Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Hojoki - make all your cloud apps work together - very cool & free

Hojoki is a new service I just learned about from the Hojoki team. It's a very cool idea - it takes all of your online productivity apps and turns them into a newsfeed and collaborative space to work on projects.

I played with it a little today and will be using it more this week. It looks like something that could be very useful for education.

It' is in Beta now and free and there will always be a free plan available.

Here's more information and a video about it:

Teachers utilizing the cloud: Hojoki is your collaborative newsfeed for Google Docs, Calendar, Dropbox, Evernote and more

Hojoki’s basic idea is very simple: they offer one newsfeed for productivity apps. It connects to apps like Google Documents, Evernote, Dropbox, Mendeley and Google Calendar, building you a newsfeed and a collaborative space for your work.

Anytime an activity in any of your connected apps occurs, Hojoki informs you. You can share your activities with others in workspaces, where you can discuss events and manage whatever projects you’re working on. You never miss important changes from co-workers and have all your content in one place.

Why this is so interesting for Teachers?
Some of the tools Hojoki integrates are very powerful and established tools for education:

Google Documents for classroom collaboration
Google Calendar to share calendars with colleagues and classes
Dropbox for sharing and syncing files
Evernote with lot’s of uses prior, during and after class
If you and your colleagues use more than one of those tools, you know the problem. It’s almost impossible to manage communication and collaboration across all the apps efficiently. So both teachers and students spend a lot of time logging into lots of tools, checking for updates and informing each other on changes and updates.

Hojoki solves that fragmentation problem as it brings all the tools and all people involved in one browser tab and allows the creation of workspaces for collaboration.

How to use Hojoki in Education
Hojoki brings teachers and students and, most importantly, their tools together on one page. Here are three suggestions from the Hojoki team for educational use:

Creating and sharing teaching materials    
When creating and sharing teaching materials, teachers often use Google Docs, Dropbox and Evernote. As long as everyone is using the same app, everything is fine. But as soon as content spreads across apps, things become confusing. Everyone needs to log in, check frequently for changes and give feedback on other channels, like email. With Hojoki, you can connect all relevant content from lots of apps to a workspace to get instantly notified if someone updated or added something. Besides that, you get a full searchable history of changes in your teaching materials. Here’s an infographic that shows a typical workflow in Hojoki: http://blog.hojoki.com/post/20002424193/teaching-in-the-cloud-infographic

Online Classrooms
If you share and update content from Dropbox, Evernote and Google Docs on a regular basis for a class, create a workspace with your students in Hojoki and add the relevant content. By doing this, Hojoki shows every activity as a newsfeed - who updated a document in Google Docs, created a note in Evernote or uploaded a file to Dropbox. Hojoki connects even to Google Calendar to view class events. Everyone in the classroom workspace can comment immediately and discuss issues. Hojoki saves time by making it easy and keeps everything in one place, so over time you get a fully searchable knowledge base on top of your tools.

Workspaces also work great to provide supervision on writing and student projects which utilize more than one cloud app. Teachers can keep informed on the progress of either one student or a group of students. Students get instant feedback and guidance from their teachers and that extra boost in motivation. ;)

Hojoki www.hojoki.com is free, so give it a try!  http://hojoki.com/  


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