Category Archives: Web 2.0

Typewith.me – Collaboration Document

Recently I attended a ‘Guru’ professional development where several of my fellow presenters and myself all got together to present our workshops to each other (as we always miss the other sessions due ourselves being the presenter!).  One that sparked my interest  was Typewith.me (thank-you Shane!).

 

 

Typewith.me is a great little online collaboration tool that better suits EQ policy as it does not require students to log in (like Google Docs does).  Typewith.me creates “public documents” with their own URLs to share with your class, staff or parents.  The text is synchronized in real time so everyone working on the document sees the exact same thing.   Different authors — up to 15 on one document —are assigned different colors, so you can see who’s contributing what.  You can import text from HTML, Word, or RTF formats, then export it as a Word file, PDF, and more. Plus, you can also access earlier drafts.

 

As with all great sites, there is a few small downfalls:

  • the collaboration document will ‘live’ on the net at the unique URL it automatically generates – you will need to highlight to students the importance of being selective when sharing information that may identify them
  • at times, the user can be ‘timed out’ and the info they see is not up-to-date – they just click and sign back in to receive the current feed though.

Overall, the site is an extremely easy collaboration tool, and most users should be able to use it without too much instruction.

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Blabberize – Bring your pictures to life!

Recently my son was given a DVD as a gift, and he wanted to send a thank you video to the person who gave him the DVD – but as the main character!  This sparked something in my memory, and I revisited a site that I used to use all the time in my classroom called Blabberize.  Blabberize is a fun presentation tool. Simply upload a picture and make it talk! Click on the image below to launch the site and the example Blabberize.

The site is very easy to use! There are many ways Blabberise could be used in the classroom – you just need to use your imagination!  Who could the students become?  What historical figure could they make talk?  What topic are you studying?  Could the students become a cloud or fish etc etc …. Please add a comment to share how you have used the site in your classroom 🙂

In the past, I have created one account for my class (so they do not have to give away any personal information – as per EQ policy!), and we have all worked in the same environment.  The other great reason to have one account is that you can have the students save their work in the account and you can log in and see what they have produced.  Easy!

Note:  Don’t forget to make sure all your students remember to tick ‘private’ when they save their work so their work does not go to the public Blabberize gallery.

Enjoy this fun, easy to use site.  Don’t forget to add your comments and share how you used the site.

Photofunia – Put yourself in the scene!

Photofunia is a fun site that students can visit to put themselves into the picture!  They can use the one photo and place themselves on a billboard, in a busy railway station, in an advertisement, or in many other photos.  Not only will the students have great fun seeing themselves in all these new locations, they will also learn about how to upload a file to an internet site. 

Below is an example of what can be achieved with minimum (if any!) skill:

Students can create their own photos just for fun (remember when we had time for that???), for inclusion into an assignment, to create interesting pictures to be used in a yearbook layout, or to create an avatar.  More advanced students completing a social action unit of work may even choose to create a poster or advertisement, and upload it to create an example of how their ideas might be displayed.  They key is to think outside the standard use of the site and see how you can ‘bend’ it for educational uses. 

As always, there is also a great opportunity to bring up internet safety and copyright issues.

Weebly – ‘Easy as pie’ website builder

Ever wanted to head into website development with your students, but just felt that you did not have the skills (nor the patience!!) to help them actually create their site?  The great news is that there are some fantastic resources on the internet that can help you achieve your objectives.

Recently, I found a site called Weebly.  Weebly is an extremely easy to use website builder that allows you to host your sites with them for FREE!  Easy website creation is their passion…… and when they say easy, they mean it!

Weebly was named one of TIME’s 50 Best Websites of the year in 2007 and they’ve since made our service even more powerful, while keeping it simple. They have 3 million customers who would likely agree that there’s really no better place to create a website online. 

Some of the most beneficial features for schools include:

  • Powerful, Drag & Drop Website Editor 
    Our core advantage is our stunningly easy drag & drop website editor. Videos, pictures, maps, and text are added by simply dragging them to your website. We love it when new customers are totally surprised at how straightforward it is to build a website with Weebly – no HTML or technical skills required!

  • Hosting Included – No Restrictions
    We provide the hosting so you don’t need to pay for a hosting provider. We don’t impose arbitrary bandwidth restrictions, storage caps or limits on the number of pages allowed, either. Going to be featured in the New York Times? Great! Our hosting infrastructure is backed by an army of servers that provide reliable stability for your websites – all for free!
  • A Variety of Content Elements
    If you can imagine it, you can do it with Weebly. Add pictures, videos, music and audio, documents, maps, and photo galleries. Sell products, accept online bookings, create a contact form, or arrange your pages in multiple columns. Drag on slideshows, files, forums, games, RSS feeds, or any other HTML embed code — all by simply dragging and dropping.

and best of all??

  • No Advertising
    We don’t place advertising on your site, and never will. Some “free” website providers force advertising to be placed on your site, but you won’t find that around here. In fact, we’ve even integrated with Google AdSense to allow you to easily enable advertising – as simple as entering your email address – letting you earn money from your site!

The site does require login, but it is a very quick and easy process.  The thing I like about this site is that it is clear and easy to use.  Students should have no problems creating their own websites.  Please add any site addresses you create using Weebly to the comments section – I’d love to see what others can create.

Become a moviemaker with Zimmer Twins

The Zimmer Twins is a fun way to incorporate technology into the classroom. Watch your students expand their vocabulary, practice proper writing habits, and become junior movie producers all at the same time!   The Zimmer Twins website is a fun and positive environment where kids can safely explore and exercise their creative muscles.

On the Zimmer Twins website, your students can:

  • Watch a starter (a short animation that ends with a cliff-hanger).
  • Create their own ending to the story by writing dialog for the characters and putting scenes together.
  • Save their work on the website for other kids to watch, rate and comment on.
  • Watch and rate movies made by other kids.

My husband has been using the Zimmer Twins in his classroom this semester, and has been amazed at just how much the students enjoy the site.  They use it on the IWB as a whole class and also as an independent computer activity during literacy rotations.  After one week of using it in the classroom, students began creating movies in their own time, and bringing them in to show the class. 

The only drawbacks (and they’re not really big ones) are that the films are limited in length and can only be saved to an online account. The good news is that the online account is free!  What a great, motivating site!  Two thumbs up!!

Move over wordle … Tagxedo is here!

As you may have noticed I am quite a fan of the wordle site, and the ways of which it can be incorporated into the classroom. Recently, I was contacted by the creator of another word cloud site to trial their version. The site is called Tagxedo, and whilst similar to Wordle in some aspects, it takes word clouds to a whole new level.

With Tagxedo, the creator can now select a shape or word to help form the word cloud. You can even upload your own images for full customisation. The possibilities for use in the classroom just tripled!!! I am so excited with what can be created now. Below are just a few examples of what can be created for use in your classrooms:

Why does Tagxedo stand out:

  • Highly interactive (no server round-trip)
  • Fast cloud generation time
  • No registration required
  • Custom shapes
  • Image as shapes
  • Words as shapes
  • Powerful layout engine (very nice shape hugging)
  • Lots of fonts
  • Accepting user-uploaded fonts
  • Save to image files (Png or Jpeg)
  • History view (see all “versions” and pick the one you like)

Below is a classroom display I made for my husbands year 6 classroom this morning that incorporated 3 fantastic resources (all listed in this blog!):  Tagxedo, Block Posters, Punched Out Font.  Quite effective so far!

As always, please add comments on how you used Tagxedo in your classroom so we can share our ideas and work smarter – not harder!

Splash Up – Online Photo Editing

Similiar to (but nowhere near as functional as) Adobe Photoshop – Splashup is still a powerful editing tool and photo manager. With the features professionals use and novices want, it’s easy to use, works in real-time and allows you to edit many images at once. Splashup runs in all browsers, integrates seamlessly with top photo-sharing sites, and even has its own file format so you can save your work in progress.

If you’re not sure you can handle the full version, there is also a ‘light’ version that you may like to try.  Taking some cues from Splashup, Splashup Light  also has powerful tools for advanced image editing enthusiasts like Levels, Hue – Saturation and Brightness – Contrast. Together with standards tools like rotate, crop, resize and many fun effects, Splashup Light is a well-rounded photo editor perfect for those that don’t need or want heavy desktop image editing suites.

Try Splashup or Splashup Light today to see what you can do to your photos.  Feel free to email me some of your creations – I’d love to see them!

Primary Games Arena – Full of fun resources!

Thank you to John who commented on my ABCya! post for leading me to this fun-filled site called the Primary Games Arena.  According to their site:

Primary Games Arena is the largest resource of Primary School games in the universe. Webmasters and developers can enjoy the use of our API which allows them to register games & feed scores from their games straight onto Primary Games Arena! Kids have full national curriculum game coverage. Please be eSafe on this website and never give your real name.”

Covering most subjects, there really does seem to be a game for everything.  After wandering around the site, I am very impressed with the resources that have been sourced and organised. 

The ability to locate resources through both subject and year level is very useful, and I also like the side bar that includes ‘today’s top games’ for you to see what is popular.  There are some advertisements, but they are appropriate for the audience and are clear to see that they are ads (so as not to be confusing for younger students).

One issue I have with the site is that only some resources open within the primary games arena page (ie their banner and navigation remaining at the top of the page).  Unfortunately, some of the resources take the user away from the main site.  Whilst this will not be a problem with upper school students, it does limit its use for lower school students.  Of course, there’s always a way around everything …… if the teacher uses the primary games arena to source the games they require, they can always just link directly to that game in a virtual classroom or class website. It seems a shame though.

 Overall, a very useful site that will be a great resource to use in the classroom!  Thanks again John 🙂

Wall Wisher – Collaborative online tool

Whilst in ‘Twitter-land’ tonight, I entered in to a collaborative project with a difference.  The collaboration was online, and worked like a noticeboard that all the participants posted sticky notes to.  Very Cool!    The collaboration space was called Wall Wisher.

To give you an idea of how it works, I have set up a quick wall for ‘Ideas for the Ideas For Teachers Blog‘.  All you need to do is enter the space, double click and enter your idea.  It you don’t register, your ideas will come up as anonymous.  If you want it to come up with your name, you just need to complete the quick, free, registration process. Easy!

Have a practice on my wall, and then think of some walls that you can create for yourself.

ABCya! – Educational Games

ABCya! has free educational kids computer games and activities for elementary students to learn on the web. All children’s educational computer games and activities were created or approved by certified teachers. ABCya! educational games are free and are modeled from primary grade lessons and enhanced to provide an interactive way for children to learn.

ABCya! games and activities incorporate content areas such as math and reading while introducing basic computer skills. Many of the kindergarten and first grade games are equipped with sound to enhance understanding. Great kids Holiday games and activities are available in grade level sections!

These games would be great on the IWB! 

  • Look for the word clouds section for a kid friendly version of the wordle site!