Feb 22 2010

LoonaPix- a fun way to add special effects to a photo



Loonapix is a free photo editing online service that is a lot of fun to use to enhance your photographs. It’s easy to use, and has lots of options. Continue reading

Feb 19 2010

“If it’s on the internet, it must be true!”


OK, so it’s a ridiculous statement. But I guarantee that students think like this! Even my 10 year-old daughter gets caught up in this when her friends pass on email chain letters promising great fortunes. (By the way, I monitor her email using epals.com… that’s right, no privacy in my household!)

Students have a tough time discerning the validity of a website. Even for many adults this can be a real challenge!

I have created this lesson (Revised-Expand Your Horizons) to demonstrate for students that you can’t always believe everything you read. In short, students will form groups with each group investigating one of the following fake/hoax websites:

Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus (save the endangered tree octopus)
Dog Island (send your dog away to eternal bliss to roam free and natural on this paradise island)
Republic of Cascadia. (a new republic in the Northwest Terrirtory)
Music Faun Ear Enhancement (modern plastic surgery to enhance enjoyment of music)
DHMO.org (research page for Dihydrogen Monoxide, better known as water)

The groups will research each of the sites using the sheet as a guide. They will then present their findings to the class, followed by a Q & A. What a bluff! Students fall for this all the time. It’s up to you when to let the cat out of the bag and discuss how to evaluate their findings. You might want to refer to Teaching Zack to Think, an article by Alan November. It’s an outdated article (1998) but has some great methods for evaluating websites for validity!

A few more fake/hoax sites to come soon!

Feb 18 2010

Slide.com- a fun way to make quick videos



This website is no longer in operation! And so goes the world of web applications!



Feb 15 2010

Thanks to our TCEA Friends!



For those of you who joined us in Austin, TX for TCEA…


Thanks for a great conference! As featured presenters, Susan and I presented a total of nine combined sessions within two days. The Web 2.0, Google Earth, and Print, Cut, Fold sessions went very well. For those of you that attended, we thank you and hope that you left with some great ideas to start using in your own pursuits! Three things to remember:

1. If you missed our presentations or want to see our handouts, click on the Presentations link at the top of this page!

2. Please sign up for our e-mail newsletter by clicking the Newsletter link at the top of the page. We’ll keep you informed of the latest and greatest findings on the web.

3. Many TCEA participants asked us if we deliver staff development at other districts. Yes! Yes! And a thousand times Yes! We love doing this and wish we could do this more. We are, however, limited by our own personal schedules and full-time jobs in our own district. For more information email jim@digitalgoonies.com or susan@digitalgoonies.com.

Oh, I thought of one more thing- if you haven’t joined us on Plurk, check it out (see Jim’s Plurk page here)! If you aren’t aware, Plurk is a great way to build your own PLN (Personal Learning Network). We have come to rely on it for some great ideas and feedback!

Feb 4 2010

PhotoPeach- A peachy slideshow alternative!



This great site allows you to display your images in two different modes. The “Story” mode as shown below allows you to add captions, music, and quiz questions to your images.

The “Spiral” mode displays images only in a great interface. This is an example of the spiral mode:

This makes a great alternative to the traditional slideshow. Some features to consider: Continue reading

Feb 3 2010

Dial My Calls- your own personal calling system!



You know those annoying recorded messages you get as soon as you sit down to dinner? You answer to find yourself talking to a recording from a politician urging you to vote his way in the upcoming election. Or worse, it’s a debt collector giving instructions on how to save your credit rating. Now, you too, can be one of those voices!

That’s right- and yes, for free* (limited, see below)- imagine delivering a recorded message to your students, parents, or colleagues without having to call each one of them! It’s great, you gotta try it!


So it’s simple. You record your message via phone (or upload), enter contact information, decide which contacts will get the message and when. Then sit back and relax.

Features to know: Continue reading

Feb 2 2010

Create your own Concert Ticket!



Like many other image generators, this handy site will let you create your own concert ticket image. Choose from one of three styles to create something like this:


Yeah, so that’s cool. But how would you ever use this? How about a “ticket” to Open House, a class party, special events, etc. I even used it for my daughter’s birthday party invitations when she wanted a movie theme! Just a couple things you should keep in mind Continue reading

Feb 1 2010

TinyURL- Put that big URL on a quick slim diet!



Have you ever tried to get a group of students (or teachers, or maybe just your mother-in-law) to correctly enter a rather long URL without missing a single character? Or have you ever wanted to share a cool link on a social network like Twitter or Plurk but your link takes up your character quota? That’s where shortening really helps! No, not the Crisco kind…

Probably most of you reading this have already heard of TinyURL, but we are surprised as we give presentations at the number of educators who have never heard of or used a URL shortening service. TinyURL isn’t the only one (for a more comprehensive list, look at this article) but it’s one that is simple and not blocked by most web filters.


It’s simple- just paste in the real URL, then click the MakeTinyURL button. The newly generated URL will never expire! Here, try it below…

Enter a long URL to make tiny:

So just think…

  • Shorter URLs for students to enter
  • Hide the text of URLs when desired (until the user is re-directed)
  • Can add a TinyURL button to your browser for quick creation of Tiny URLs