Due to some changes in work schedules and obligations, we are in the process of changing the format of our website to better serve educators everywhere. Rather than create individual blog posts for each technology tool, we are shifting to a Twitter feed that includes content from us as well as some other excellent technology educators around the country.
You don’t need a Twitter account to keep up. Here’s the feed below. We will continue to tailor this feed to bring you only the best tools available without having to sift through hundreds of posts! Please be patient with us!
This cool web application (whose name is less than cool) allows students to make timelines complete with events containing text, images, video, audio and more! Take a look at the sample below (thanks to my daughter who experimented with this app and discovered all of its little quirks and limitations):
As you can see, there are many more features than I’ve mentioned here. This works on the freemium model, so keep in mind that the free version allows the creation of only one timeline. Another important feature- it’s powered by HTML 5, so, yes, it will work on iPads!
Shhh! Don’t tell them they are learning! This awesome game-based learning tool will have your students on the edge of their seats just waiting to answer the next question! They don’t do that with worksheets!
Teachers create multiple-choice quizzes from scratch or use other teachers’ quizzes as a starting point. Then launch the game, which gives students instructions on accessing the game with any device: laptop, iPad, Android phone, Chromebook, etc. It works on any device with an internet browser. The questions are displayed on the screen in the classroom and students answer the question as quickly as they can. The faster they answer, the more points they receive- just like the trivia games at the local bar & grill!
A few other features:
Students don’t need accounts- just the game’s PIN
Every question is followed by a bar graph showing the distribution of answers
The top 5 scores are displayed on the screen
Students enter their nicknames to play- inappropriate words are filtered out
Game-show type music plays as the questions are presented
Each question is timed separately
All answers/scores are recorded and available for download as an .xls file at the end
There are over 30,000 public quizzes waiting for you to use or modify and make your own
Side note: notice this is the first blog post in quite some time! Hopefully we can be better about blogging about what’s going on in our digital adventures!
If you are a user of Twitter and/or Tweetdeck (and, of course, all great educators are), here’s a little trick that I am often asked about in my Twitter training sessions. How can you find out what people are tweeting about in your own neighborhood? Surprisingly, the answer is pretty easy! Yes, you can snoop in! Twitter lets you feel the pulse of any neighborhood or area!
In Twitter or Tweetdeck, enter these parameters in your search field (but use your own values- the following shows the tweets within a one-mile radius of our local mall):
You must get your latitude and longitude in decimal format. You can get this from Google Maps or from http://geocoder.us/. If you are using Google Maps, right-click on the center of your neighborhood and select “What’s Here?” Then under the menu options (top right), click on the numerical latitude and longitude. Then you’ll be able to copy it.
Once you have the latitude and longitude, then decide the radius of your search (in my example I used “1mi” to search a one mile radius).
When you search around your neighborhood, be prepared for what you will find! The language on Twitter is not censored- and neither is the content. You may find out more than you ever wanted to know about your neighbors… and their children!
Want to snoop around in some other areas? Twitter lets you listen in on the local conversations! Try searching around:
Schools and universities
The neighborhood where you grew up
Using the Geocode feature is sort of like listening in on the old “party lines” back in the rural America of the past!
With the millions of websites and mobile apps out there vying for attention from educators, it’s difficult to know which ones are really educationally sound and worthy of class time. Sure, there are hundreds of sites that “review” apps, but this one is different in many ways.
First, keep in mind that Common Sense Media (the organization behind this site) is a non-profit group with a solid reputation for providing resources for teaching digital citizenship. Second, apps are reviewed by a team of vetted educators and “field notes” are provided by teachers from all over the globe. Third, the reviews are two-fold: a Learning rating and a Teacher rating. The Learning rating is based on solid pedagogy. And finally, the search capabilities are amazing- filter by grade level, subject, resource type, etc.
The site is still young and growing- but I am confident that it will become a major player, if not the industry standard, in educational technology reviews!
BTW- this was probably the greatest “takeaway” for us from ISTE 2013. If you missed it there, take a look at the recording here!
OK, there is certainly no shortage of screen-sharing or image sharing sites out there for us to use. But there are times when I need to quickly paste in a screenshot or image that I have copied and share it out to others. Normally, this would require me to paste it into a document, a note in Evernote, a Google Doc or something similar.
Snaggy recently solved that problem for me. I needed to quickly share a screenshot (this happened to be a part of Google Earth). So I used my favorite screen capture tool (I personally like the free version of FastStone Capture- or sometimes resort to Windows Snipping Tool for another free option) then I went to this website and simply pasted in what I had copied.
Then the website simply uploaded my image and gave me a unique URL to post wherever I wanted!
This is a nice, quick tool to share a link to an image in places where it’s not practical to share the actual image!
More and more, in my presentations at various conferences and staff development sessions, I briefly discuss the role of technology for today’s student (digital natives) and how many teachers (digital immigrants) refuse to speak the language. Reluctant teachers have all kinds of excuses. The following video is a great satire:
So just think what our kids’ kids will be using to compare the ridiculousness of not embracing the here and now!
From their own website: “ThingLink helps you create and discover rich images. Be creative! Make your images come alive with music, video, text, images, shops and more! Every image contains a story and ThingLink helps you tell your stories.”
Thinglink is such a fun site that allows students to incorporate lots of content with tags on an image. It’s so easy and quick, the hardest part is remember the website’s name…. thinklink, thingling, thinkling, Thinglink!
I have previously raved about Socrative, the website that turns any device into a “clicker” (student response system). I still love and recommend this site!
In an email blast this past week, the company announced a couple new features it has now implemented (if you “activate” them on your account- read on). The first feature is great- the ability to add an image to a question! While you can’t add images for the answer choices, this does allow you to add a single image to your question:
OK, so it’s not earth-shattering, but it does open up some possibilities. Just think- you can now add a diagram, chart, or graph and ask questions about that image. This has some possibilities! And if you did want an image for each answer choice in a question? Use something like iPiccy to create a single image containing the answer choices as such:
The other feature that Socrative has added is the ability to grade free-text short answers. You do this by entering in all possible answer choices and spelling variations. These open-ended answers can then be evaluated and included in the grading!
BTW- the answers to the above questions: Ronald Reagan did not win the state of Minnesota (Walter Mondale’s home state). And Joan Jett, answer C, sang “I Love Rock and Roll.” Can you name the others pictured? Answers here.
It seems we are always in great need of images to use in our digital products. We have covered several other sites providing free images previously. Imagebase is another site that you may want to consider adding to your toolbox of available media that is free to use.
Browse these categories:
Can also search by keywords.
The images are available to view and download in high-resolution!
And what does free mean? This site actually spells it out:
These images are free to use for anything you want, non-profit, commercial, print, web, screen, film, or anything else. You don’t have to credit my name or this site. We’d love if it you did give us credit or link back to the site, but it is not required. Basically, you can treat the images as if they were in the public domain. If you want a link to paste: Photo Credit, David Niblack, Imagebase.net. A few exceptions:
- Please do not combine the photos with illicit or for any kind of pornographic purposes. - Please don’t resell the images as they are. If you make alterations to them or combine them with other photos, then they can be resold.
And as always, while you’re there- help keep free sites like this up and running by clicking on an ad or two out of appreciation! I know how much work (and resources) it takes to maintain a website!