Ed Tech Ideas

Tech Integration for Busy Teachers

Tag Archives: web 2.0

Poetry VoiceThread

VoiceThread is a site that allows you to upload images or video, and comment on the images via voice recording, text, images, or webcam. Here’s a recent project (still a work in progress) one of my 5th grade classes did using poems they wrote, and pictures they drew which were inspired by the poems. After everyone had uploaded their pictures and recorded their poems, each student viewed all of their classmates’ poems and left a comment of either text or voice. In the embedded version below, you can navigate through using the play button and the left and right arrows. If the text comments are a little too small, you can see the full version here. Feel free to leave a comment to any of the poems.

Vodpod videos no longer available.
EdTechIdeas: Voicethread is a great platform for publishing student work and enabling others to view and comment on it. Students love hearing their peers’ thoughts and critiques. Once complete, a Voicethread can be shared around the world and comments can come from family members and friends living thousands of miles away.

Paragons of the Week: PicLits, CyberChase, Incredibox

Episode 34 >> Previous Paragons

1. PicLits

PicLits is a site that allows users to choose a photo and then drag words onto the picture to create sentences.  There is a freestyle option that allows you to simply type on the picture, and keywords are suggested to help you out. When finished, you can save (free account required), email your piclit, or share it via Facebook, your blog, or other places. Soon there will be a print feature, a weekly contest, and the ability to search and tag photos. EdTechIdeas: This is a great site for inspiring struggling writers and for those times where you hear the complaint, “I don’t know what to write about.”

2. CyberChase

CyberChase from PBS is a fun place for kids with 45 games that focus on problem solving abilities. Challenging games like  Crossing the River, U Fix It, Tangrams, and more will have kids thinking out of the box in no time. EdTechIdeas: Fantastic site for problem solving and creative thinking. Would make a good go-to site for center time in your classroom or a fun activity to spend time on after working out difficult concepts. Use the lessons and activities section for ideas that are tied to the NCTM standards.

3. Incredibox

Incredibox gets my nod for the Odd Site of the Week Award, and I’m throwing it in, just because we all need a little obscure fun in our lives. Not sure of its educational implications, so I don’t have too many EdTechIdeas, but perhaps for music teachers, it could shed light on rhythm, vocal appreciation, harmonic structure, and polyphony. For the rest of us, it’s a great diversion and a good way to bring a little music into your life.

Paragons of the Week – PinDax, Library of Congress, Google Things to Do

Episode 33 >> Previous Paragons

1. PinDax

Pindax is an online message board similar to Wallwisher, where users can add post-its about any given topic. You begin by creating a free account and then build a new board with a name and specific directions about what you want posted on the board. As a teacher, you can create a board and direct your students to the URL to have them each add their thoughts and opinions about the subject of the wall.

2. Library of Congress for Kids and Parents

The Library of Congress family section is a nice collection of online activities and resources. Use this site in the classroom to help kids learn about history, geographyliteracy, fine arts and more.

3. Google Things to Do

Google is a lot more than just a search engine. With Google Things to Do, you can learn how to instantly convert currencies, check flight arrivals, read a book, even search the web like Elmer Fudd! Now, who doesn’t want to know how to do that??!

Paragons of the Week – BibMe, Professor Garfield, Amateur Science Sites

Episode 32 >> Previous Paragons

1. BibMe

BibMe is a quick and easy to use bibliography maker that allows you to cite books, magazines, newspapers, websites, journals, films, and more. You begin by searching for a book (or any other media you choose). Once the book is found, you select it, make any changes (annotations, whether you are citing the entire book or just a specific chapter, etc.) and add it to your bibliography. You can choose a citation format (APA, MLA, Chicago, Turabian), and voilà, you are done.

2. Internet Safety with Professor Garfield

Professor Garfield helps kids learn about online safety with several great videos, activities, and games. The site is broken down into the following categories: Online Safety, Cyber Bullying, Fact or Opinion, and Forms of Media. The “watch, try, apply” method keeps kids engaged and insures that they are learning the content. There are Teacher Materials, Parent Tips, a printable Internet Safety Certificate, and a printable Classroom Poster.

3. Amateur Science Sites

FunSci has been around for a long time, and I don’t think the design has changed since around 1997. What the site lacks in aesthetics, it makes up for in content. There are so many great resources here for young scientists to learn about and discover new things. It makes it a worthwhile visit.

Paragons of the Week – Zoo Burst, PocketMod, Doppelme

Episode 30Previous Paragons

1. Zoo Burst

Zoo Burst is a digital storytelling tool that allows you to create lively pop-up books with sounds and actual pop-up effects when you turn the page.  You first create a free account, and then use the simple interface and tools to begin creating your book.

2. PocketMod

Vodpod videos no longer available.

PocketMod is an interesting site that lets you create a little 8-page printable book with all kinds of information that you add. Some of the ready-made widgets include: weather, calendars, lists, images, conversions, games, emergency information, and more. To use in the classroom you could have students make a little book recapping major events of a story they just read; write a pocket story book; create mini vocabulary books; design a health and exercise journal; or create a quick guide to a country they are studying. The uses are endless.

3. Doppelme

Another great avatar creator, Doppel.me allows kids to create themselves without creating an account. When you are finished building your avatar, you simply right-click on the picture, and save the image to your preferred storage folder. If you do create a free account, you get access to many more options when building your avatar.

Paragons of the Week – Scale of the Universe, Nobel Prize Edu-games, Antarctica ”Street” View

Episode 29 >>Previous Paragons

1. Scale of the Universe

Scale of the Universe is an amazing journey in scale. The site allows you to zoom out from quantum foam all the way to the outer universe.

2. Nobel Prize Educational Games

The Nobel Prize Educational Games are a series of well thought out games based on Nobel Prize achievements. You can learn about blood typing (my personal favorite), lasers, diabetes, DNA, Conductive Polymers, and more!

3. Antarctica “Street” View

Google maps has just released imagery of Antarctica that allows you to take a walk around parts of the white continent. A very small portion of Antarctica have been covered (for obvious reasons), but the views are amazing!

Top 10 Tools for Learning – 2010

In response to Alexander McDonald’s challenge for educators to help build the Top 100 Tools for Learning 2010, I have come up with my own personal top 10 list of the tools my students and I used most this year. These tools are based on what I have found to be the utmost useful and productive for students in the classroom, and for me as an educator for continual learning.

  1. Twitter
    Twitter has been an indispensable learning tool for me on many levels. I have made connections with educators from around the world. My classes have collaborated with other classes on projects because of Twitter connections. There is not a day that goes by that I do not learn something new or discover a fantastic resource due to my PLN on Twitter.
  2. WordPress and Edublogs
    Both for my students and me, blogging is a fantastic writing platform with an audience that motivates and challenges. It is interactive, thought-provoking, and truly makes students think about what they are writing, because they know they are “putting it out there.”
  3. Google Reader
    One of the first things I do when I start my day is to open up my reader and have my news and blogs delivered to me all in one place. Google Reader allows me to subscribe to any website or blog and organizes all the new posts in an efficient, easy to read way.
  4. Diigo
    Diigo is a social bookmarking site that allows you to have your bookmarks with you wherever you are. You can create lists, add tags as well as follow other users who have similar bookmarking focuses.
  5. Wallwisher
    I love Wallwisher because there is very minimal registration and you simply create a “wall” and start placing virtual sticky-notes. Students who have the url of your wall can all create sticky notes to create a collaborative wall on any given subject. Here’s an example of one my fifth graders did on the topic of Internet Safety.
  6. Voicethread
    Voicethread is like an interactive slideshow that allows you to upload photos and then record yours and your students’ voices.  Other students can then add their voice in response to others’ postings.
  7. Storyjumper
    Storyjumper allows you to create online books using a plethora of characters, scenes, and props. Teachers can, for free, create classes to register students so they each have their own account. As of this writing, there does not seem to be a limit as to how many student accounts you can create. Let’s hope it remains this way.
  8. Google Docs
    Having the ability to create and access your work from anywhere is huge. Google Docs is great for allowing students to collaborate with one another, build and fill out surveys, create presentations, and more. (I’m beginning to sound like I work for Google…)
  9. Prezi
    I love Prezi because it’s an exciting presentation tool. Now that they’ve rolled out Prezi Meeting, I love it even more. Users can collaborate in real time (up to 10 users) on the same presentation.
  10. Google Maps and any Google Maps Mash Up
    Google maps is great for students to be able to find and share directions. They can create their own maps, follow a book characters’ travels, plot volcanic eruptions, find distances between two points, etc. I especially like mash-ups like ShowWorld,  If it Were My Home, and the BBC’s Dimensions for allowing students to really grasp and understand the concept of size and scale.

Those are my 10. Make sure you visit the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies to see the top 100 tools as the list gets finalized.

Cyber Safety Wall Wisher

Here are 76 rules my 5th grade class came up with this morning for staying safe online. I use Wallwisher as part of a culminating activity to our internet safety unit.

If you’ve never used wallwisher, go there now and sign up for a free account. It’s a great, easy to use tool that can be used in so many ways.

Paragons of the Week – Google Tricks, Surfing Scientist, Art Babble

Episode 24

Paragons of the Week is a reoccurring post highlighting resources that I find to be worth mentioning. I come across 100s of useful tools for educators each week. Below are the top 3 “paragons” that I found this week that I feel teachers might dig. To view previous Paragons, click here.

1. 100 Google Tricks

From Onlinecolleges.net comes a great Google list that will “save you time in school,” and life in general. Everything from timelines, definitions, currency conversion, keyboard shortcuts, Google Squared, and beyond. There are actually 102 tricks listed here, but who’s counting?

2. Surfing Scientist

Great science tricks, lesson plans, conundrums, and more at this fun, activity-based site. Surfing Scientist Ruben Meerman from Bundaberg, Queensland takes kids and teachers on learning discoveries.

3. Art Babble

Art Babble is a site dedicated to the discussion about and promotion of Art, in its numerous forms. This is a great place for kids to learn about different types of art and artists, as well as gain an appreciation and inspiration of artistic endeavors. The Channels section allows students to view videos on hundreds of different genres, and the Artists section has hundreds of videos on specific artists. Thanks to Richard Byrne for this find.

50 Summer Sites for Kids and Teachers

Here’s a list of great sites for kids and teachers to keep you happily productive and learning this summer. These are in no way in any order of preference. I will be taking a bit of a break from blogging during my travels and will not be posting regularly, but please continue to check back or drop me a line.

Happy summer!

1. Magic Tree House

If your students like The Magic Tree House Series (and let’s be honest, who doesn’t?), they’ll love The Magic Tree House Website. Students climb up the tree and enter the tree house to find some great puzzles, fun games and quizzes on the first 16 books (I’m assuming they will be adding all of the books in due time).

2. Word Mosaic

Very similar to Wordle, but with more design options, Word Mosaicallows you to create word clouds from text you enter. I like Word Mosaic, for the features and it allows you to save your creation as a gif (or share it via email, Twitter, Facebook and my Space). However, I do not like that frequently used words do not appear larger as withWordle. Thanks to The Teacher’s Hub for this find!

3. ReadWriteThink Printing Press

ReadWriteThink creates a lot of great educational resources. WithPrinting Press students can create a booklet, flyer, brochure, or newspaper fairly easily. There is a nice guide that walks you through the process and the focus is on writing. There is a place within each publication for a picture, but not one that you can add from your computer. This space is reserved for students to draw a picture after printing. I’m all for creativity, but it would be nice to have the option of adding a photo or graphic.

4. Spell With Flickr

Spell With Flickr is a simple site that allows you to enter any word and it will create a photo representation of that word using pictures from Flickr.

5. Freeology

Freeology is a fantastic resource for teachers to download pre-made, or create a plethora of free graphic organizersformscalendars,certificatesworksheets, and more!

6. Tagxedo

Tagxedo is a Wordle-esque site that allows students to create beautiful word clouds. The great thing about Tagxedo that in my opinion is where Wordle falls short is the ability for users to save their creations (without logging in) as either a jpeg or png.

7. Learn Your Tables

Learn Your Tables is a nice interactive site that allows students to practice their multiplication times tables. Learn Your Tablesis ideal for introducing topics on an interactive whiteboard, and for extension material on individual computers or in a lab.

8. Virtual Sistine Chapel

Virtual Sistine Chapel is an amazing 360 degree interactive view of the Sistine Chapel brought to you by your friends at theVatican. You can fly around the amazing artwork and zoom into the frescoes at a pretty decent level. This site would be great for art history and religious studies.

9. Google Earth Now in Google Maps

Finally, the long awaited addition of Google Earth features within Google Maps!

10. Science Bob

Science Bob is a fun, interactive site that has several different areas for kids to choose from. There are videos, experiments, science fair ideas, and a research help link with a plethora of fantastic links to other sites.  Thanks to Richard Bryne for this find. Don’t forget to click on the “Whatever you do, Don’t click here” button (or not).

11. Grammaropolis

Grammaropolis is a fun, interactive site that helps students learn about the parts of speech.

12. Kwout

Kwout is a great tool that allows you to take web clippings off of any website and it will keep the links hot.

13. Math Live

Math Live is a fantastic site to use for upper elementary students that has a plethora of cartoon math tutorials on subjects like fractions, multiplication, area and perimeter, tessellations, probability, and a variety of other topics. The glossary section is an amazing collection of math concepts animated for more solid understanding.

14. Animal Diversity Web

From the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, theAnimal Diversity Web is an online database of animal natural history, distribution, classification, and conservation biology. Students can browse the information on individual creatures from the Kingdom Animalia and find 1000s of pictures on specific animals. What’s great about the Animal Diversity Web is that students can sign up to become contributors to the website. To do this, teachers must submit a request form.

15. PDF to Word

PDF to Word is a fantastically simple site that allows you do do just what the url suggests: Convert PDF documents to fully editable Word documents. You simple go to the site, upload your pdf, select either .doc or .rtf, enter your email and click convert. PDF to Word then emails you the word file upon completion. There is no sign up necessary and the turn-around time is approximately 10 minutes.

16. E-Learning For Kids

e-Learning For Kids is a great site with some wonderful interactive learning games that are engaging and fun. Students click on their grade and then a list of games divided into subjects comes up. Thanks to @Ariellah for the find.

17. Rhymes.net

Rhymes.net is a simple search site that returns rhyming words to whatever you enter in the search field. The rhyming words are divided into syllables for ease of use and there is a list of photos of whichever word you search for. Even better, Rhymes.net automatically generates citations for bibliographies.

18. NeoK12

NeoK12 is a fantastic collection of videos arranged by subject that have been individually reviewed by K-12 teachers. The videos are all (at least the ones I’ve seen) via YouTube and all the adds have been stripped and related videos removed which, as an educator, is a great thing! There are also quizzes, games and puzzles as well as a cool presentation creator that helps teachers or students create presentations within the site. Also cool is the How it Works Section.

19. SweetSearch

SweetSearch is a safe searching site for students. Most search engines search billions of Web sites and return tens of millions of results; some are from reliable Web sites, some are not.  SweetSearchsearches only 35,000 Web sites that have been evaluated and approved by a staff of Internet research experts at Dulcinea Media, and its librarian and teacher consultants.

20. Cells Alive

CELLS Alive! represents 30 years of capturing film and computer-enhanced images of living cells and organisms for education and medical research. The site has been available continuously and updated annually since May of 1994 by Jim Sullivanand now hosts over 4 million visitors a year.

21. Catch the Science Bug

The educational goals of Catch the Science Bug are to increase science literacy and raise environmental consciousness by adhering to national standards and guidelines for content and use different teaching methods to engage all types of learners, and encourage life-long learning by featuring scientists who model this behavior.

22. SafeShare

Safeshare is a great site for showing YouTube videos without distractions. You simply enter the url of a YouTube video and Safeshare removes all the distracting related links and comments from the initial viewing page.

23. ABCya!

ABCya! is a word cloud generator very similar to Wordle that creates nice looking word clouds. The one-up ABCya! has over Wordle is that you may directly save your word cloud as a jpg without any registration.

24. Ribbon Hero

Ribbon Hero is an add-on for Microsoft Office that allows you to play a game within the office application (ie Word) that teaches some of the unique features of the program. Users playing Ribbon Hero earn points for doing different tasks within Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.

25. Invention at Play

Invention at Play is a fantastic interactive website from the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. When asked what inspired them to become inventors, many adults tell stories about playing as children. TheInvention Playhouse takes this fact and offers up great activities to increase problem solving ability, visual thinking, collaboration, and exploration.

26. Virtual Piano

As a computer teacher, I can see this site as having huge potential. Virtual Piano is a beautifully sounding piano that you play by typing on your keyboard. You can play Für Elise by following the key-pattern available. As this is in beta version, I’m guessing that over time, there will be more song choices and hopefully more learning connectivity with the computer keyboard.

27. Story Jumper

Story Jumper is a wonderful new site that allows children to create their very own books. You can create cover pages, add text, upload drawings or photos to illustrate your story, and you can use the StoryJumper clipart gallery, too.

28. Google Classroom Lessons and Resources

Web search can be a remarkable research tool for students – and Google has listened to educators saying that they could use some help to teach better search skills in their classroom. The Search Education lessons were developed by Google Certified Teachers to help you do just that. The lessons are short, modular and not specific to any discipline so you can mix and match to what best fits the needs of your classroom. Additionally, all lessons come with a companion set of slides (and some with additional resources) to help you guide your in-class discussions.

29. Kubbu

Kubbu is an e-learning tool designed to facilitate teachers’ work and enhance the learning process. Teachers can create games, quizzes, or crosswords; make them available online for students, and then view and analyze the results.

30. Merriam-Webster Word Games

Merriam-Webster Word Games is a nice collection of games that gets students thinking and improving their lexicon. There are crosswords, cryptograms, word searches, jumbles, and a plethora of other brainy games.

31. Questionaut

Questionaut is a Math, English, and Science game from the BBC. The premise of the game is your standard question/answer delivery, but what I really like about this game is twofold. One, the artwork, created by Amanita Design, is amazing. You could get lost in just looking at all the beautiful details. The second thing that really brings this educational game to a higher level in my book, is that students will have to work and explore to be given the questions. Within each level, the player will need to complete a series of clicks to release the questions, adding a very subtle think-out-of-the-box element to the game.

32. Games for Change

I’m a big fan of quality educational games, and this site takes it to the next level. Games for Change is a non-profit organization which seeks to harness the extraordinary power of video games to address the most pressing issues of our day, including poverty, education, human rights, global conflict and climate change. As of this writing, there are quite a few dead links to the games (Balance of the Planet, ElectroCity, Globaloria), but I have high hopes that updates come soon as I really like the idea of this site.

33. Who Pooped?

You know with a name like Who Pooped this will be popular with the younger students.Who Pooped is a science site created by the Minnesota Zoo to help students to begin thinking like scientists. One way scientists learn about animals is by studying their poop — also called “scat” or “dung.” Who Pooped allows students to investigate various types of scat and try to match the scat with its creator. A very interactive site which would pair well with IWBs.

34. Number Gossip

Number Gossip is a simple search box where you enter any number and receive back “everything you wanted to know about the number but were afraid to ask.” For example, I entered the number 38 and got these facts:  38 is the magic constant in the only possible magic hexagon (which utilizes all the natural integers up to and including 19); XXXVIII (=38) is lexicographically the last string which represents a valid Roman numeral; 38 is the largest even number which cannot be written as the sum of two odd composite numbers

35. Illuminations: Dynamic Paper

Need a pentagonal pyramid that’s six inches tall? Or a number line that goes from ‑18 to 32 by 5′s? Or a set of pattern blocks where all shapes have one-inch sides? You can create all those things and more with the Dynamic Paper tool. Place the images you want, then export it as a PDF activity sheet for your students or as a JPEG image for use in other applications or on the web.

36. Museum of Animal Perspectives

Museum of Animal Perspectives is a cool mashup of YouTube and Google Maps that has videos of animals in their natural environments along with where, specifically in the world the video was taken. Great for science and geography learning.

37. Vocab Ahead

Vocab Ahead is a collection of short videos that give definitions, usages, pictures associated with interesting vocabulary words.  You may subscribe to receive a vocab video of the day and there is also a section of videos by students that are fantastic.

38. Geognos

Great site to learn about all the world’s countries. Geognos is a World atlas with key facts and statistics on all countries, states and nations with photos, maps, flags, visual information about geography, history, people, demographics, government, economy, communications and transportation.

39. MathRun

Fun site for practice basic math facts.  Mathrun is a simple idea (math problems float up the screen and you have to tell whether they are correct or incorrect) and I love simplicity. There is no registration required and no advertisements – I love this too. Mathrun rates your brain speed (I got mine up to 140 mph before having to get back to work) and keeps a running total of how many problems you solved correctly. Great site to use independent practice.

40. Academic Skill Builders

Academic Skill Builders is a research-based and standards-aligned free educational math games and language arts games website that will engage, motivate, and help students improve their academic skills. There are many interactive games to choose from and they’re all pretty fun, have decent graphics/sound effects, and offer great practice to specific skills.

41. 100 Coolest Science Experiments on YouTube

Stellar resource for science teachers that has, as the title suggests, links to 100 cool science experiments. If your district has YouTube blocked, you can download any of the videos using 3outube. There are some really cool videos here and it’s well worth a gander.

42. MathTV

Math TVis an amazing collection of how-to videos in a variety of math subjects. Checking it out, I watched a video on how to multiply fractions and I (a teacher) learned a new method.  Imagine what your students can learn. This site is free, but it does require you to register to be able to view the videos.

43. Audio Owl

Audio Owl makes the world’s public domain audio books available for browsing in a visual and easily searchable way. You can search for a specific title, or use the genre list to visually scan through hundreds of titles. Books may be previewed directly on the site, or you may download them directly into iTunes, or as zipped mp3 files. The downloads are broken into chapters, which is useful for teachers using this as a listening station.

44. Flickr Poet

Flickr Poet allows users to enter a poem and then click “show story” and the site pulls photos from Flickr and places them with all the words in the poem. The results are sometimes strange (I typed in the roses are red poem and for the word red, the corresponding photo was Steve Jobs wearing a red scarf), but students enjoy seeing their words come to life. There’s no print, save, or share feature, so you would need to do a screen capture, but the simplicity of the site and the fact that you don’t need to register is something that I love.
Update/Caution: Some of the images that Flickr Poet produces can be less than child-friendly.

45. Search-Cube

One of my 4th grade students was using this site while researching for a biography assignment. Search-Cube is a visual search engine that presents web search results in a unique, three-dimensional cube interface. It shows previews of up to ninety-six websites, videos and images.

46. CoSketch

CoSketch is a collaborative drawing site which requires no joining, logging in or registration. Perfect for elementary classes. It’s a no frills tool, so there are not a lot of extras, but for simple drawing and text, it works great. Users just go to the site, click on create a sketch, and begin drawing. To add more people, you just send them the url. There’s also a nice chat feature. I could see using this to collaboratively solve math problems, play hangman using vocab words, exploring maps (there is a built-in Google Maps support), and a variety of other applications. Finished drawings can be embedded into blogs or websites.

47. Interactive Simulations

From the University of Colorado at Bolder comes some fantastic java-based interactive simulations. From Glaciers, to Natural Selection, to Circuit Construction; these simulations really show students how things work.

48. Active Science

Active Science has 15 different scientific modules, each with interactive games and activities. Great for use with IWB.

49. MindOmo

MindOmo is a mind-mapping tool that allows you to add and organize ideas, thoughts, work, websites, lists, etc. I see this useful on a personal level (as in having a visual storage-house for websites that I frequent) and educationally with students. If you want to see a great example of one, click here.

50. Kerpoof

Kerpoof is an online story and comic-creator which allows students to create comic scenes and stories, as well as animated movies, cards, drawings, doodles and pictures.  Educators are able to sign up for a class account which allows an entire class to login simultaneously using the assigned nickname and password created by the teacher. There are no adds or inappropriate content and the art work is fun and lively.  Finished products may be saved, printed, or emailed.  Great site for story creating!

Top 3 Paragons of the Week – Episode 18

Paragons of the Week is a reoccurring post highlighting resources that I find to be worth mentioning. I come across 100s of useful tools for educators each week. Below are the top 3 “paragons” that I found this week that I feel teachers might dig.To view previous Paragons, click here.

1. Learn Something Every Day

Learn Something Every Day is a fun, simple site that is great for morning opening activity.  In the classroom you could have this site up on the projector every morning to generate discussion or as writing prompts.

2. Brainflips

BrainFlips provides tools for creating, sharing and studying flashcards. Make flashcards on any subject and share them with your students, parents and co-workers. BrainFlips flashcards can incorporate text, images, audio and video to learn any subject.

3. ZeroFootprint Calculator

The Zerofootprint Calculator is a customizable tool to calculate your footprint in land, water and carbon impacts – what gets measured, gets managed.

Top 3 Paragons of the Week – Episode 17

Paragons of the Week is a reoccurring post highlighting resources that I find to be worth mentioning. I come across 100s of useful tools for educators each week. Below are the top 3 “paragons” that I found this week that I feel teachers might dig.To view previous Paragons, click here.

1. Magic Tree House

If your students like The Magic Tree House Series (and let’s be honest, who doesn’t?), they’ll love The Magic Tree House Website. Students climb up the tree and enter the tree house to find some great puzzles, fun games and quizzes on the first 16 books (I’m assuming they will be adding all of the books in due time).

2. Word Mosaic

Very similar to Wordle, but with more design options, Word Mosaic allows you to create word clouds from text you enter. I like Word Mosaic, for the features and it allows you to save your creation as a gif (or share it via email, Twitter, Facebook and my Space). However, I do not like that frequently used words do not appear larger as with Wordle. Thanks to The Teacher’s Hub for this find!

3. ReadWriteThink Printing Press

ReadWriteThink creates a lot of great educational resources. With Printing Press students can create a booklet, flyer, brochure, or newspaper fairly easily. There is a nice guide that walks you through the process and the focus is on writing. There is a place within each publication for a picture, but not one that you can add from your computer. This space is reserved for students to draw a picture after printing. I’m all for creativity, but it would be nice to have the option of adding a photo or graphic.

Social Media Revolution 2

Social Media Revolution 2 is a refresh of the original video with new and updated social media & mobile statistics that are hard to ignore. Based on the book Socialnomics by Erik Qualman.

Global Book Club

What do you get when you connect elementary students from New York and Singapore with the single focus of books? You get the Global Book Club (GBC), a Shelfari group organized by George Haines. GBC currently stands at 76 members of students and teachers from different classes from the Diocese of Rockville Centre and Singapore American School. Each week students login to their Shelfari group and have discussions about a variety of books which are self-selected by the students. The discussions are started by the students about books they’ve recently read, and if other students have read the same book, they chime in to the thread with their two cents worth.
Here are some examples:


Students love adding books to their shelves and sharing what they thought of each book. Knowing that they have a real, genuine audience truly motivates them to write more detailed reviews and improve their spelling, grammar and word choice. Being that this project also emphasizes discussions, we encourage the students to ask questions and keep the conversations going. Students also discovered some new books they probably wouldn’t have ever found, after reading some reviews written by other students.

Top 3 Paragons of the Week – Episode 10

Paragons of the Week is a reoccurring post highlighting resources that I find to be worth mentioning. I come across 100s of useful tools for educators each week. Below are the top 3 “paragons” that I found this week that I feel teachers might dig. To view previous Paragons, click here.

1. SafeShare

Safeshare is a great site for showing YouTube videos without distractions. You simply enter the url of a YouTube video and Safeshare removes all the distracting related links and comments from the initial viewing page.

2. ABCya!

ABCya! is a word cloud generator very similar to Wordle that creates nice looking word clouds. The one-up ABCya! has over Wordle is that you may directly save your word cloud as a jpg without any registration.

3. Ribbon Hero

Thanks to klbeasley (via chamada) for this find. Ribbon Hero is an add-on for Microsoft Office that allows you to play a game within the office application (ie Word) that teaches some of the unique features of the program. Users playing Ribbon Hero earn points for doing different tasks within Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.

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