Google Keep’s Location Reminder: Helping Me Use All Those Christmas Gift Cards & More!

The other day I received a $25 gift card from my favourite Outdoor supply store, Mountain Equipment Coop (MEC). I know I’ll be able to use it eventually, but given the sad state of my memory, how will I remember to use it when I’m in the store?

My solution is to use Google Keep, and it’s location reminder feature.  You can copy and paste all sorts of information into google keep on your computer of phone, and then access it or search for it from either when every you need to. You can also tell it to remind you about a note or list when you visit a specific location:

Google Keep Location Reminder

The killer feature that I’m using here is Google Keep’s “Location Reminder”. The next time I walk into the local MEC store, my phone will buzz and remind me that I have a gift certificate to use at the store.  Is that cool or what!  I can also share the note with my partner so that she can use it if she’s shopping there before me.  This would also work well for shopping lists, and all sorts of other small things that are often forgotten, but useful to be reminded of at specific locations and/or times.  Enjoy!


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Good Security Hygine PSA: Google Password Alert

This is my Public Service Announcement for the day: If you use Google Chrome and Gmail, you should seriously consider installing the Google Password Alert extension, which will alerts you if someone or something logs into your Google account from a location you don’t normally login from. Enjoy!

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In Praise of Google Maps: Getting Around Foreign Cities Has Never Been Easier!

google-maps-bI have travelled outside Canada and the US more in the past year than ever before, and Google Maps on my phone has made getting around on public transportation less stressful, less expensive and much quicker. The feature of Google Maps that makes this possible is the integration of the majority of public transit schedules of major cities around the world.

When I was in Brasilia last June for the World Cup, using Google Maps made it simple to travel from my friends apartment we were staying to the soccer stadium by simply entering the name of the place we wanted to travel to (“National Stadium”), and then selecting “Your Location” as the starting point. By default Google maps give you directions for driving a car, but to see public transit options just select the bus icon at the top of the app, and directions to the bus stop along with bus number to catch magically appear. You can even watch yourself move around on the map to make sure you’re walking in the right direction as you head off to the bus stop or subway station… Not that I’ve ever done that before ;-)

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Knowledge Management Tools for Academic Legal Researchers


We’re going to look at 7 different tools that will help you develop a more efficient research work flow. It is not expected that you’ll use all the tools, but most students find that they’d have a hard time living without two or three of them once they see how the tools make their research lives easier.

  • The tools we’ll look at are:
    • Desktop Search,
    • Zotero for citation management,
    • Evernote for saving general notes, capturing web pages and pictures for future reference,
    • JotNot Pro to take the place of a photocopier,
    • Google Drive for collaborative document editing,
    • Google+ Hangouts for online meetings and document co-editing, and lastly
    • backup options so that your digital life is safe.

Before you move on, please make sure that you have a Gmail account, and have signed up for Google+, as you’ll need access to a Google account for the exercises in this module (and in the next class). If you don’t have an account, you can sign up here:

A. Desktop Search


  1. Using your desktop search tool, see if you can find a paper you wrote last year.
  2. Also using your desktop search find all the emails you’ve received from a friend. How many were there? (if you don’t see any emails in your desktop search you’ll need to add your webmail account to your desktop email program).

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MOOC’s, 1 to 1 Laptop Programs, Flipped Learning, iPads: Is EdTech Worth the Investment?

This morning I spoke to a great group of Faculty from UVic’s English Language Centre about the value of educational technology.  Below are the slides from my presentation and I’ve also included a link to a PDF with my presentation notes for anyone who is interested. Here is a link to the blog post that inspired it: New Educational Technology + Old Pedagogy = No Significant Difference?

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Posted in education, Work

Class Preparation & Studying Suggestions


Creative Commons Licensed by CollegeDegrees360

With two of my children taking college level courses now, I thought I’d put together a cheat sheet with best practices for preparing for classes and studying for exams and quizzes.  If you think I’ve missed anything, or can clarify a concept, please feel free to comment below or on the following Google Doc: So here we go!

Best Practices for Preparing for class with readings:

  1. Skim chapter text to get a sense for what the content is by reading introduction, section headings and conclusion.
  2. Skim reading a second time and formulate questions in your own words that address the major issues and definitions that need to be remembered.
  3. Read chapter carefully and answer questions.
  4. Concept Map major definitions and issues in the chapter.
  5. Make connections: Review your notes (the answers to the questions you formulated) and think of how the concepts the reading covers relates to other things you know from the class as well as outside the class.

Best practices for studying for exams and quizzes:

  1. Don’t study in the same physical location, move around a bit (kitchen, bedroom, library…). Variation helps.
  2. No cramming the night before, plan ahead and spread out your study sessions. 3 30min study sessions each a day or two apart, are much more effective than one 90min session. -> Spacing & Interleaving.
  3. Use flash cards for key words and concepts. Don’t copy definitions, but them in your own 5-10 of your own words if possible. The act of retrieval helps cement things… struggle to remember answers is much more effective than looking at flash card.
  4. Explain the concepts to someone else (who’s possibly asking questions from your flash cards).
  5. Final exam prep with a classmate.
  6. Getting a good night sleep help your remember things better as well.

Good luck in your classes!

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UVic Law Student Technology Survey 2014

Smart Phone Ownership

Introduction to the Survey Results

The 11th annual law student technology survey results are now in.  The report reflects the responses of 27 incoming and transferring UVic law students during their week of classes, which yielded a 25% plus response rate. This response rate, while respectable, is much lower than the 90% plus response last year because of a technical problem on orientation day.

For anyone interested in more detailed look at the survey data, here is the anonymized raw data from the survey, and a summary report generated by the survey software.

Executive Summary:

  • Smartphones: 100% of incoming law students surveyed own “Smartphones” that can browse the internet (up from 96% last year and 50% four years ago), with 56% of the total being iPhones, 30% Android and 0% Blackberry. New law students are primarily using their mobile devices for directions, email, and looking up schedules & contact information.
  • Tablet & eBook ownership has doubled in the past two years with 59% of students owning tablet devices or ebook readers, up from 31% two years ago. iPads make up 53% of those tablets. 35% of tablet owners bring it to school every day. Faculties should endeavour to provide coursepack and textbooks in eBook formats for students.
  • Videoconferencing: 100% of students use Skype for real-time audio/video calls and collaboration. 48% use Apple Facetime and 17% use Google Hangouts. This opens up opportunities for faculties to make courses more widely accessible by offering blended or multi-access courses that use both face-to-face and video lectures.
  • Email: 62% of students use Gmail as their primary email account, and 4% use UVic email. To check their email, 56% forward their email to another service, and 28% use the UVic webmail interface. Over the past few years many students have complained at lack of storage space and antiquated email interface for students.
  • Document Sharing: 77% of students use Google Drive for collaborative document editing, and 62% use Dropbox, both up significantly from last year. Efforts should be made to educate students on the impact of the US Patriot act on the security of their documents when they use US based cloud services.
  • Social Media: 92% of students use Facebook (down from 97% two years ago), 31% user Twitter, 19% LinkedIn, and 3% don’t use online social networks. In spite of some negative comments about social media, 79% of students used social media to connect with other students before the start of the school year.
  • Laptops: 100% of students own laptops.  54% of laptops are Macs, up from 49% two years ago. 46% use Windows.  54% of students bring their laptops to school on a daily basis and 8% never bring them to school.
  • Note Taking: 71% of students use laptops to take class notes, 92% use pen and paper, 8% use tablets and 8% use cell phones. Consideration should be given to discussing the potential drawbacks associated with using laptops for transcription style class notes in a first year class, and faculty members should explore ways to creatively use personal technology to engage students more deeply during class time.

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