As a teacher, I'm always looking for ways to improve my workflow. As an educational technologist, I'm also looking for ways to improve my workflow. As a human being, I am constantly looking for ways to improve my workflow.
|Cool software demands a cool logo.|
And I've encountered a promising piece of software to do it.
And it's free.
And it ties in to Google Drive.
And it has a Chrome desktop app.
And there's an app for my iPhone (Android coming soon, but the browser version works great on mobile devices).
For starters, WorkFlowy is a very practical note taking/list making app. It's really an enhanced tool for lists, but also a lightweight project management tool. Where I work, we have the real-deal Microsoft Project. But it is pretty complex for the smaller scale projects my department does. WorkFlowy is the perfect lightweight solution, and has a few features that make the simple interface standout from similar apps:
- It has infinite indenting (zooming)
- Portions of the list (you decide which ones!) can be shared
- It supports tags which can be filtered
- #soon - use the hashtag for tasks, timelines, etc.
- @dave - use the at sign for assigning tasks to people
- It can be embedded in a webpage and you don't need an account to view a shared, embedded file, so it is perfect for embedding in an LMS
- It copies and pastes spectacularly from a Google Document
- It's easy to mark an item as done (and see that it is done)
- It lives in the cloud and is easily accessible from any device
- It has a "starring" notion, so you can favorite certain pages (which is really just saving different page views, as you are only allocated one "WorkFlowy" to contain everything; you just get to dive deeper to get to more granular items
- Even without an account, a viewer of a shared list can print or export the content
But before we get to that, check out the embedded document. Go ahead and interact with it. If you click on the large, light grey circles, you will "zoom" in to the item. At first I just thought this was a really slick visual, but then I realized that honing in on an item allows you to focus on a specific topic (without the distraction of all the other pending tasks). You can also expand the topics by hovering over the text and pressing the "+" sign to expand the list.
Also try searching for "@john", "@markV", or "#bringToWork" to see projects that are "assigned" to John or Mark, as well as the tag to remind me to bring items to work.
Embedding in a narrow space omits the menus in the upper right hand side, but you get the idea. Try interacting with the lists I've shared. Either click on the circles before each item or expand them with the "+" sign. You can also click this link to see WorkFlowy the way it was intended to be experienced.
- AGGREGATING RESEARCH
While I think Evernote is a bigger product and has more features, sometimes you really want something simple. For those times, WorkFlowy is the answer. Using the "link only" security by obscurity model (or private invites with the pro version) to invite collaborators (no need for them to have an account). It's great for computer neophyte collaborators, and it's great for people who want fast, portable, and reliable list-making and note taking software.
- OUTLINES FOR WRITING
They say the art of writing evolution has been lost. I say that it hasn't (Google Documents allow for a granular history of changes, and PiratePad even has a sweet "time slider" function that lets you watch the evolution like a stop-action movie). Similarly, WorkFlowy lends itself well to outlining essays, research papers, or any other document. Some people even compose their writing in WorkFlowy.
For classes where keeping a journal is important, WorkFlowy could provide a perfect solution. The topical organization can be enhanced by having dates and times be sub-headings, and students can share their journal entries with faculty.
- NOTES IN MEETINGS
Currently, I use Google Drive to manage my notes in every meeting I'm in. I usually copy (or import) the agenda from my email (if I get an agenda), and then I annotate it during the meeting. With a solid hierarchy of folders, this system works well for me. I think it would work really well with WorkFlowy, as well. One deficiency is that WorkFlowy doesn't seem to allow attachments or images (both of which are important to me), but I suspect many people just want a common venue with an intuitive interface for note taking. Enter WorkFlowy.
In general, I'm a fan of the freemium model. And in this case, I upgraded. I really think it's worth it. WorkFlowy is a solid product with great features, and the folks who created it seem like really good people.
If you're still not sold on WorkFlowy, create an account or watch this video. If you still aren't sold, make an itemized list and tell me why.
Dude. Organize your brain.