TeachersFirst Edge - Multimedia

 

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Storybird - Storybird Inc.

Grades
K to 8
9 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Write your own story or collaborate and create a story using pictures, themes, and other prompts generated by the site. Students and families also can view stories created by others....more
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Write your own story or collaborate and create a story using pictures, themes, and other prompts generated by the site. Students and families also can view stories created by others. The final story is available for sharing via URL or email (or keeping private) and printing it is an option. Basically, write text and titles, create a book cover, add graphics, and pass the product to a co-writer (if collaborating) who adds more until both feel the story is complete. A demo video explains the basics. A special section for artists encourages art contributions and explains how to use the art to enhance the stories. an Education area provides a way for teachers to set up accounts for a class with or without student email. If your district blocks YouTube, the video may not be viewable. You could always view the video at home and bring it to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid, reviewed here, to download the video from YouTube.

tag(s): stories and storytelling (33), writing (359), writing prompts (92)

In the Classroom

Have pairs of students create a story by working collaboratively after you have explained and demonstrated the basics. Encourage your older students to use this tool for projects created in response to research or extra study. This is a great find for gifted students who want to include art work and use their creativity in productive ways. ESL/ELL students can use the site to recreate folk tales and recreations from their home countries.

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Popplet - Notion, Inc.

Grades
K to 12
7 Favorites 1  Comments
 
Popplet combines a great number of features for creating mindmaps into one package. Share and collaborate with others. Create detailed and easily customized mindmaps. Be sure to check...more
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Popplet combines a great number of features for creating mindmaps into one package. Share and collaborate with others. Create detailed and easily customized mindmaps. Be sure to check out the features section and video tutorial found on the main page. A small amount of example Popplets appear on the main page for inspiration. Change the color of Popplets (mindmap boxes). Draw or insert images and videos from Flickr, Facebook, You Tube, and even your desktop. When you begin your Popplet, follow the mini tutorial that appears to quickly learn the features. Create up to 5 Popplets for free. Though Popplet looks simple and limited, it is probably one of the easiest to use. Have an iPad? Use the Popplet app!

tag(s): mind map (25), myplate (28)

In the Classroom

Users must be able to navigate the simple controls in this online tool. Videos and other information are found on the site and in your account page for a quick overview of learning the tool. If having difficulty saving the Popplet, be sure to remember to save a screenshot using the Print screen function on a PC or the Ctrl/shift/4 on a Mac.

Use this tool for brainstorming or creative planning. Create a concept map of facts or concepts in any subject area. Plan an experiment in Science. Determine the sequence of events in History. Create study materials that are easily edited and shared by others. The class can create organizers together, such as in a brainstorming session on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Or you can assign students to "map" out a chapter or story or assign groups to create study guides using this tool. Use this site for literature activities, research projects, social studies, or science topics. Use this site to create family trees or My Plate food group portions in family and consumer science. Have students collaborate together (online) to create group mind maps or review charts before tests on a given subject. Have students organize any concepts you study; color-code concepts to show what they understand, wonder, and question; map out a story, plotline, or plan for the future; map out a step-by-step process (life cycle).

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david, TX, Grades: 9 - 12

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Skype in the Classroom - Skype Limited

Grades
K to 12
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Use Skype as a great tool to connect to others around the nation or the world. Solve the problem of finding classrooms...more
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Use Skype as a great tool to connect to others around the nation or the world. Solve the problem of finding classrooms and various projects with this great site. Use this free site to look through projects, tips from other teachers, and find other teachers to collaborate and connect with your students. Create a profile including your interests and the age, subject, languages, and more information about students. Use the "Project" link to list or find projects, classes, teachers, or speakers. Search the project link by speaker, project, age range of students, language, subject, and tags.

tag(s): colonial america (107), constitution (79), philadelphia (13), skype (12)

In the Classroom

To browse the activities, no special skills are required. If you plan to create your own activity, a Skype account is necessary. Use your Skype login to use this site. Be sure to check with school authorities before scheduling or using Skype with students. Be sure the Acceptable Use Policy covers the use of such tools. Spend time discussing appropriate and inappropriate behavior with students prior to using Skype or participating in many of the projects found on this site.

Browse through the projects link to find ideas, tips from other teachers, and to find teachers to collaborate and connect with your students. You can search the project ideas by project, age range, language, subject, tags, and more. Connect the Skyping computer to a projector or whiteboard for the entire class to see if you are using video. (The video will be fuzzy, but good enough to follow a person's face.) Use Skype to talk to authors (check out their web sites or this blog for contact information). Have students write questions in advance. Use your contacts, web page "contact us" emails, and parent contacts to find others willing to Skype into your classroom. Interview scientists or government officials, deployed military personnel, or classes far away in a different culture or language. Younger students can compare weather, family life, community events, and more. Learn other ideas for using Skype in your classroom at this valuable website.

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Big Huge Labs - Big Huge Labs

Grades
K to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Check Teachers First reviews for specific fun and creative tools from this expansive site. As Big Huge Labs continues to expand upon their offerings, be sure to check back to ...more
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Check Teachers First reviews for specific fun and creative tools from this expansive site. As Big Huge Labs continues to expand upon their offerings, be sure to check back to the main page of the site to find what is new. Be sure to check out the Trading Card Maker reviewed here, the CD Cover Maker reviewed here, The Big Huge Thesaurus reviewed here, and many others! Take time to play with some of these tools before sharing the site with students. Many of these tools are more suitable for play than a valuable tool for demonstrating student knowledge.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): collages (17), images (266), maps (287), multimedia (56), photography (160), thesaurus (24)

In the Classroom

It is helpful to have a Flickr account to organize photos. Users must be able to find and upload/provide the URL of a specific photo. This tool is so simple with very little steps for creating. Simply upload your photo, select from a few options, and then create.

Check out the Big Huge Labs educator account. Easily pre-register students to avoid creating logins, view and download their creations, and view the site advertisement free. You will find information about the Educator Account here.

Options here are endless. Find out what students understand about a concept by creating a 6 word story. Students find a suitable picture and sum up the concept in 6 words. Students can use the Motivator tool reviewed here to create. Place their creation on a blog, wiki, or site and have students write about how their understandings of the concept have changed throughout the study of it. Create Badges for field trips and other activities. Use the Trading Card Maker reviewed here to identify what a student understands about a concept. Create trading cards of the many species that exist in the world or of places to visit, past leaders of nations, or states and other countries. Create vocabulary trading cards. Use social networking in the classroom? Create an Avatar to use on these spaces. Reading a book or viewing documentaries? Create Movie Posters to share information or to inform others about various times in History. Whatever you use this tool for, it is powerful for students to use a great image and word captions to display their knowledge.

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Pictures of the Floating World - National Gallery of Victoria

Grades
5 to 12
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At Floating World your students will do more than create a video of their own story. They will learn about Japanese history and culture through the explanations of the classic ...more
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At Floating World your students will do more than create a video of their own story. They will learn about Japanese history and culture through the explanations of the classic Japanese art work. There is a demonstration video to show students how to make their own movie and a pdf file to download 64 cards so students can work together to rough out story ideas before starting their animation. On each page of the site you will also find a button marked "Add this page." This allows you to build a useful resource to map out a story.

tag(s): art history (70), drawing (77), folktales (65)

In the Classroom

You will have to know how to type and drag and drop the images, backgrounds, and sounds you want in your animated story.

When saving the video you are also asked for your name. You will want to give the students a code to use instead of their name.

Use this site to make animated short stories in any content area. Have students create new events for a literary character or tell the story of a famous person. Post student work to your classroom website or blog for students to use at home for review and for parents to view. Be sure to share the presentations on your projector or interactive whiteboard at school.

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Weebly - Weebly

Grades
2 to 12
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Weebly is an easy, free website creator with tons of features for you to choose from. The easy, "drag and drop" elements allow even the novice technology user to create ...more
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Weebly is an easy, free website creator with tons of features for you to choose from. The easy, "drag and drop" elements allow even the novice technology user to create their own website. Besides the basic "drag and drop" features for the title, text, text with a picture, etc., the free version allows you to use cool items: photo gallery, slide show, YouTube videos, Google Maps, an assignment form, and lots more. They promise that the free service will remain 100% feature packed.

tag(s): blogs (88), gamification (65), microblogging (44), social networking (112)

In the Classroom

If you plan to have students create their own web pages, under your account, no email is needed for them, and they will have a special log in page. You will have to enter each student's name, username and a password. What's nice about Weebly is they will print out a list for you to give to students with their log in information. Though you can make your site private, you want to be sure not to use student's real names. Use a code or acronym. Suggestion: You can use the first two letters of the students last name, the first three letters of their first name, and if you have multiple classes, have them put the class period or code after the last letter. This works well if you're going to be grading web pages, since most grade books are in alphabetical order by last name.

Possible uses are only limited by your imagination! Create your own Weebly website for parents and students where they can stay updated about what is happening in your classroom, where students can submit their assignments, contact information, and anything else you might want to put on your website. You can add up to 40 students on one free website, so students can use their pages for projects and assignments. There is a free blogging tool that you may want your students to use for writing assignments, reflection, or reading journals, just to name a few ideas. You can have everything you need on one Weebly website! Find more specific blog ideas in TeachersFirst's Blogging Basics ideas.

Try using Weebly for: "visual essays;" digital biodiversity logs (with digital pictures students take); online literary magazines; personal reflections in images and text; research project presentations; comparisons of online content, such as political candidates' sites or content sites used in research (compared for bias); science sites documenting experiments or illustrating concepts, such as the water cycle; "Visual" lab reports; Digital scrapbooks using images from the public domain and video and audio clips from a time in history -- such as the Roaring Twenties; Local history interactive stories; Visual interpretations of major concepts, such as a "visual" U.S. Constitution. Imagine building your own online library of raw materials for your students to create their own "web pages" as a new way of assessing understanding: you provide the digital pictures, and they sequence, caption, and write about them (younger students) or you provide the steps in a project as a template, and they insert the actual content of their own.

After a first project where you provide "building blocks," the sky is the limit on what they can do. Even the very young can make suggestions as you "create" a whole-class product together using an interactive whiteboard or projector. Consider making a new project for each unit you teach so students can "recap" long after the unit ends.

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Middlespot - Middlespot

Grades
2 to 12
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Use this innovative website for social bookmarking in a unique, visual way. Add search material from anywhere on the web by dragging and dropping elements around the screen. Search...more
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Use this innovative website for social bookmarking in a unique, visual way. Add search material from anywhere on the web by dragging and dropping elements around the screen. Search directly from within Middlespot and view results through hovering and mouse clicks without leaving the site. Annotate information collected and share with others. Find the tools easily in a bar along the top. Click Add to enter elements, including stickies. Drag and drop the materials into a more pleasing arrangement. Create a workspace -- they call it a "mashup"-- without registering but use a login to save them. Mashups are private but can be changed to share with others.

tag(s): bookmarks (60)

In the Classroom

Only a little play is needed to learn how to use this tool. Create a class account for students to use in order to collaborate with others.

Create teacher-made mashups to collect materials for a web-based assignment. Use this site for student groups to collect materials in mashups for their group projects. Assign students a topic and allow them to interact online. The research and conversations created through highlighting and annotating what they read can greatly enhance both their research skills and their online interaction on academic level skills. Or, use the site to post discussion assignments on specific articles or even parts of articles. Add stickies to highlight areas or for others to comment. Have students comment on the link in a "class discussion" as an outside of class assignment. Post assignments, post readings, science teachers - post online interactive labs, and more. Create whole-class mashups on a unit topic in lower grades, such as "things we learned about frogs" or "things that use energy."

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Google Earth - Tech hints - Louise Maine

Grades
K to 12
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For educators looking for some great links and help with Google Earth (as well as other Google products.) Even though this site was developed for a training in-service, find some ...more
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For educators looking for some great links and help with Google Earth (as well as other Google products.) Even though this site was developed for a training in-service, find some great screenshots, tutorials, and links to great Google Earth examples. Be sure to check out the navigation list on the left for tutorials of other Google products and technology hints. For more information on Google Earth, find our review here. Also, find more support at Google Earth in the Classroom.

tag(s): earth (228), landforms (45), landmarks (26), maps (287)

In the Classroom

Use this resource to learn about and become acquainted with Google Earth. Google Earth is a free application download.

Find some great resources and project ideas on this technology hints site. Be sure to check the Google Earth review here for other great ideas. Take your students around the world using the fabulous tool. Create narrated tours for students (or have students create their own). The possibilities are immense with Google Earth.

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Spicynodes - IDEA

Grades
6 to 12
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Create a website map or mindmap easily with this free site. Create a login (requires an email address.) Add interest to your site as visitors choose a node and new ...more
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Create a website map or mindmap easily with this free site. Create a login (requires an email address.) Add interest to your site as visitors choose a node and new options open up for them. Spicynodes is a mindmap but all portions are not displayed until they are clicked on, activating greater interactivity to your sitemap or mindmap.

tag(s): graphic organizers (43), mind map (25)

In the Classroom

Create a new map by entering the details such as a title. Choose from the template styles given. Preview the template, zoom in and out, and scroll around the mindmap using the simple tools. Click the "Edit Content" tab to change each node in your mindmap. Edit the name of the node, the description, and upload or link to a picture. Nodes can also link to a You tube video. When done, click preview to not only see the finished mindmap, but to publish on the Spicynodes site or copy the embed code for placing on a wiki, blog, or other site.

There are countless possibilities at this mental mapping site. Demonstrate the activity on an interactive whiteboard or projector, and then allow students to try to create their own graphic organizers. Use this site for literature activities, research projects, social studies, or science topics of study. Use this site to create family trees. Have students collaborate together (online) to create group mind maps or review charts before tests on a given subject. Create a site map that guides users throughout the features of your class website.

Collaborative Projects: Have small groups research together a topic such as unsolved mysteries of the world, planets, legends from their countries, plants, famous mathematicians, or any topic that can be broken down into parts. Each student would have their own node and color and would then upload pictures, videos, links, and other information they have found about their part of the topic. If the whole class is researching a topic, students with the "like" assignments could get together to share information and create their part of the small group node (also know as jigsaw in cooperative learning). Once all the nodes are completed, the original small group would share information with each other. There are a variety of ways students could use this mindmap. You could just leave it at the small group share out. Or, you could have the groups decide what information is important enough to present to the class and put their ideas on a Writeboard document reviewed here. A third step could be that once they've honed down the information, they could create a presentation for the class in a variety of formats: Glogster reviewed here, or Animoto reviewed here are only two of the many presentation formats we have reviewed on TeachersFirst.

Student project ideas: Have students... organize any concepts you study; color-code concepts to show what they understand, wonder, question; map out a story, plotline, or LIFETIME; map out a step-by-step process (life cycle); map a real historical event as a choose-your-own-adventure with alternate endings(?) based on pivotal points; plan a "tour" for a "thought museum."

Use this mapping website as an alternative to a traditional test, quiz, or homework assignment in literature or social studies: have students demonstrate their understanding by completing a graphic organizer about the main points. Be sure that they RENAME it before they start work to an individual name so you know who did it (they could EMAIL it to you!) or have them print their results to turn them in.

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Smilebox - Smilebox, Inc.

Grades
5 to 12
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This resource allows you to create slide shows, greetings, scrapbooks, invitations, collages, and more. The download is free, but there are paid upgrades available if desired. For educational...more
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This resource allows you to create slide shows, greetings, scrapbooks, invitations, collages, and more. The download is free, but there are paid upgrades available if desired. For educational purposes, the upgrades are not needed. Photos, videos, and music can all be added to your creations. A Smilebox template must be used to make your creations. Products made with this program can be shared to web pages and blogs, social networking sites, emailed, saved, or printed for free. All themes are free. This is a free download, so make sure you have computers that have the capability to download before creating a lesson with this tool. See the reviewer's sample here.

tag(s): blogs (88), images (266), movies (65), photography (160), slides (63)

In the Classroom

You will need to be able to download this program, and you will need 4 MB of space on your computer to do so. The program will automatically pull some photos from Windows Media or iPhoto depending on what your computer uses for photos. You can save web images or use screen shots, as well, to be used in your creations. Watch copyright! Check out the review of Jing reviewed here for details and a down-loadable screen shot taker. (It is what our reviewer used to capture extra images for the sample!) From here, it is easy to simply click and follow the on screen instructions. The program is simple to navigate and very user friendly for those who are accustomed to web tools.

With the variety of formats, this program has a wide variety of applications in any type of classroom! Use in history class to have students create collages of different periods of time such as the American Civil War. Create topics such as the Lincoln's Election, the Gettysburg Address, Battle of Antietam, Emancipation Proclamation, Battle of Gettysburg, and Lee's Surrender. Have pairs or groups of three select topics at random, and then have them create a collage or "scrapbook" of the event. Try having students choose a role from which to create their assignment such as a Rebel soldier, a Union Soldier, a volunteer nurse, a mother or father of children fighting on different sides of the war, etc. Have students collect copyright free images online for their use or create their own by reenacting and creating visuals to take pictures for their productions. Unleash student creativity by showing them this tool as resource in creating presentations and projects for your class and others. What a fabulous tool to use on the first day of school (as a welcome), beginning of a new unit, or back to school night with the parents! Elementary classes could create whole-class scrapbooks of curriculum projects, such as their science garden or Colonial Days celebration.

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Dipity - Underlying, Inc.

Grades
3 to 12
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Dipity is an online timeline creator that allows you to create, view, and share timelines in several different ways. When viewing timelines the default mode is the classic timeline...more
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Dipity is an online timeline creator that allows you to create, view, and share timelines in several different ways. When viewing timelines the default mode is the classic timeline display. With just a click the same information can be shown as a flipbook, map, and list. Sharing is simple through widgets that can be embedded on blogs or websites as well as quick links to common networking sites.
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tag(s): timelines (62)

In the Classroom

Click on "add an event" and complete as much information as you can about the event. Types of information that are provided include: title, date, description, picture, link, location, and video Url. If you do not have a complete set of information, the event will still look good in the timeline! Also, please note that you cannot create imaginary locations. The site does verify the place entered as location is a real place.

Use a created, identifiable to the outside world team name to preserve student internet security. This way, students do not need to create their own accounts. Be careful when having students enter locations, if it is historical project, real dates and times are safe to use. However, if students are creating personal type timelines, use general locations like city and country or even just country. You can control who can see the timelines, and who can edit the timeline. Use caution here!

Create a timeline of classroom events throughout the school year. During a unit on inventions, having different students add each invention to the timeline along with pertinent information to create a very visual display of the chronology of the introduction of each item (great for review!). Use for an author study to compare and contrast lives of authors and add historical events to put each author's works into perspective. In science class, have students create a timeline of scientific discoveries or the life of a plant, animal, or scientist. Challenge students to create cross-disciplinary timelines showing historic, scientific, and artistic events during the same time period, such as the Renaissance or a decade during the 20th century, so they can see trends. Make timelines of environmental concerns, such as the Gulf Oil Spill--or a history of environmental disasters. Create timelines for historic events -- local or global. Make family histories in world language classes using vocabulary and grammar skills to describe family members in the new language. Create a class timeline to add to your classroom wiki and have students add information as the year advances so that they can look back on all that they have accomplished.

Need a challenge for your gifted students? as the study history or a scientific discovery, have them make a timeline that shows other events happening in the world at the same time. Have them create a "family tree" for endangered species using this timeline tool. Add pictures, locations, and names of related species and causes for the threat to that animal. Have them map out the steps leading to a war or civil rights event, adding the more subtle causes and people not included in the regular curriculum.

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A New Way to Lecture - Michael Zimmer

Grades
4 to 12
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At this site you will find a slide show with at least fourteen different programs you can use instead of PowerPoint for your lectures. Are your PowerPoint lectures boring you ...more
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At this site you will find a slide show with at least fourteen different programs you can use instead of PowerPoint for your lectures. Are your PowerPoint lectures boring you and your students? Take a look at this online slide show, and choose one of fourteen different programs to convert just one of your PowerPoint lectures. Not only is each program explained, but many have suggestions for integrating your lectures with the program. Take a look. Learn about some great web 2.0 sites (Glogster, Prezi, TypeWith.me, Animoto, ToonDoo, and many others). Note that many of the tools mentioned are also reviewed on TeachersFirst in greater detail if you want to learn more.

tag(s): chat (51), comics and cartoons (74), digital storytelling (144)

In the Classroom

Surprise your students and yourself with how effective any one of these programs can be with your material or THEIR presentations. Create a comic strip to replace a traditional grammar lesson. Use a class wiki to discuss and debate topics in history class. Create an online poster "glog" on using Glogster to demonstrate a new math concept. Once you see a tool that sounds interesting, read its full review on TeachersFirst to find even more ways to use it.
 
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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PhotoPeach - Nota, Inc

Grades
3 to 12
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This site allows you to upload photos, create captions, and add music to a slideshow in minutes. It is fun and easy to use. Check out the reviewer's sample ...more
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This site allows you to upload photos, create captions, and add music to a slideshow in minutes. It is fun and easy to use. Check out the reviewer's sample here. Shows can be shared or embedded into other social networking type sites.

tag(s): images (266), photography (160), slides (63)

In the Classroom

You also must be able to locate files on your computer to upload. Follow onscreen instructions to create a project. The instructions are very easy to understand. In a few short steps, there is a finished product. Share the finished show by URL or embed code (for those who know how to copy/paste this code).

Use this site in science class to make a slideshow of a completed lab as an alternative to a laboratory report. Use this in history class to create short videos about different people and places in history. Use in math to have students explain a word problem or complex algebra problems in a slide by slide (step by step) manner. In lower grades, use a whole class account to create a slideshow about a class project or special event such as pumpkin day and all the calculations you do with pumpkin seeds, the weight of pumpkins, etc. Share the slideshow as an embedded object on your class web page/wiki or share the link with parents so they can ask their child about the activity and reinforce the concepts simply by having him/her talk about it at home.

If students create their own shows using images from the web, be sure they are using Creative Commons licensed photos or images without copyright restrictions, sine the products are shared online. Of course you will want to require a credit for any photo used to be included in the show.

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Jing - TechSmith

Grades
5 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Jing is a tool to take a picture or video of your computer screen. Download the free Jing software in either Windows or Mac versions. Screen captures can be easily ...more
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Jing is a tool to take a picture or video of your computer screen. Download the free Jing software in either Windows or Mac versions. Screen captures can be easily shared on Twitter, Facebook, and Flickr through a quick link on the site. Mark up your screenshot with a text box, arrow, highlight, or rectangle to enhance items shared. Find lots of suggestions for using the site in the classroom through the "How it is Used" link. Jing allows you to screen capture whatever is on your computer screen, share it to Screencast.com, and then send the URL link to anyone so they can watch a sequence of things you do on your computer. The application says it is a way to share what you are seeing on your screen during your online conversations. This is useful, but for educators, check out the teacher uses to see some other possibilities.

tag(s): images (266)

In the Classroom

The software needs to be installed, but it is easy because onscreen directions are given. Just a click or two and you are ready to use Jing. Once it is installed and the program is running, there will be a sun in the upper right hand corner of your screen. Scroll over the sun, and you will see three rays come out of it. Capture (to take a picture of your screen), History (a type of screen scrapbook), and More (which has preferences and the quit to turn off the program).

Users unable to install software on school computers should request that the tech department install Jing on at least SOME machines.

Try to record a screen sequence using this web 2.0 tool to make how-to directions for projects and post to your class web page along with the assignment. Students can make a "tour" of online PROJECTS they CREATE or a tour of a web site they critique. Record a demo of safe internet practices and include it on your class web page for parents and kids, and help learning support students (or techno-apprehensive teachers) with VISUAL directions for computer tasks. Have students make projects that show how misleading some Internet advertising can be or to explain effective design principles used in a web site. Take an image of part of a site and annotate it, create a link for students to access from home on your classroom website or blog. Pronounce and define key vocabulary. Provide directions to explain and/or demonstrate how to create classroom projects, how projects will be graded, or where to find information on the internet. Narrate an Internet path, a site, or a series of pictures. Create an online book or comic strip and then narrate it, share your creation on a site such as SchoolTube reviewed here. Use in math or science to show and describe the steps in an equation or process.

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Evernote - Evernote

Grades
9 to 12
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Use this fantastic application for note-taking and idea collecting from ANY device. Think of Evernote as a ubiquitous set of notebooks ready for you to add and read from ANY ...more
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Use this fantastic application for note-taking and idea collecting from ANY device. Think of Evernote as a ubiquitous set of notebooks ready for you to add and read from ANY computer or web-connected device. Evernote is a device-agnostic tool, available on the web but also available for free as both an Android and iOS app. Use it from any device or move between several devices and still access your work. App and web versions vary slightly. Take snapshots of whiteboards, products, or whatever you like and upload them to Evernote. Search your uploads through the search function which will also search handwritten or printed text sections in photos and images. Sync everything through Evernote across all the platforms. Use Evernote to create notes and to-do lists and even clip entire Web pages. Use to manage passwords or even record audio. Everything added to Evernote is automatically synchronized across platforms and devices and made searchable. Evernote offers a free account as well as a premium paid version. If you use it a LOT, you may max out the free allotments for data, but try it to see! Our editors use it and have never hit the max. Categorize and organize information using tags, note titles, and notebooks. Keep track of several projects with the "Notebooks" feature. Use the web version or downloadable version of Evernote to share read-only notebooks with others. Download Evernote to add an extension to your browser to do web clipping with a click of a button. Click "New" to create a new document in your notebook. Use the search function at the top and even save searches for later use. Safety/security tip: If you have sensitive information (such as passwords, etc.) on your Evernote notebook but want to share other parts? Simply highlight and right click to choose "Encrypt Selected Text" to remove from the page to be shared.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (198), images (266), organizational skills (122)

In the Classroom

Use this tool easily in your Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) classroom since all students will be able to access it for free, no matter what device they have. Consider creating a class account that can be used by all students. Spell out the use of the site and what is allowed, not allowed, and the penalties. Even though all students have the same login, create different notebooks for different tasks that students can use to upload information that can be shared by all. Create separate notebooks for student groups who can then share their notebook with other groups. Use Evernote to snapshot and share links, documents, files, and pictures for any group project or class work. Whole class accounts can be used by a class scribe during class and accessed from home for review, etc. If your students are permitted individual accounts, they can collect notes in Evernote and share their research notebooks with you as evidence of completion of that phase of long term projects. Encourage creativity with your gifted students (or any students) by having them set up individual Evernote notebooks to use as "idea bins." Idea bins are a place to collect quotes, snippets of writing or poems they have started, questions and thoughts, artistic project ideas, images they like, or even voice memos to remember creative inspirations. It is important for students to know that idea bins (by whatever name) are an important part of the creative process, even for engineers!

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Animoto - Animoto Productions

Grades
8 to 12
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This animation tool will help create a slide show with pizzazz. Add personal sounds, videos, and other media to create the next level of slide show for your classes. This ...more
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This animation tool will help create a slide show with pizzazz. Add personal sounds, videos, and other media to create the next level of slide show for your classes. This tool is great for PC-based schools without access to other free video or multimedia creation software. Create 30 second videos including music choices from over 300 soundtracks. A typical thirty second video requires twelve images making this a reasonable choice for projects with middle and high school level students. This is a device-agnostic tool, available on the web but also available for free as both an Android and iOS app. Use it from any device or move between several devices and still access your work. App and web versions vary slightly.

tag(s): animation (63), DAT device agnostic tool (198), images (266), movies (65), photography (160), slides (63), video (254)

In the Classroom

Use this tool easily in your Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) classroom since all students will be able to access it for free, no matter what device they have. Users need the basic understanding of how to upload pictures, videos, and other media, especially a user adding personalized content. Use stock images and media available through the site if you prefer. To create a show, simply click on the create button and follow the onscreen instructions. If adding personal images and video, the program allows searching through files. Add music from the site bank or from personal music sources (copyright-free, of course). Finalize the video with the last click and view your video. Share easily from the codes or export tools provided. Use Animoto to make commercials, science fair previews, and animated shorts in any content area. Have students make "advertisements" for an organism or a literary character. Make a travel commercial for a country being studied or for cultural sites in a world language class. Be sure to share the presentations on your projector or interactive whiteboard.

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Spruz - spruz.com

Grades
7 to 12
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Spruz is a tool for creating social networks. Though that may be a scary term to parents and a concept prohibited in your school, this site provides private spaces for ...more
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Spruz is a tool for creating social networks. Though that may be a scary term to parents and a concept prohibited in your school, this site provides private spaces for classroom use in K-12. Because of concerns over COPPA (federal legislation protecting children on the web), it is recommended for ages 13 and up. Users outside the U.S. do not need to worry about this law. There are related blog posts and debate about whether the law applies if you configure your site a certain way, but TeachersFirst cannot recommend circumventing the law.

Spruz provides an online space for forums (threaded discussions), blogs, "friends," groups, personal spaces for members, and more. As the administrator, you can control the actual set-up. Make your space private or set to public. Members still have to join to be part of the site. Assuming you can access the URL at school, this tool can provide a PRIVATE online space for your classes or teaching team as an electronic home for use in and out of school. This site touts that they have beefed up their business model in order to continue to offer free services.

tag(s): blogs (88), bookmarks (60), chat (51), forum (9), social networking (112)

In the Classroom

Before you start, make sure filtering on the school network will not block your specific URL. See some of the tips from the Edge team. Set up a network, including name, URL, and description. Be sure to choose Private to limit viewing of your network to those you INVITE to join. Drag your desired features to create your layout. You can always change it later. Make appearance choices. Click on the parts of the site you wish to create such as chat, forum, blog, links, bookmarks, files, etc. Be sure to check the box that requires approval from the account owner for members to join. Change profile questions and options available to members easily.

A class social network has limitless possibilities. Engage students in discussions on current events, independent reading, literature, and more. Create groups for students to work on projects and use the space as a forum to work out tasks, scheduling, and file sharing. Get creative and ask students to play the role of a historical figure on a social network across time: Ben Franklin networks with Harry Truman to argue about the atomic bomb. Use the site as a forum for any simulated or real task. Invite parents to join to give their points of view on upcoming elections or public policy issues. Include the principal or superintendent in your class discussions of students' rights as you study the Constitution. Your students themselves will suggest ways to use this all-too-familiar tool from their world. Imagine the "profiles" they could create as characters from fiction or inventors from history! Create incredible discussions of environmental, political, or economic issues. Inviting members from another school or community provides incredible perspective into a variety of different beliefs and values. Definitely plan to model and use this tool in lessons about Internet safety and the "lasting" nature of one's Internet presence. Social networking is part of life today, and the opportunity to learn about it in a private space is important for today's students.

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Prezi - Prezi

Grades
3 to 12
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Prezi is a visual, "zoomable" presentation tool. It is similar to PowerPoint and Keynote, but there is so much more to Prezi! You can graphically arrange a large amount of ...more
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Prezi is a visual, "zoomable" presentation tool. It is similar to PowerPoint and Keynote, but there is so much more to Prezi! You can graphically arrange a large amount of content, such as a big idea with its supporting information. It creates very dynamic presentations. See samples by clicking "log in" then "Explore" (instead of logging in). Choose a background, follow the instructions and prompts of the program, and before you know it, you will have your very own Prezi to share. If you like to see directions, watch the quick intro video. You can also view Prezis created by others and use them as templates for your own work. Check out the sample created by the TF Edge team here. This tool works in ANY device's web browser, from iPod to Android to laptop. Collaborate on a Prezi with other Prezi members in real time using the Share function. Have a "meeting" to work on the same Prezi in real time. There is a free "edu enjoy" level of membership (requires a school issued email and verification) that allows you to keep your Prezis private, out of public sharing. The regular "enjoy" membership is free for only one month, and its Prezis are public. File storage limits apply to free accounts. It is worth noting that some people find Prezi causes motion-sickness if it zooms too much!

tag(s): graphic organizers (43), visualizations (14)

In the Classroom

You could map your entire lesson, chapter or unit in one Prezi. Once you introduce the concept with this tool, you can go back to it often with your students as you move to different parts of the unit. It would provide a great way to connect prior knowledge with the next step if you share this on your interactive whiteboard or projector throughout the unit. Or you could post it to your web page or give kids the URL so they can review as often as they need it. Try having the students map a concept or chapter with this tool. In history class, create timelines of relevant events, or in science or math class have them map steps in a process. Have students create Prezis for different events, and then have them post the link to their product on a class blog or wiki. Add a peer review component and require students to comment on at least two other Prezis. The possibilities are endless!

If you have gifted students n your class, offer Prezi as one alternative for sharing extensions to the regular curriculum. If they already know the material, have them investigate a related process or example and share it in the form of a Prezi.

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ScribbleMaps - Scribble Maps

Grades
2 to 12
9 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Use this tool to "draw" on and label any map available through Google Maps, including maps of the night sky! No registration or email required! Create a colorful, personalized map ...more
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Use this tool to "draw" on and label any map available through Google Maps, including maps of the night sky! No registration or email required! Create a colorful, personalized map with added scribbles and labels. Add your choice of placemarker labels for geology locations, people, etc. There are even little icons available to use. Your drawing or "Scribble Map" is then available to share by URL, email, or print. Slightly more savvy users can download, save as a kml file (readable in Google Maps or Google Earth), or embed the map in another site. The tools include sharing the map on Facebook and Twitter, as well. Add images by pasting in their urls. Drawing tools include lines, circles, place pointers, text labels, and color/size/transparency controls for all tools. Place pointers can be edited by selecting them (arrow tool), then clicking the small pencil. This site does include Google Ads and all the normal controls of Google maps, including satellite, map, terrain, hybrid views and Night Sky. See a sample Scribble Map created by the TeachersFirst editors (drag the map with your mouse!). Explore the tools and MENU options at the top left when you start out. Try the different Maps views (lower right) and zoom controls. Search for a starter location using the search at the top left, just below the tools. There is no help available, but it is easy to do basic maps. Share, save, etc. by clicking Menu (top left). When you first save a map, it will ask you to create a password for that map to use to edit it later. Note that if you SAVE a map and share it by URL, those accessing it will be able to use the tools and change the map. If you want them to see it without changing it, you will need to embed it in a blog, wiki, or other web site. The map ID can be changed and customized by simply typing in your own choice of ID when you are saving the map.
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tag(s): directions (20), geology (81), landforms (45), landmarks (26), map skills (79), maps (287), space (205)

In the Classroom

Students and teachers will want to keep a written record or map URLS and passwords for future reference. Model this for students so they do not lose hours of work! Teachers can prepare partially-made maps or maps for students to make corrections and changes by giving the students the URL, then having them SAVE the map with a NEW ID. To SAVE the map with a new name and URL, click "Save map" in the menu, then enter your OWN map ID. Students could use a code including their initials, such as SJ12-3-09 for a map made by Sally Jones on Dec 3, 2009. Teachers should PASSWORD protect their originals so changes can only be saved under a new name. Similarly, if a student saves the map with a map password, they don't have to worry about other students vandalizing their work. But they DO need to remember the password! Wise teachers will keep a class list of maps and passwords for forgetful students! In primary grades, make maps of your local community together on your interactive whiteboard as you teach basic map skills. Create your own "key" with symbols you choose for playgrounds, etc. Have students help map locations of favorite playgrounds, grandparents' houses, stores, etc. as they gain basic understanding of map skills. Make sure you allow students to operate the tools! Save the map and share it as a link from your class web site (or embed it there). Keep names generic so it is "safe." Other ideas to challenge gifted student beyond the curriculum or elevate challenge for small groups include: natural resource maps, immigration maps, maps of civil war battles day by day, maps of key sites in the life of a famous person, artist, or author, maps of the settings in a novel, landform maps of a continent or state, "My life" maps of places important to an elementary student's family, annotated watershed maps of pollution sources, maps of the water cycle, maps of constellations in the night sky created by students to demonstrate understanding, maps of a dream community to be built in a vacant area (desert), including the water sources, etc. that will be needed, maps of a redesigned city/town on top of its current map. Teachers can provide map challenges or templates to be completed or corrected, including maps where students must label distances and cardinal directions between points (using map scale and skills). Or provide a teacher-created map with labels in the wrong places for students to correct the landforms, resources, etc. What will YOU do with Scribble Maps?
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Google Earth in the Classroom - Joe Wood

Grades
K to 12
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Google Earth, reviewed here, is a fabulous teaching tool. This teacher-created wiki supplements it with Google Earth Resources galore. Find links...more
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Google Earth, reviewed here, is a fabulous teaching tool. This teacher-created wiki supplements it with Google Earth Resources galore. Find links to lesson plans and files for using Google Earth in your classroom for many subjects. See a tutorial video on Google Earth, find directions for making files, and more. Ideas for using Google Earth by subject even include links to ready-made files so you need not start out by creating from scratch. See what other teachers have done and let it inspire you and your students to do more. Learn how to make kmz (placemarker) files.

tag(s): globe (14), landforms (45), landmarks (26), maps (287)

In the Classroom

Make this site part of your personal professional development or pair up with a teaching buddy to learn more about Google Earth (GE) and plan activities for your classrooms. Share the link with your students, as well, so your class can become GE experts together. Even if your access to GE is limited to a single class computer, work together with a small team of student "GEniuses" to prepare class placemarker files, then have the team teach other students, as well. If your school has personal professional development plans or allows teacher to suggest topics for professional workshops, include this link, along with other GE resources from TeachersFirst, as your inservice day agenda.
 
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