Jan 31 2010

Turn your computer into a teleprompter with CuePrompter!



Turn your browser into a teleprompter, just like the ones used in television studios everywhere! Why? How about when you are recording a script or narration for that next slideshow? Or maybe you are recording instructions for your students to post on your website. Whatever the case, this is a pretty cool little utility- not to mention what it does for student reading fluency!


This is so simple to use! Just type or paste text into the box, choose among the few options and let it go! Here are some options Continue reading

Jan 30 2010

Jog the Web- my kind of running!


Taking someone (say, students) on a tour of websites has never been easier. With this cool annotation tool, you add and sequence pages to be visited in the tour. The page opens in a frame with your typed message in the side frame. It’s better if you just take a look. I created this jog- a tour of 5 pages that provide free image resources for students and teachers.


Users advance to the next stop in the track by clicking on the Next (right arrow) button. The page will load within the given frame, keeping the navigation controls visible in a separate (left frame).

Just imagine the possibilities- take students on a self-paced tour through websites of your choosing. With your annotations, highlight important parts of the page or pose questions for students to answer with the information on each page.

Jan 28 2010

SuperLame! – Turn your photographs into a Comic!



I love this application. It lets you upload a photograph, add text in balloons, and add script as a sound effect. Easy as pie…. although in my experience making pie is not as easy as making cobbler! So I would say “easy as making cobbler!”.

mySuperLamePic_d5983cff9c55b7d27c4ec07313cd1d06 Continue reading

Jan 27 2010

Timetoast- Interactive Timelines in a Flash!



What an awesome way to present lots of information in a small but organized space! Rather than just sequence some events on paper, how about creating a sharp-looking, pain-free timeline like this one I created for Slavery & War in the United States:

These gems are easy to create and share! There are a couple things you should consider though… Continue reading

Jan 26 2010

ScreenToaster- So we can watch your every move…



Captivate. Camtasia. CamStudio. Jing. And many more. There are lots of these babies hanging around waiting to be downloaded and installed. Ranging in price from free (CamStudio) to way more than I can afford (Captivate), these handy utilities allow you to record, annotate, and, in some cases, narrate the actions on your computer screen. But none of them do it quite like ScreenToaster.

This website allows you to record on screen events, annotate the actions, and upload to the web. The resulting video can be linked to or embedded like this one. There is absolutely nothing to install! Log in to the site, record your actions (uses a Java applet), narrate if desired, then publish it! They host your file so you can embed it immediately in blogs, wikis, or other websites. Here’s one recording of me showing my wife how to edit her library catalog page:

I chose not to narrate with my voice- besides, what wife wants to listen to their husband any more than necessary, right? But here are some things Continue reading

Jan 24 2010

Squareleaf- Virtual Sticky Notes



I am a list maker. It seems like the only way I can remember anything is to write it on a small piece of paper and carry it around with me until I complete that task. However, this system isn’t as flawless as I would like. I lose notes, I leave them on my desk at work or at home, I drop them into the bottomless pit known as my purse, and occasionally I have no idea what I wrote, what it looked like, and where I was when I wrote it!


This is where Squareleaf comes in. Squareleaf.net is a virtual sticky note creator that is always online. I used to use a sticky note application that resided on my computer, but that was limited by me being at the same place as my computer. I like having access to my notes at any computer, anywhere!

It’s very simple to use, you register for a login (it’s free!), and then create notes in any size or formation. You can change the color of the note to make groups or to indicate urgency, or delete when you are finished.


Squareleaf doesn’t change the amount of tasks I have to do, but it might make me a little more organized….


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 15 2010

Scribd- Put your documents out there!



OK, so I kinda already worked this into the blog a few months ago (see the Letterpop entry) but never really addressed the tool that I used to display the document. So if you haven’t seen or heard of Scribd by now, you’re probably not wasting enough time on the web- or maybe you just haven’t noticed. Here’s the deal- you have a document you want users to be able to view but don’t want to bother them with downloading it and using some kind of reader or third-party application (unless they just really want to). Just put it up on Scribd  and embed the online viewer into your blog or website like this:

Geocaching Activity Types

As you can see, you can view it in full screen, download the document if you want, or link to the Scribd page and leave a comment. Not bad for a cool, free tool, right?

Jan 14 2010

Mixbook- Online scrapbooking made easy… and beautiful!



OK, so I’m not a big fan of conventional crapbooks… uh, I mean scrapbooks. Really, with all that time spent cutting out letters, rummaging through aisles and aisles of background papers, trinkets, and embellishments- that’s just not for me! That’s not to say that I don’t appreciate creativity and presenting images and information in a fun, attractive way though.

Mixbook, one of the eight web applications that we have used for years and included in our most recent books, allows ordinary people to create some extraordinary displays in a scrapbookish kind of way. Take a look at one of the completed, curriculum-related projects:

Yes, it’s a free site with some amazing features Continue reading

Jan 13 2010

TypeIt- Don’t let those foreign language accents annoy you!



TypeIt is a tool that allows users to type more easily in foreign languages. Users can select a language (lots of various languages) and then type whatever they need to–an email, a blog post, a forum comment, et cetera–and then copy and paste the text. The benefit of doing this is being able to use shortcuts for writing special characters like ö, á, ¿, «, etc. This wouldn’t be great for typing long reports because users should be using keyboard shortcuts for editing in those situations, but for short web postings or emails, this could be a useful tool.TypeIt

This even lets you do some basic formatting- like bold, underline, italics, etc. When you copy and paste the text into a word processor (tested on Word 2007), the formatting goes with it!