Apr 26 2013

Teachers Reluctant to Use Technology- Pencil Chat is just for you!


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!

Apr 23 2013

Link your content together visually with Thinglink!



What is ThingLink?

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!

Hover over the map to see the links.

Continue reading

Apr 20 2013

Socrative now includes ability to add images to questions!



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



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



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!)



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!



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…