Created by Emily Bollock, Kaley Bontrager, Meghan Howe, Kari Michniewicz, Nolan Tinnell, Brooke Scherer
Table of Contents
What is Penzu?
So what exactly is Penzu?
Penzu is an online journaling Web 2.0 application. This personal journal allows you to access entries anywhere with a computer and internet connection. Through this paper-like diary, daily writing is no longer a chore. It is now done for personal enjoyment. This safe and secure journal offers a place to record many aspects of life, such as daily thoughts, lists, or eating habits. All you have to do is go to the Penzu website, try it out, sign-up, and begin journaling! Penzu is free to everyone and allows you to attach pictures, share your entries with anyone, and automatically save your work. Below is a screen capture of Penzu that shows you the simple buttons, such as New Entry, Save, and Share.
Thinking About an Upgrade?
For an easy payment of $19 a year, Penzu Pro allows you to access your journal as an app on your phone, customize your settings, further protect your posts with military-grade encryption, and send posts to Penzu through your e-mail account.
Some Background Information
Alexander Mimran, President and Founder of Penzu, started this unique application in May of 2008 as a side project. After launching Penzu, however, the application gained thousands of users worldwide and became his full-time job following the release of Penzu 2. Penzu is run by a group of men who are passionate about the website and want to continue developing this journal for users all over the world. The name Penzu comes from many influences, but is mainly derived from the Latin word "pensare," which means to think or be full of thought. 1
What was the inspiration for creating Penzu?
Alexander Mimran said this after being asked why Penzu was created:
"There wasn't a simple and intuitive way to write in private in the cloud. It
was either keeping a blog private (which can be complicated) or Google Docs
which is meant for work and sharing. We wanted to also simulate the
experience of writing on a pad of paper as closely as possible since nothing
like that was available at the time. We're now leading the journaling market
After being asked if Mimran personally uses Penzu, he said:
"We all do (all of Mimran's staff)! Penzu Post (writing in your journal via email) has been a great
addition for us and makes journaling much easier."
According to TopTen Reviews, Penzu is user friendly, very easy to learn how to use, and requires a minimum amount of computer skills. The pages are simple to follow and the navigation tab allows easy navigation from journal to journal. The simple but unique layout appears as if you are writing in an actual notebook and feels like a journal, not a blog. 2 Try out this application for yourself and see how you like it!
How Does It Work?
It Only Takes 4 Easy Steps:
- Go to www.penzu.com
- (Optional) Take the trial
- Sign up for an account
- Start journaling in Penzu's secure network
*Every time you get on Penzu, you simply have to log-in to your account and all of your previous journal entries will be there!*
How do I get a Penzu account?
Go to www.penzu.com and sign-up for a free account. All you have to do is sign in with your e-mail address and make a password. Then you can start journaling!
How do I use the "extras" on Penzu?
Click on this button when you are ready to start another journal entry, and it will take you to a new, clean sheet.
This will save your work that is on the screen. Remember, Penzu has a feature that automatically saves your work after 30 seconds.
If you want to print your entry, press on this button and you will have a hardcopy of your entry.
Want to put photos from a vacation in your entry? Share pictures of your family or show friends your new puppy? All you have to do is attach the photo to the document from a file on your computer or directly from your Flickr account, and the viewers of your journal will see your new pictures! The photo appears small, but if you drag your mouse over the photo, it becomes enlarged and gives you more choices in enlargement or removal of the photo. You can also add captions to the pictures. What an easy and fun way to share and save memories!
This is a unique and easy way to share your locked journals with others. All you have to do is click on the share button, type in an e-mail address, and add a message if you want. Presto! Your journal will be shared with those people. They can only view your journal, not change anything, so your journal is safe!
This is a feature that is used to lock an entry so it is extra secure. After clicking this button, you can either give the journal a basic lock or an encrypted lock. You then will enter a password and hint that only you know. The journal can be opened anytime by you, but no one else will be able to open the document.
Want to change the formatting of your journal entries, such as size, color, font, underline, or bullets? Upgrade to Penzu Pro and your journal will look even better and be more colorful and organized!
Tag entries together and organize journals. This makes finding an entry much easier so you can access it in an instant. To tag an entry, simply click the tag button, make a new tag album or find a previous one, and tag the entry. Now you have organized your Penzu!
The background of entries can be changed to make it more fun and unique! Available after purchasing Penzu Pro.
What are the Pros and Cons of Penzu? 3
Safe – entries are never lost or stolen
Never run out of ink
Never run out of paper
Share your entries (Export)
Download entries onto your computer (PDF, TXT, XML)
Cheaper than a leather-bound journal
Auto Save - It may automatically save, even when you do not want it to you (i.e. you accidentally erased everything and it saves that current version)
Here are two tutorials on the Use of Penzu versus Penzu Pro!
Demonstration of Penzu!
Demonstration of Penzu Pro!
How does Penzu Relate to Other Applications?
Why is Penzu better than a blog?
Penzu combines a slick blogging platform with solid privacy features, offering fine-grained control over who sees your writing. Penzu's great privacy features let you lock down individual posts or all your entries, depending on your preference. Alternatively, you can email an entry to someone anonymously, or via your Penzu identity.
What is Penzu similar to?
Similar to Penzu, Livejournal is also a free online journal for users. Unlike Penzu, Livejournal allows users to customize backgrounds and texts for free. Penzu charges $19 per year for these features. Although Penzu may not have as many customizations and edits, Penzu offers a more reliable security system than Livejournal.
Windows Live Writer
Like Penzu, Windows Live Writer is a web 2.0 tool that allows you to write using text, pictures, and more. Windows Live Writer requires you to download software, whereas Penzu only requires you to create an account. If you are a Mac user, you are out of luck. Mac users are not able to access Windows Live Writer. With Penzu, all you need is Internet access. After creating a document on Windows Live Writer, you are required to upload it on some sort of blog. Penzu is your own personal diary or journal. 4
What Are The Unique Uses of Penzu?
Check out this video to see how easy it is to use Penzu!
What are some unique uses of Penzu?
- When you purchase Penzu pro, there is an app that allows you to access your account on your mobile device. You can have your Penzu journal with you at all times! It is still secure, you can search your entries, and your entries sync with your Penzu account. The other great thing about Penzu mobile is that you can work offline. 5
- Personal journal/diary that is secure, but can be accessed by the user from any computer with internet access.
- Keep track of daily eating habits
- Record learning experiences
- Take notes
- Share your entries with others while still keeping other entries private and secure
- Attach photos from vacations or other important events right to the document
- If you often forget, your worries are over. Don't wait until you get home to write down an unforgettable moment. Instead, you can use Penzu anywhere you have access to a computer and immediately write down your thoughts. No more waiting for hours until you get home to your journal to make an entry!
This is an example of what your phone would look like after installing Penzu on your phone!
Real World Application
Educational Lesson Plans
Penzu can be used efficiently in a classroom along with normal lesson plans. The journal allows students to write their thoughts freely and share them with their teachers via e-mail. The following lesson plans are ways Penzu can be implemented into lesson plans for elementary, high school, and college students.
Elementary Lesson Plans
Journaling with Penzu
Students will be exposed to the use of Penzu through classroom instruction, a history lesson and research process, and an assignment on their own personal experiences.
History Journal using Penzu
The purpose of this lesson plan is to help the students create a better understanding of the lifestyles of the American settlers using the Penzu application to journal their thoughts.
After reading about the first settlers of America, students will create their own journal on Penzu documenting how their lives would be if they were also an American settler. The students will be evaluated based on their thoughts they provided in their Penzu journal.
Lima Bean Elementary Lesson Plan
The purpose of this activity is to teach the students how to make observations, predictions, and conclusions. They will record all of these things through Penzu.
After reading chapter 3 in their science book, students will be able to make predictions, observations, and conclusions about their lima bean plant.
Secondary Lesson Plans
The purpose of the activity is to use the wood manufacturing tools in the Agriculture shop to create a duck blind for a local conservation club.
The objective for this lesson is to create a duck blind that will be sufficient for the hunters. This will need to be tested in the field to make sure it is sufficient
Nutritional Food Log
In class the students are learning about nutritional foods and how good healthy foods are for their body. Students will record their eating habits in a journal log using Penzu and then share their daily menu recordings with their teacher using the “share” feature on Penzu.
Through the use of Penzu, students will write down their daily eating habits for four days. They will record this in the Penzu journal and share with
The purpose of this lesson is to teach students about the 6 species of livestock (pigs, sheep, goats, dairy, beef cattle, and horses). This will include knowing breeds, what their different uses are/known for, and each breeds history for each individual specie.
Post-Secondary Lesson Plans
Greece Study Abroad Opportunity
Students are studying abroad in Greece and experiencing new cultures for two weeks. College credits will be given for this course and will be given only through the use of daily journals about new and life changing experiences and specific/special occurrences each day. Penzu will be used as the writing tool while in Greece and shared with the Professor.
Through the use of Penzu, students will share experiences while Studying Abroad with their Professor. This will be done by using the “share” featured offered by Penzu. The students should execute this with 100% success.
The purpose of this lesson is to inform students about the basics of power electronics and familiarize them with measurement instruments and simulation software.
The purpose of this lesson plan is to help students in COM 114 or other Speech classes organize their thoughts and information for their individual speech presentations using Penzu.
After learning about the different aspects of speeches, students will organize and present a persuasive speech to the class demonstrating his/her knowledge of the information discussed in the book. Each student will be evaluated on their organization and delivery of the speech.
How Can Penzu Be Used in a Business/Industry Setting?
The President and Founder of Penzu said this about the use of Penzu in a Business/Industry Setting:
"Penzu is best used as a personal journal, so for businessmen and women it's
a great way to track their personal progress. By keeping a journal of what
you are learning, doing, and not doing, you stay focused and are much more
aware of your actions and development. It's also a great way to track your
goals and make plans for your career."
- The use of Penzu could make the lives of secretaries a lot easier! Are the days of papers and handwritting over? Penzu may be the answer to better notes and organization.
- Not only can you type faster than you can write, but you can correct mistakes much easier.
- You can date your entries and retrieve any important entry at any meeting in one easy step, as opposed to scattering through piles of paper.
- You can share your notes on Penzu with others in the office instead of sending an email to each individual.
What Is The Educational Value of Penzu?
Use in the Classroom
Although this application seems like it can only be used for personal purposes, many instructors use it for educational purposes. Colin Hill, a school teacher from Southport, UK writes, "I use Penzu as a continuous Professional Development tool in my education career, using it as a pad to store my thoughts, ideas, and analysis of lessons in my classroom. Knowing that these thoughts are kept private, I can build up a portfolio of experiences without having to worry too much about prying eyes casting over my thoughts. I can see the potential Penzu has in developing pupils technology and writing skills." 6
The founders of Penzu value education and believe that is important to give back to programs that support the promotion and spread of global education. Because of this belief, they donate a portion of all proceeds from the Penzu Pro version to Room To Read, a charity that focuses on providing better access to higher-quality educational opportunities in under-developed countries. 8
Since education is related to job success, it is important to note that the online journal Penzu can actually help people find jobs faster. Dr. James W. Pennebaker states on the Penzu website that explaining your feelings and thought about losing a job can triple your chances of becoming employed more quickly after job loss. He even states that using this Penzu online journal and writting about your daily thoughts and activities can double your sucess on finding a job over those who do not journal and disclose their personal feelings. 7
How is Penzu Used Internationally?
Alexander Mimran shared this interesting fact about how Penzu is used internationally:
"Many people around the world use Penzu, even though we don't support
multiple languages. A teacher in the UK, a woman in Spain, a kid in Japan.
Penzu is used in over 170 countries!"
Past International Uses:
- Ben Simon, a Canadian journalist based in Kampala, Uganda uses Penzu to document his world travels through places like the Congo and various countries in Africa. He uses Penzu internationally because if anything is damaged throughout his travels, he knows that everything can be recovered and is saved and password protected. This example shows that Penzu is a better way to document experiences internationally because information will never be lost and is always safe. 6
Future International Uses:
- Use in the classroom for cultural knowledge expansion by use of International Pen Pals.
- Document sharing/meeting notes between businesses in different countries.