish there was a group option such as in TitanPad, but this works really well and does more than TitanPad.

What do you think? Can you see this being helpful? Share your ideas below in the comment section or send me a tweet at @nathanghall. Thank you!

Creating and Sharing Google Drive Templates

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This is something that I knew was possibly, but I hadn’t used until today. In my class, we make use of our university’s Google accounts quite a bit. We share documents, files, make videos, share calendars, and so on. The weird thing is, I have never made or shared a Google document template before. Want to know how? Here it is:

  1. Create a Google document that you would like to share as a template.
  2. Go to your main Drive page where you will find all of your items in a list.
  3. Check off the box next to the item or items you wish to make available as a template.
  4. Click on the ‘More’ button near the top of the page and choose ‘Submit to template gallery’.
  5. Type in a description. Make sure it is clear since this template can be used by almost anyone else with a Google Drive account. For those with a public account (ie. not a school account), your template will be available to the world. For those with a school account, it will be available to anyone else who has a school account under your domain.
  6. Choose a category (required). You may also choose another category if you would like.
  7. Select a language.
  8. Click on ‘Submit template’
  9. Once it shows up in the template, click on ‘Preview’ at the bottom of the one you have created. A new window will appear with a bar along the top and your template below. Copy the URL address in the browser.
  10. Paste this address into an email, your class website, or wherever else you students will find it.
  11. Student who click on the link will need to log in to their account and will end up in the Preview page you have just left. They can then click on the ‘Use this template’ button in the top-left of the screen and it will create a copy in their Drive account, ready to be edited.

I see this as a great way for teachers to share Google created content and for teachers and students to share document templates such as graphic organizers.

I hope that was helpful. It was for me!