What are your favorite "cool" online tools for teaching? Feel free to list them here and describe how you use them. We'll continue to compile a list of all the great suggestions into a document that will be found in the "Documents" area of this group. Let's hear what you've found!!
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And... here are some of my favorites to get us started...
NCTM's Illuminations Activities - I always lead off with these great online activities from our fabulous partners at NCTM. They feature over 100 interactive applications for teaching math concepts.
Polleverywhere - This is an online audience response system service. Teachers can create polls and have students respond either immediately using a computer or mobile device, or leave the poll open for a longer period of time for responses. They feature educational pricing and a free option that allows up to 32 responses per poll. I have seen this used in computer labs, with classroom sets of iPod Touch devices and even cell phones.
Jing - This is an online service for screen capture and screencasting. The free version is quite robust and allows teachers (or students) to make videos of computer screen activitiy. That activity can even be narrated to create a tutorial or lesson (also called a screencast).
USTREAM - This online service can turn an ordinary computer with a web cam and Internet connection into a live broadcast studio. You can also capture the broadcast and store it for anytime playback. I've seen it used for streaming concerts, sports, classroom programs and more. (Be careful about use of names or other identifiers and be aware of copyright issues!) They feature a free (ad-supported) tier of service.
TeacherTube - This is a free education-related alternative to the popular YouTube service. It is generally "safer" and the advertising is less intrusive. It is often not blocked by school content filters (though it still is blocked by many).
Media-Convert - An online conversion tool for video, audio, images, documents, spreadsheets and much more. I've seen many teachers use this to convert that odd file that a student brings from home but that doesn't open on the school computer. Very handy and works quite well. NOTE... It does not currently support the MS Office 2007/2008 file formats (.docx, xlsx, etc.)
Prezi - An online application for creating and showing presentations. What sets this apart from other presentation software is that it in non-linear. Thus, you can create a presentation in any order and jump from one area to another very easily. Allows for the use of the mindmapping concept. Presentations can be stored and viewed online.
Flickr - Share photos online. They can be shared publicly or privately to a select group of people (handy if sharing photos of students).
Also, take a look at this current discussion on Web 2.0 tools in the Verizon Thinkfinity 101 community for more ideas.
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My favorite resource right now is Animoto. Animoto makes awesome slideshows/movies in just a few simple steps. They offer educator accounts for free with unlimited time. One of our English teachers had students write an essay about their personal mandala and then draw a picture of their mandala. The pictures were scanned and then used as the images in the Animoto movie. Students recorded their essays and had a great final project in a class period. The program really has unlimited possiblities!
Curriki is an online environment created to support the development and free distribution of world-class educational materials to anyone who needs them. Their name is a play on the combination of 'curriculum' and 'wiki' which is the technology they are using to make education universally accessible.
It is a great place to find and post classroom activities and course curriculum.
"Curriki’s mission is to eliminat the
Education Divide – the gap
between those who have access
to high-quality education and
those who do not – in the US and
around the world."
A teacher shared these web sites today during a photo editing training workshop. Both Wigflip - toys and tools for the web and BigHugeLabs: Do fun stuff with your photos offer a variety of online tools. I have not had time to investigate any of them, but the teacher was thrilled with the work she had done using some of these online tools. If anyone tries any of these tools, I'd be interested to know what you think.
I would be interested in the title of the book using photos for writing. I just taught a Digital Camera class and a Photo Editing class to teachers. I'm always looking for great resources to pass on to educators. I used Google's Picasa 3 (a good program for beginners and intermediates) and Gimp 2.6 (almost as good as Photoshop CS) as free photo editing downloads during my training. The teachers couldn't believe they could get this much software for free.
Thanks for the ideas about adding my favorite resources - it's working better now! The book I found helpful when teaching writing about photographs is Reading Photographs to Write With Meaning and Purpose Grades 4-12 by Leigh Van Horn. It was published by the International Reading Association in 2008. Its topics or tags include Pictures in education--United States, Visual literacy, Composition(Language Arts)--Study and teaching and also English language--Composition and exercises. Hope you find this book as helpful as I did. I used it when tutoring a dyslexic adult literacy student.
Have a nice weekend.
There are a few online tools that I have recently stumbled upon that I really LOVE -
www.gapminder.org - "Unveiling the beauty of statistics for a fact based view". The main feature of the site is the interactive graph - that supports the analysis of life span, socioeconomic status, country/location and population over time. It also hosts some teaching materials and integration ideas.
http://www.tagxedo.com/ What www.wordle.net did for word clouds, tagxedo does for word shapes - imagine the text of Martin Luther King's "I have a Dream" speech, assembled in his image - or a paper on photosynthesis in ferns, presented in the shape of a fern..... - really neat potential - another presentation option for kids.
www.google.com - Google Wonder Wheel (after you search, select more options under the search bar - and click on wonder wheel in the left hand column.) - Your search is now displayed in an organized, graphic format - and easy to navigate! My other Google fav is http://www.google.com/squared. Google Squared takes a category and creates a starter 'square' of information, automatically fetching and organizing facts from across the web. You can basically create a matrix, categorizing information and images from the web. - Check out the samples provided....it is well worth the time!
Greatest discovery in the past several months is Kidblog.org. If you are new to blogging, it is one of the simplest ways to blog for teachers and students. Sets up in minutes, unlimited classes and student accounts, and great controls for teachers. Very simple format, but the perfect way to get started with blogging, especially with younger students. Students can easily use their own blogs and comment on others, post video, photos, and hyperlinks. They can even embed HTML to showcase their work on the web.
Edu.Glogster.com is awesome. Very simple way to build an interactive, multimedia "poster" online. I have used it with students as young as 1st Grade. Teachers are creating Glogs to use in instruction.
I second Marc's recommendation of USTREAM. It's fun to implement and the families just love it. You can video stream your class day or a special event. You can record it for later viewing if you wish. Grandparents across the country love to be a fly on the wall and feel more connected to their families. This year I streamed our Open House, a few regular class days, a Valentine party, the hatching of duck eggs (with the webcam in the incubator!) and ducklings in the brooder.
All it takes is an inexpensive webcam. Many laptops have a camera built right in now. Today I streamed the action at my bird feeder on the back deck. Only of interest to my family and me but fun to do all the same. It also gave me a chance to check out the laptop's built-in camera.
A couple of things worth mentioning here.