May 18 2010 Make a drawing, pass it on!


This has some real possibilities! It’s a simple concept- I use the online drawing tablet to draw something (can also include text). When I click Share, the drawing is saved to the site’s server and a unique URL is generated. I can then pass that URL on to another to add to my drawing or improve upon it (which in turn can be saved and another unique URL generated). Here’s an example I’ve drawn (remember, I am an educator- not an artist! There is a reason why God made Photoshop).
Start with my drawing, add to it and label the parts of the Water Cycle then post your link in the comments area! See my drawing (the same one as above) here: Add to it and re-post your new link!

Apr 14 2010

Word Clouds Way Beyond Wordle!


Most of you, by now, have heard of Wordle (see our Jan. 20th post). And don’t get me wrong- Wordle is fabulous. But even Wordle’s creator is singing the praises of Tagxedo. This awesome web app does the same thing Wordle does, but adds so many more options!In short, it makes a word cloud based on words you enter. The more times a word appears, the larger it is displayed.

This example was created not by typing in words, but just putting in the URL of our blog:

Some things to consider…

  • Free (a few premium features are locked- or will be)
  • No login required
  • Silverlight (free plugin) is required- though this is becoming standard for many new interactive websites
  • Great possibilities for curriculum integration
    • Describing the Kingdoms in science
    • Parts of speech in language arts
    • Key facts centered around an important event or person
    • And on and on!

Why is it better than Wordle? Let’s see…

  • It allows you to save your cloud in various shapes (star, heart, circle, etc.)
  • You can save your creation as a .jpg or .png without screen capture
  • It has some great color palettes and font choices
  • You can select words to skip
  • The interface is easy and beautiful

Tell us what you think!

And, oh yes, we have already obtained permission to use this site in our next book!

Jan 20 2010

Wordle- Beautiful word clouds!


Wow, I can’t believe we haven’t blogged about this before now. We’ve been using this since it’s creation! But in case you’ve missed it, you gotta try it out. There are all kinds of curriculum implications with this tool. You simply type or paste in text and it builds a semi-customizable word cloud based on the text. The more times a word appears in the text, the larger it is. You can choose the layout, color scheme, and font — or just choose to randomize it.

Here I’ve pasted the text of my novel’s description and made a word cloud out of it:


Just think Continue reading

Jan 9 2010

Sketchcast- Narrate your animated sketch!


This site is so useful and just absolutely cool. This allows you to draw on a whiteboard in multiple colors. It also allows you the ability to vocally narrate what you are drawing- if you wish. This would be especially great for showing math solutions or explaining diagrams of various concepts. Take a look at this… and don’t forget to turn your volume up!

Occasionally I’ve experienced their servers being down, but overall, what a great service! Can you imagine all the possibilities? I wish my teachers would’ve had this back in the day!