Monday, September 13, 2010

The Making of MyNotes Entries: Using QuickFox Notes

Using QuickFox Notes to Create "MyNotes" entries

Update 09/17/2010: A better solution than QuickNotes is to use Firefox/IE with Google Toolbar Shareaholic, or Google Chrome Browser with Shareaholic button.

When I first started DiigoNotes--my notes on articles off the web, highlighted and posted to my blog-- long ago (over a 100 entries!), someone asked me, "How do you do this?" They thought I was using a special software program. You can get the same effect as copy-n-paste, but I found using Diigo to be an easy tool because you could highlight content on the page in one fell swoop.

Using Diigo, it was pretty easy to highlight content on a web page then, depending on whether I was on Chrome or Firefox, send it directly to my blog. The process worked well except that the content was sometimes poorly formatted (extra Carriage Returns).

Over time, I've found that I bookmark content to share with others more than I bookmark it to access it myself. And, since I started, I found myself using Diigo almost exclusively for highlighting content on the Web, then publishing it as "DiigoNotes" on my blog.  Now that I've moved away from Diigo, I'm finding myself searching for an easy way to highlight and then post content to my blog.

One approach I've stumbled upon pretty quickly is to use Firefox with the QuickFox Notes add-on. I can work my way through a web page, highlighting as I like. To highlight paragraphs, words, sentences that are not next to each other, I have to hold the CTRL key (if on GNU/Linux or Windows) or Command key on a Mac, to multi-select content on page.
As you can see in the image above, here's what the content looks like:

Monday, September 13, 2010
Source: Wisconsin Schools Quits Internet Filters and Live to Tell About It.
Freedom of Information: How a Wisconsin School District Ditched Internet Filters. This article explains how their new Director of Information, Tim Peltz, opened up his district's internet access. Edutopia reported that the only content that he blocked "was 'adult'(sexual) sites and what Peltz calls 'hardcore extreme views' such as websites of violent gangs."He believes that hiding the Internet from the students will not provide students with an opportunity to learn to use these technologies responsibly
He believes that teaching tomorrow's students requires today's online opportunities.He consolidated the technology budgets of Title I, Special Education, ESL, building services and specific subject areas into a single technology account. 
Using his newly-found resources, he was able to lease 8,000 Apple computers (increase of 23% over previous year) and save an estimated $200,000 in energy costs. This included a new Apple MacBook Pro laptop computer for each of their 1,600 teachers. 
Although the links don't come in, neither do the hidden formatting codes that caused problems is simply text, easily manipulated. While it's not a perfect replacement for Diigo's highlighting tool, it does fulfill the function I needed--being able to quickly create MyNotes entries in my blog.

For fun, I did try out Zotero, but it offered too many features, windows to click through, etc. In the end, I found myself switching back to QuickFox Notes after a short trial with Zotero.

There may be a better tool out there, but I'll work with QuickFox Notes to see how far I get. In regards to Dr. Z's blog entry highlighting Peltz' work, isn't it great that setting aside existing boundaries can result in valuable learning?

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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