Summertime and the livin’ is . . .

Summertime and the livin’ is . . . research-intensive? Teaching-intensive? If your summer looks like one of those options, this is a little round-up of tools and tips that might make your life easier.

If you’re traveling internationally for research or as part of a teaching program, ProfHacker has some tips for you about technology while living abroad.

When summer teaching or research involves long travel times, you might appreciate this list of 10 sites to download free audio books. If ebooks are your thing, here’s some open-source software to help you get the ebook you want on the device you have. Alternately, you can check out One Hundred Free Books, a constantly changing list of, yes, one hundred free Kindle books. And here’s a comprehensive list of free courses, audio books, ebooks, and textbooks.

For those working in archives where photography is allowed, the CamScanner app (with free upgrade for educational users) easily converts photos taken with your smartphone into PDFs.

And for those teaching, this is a nice list of first day activities that create a climate for learning. With the shortened summer terms, it’s tempting to plunge right in and start grappling with course content. However, since you’ll also be fighting the inevitable summer distractions, it’s useful to get your students thinking about their role in the learning process.

Just for fun, if you want to know how others are spending the summer, here’s a cool infographic Google created based on world-wide search queries from last summer. Libraries are rather under-represented, sadly.

And, because you might be thinking of it now, here’s some summertime music for you:

Highlighter

We had a demo of the product Highlighter a few weeks ago, by Co-Founder & CEO Josh Mullineaux (@joshmullineaux) and VP of Sales John Holdcroft (@johnholdsea).

Per their website:

“Highlighter is a web application that creates a dynamic relationship between publishers and readers. With Highlighter, readers can share, save, and comment on words, sentences, paragraphs and even images. All of this data is passed back to the publisher in the form of powerful analytics.”

Our staff has just started playing with this in the past few days.  So far it’s pretty cool!  I see a lot of uses faculty/students could have with this product to edit documents, collaborate on peer-review of papers, and potentially demonstrate the critical thinking a student does while reading a document (i.e. highlighting items they find to be important or that raise questions, etc.).  There is an e-book storefront to sell & publish your documents, analytics behind the scenes, security features, and mobile device support.

Josh & John so far have been very eager to hear feedback and quick to respond to questions.   As this is a growing product, there are still changes being implemented and development is still happening, including a new redesign of pieces of their site/tool to launch in the next few weeks.

We look forward to “playing” with Highlighter more and figuring out the ins/outs.   To try it out for yourself, go to Http://www.highlighter.com and select “Sign up” in the top right corner.   If you create a sandbox account to test and want us to join in, send an invite to elearning@tcu.edu and we will be happy to try it out with you!

I’ll be posting more once I dig in a little more. Stay tuned…

–Kerrie