Mar 20 2014

Tiki-Toki: Awesome 3-D Timelines

jim

http://www.tiki-toki.com/

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!

By the way, the free version does not let you embed the interactive timelines on your own site. That’s why I used Screenr to screencast it above! Click here to see the live timeline shown above.

There are a few other timeline generators out there, but this is the only 3-D interface we’ve run across. So go check it out- it’s worth a look!

 


Feb 24 2014

Kahoot! Your Students Will Ask to Play Again and Again!

jim

http://www.getkahoot.com

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!

kahoot (Small)

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!


Jul 17 2013

Graphite: Unbiased Reviews of Apps, Websites & More (by educators, for educators)

jim

http://www.graphite.org/

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.

Capture2

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.

Capture

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!


Apr 20 2013

Socrative now includes ability to add images to questions!

jim

www.socrative.com

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!

To activate these features, you must first fill out the quick survey to complete your teacher profile at their website! Enjoy!

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.


Apr 15 2013

Free stock photography & PowerPoint Templates at ImageBase

jim

http://www.imagebase.net

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!


Apr 10 2013

Visualize your Writing with FlickrPoet

jim

http://www.storiesinflight.com/flickrpoet/index.php


This cool little web app creates a visualization of your original poetry (or any other text you enter) by fetching Flickr images that match each word and displaying them in a collage with the text floating over each image.


You simply enter the text and click the “Show Story” button. Give it a few seconds and your collage will be built before your eyes. If you don’t like it, click the button again to re-spin your visualization. Here’s a small sample of my original work (I make no claim regarding the quality of the poetry itself):

Once the collage is built, you can click on any individual image to open its Flickr page. Other than that, you can’t do much with it. You can save it as a web page if you want to keep it- and I suppose you could print it to a printer or make a PDF of it.


Now that I think about it, it would be a quick way to search for a collection of images for projects (such as book trailers, slideshows, presentations, etc.).


NOTE: I could never get this to display correctly in the Chrome browser (my default). I used Firefox (on a PC) for the above image. If your web filter blocks Flickr images, this will not work!


Apr 6 2013

How I quickly share text online- and avoid character limits (take that, Twitter!)

jim

http://www.heypasteit.com/

There may be times when you need to post some text somewhere online but don’t want to mess with editing a website, making a new blog post, or logging in to edit your wiki, etc. For example, someone recently asked me (via Twitter) about my presentation schedule for an upcoming conference. The problem- Twitter only allows me 140 characters and I needed to share quite a bit more than that. And I didn’t want to log in and make a post on my blog and give out the URL- what a hassle!


A while back, I would’ve used www.textbin.com to enter some text and just paste the link to my note. Unfortunately, that website is now in the Web 2.0 graveyard. So why not www.heypasteit.com?


The idea is simple- just type or paste text into the text box on the website, click “Paste Online” and it generates a unique URL for your note. You just share the URL (or just the code) and give it to whomever you want. That’s it! No accounts. No logins. Just paste & share. It’s not fancy, doesn’t have some of the more advanced features that other similar sites have (like http://pastebin.com/). But it’s clean and simple.


If you want to see how it looks on the receiving end, here’s my note I referred to earlier about an upcoming conference schedule: http://www.heypasteit.com/clip/0RHC. Notice you can download the text as a file (.txt).


I can think of all kinds of uses for this. I’m sure you can too- but will you remember it’s there for you when you need it? And will the website still be there or will they have been gobbled up by Google? Only time will tell. Until then, I’m going to use it to my advantage!


Apr 1 2013

For April Fool’s: Flip text upside down with Flip Text!

jim

http://www.fliptext.org/

This site has no real practical uses other than to annoy your readers, email recipients, or students. But it does make for a great prank!

Simply go to the site, enter your text, click the button to flip it, then copy the resulting text to paste back into an email, blog, website, or wherever you want. See, this blog post looks like this when flipped:

Annoying, right? Just a word of caution- not all blogs, websites, and email clients will accept this upside-down text and will substitute something entirely different (like a font substitution) filled with illegible symbols and characters.

Want to be even more vexatious- turn the font color to white! Just saying…

 

 


Mar 19 2013

Death of iGoogle and Google Reader- Consider Protopage as a Replacement!

jim

http://www.protopage.com

In the beginning, Google created Google Personalized Homepages- and they saw it was good. Next they improved upon it and created iGoogle- and we saw it as very good. Then they decided to kill iGoogle- which prompted tens of thousands of users to launch “Save iGoogle campaigns” and such (probably to no avail).  Google is putting iGoogle to rest November 1st, 2013. To deliver our personalized news, website changes, and RSS feeds, we switched to Google Reader (as Google themselves suggested). And just last week, Google announced the end of life for Google Reader for July 1, 2013. Grrrrr.

Those of you who liked Google Reader and want to stay with that look and feel, try www.feedly.com. They even have tools there to help you transition from Google Reader. That website has a much more polished look than Reader, but the basic layout and features are similar.

For those of you still mourning the loss of iGoogle or you just like the ability to add and rearrange widgets on a custom screen, try www.protopage.com. This is very similar to iGoogle and you can actually import your iGoogle or Reader OPML files right into your own start page.

 

Features of Protopage I really like:

 

  • Page is not tied to a Google account so I can share it easily with others (want to see mine? Look at http://www.protopage.com/talljim)
  • Can add multiple “tabs” (pages) like iGoogle
  • Can share only certain tabs of your portal
  • Can add built-in widgets or RSS feeds from various sites
  • I love the Web Widget which allows you to paste in embed code from Web 2.0 sites to test & display

 

 

 


Mar 17 2013

Who’s bringing what? Stop the back-and-forth emails with Sign-up Genius!

jim

http://www.signupgenius.com

It happens all the time- your team, group, or class decides to have some party, get-together, or luncheon requiring everyone to sign up for something. Once upon a time, sign-up sheets were posted outside an office door, cubicle wall, or lounge bulletin board. Then someone had a bright idea: “Let’s email each other what we are signing up for!” And so the email madness begins. You know, it goes something like…

Sally decides to bring fruit salad, and so does Jill. Their emails to the whole group cross in the ether. Tony decides to bring a corn casserole but forgets to email the whole group and just emails the person coordinating. Then Sally sees Jill’s email and retracts her own and decides to bring a Jell-O salad at the same time Jill decides to bring an Apple-Walnut tart. So in the end no one brings fruit salad, three people bring corn casserole, and the plasticware was left off the list!

Sign-up Genius pushes this to the cloud and takes care of it all… and yes, its FREE! So let’s say we are having an end-of-year party at school and we need parents to donate certain things. So here is the sign-up sheet for all to see and use (go ahead, try it- it’ll just send me an email):

www.SignUpGenius.com/go/70A0B44A4AD2CA31-endofyear

No, we aren’t really having a party, though that would be all kinds of fun!

A few great settings that can be selected in the creation process:

  • Can require an access code to sign up for items
  • Can ask customized questions
  • Users can leave their own comments
  • Notify me by email when someone signs up
  • Send reminders to group members X days before the date they signed up
  • Allow a list member to “swap” slots with another member

So for the love of all things good, please pass this on to your room mothers, PTA coordinators, party planners, your Aunt Anne, and anyone else who needs people to sign up for things- it will save a lot of time and hassle (and keep those insane “Reply to All” email messages to a minimum).