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Archive for 'Changes & Improvements'

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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Introducing Amy Rogers

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

Amy RogersWe are very pleased to announce our newest team member, Amy Rogers. She will focus on communication projects, including accessibility and usability, online instruction, marketing and keeping our users informed of new developments.

Amy has a MLIS from the San Jose State University School of Library and Information Science and a B.S. in Economics from Mills College. She has years of web technology experience with businesses and nonprofits.

Amy is a nature lover and supports sustainable living. She loves science fiction and stories that focus on women, as well as classical cello music.

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IE9 compatibility

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

The new version of Internet Explorer (IE9) was released yesterday. One of the 3rd-party javascript libraries (called Ext JS) that we use in NoodleBib has not yet released their IE9-compatibility updates. So if you have (a) upgraded to IE9 and (b) don’t have (and can’t download) an alternative browser like Firefox or Chrome that you can use for now, the temporary solution is to enable “Compatibility view” in IE9.

To turn on “Compatibility view” do the following:
- Turn on the IE “Menu bar” (right-click on the window header, and choose “Menu bar” from the menu)
- Select “Tools” from the Menu Bar and then click “Compatibility view settings…”
- Add noodletools.com to the list of sites there

Now when you navigate to NoodleBib and log in, you should see a checkmark next to “Compatibility view” when you open up the Tools menu again. We’ll update this post once changes are in place to support IE9 in the default mode.

August 2011 Update: We’ve worked out the kinks with IE9, so there should no longer be any need to turn on Compatibility view when using NoodleBib. Please feel free to e-mail if you come across anything that doesn’t look quite right in IE9 (but that works normally in other browsers).

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Chicago 16th edition updates

Monday, January 31st, 2011

Chicago 16th edition updates are in place for the second semester, as many of you have noticed. Previously, NoodleBib formatting was based on Turabian 7th edition. Turabian has not yet released an update to sync up with CMOS 16th edition changes. Some of the more noticeable changes include:

  • When an access date is included as part of a citation to an online source, it is placed before the URL (or DOI).
  • Database name and accession number can be cited, if there is no DOI and no stable/direct URL to the content.
  • Legal citations follow Bluebook formatting.
  • Blog citation formatting changes.

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