Category Archives: App Review

app talk: Visual Storytelling and Mobile Studying

Today marks the launch of a regular new series on the San Jac EdTech blog: App Talk. Every other week we will present you with a few exciting apps that will enhance your creativity, support your instructional goals, increase your productivity or are just plain fun to use. We will include apps from both iOS and Android in this series, but if you have another operating system or device that you want us to consider, be sure to comment and let us know.

In this week’s post: Make a 6 second movie, shoot with mobile multi-cam, or study on the go. Our app selections this week are all about visual storytelling and mobile studying.

BackSpaces, free, iOS

Allowing you to create stories using a combination of pictures and words, Backspaces has included a few key features that helps it to stand out from other mobile social apps. Imagine if instagram had individual threads that you could post a series of photos in to tell a short story of your day. Rather than posting individual photos randomly throughout the day, you can create a single story for your followers to click which opens a chronologically listed thread of photos with captions detailing whatever story you feel like telling. Its streamlined interface is designed specifically for ease of use and quick browsing. It could probably be best described as an Instagram/mobile blog hybrid. It’s fun to use and free. After a quick browse through, you can see how many creative methods of storytelling have been used here.


Vine, free, iOS
Shoot, Edit, and post quick 6 second videos with ease. You could argue that Vine is just the animated .gif version of Instagram. While for the most part, you’d be right, the added layer of audio and video provides the ability to tell a funny or cute short story in little to no time. It’s definitely an app worth checking out, if for nothing else than to kill a little time. Also, it’s free so why not?


Vyclone, free, iOS
This is a free video app that has a unique ability to save and edit using a combination of multiple cameras and social media. If you and a friend are both shooting video of the same event from your phones, you can use Vyclone to upload those videos within the app and edit the two of them together seamlessly. There’s also an “auto-edit” feature that will take your various uploads and do edit them together for you so the video will appear to be planned out and well done. You’ll always have access to both your original video and whoever else’s original video was combined with yours in an edit.


Sparknotes , free, iOS has huge and continually growing library of online study guides for literature, test preparation, quick how-to’s, and entertaining short articles aimed at the young college demographic. Now it’s all at your fingertips with the free download of their handy app. It has a clutter-free, clean interface designed for easy navigation and quick referencing. You can save preferred study guides and literature in your virtual library within the app, as well.


Flashcards+, free, iOS
Well the name kind of speaks for itself. It’s a mobile, virtual flashcard app. What makes this app so cool is it’s social media feature. Not only can you create your own study cards, but you can even browse and study from the increasing library of user uploaded cards from Flashcards+ own servers. You even get to view your cards with the familiar and comfortable flashcard paper look, without those nasty paper cuts.

app talk: Want Better Productivity? Try Netvibes.″>Netvibes Showcase from”>Netvibes on”>Vimeo.

Multi-tasking and productivity are very closely associated. This is the reason we want to get our hands on every new web application or product that comes along to make our lives run more efficiently. Many of these tools gain popularity, become the flavor of the month, then abruptly burn out once something new comes along. Very few have the proper foundation to adapt, improve and create lasting power for themselves. This is where Netvibes comes in.

Since 2005, this free, feature-rich Web 2.0 application has boasted itself as “the first personalized dashboard publishing platform for the Web”. At first glance, you may ask how Netvibes differs from your Yahoo or Google personal homepage. Once you create your own though, you’ll begin to see how fully interactive it is. Netvibes allows for a fully customizeable dashboard where which features widgets, edit-able and move-able modules, RSS feed, personal themes and tabs that can be set to provide specific news and information streams you choose. You’re not limited to a pre-set checkbox list of news streams that your average homepage provider allots.

There is a vast array of widgets that are created by many of the top news, social, education, video, photo and entertainment sites for you to drop into your Netvibes dashboard. They are visual, interactive and constantly streaming the latest information from your favorite sites. Think of the widgets as a beefed up, site specific RSS feed.

Whatever your interest, the tabs feature will come in handy. It allows you to organize your information how ever you’d like. Want to keep your work and personal information streams separate, while still having both just a click away? Done. You can create separate tabs for your news widgets, video streams, social conversations, and anything else you can imagine. In short, it’s like combining the entire internet onto one user-friendly homepage. Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration, but it’s definitely a great tool that deserves to be checked out to expand your productivity.

Check out these great links for more reviews and information on Netvibes:

Blackweb 2.0



Netvibes Widgets

Netvibes Showcase