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Archive for 'Changes & Improvements'

NoodleTools System Maintenance Friday, 10/31 9PM-12AM PST

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

We are rolling out important updates this weekend:

HTTPS / SSL security

NoodleTools will now operate under SSL (the secure HTTPS protocol). If you have links to NoodleTools on your Web pages, those existing links will redirect to a new login URL but continue to work.

On Saturday evening, updated instructions for EZproxy configuration will be at http://noodle.to/ezproxy.

iCyte functionality moving in-house

Schools have benefited from our integration with iCyte, which allows students to archive and annotate web pages and PDFs. We’ve brought this technology in-house, allowing us to customize it to our specific needs over the coming years.

While your existing “Cyte This” bookmarklet will redirect to a new URL and continue to work for now, please update it as time permits. The instructions to update will be posted on Monday, 11/3/2014 at the following link :

http://www.noodletools.com/icyteHelp.php

When is this happening?

We’ll be taking the site offline this Friday, 10/31/14, from 9 PM – 12 AM PST and possibly Saturday in the same time period if needed (we’ll update this blog post with status).

In addition, the iCyte functionality in NoodleTools will be unavailable this weekend, from Friday at 9 PM PST through Sunday evening around that same time.

Update (Fri 11:15 PM): Done for tonight. We will be taking the server offline to complete the maintenance on Saturday from 9 PM – 12 AM PST as mentioned before. Please plan accordingly.

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NoodleTools Webinar, IE8 Heads Up, and Exciting Rollouts To Come

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

Welcome back! We know the start of a school year is a busy time for everyone. As you prepare to use NoodleTools with your students, here are tips to jumpstart your semester.

NoodleTools looks just the same as you left it, so no scramble up a learning curve for many of you. If you’re new or need a refresher, hop on the next webinar (September 10th) with our founders, Damon and Debbie Abilock.

For those schools currently using Internet Explorer 8, please have your technology administrator update to the current version of IE (or a different browser) if possible. This will ensure that your school can take advantage of new developments as they are introduced.

Stay tuned in the coming months for deep enrichment features that directly support the research process and the Common Core! On the technology side, we’ll be introducing a beautiful new, adaptive interface, enhanced user management options, improved site performance, database integration, and much more. We’ll be in touch with you as each of these rollouts requires.

To the millions of teachers and students using NoodleTools across the nation and abroad, happy sailing into a new academic year!

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NoodleTools Companion – a free app for subscribers!

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

We invite you and your students to download NoodleTools Companion, our latest addition to the NoodleTools mobile platform! The iOS and Android apps are FREE for all NoodleTools subscribers.

Download the NoodleTools Companion Download the NoodleTools Companion for Android

Students working in the library can efficiently scan a book’s ISBN or search by author/title to generate a perfectly-formatted citation. After adding an annotation (or notes), the citation can then be routed directly into the student’s NoodleTools project of choice.

This app is optimized for phone screens, but can be used on an iPad or other tablet. Open www.noodletools.com in a browser like Safari or Chrome to access the full functionality of NoodleTools via our mobile site.

Stay tuned for our growing mobile platform to meet today’s student needs. Here at NoodleTools, we strive for mobile support that is educationally sound. You can count on us to develop tools and content that power student efficiency for high-quality work. We grow plants, not zombies!

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Peer Review Mode enables an authentic process of constructive feedback and revision

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

This week, we’ve expanded the NoodleTools collaborative environment to include Peer Review Mode for students.

In Peer Review Mode, a student can view a partner’s work and provide constructive feedback on citations or notecards. When students receive authentic feedback, it helps them revise and improve their work. Both the peer reviewer and the researcher benefit. We know that some NoodleTools teachers already successfully incorporate a peer review process into writing drafts. Peer Review Mode allows teachers to start or extend the peer review process into the stages of research.

Peer reviewing can improve writing and communication skills but novice peer-reviewers need support to begin. Here are some tips on starting a successful peer-reviewing loop:

Begin with a specific compliment

Students can learn from successful strategies that others are using. Always ask students to write comments about the strengths they see in a student’s work or state what they genuinely like about their peer’s research process so far.

Focus on one component

Don’t expect a student to examine a peer’s entire research project to date. Students will internalize and understand how to improve if they are asked to focus more deeply on a single component, then model and practice giving specific, positive feedback for a particular aspect such as:

  • Revising word choice in the “Summary / Paraphrase”
  • Adding tags to a notecard
  • Brainstorming additional questions for “My Ideas”
  • Wondering in order to identify a gap in a student’s information
  • Suggesting a type of source that might provide a different perspective or new information
  • Evaluating a specific aspect of credibility in a peer’s source list. For example, students might focus on currency, if relevant for the topic, assess an author’s expertise about this subject, or question the publisher’s purpose for providing information.
  • Identifying why evidence for a claim in a notecard is weak and suggesting what might make it stronger

Provide structure and language

Provide sentence starters like:

  • “This notecard made me wonder (about your topic)…”
  • “When I looked at your List Analysis, I noticed…”
  • “I see some of the author’s words in your summary. I suggest that you either put quotes around…or change it to say…”
  • “I don’t understand (referring to a specific phrase or idea)…”

If you are using a rubric to assess student work already, focus peer review on one of the rubric criteria.

To get started, a student will select the link on their project dashboard to add a collaborator, then select the “Peer-reviewer” radio button as shown here:

Adding a student as a peer-reviewer

We look forward to observing how NoodleTools facilitates your work with students — please let us know how you’re using Peer Review Mode!

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Review projects efficiently with the new Drop Box Navigator

Monday, February 11th, 2013

Thousands of subscribed schools are currently using NoodleTools’ class project management system. Drop boxes allow teachers (or groups of teachers doing a cross-disciplinary project) to:

  • monitor student work in real time
  • provide feedback directly on the students’ citations and notecards
  • see how citations were created field by field, to better assess students’ understanding of their sources
  • review the status of students’ to-do list items
  • look at detailed 30-day activity logs

One of our goals this year is to give teachers the tools they need to make the process of reviewing students’ projects even more efficient. We’ve been listening to all of your suggestions! A few weeks ago, we added the ability to sort the “Projects Shared With Me” lists by other columns, like the date the project was last reviewed or the student’s username. This week, we introduced the Drop Box Navigator, which you’ll see at the top of the screen when you are reviewing a student’s shared project (on the Dashboard, Bibliography, and Notecards screens):

Drop Box Navigator (Closed)

Clicking the “Drop Box Navigator” tab pulls down an overlay window that allows you to navigate easily between the projects that are shared with the drop box you have open.

Drop Box Navigator (Open)

The Navigator eliminates the need to click back to the Projects screen, find the next project you want to review, and then navigate back to the Bibliography or Notecards screen. You now have one-click access to go from the Bibliography of Student 1 to the Bibliography of Student 2. Since you can sort by the date the projects were last reviewed, you can easily determine which projects you still need to review.

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Specifying separate Google Apps domains for staff and students

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

Schools and districts have been using Google Apps for Education accounts with NoodleTools successfully for many years. However, we’ve recently added a new administrative option that allows for the scenario where the Google domain for students is different from the domain used by staff. For example, a school might use “students.myappsdomain.edu” for students and “staff.myappsdomain.edu” for staff.

If your school or district has that type of configuration, log in to the NoodleTools administration area for your subscription, click “NoodleTools Customization,” and look for the new option, as shown here:


Google Apps for Education configuration


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NoodleTools for iPad

Monday, September 24th, 2012

iPad initiatives in K-12 schools are gaining huge momentum this school year. And we’re ready!  While only a small percentage of the thousands of schools and universities that subscribe to NoodleTools have 1-to-1 iPad programs currently, that number is growing rapidly.  What better time to introduce an update that lets students and teachers take full advantage of the entire NoodleTools product on their iPads?

NoodleTools proudly announces the beta availability of NoodleTools on iPad!

What is it?

This is not a native iOS app (although that is in development too. Shhhhh!). Rather, this is an HTML5-based redesign of the NoodleTools site that makes it fully iPad-accessible. Ever get the itch to grab hold of one of those notecards and drag it around the Notecard Tabletop with your finger? Now you can! Cite your sources, create an outline, pile your notecards, export your Works Cited to Google Docs, collaborate on a project with your classmate…

Everything you can do in NoodleTools on your computer, you can now do on your iPad too!

How do I get access?

Easy – if your school is subscribed to NoodleTools, you already have access. Simply open a Safari Web browser window on your iPad and navigate to noodletools.com — NoodleTools will automatically detect that you’re using an iPad and display the iPad-accessible version. And soon you’ll be able to launch NoodleTools from an app-like button, to make it even easier to get started.

Why is it beta?

As classes start this Fall, we wanted to allow schools to start experimenting with NoodleTools on the iPad, even though there are still some open issues to address and improvements we’d like to make. For example, exporting a source list as an RTF file is a little problematic on an iPad right now, since Safari opens it but doesn’t handle all of the formatting tags properly. While we implement alternatives, Google Docs is still a good export option. You’ll see a steady stream of improvements and fixes to over the next several weeks.

What’s next?

With the major Summer update out of the way (by the way, we’re delighted by your enthusiasm for our new look and functionality!) , we’re hard at work at additional enhancements and features. For example, we’ve thought of some great ways to make the teacher’s project review process more efficient. Other smaller but equally-innovative changes will be carefully introduced during the school year (don’t worry — we won’t confuse you with mid-year interface changes).  Watch the blog to learn about the enhancements as we roll them out!

Enjoy the update, and Noodle on!

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Get ready for the school year with NoodleTools at your side

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

Smart tools.  A streamlined, intuitive interface.  New support and services.

Check out some short tutorials on individual features, or watch a webinar to view all new release elements in a nutshell.

Welcome new features!

One size doesn’t fit all.  Now all your students can grow up using NoodleTools.  Each level has embedded help and tutorials.

  • Starter for your upper-elementary students
  • Junior for your middle-school students
  • Advanced for your high-school and college/university experts

Practical tips for identifying, evaluating and citing sources online and in print.  ”Show Me” tutorials coach students through the process of identifying what kind of source type they have, evaluating authority, currency and credibility, and locating the citation elements.  Choose differentiated tutorials that match each student’s or classroom’s proficiency level.

No more “I can’t find my source again.”  NoodleTools now sports permanent archiving and annotation of Web and PDF sources.  Students can capture and annotate sources on-the-fly before creating notecards.

iPad compatible.  For schools migrating to iPads, enjoy mobile accessibility now and touchpad manipulation of notecards later this summer.

Administrator-level customization.  Do you encourage students to use WorldCat import and/or Quick Cite, or do you challenge them to identify citation elements and learn the nuts and bolts of citation creation?  Make these choices based on your own organization’s needs and preferences.

Welcome redesigned interface!

Our dynamic forms are streamlined, clean, and consistent across all styles.

  • Learn quickly with dynamic formatting templates that highlight the citation elements as you work.
  • Rely on as-you-type help pop-ups and automatic checking of style-specific capitalization and abbreviation errors.
  • With one click, switch projects between MLA, APA, and Chicago.
  • Enjoy the flexibility of moving between source types, content types, or publication media without losing entered data.
  • Import source data directly from WorldCat.
  • Already a citation expert?  Use Quick Cite to copy pre-formatted citations.
  • Edit an existing citation to meet an instructor’s special requirements.
  • Cite new source types like tweets and status updates.
  • Take advantage of smart forms that navigate you through tricky elements of legal citation with proper Bluebook formatting.

And in our redesigned notecard layout, find the quotation and paraphrase boxes visible simultaneously, enabling students to check their words and eliminate unintentional plagiarism.

Identifying quality sources, thinking critically, and writing in your own words are made easier, more informative, and rewarding!

Best wishes,
The NoodleTools Team

Short tutorials
Webinar

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New release update is scheduled for Sunday, June 24th!

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

The highly anticipated NoodleTools Summer release will be available on Monday, June 25th. We will be taking the site down the evening of Sunday, June 24th for about two hours in the evening (8 – 10 PM PST) to implement the changes. Please plan accordingly.

If you have not taken a sneak peek at the new features that are coming, check it out at http://www.noodletools.com/software/demo2012/

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First peek at the NoodleTools summer update!

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Watch a two-minute video of the exciting new release coming early this summer:

http://www.noodletools.com/software/demo2012/

This video is also available at YouTube.

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