Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Just Like Pen And Paper

Recently I posted about an online journal/diary application called Memiary.  This application asks users to focus on five specific thoughts for a given date.  No sooner had I written about Memiary than I read about another web 2.0 service, Penzu.

Penzu is not a new application having been in use for at least four years, including beta.  According to the site:

Penzu is an online diary and personal journal focusing on privacy.  With a unique and compelling user experience, it makes writing online as easy and intuitive as writing on a pad of paper. 

Penzu is free to users over the age of thirteen (13) but can be upgraded to the Pro version for $19.00 per year.  If users are between the ages of 13 to 18 they must have parental or guardian approval with full knowledge of the terms of use and privacy policy.  To sign up for use click on the green Create Your Free Journal button on the home page.

To register enter in your first and last name, email address and a password.  The terms of use and privacy policy must be read and accepted. The next screen hosts a leather bound journal requesting you to select an avatar. 

You are next advised that you can like on Facebook or tweet on Twitter about Penzu.  The Looking Glass feature is offered, on or off, and explained further.  Next a series of email reminders to journal are available.  Finally the settings are completed with twelve fonts listed from which to choose for your default font. 

On the cover of your journal appears your name.  To the left of your name the book icon, when clicked, takes you inside your journal to begin writing.  To the right the gear icon is your settings and the lock icon presents your privacy. 

At the first page (entry) of your journal on the left is a cursive lower case i; signifying access to your account.  Across the top of the page are a series of icons representing from left to right:  new entry, save, print, insert photo, share, lock entry, and format (bold, italics, and underline text, change font, change font size, text color, margin justification, strike through, background color, two bullet options, spell check, insert date, insert link and remove formatting).  The remaining icons are for Pro users only; tag, customize, and versions.  Of course comments can be left on either of the Penzu.

When you wish to insert an image it can be uploaded from your computer or Flickr.  As images are uploaded they appear across the top of the page.  They can be inserted, attached to the left margin of the page or deleted. 

At any time you can toggle back and forth between the pad and all the entries by selecting the pencil or the book icon to the right of the paper.  Recent entries are numbered in the small black tab in the upper right of the screen.  As you work the application is continually saving your work or you can save it manually. 

Be default everything in Penzu is private.  You can also put an additional lock (password) on each entry.  When you choose to share you are presented with several choices, email or public link.

When you send an email enter in one or more addresses and an optional message.  You can send this as yourself or anonymously. The public link can be viewed by anyone but only you can edit the entry.  The link can be sent to Twitter.

Here is the link for the simple Penzu I wrote as part of the Caldecott Challenge in which I am participating.

The overview of Penzu is complete and interesting.  Under the Why Journal heading there are many ideas that could be altered or expanded to make this application work in a classroom setting.  Mobile apps are available.  For more expansive and sophisticated journal keeping than Memiary this comes highly recommended.

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