TeachersFirst Edge - Utilities

 

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Portfoliovillage - Site Maker Software Company

Grades
4 to 12
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PortfolioVillage is a powerful eportfolio site where you or your students can showcase all types of work. PortfolioVillage is a free and easy to use program. Their unique drag and ...more
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PortfolioVillage is a powerful eportfolio site where you or your students can showcase all types of work. PortfolioVillage is a free and easy to use program. Their unique drag and drop editor makes it easy. There are also editable flash widgets and the thousands of stock images and animations. You can create a flash portfolio website with media rich components: videos, audio, a play list, create forms, chats, and blogs. Be sure to watch the introduction video and read about the features provided.

PortfolioVillage must be updated every six months to stay free. Your portfolio will be deleted if not updated.

For those of you with iPads, this Flash site won't work for you. However, you might try Google Swiffy reviewed here. Google Swiffy is a tool that lets you convert Flash SWF files to HTML5 to view on non-Flash devices such as iTouch, iPad, and iPhone.

tag(s): creativity (108), portfolios (28)

In the Classroom

There are a gazillion ways to use an eportfolio! Have your students upload their current and past work that they think they might want to showcase. They can have an area for all their different talents whether it is drawing, writing, acting, creating games or codes, designing anything, or athletic prowess. Students could create an online presence to share in college or job applications.

You may want to start out slowly, allowing your students to choose a talent that may fit within traditional curriculum. Have students select several pieces to demonstrate their talent and upload it to a working portfolio. You can then have the students reflect on each piece in writing. Students should then choose one artifact to showcase; have them write about why that was their choice. The eportfolio can be presented in class by students using a projector or an interactive whiteboard. Teachers who have students for more than one year (such as in a gifted program or Art classes) can encourage students to show growth in their talents.

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Strike - Zurb

Grades
K to 12
5 Favorites 1  Comments
 
Create and collaborate on to-do lists with this easy-to-use tool. You can create an account or not. If you do not create an account, be sure to SAVE the URL ...more
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Create and collaborate on to-do lists with this easy-to-use tool. You can create an account or not. If you do not create an account, be sure to SAVE the URL of your list to return later. Mark list items as completed by dragging them to the left or right of the list window or simply check them off. Double click the list item to edit it as needed then click off of it to save. Send the url for your list to collaborate with others. See what others have done by clicking on the small person icon across the top. When making changes, enter your name, and the site keeps track of who completed specific items. What a great twist on your "to do" list.

tag(s): organizational skills (122)

In the Classroom

Use this simple tool to create "to do" lists for group projects or research. Be sure to spend time breaking down complex tasks into smaller, manageable pieces. Help students organize the specific tasks necessary to finish a project. This is a great tool to help students learn time management when organizing a project. Use class discussion to decide what needs to be known and the best steps to take to complete the project. Organize tasks and set due dates to assist students in being timely completing projects. Use the tool together a few times on a projector or interactive whiteboard, returning to check off items, then have student groups try it as they do projects. Teachers of both gifted and learning support students can use this tool together with students to build organizational skills. Teachers at all levels will appreciate this tool for professional organization of their own tasks, especially during busy times like report cards!

Comments

Excellent for time management, long term projects, even personal projects! Melissa, , Grades: 0 - 5

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Accompl.sh - Accomplsh, LLC

Grades
6 to 12
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Accomplish your resolutions and goals with this clever resource. Develop a goal, determine the measurable increments towards its completion, and track the progress over time. This is...more
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Accomplish your resolutions and goals with this clever resource. Develop a goal, determine the measurable increments towards its completion, and track the progress over time. This is not meant as a "to do" list but as a way to make meaningful changes toward life goals. Create your list by answering "I want to..." Create a title for the list, add 10 goals, then lock in the goals. Click on a goal to create a comment (these can be identified as progress reports using the checkbox below the comment box.) Accompl.sh has a user community that can help in motivating you towards your goals, so be aware that your input is visible to the public. Whether it is New Years or another milestone day, this is the tool to get you started.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): new years (11)

In the Classroom

Identify the goals needed to become a better student, be more organized, or other life or study skills that students would find useful. This is a great "tracking" system to help students in class and at home. Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector, so families can make group goals together. Promote solid study skills and project planning using this tool.

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Google Swiffy - Google

Grades
8 to 12
0 Favorites 0  Comments
 
This tool lets you convert Flash SWF files to HTML5 to view on non-Flash devices such as iTouch, iPad, and iPhone. Choose the file, then upload and convert. Swiffy renders ...more
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This tool lets you convert Flash SWF files to HTML5 to view on non-Flash devices such as iTouch, iPad, and iPhone. Choose the file, then upload and convert. Swiffy renders a product that is very good, with a slightly larger file size than the original. This simple to use, one step solution provides an alternative for viewing Flash based ads and animations. This site is unable to convert files that contain audio.

tag(s): computers (95)

In the Classroom

Use this tool to convert animations or other items needed in class to a file that students can view on their non-Flash devices such as iTouch or iPad.
 

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Paper Rater - paperrater.com

Grades
6 to 12
14 Favorites 0  Comments
 
At Paper Rater you can check your grammar, detect plagiarism, and find writing suggestions all at one place. Use this site for sixth grade writing and above. With the free ...more
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At Paper Rater you can check your grammar, detect plagiarism, and find writing suggestions all at one place. Use this site for sixth grade writing and above. With the free version you are able to check for plagiarism, grammar, vocabulary, word choice and style (transitions). No login is required. PaperRater offers a premium version for a fee.

tag(s): book reports (35), editing (61), essays (21), grammar (216), plagiarism (35), proofreading (19), writing (359)

In the Classroom

Users must be able to find their document and copy and paste into the correct fields. Follow the easy directions to determine grammar errors and create a better document. Use without a login or sign up.

Have students use Paper Rater to check their rough drafts. Have students work in pairs, as a peer review, to help each other improve their papers using the suggestions given by Paper Rater. Provide this link on your class website for students to access both in and out of the classroom.

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TeachersFirst: Sifting Through the Filters - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Web filtering is a common topic of frustration and mystification for teachers. Do you wonder why it's there, how it works, and what other schools do? Are there sites you ...more
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Web filtering is a common topic of frustration and mystification for teachers. Do you wonder why it's there, how it works, and what other schools do? Are there sites you read about but cannot access? Are you worried that your students may access "bad" things under your supervision? Learn the basics of Internet filters, consider key questions, and take a quick poll in Sifting Through the Filters, another teacher-friendly interactive module. In just a few minutes, you will gain a new perspective on filtering and some ideas to advocate for positive change (for best viewing, turn off your pop-up blocker).

tag(s): internet safety (106)

In the Classroom

Read through this on your own or share it in a staff meeting where you discuss use of the Internet and teachers' role in Internet safety. You may also want to share the link with your principal or other decision-makers to open dialog on ways to include teachers in the process.
 

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Fraboom Online Children's Museum - Flying Rhinoceros

Grades
K to 8
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Inspire the cartoonist in your class. Fraboom free Daily Doodle live page provides online art teachers, learning communities, video tutorials, and interactive activities. Fraboom TV...more
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Inspire the cartoonist in your class. Fraboom free Daily Doodle live page provides online art teachers, learning communities, video tutorials, and interactive activities. Fraboom TV has videos on how to draw faces, noses and mouths as well as educational videos about dinosaurs, ants, outer space and much more. There are also engaging interactive books to listen to and view.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): animation (63), artists (74), comics and cartoons (74), creative writing (166), drawing (77)

In the Classroom

Inspire expressive writing with cartooning. Play the video lessons about drawing cartoon faces as part of a writing mini-lesson. Encourage students to incorporate evocative facial features in their story illustrations. Afterward, prompt students to include expressive language in their writing that supports their drawings. Be sure to preview the online learning space before allowing students to participate. Fraboom monitors all chats and content before posting. An adult needs to enroll students in order for them to participate in the online drawing classes. Check your school policies on allowing students to participate in online discussions. Spell out permissible use and consequences in advance. This site may or may not be fully accessible inside your school filtering. Be sure to screen all portions of the site before implementing it in class and check if it is available when using your school's network.

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PocketMod - PocketMod.com

Grades
K to 12
9 Favorites 0  Comments
 
This VERY simple tool lets you or your students make simple, folded small booklets that fit in a pocket. You choose what will appear on each page: from blank space ...more
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This VERY simple tool lets you or your students make simple, folded small booklets that fit in a pocket. You choose what will appear on each page: from blank space to lines to calendars or checklists. Then print the single sheet (and run copies!) for a student "organizer" useful for homework assignments, long-term project deadlines, checklists, even student-made study guides. Students use the booklets the old fashioned way: by WRITING in them; but the clever, customizable format lets you teach organizational skills in a way that works.

See a sample PocketMod checklist, notes, and calendar booklet (with a separate page of folding directions) and one made from a PDF of the Pennsylvania Science and Technology Standards, converted using the free downloadable software.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): organizational skills (122)

In the Classroom

Go to PocketMod and follow the simple drag-and-drop visual screen to create the PocketMod from their many organizer options. Print and fold (NO Acrobat Reader required). More skilled users should consider downloading the free "PDF to PocketMod" converter that will take any pdf document and format it to the small, foldable format. If you have handouts in pdf format or can make them from your scanner/copier, you can make ANYTHING into a PocketMod. The converter assumes you have Acrobat Reader.

Have students design their own study guides before a chapter test or maintain a project checklist to be submitted along with the completed project to build better organizational skills. Warning: Students will quickly learn that PocketMod is a great way to make CHEAT SHEETS. Be forewarned of student cleverness!
 
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Daytum - Ryan Case and Nicholas Feltron

Grades
K to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Are you looking to collect and analyze class data easily? Choose from 16 different ways to view data. Decide the items you wish to count (the free plan allows up ...more
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Are you looking to collect and analyze class data easily? Choose from 16 different ways to view data. Decide the items you wish to count (the free plan allows up to 1000 different things to be counted.) Also determine the category the items can be placed into (use up to 24 different categories in the free account.) Add a statement panel to your display panel to add notes and make comments about the data. Be sure to click the How To at the bottom of the home page to learn how to use the Daytum site. Also click the "Watch A Screencast" link for additional help. Data can also be collected via text or Twitter tweets.

tag(s): data (148), infographics (42), statistics (122), visualizations (14)

In the Classroom

Some of the best data to collect is anything that is a habit: types of drinks students drink at home, hours watching TV/playing games/doing homework, meals/fast food, etc. Use the site to collect data from other students or classes for a Math, Social Studies, or Psychology class. Use Daytum for a Science class by counting animals at a feeder, recycling efforts, amount of paper used in the classroom, days of rain/no rain, etc. Anything that can be counted can be used by Daytum! Be sure to identify students who will be counters and recorders of the data.

Before using Daytum, be sure to follow the directions on the How To page. Be sure to decide the goal first and the data to be collected. Having an idea of the kind of data to be collected as well as how it will be displayed is necessary before using. This tool is best used as a class activity rather than creating individual accounts. Create a class account and use a class computer or computer attached to a projector or whiteboard to collect data as students enter the room. Set up the parameters of the data to be collected (or enlist the help of an ambitious student.)

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Shareaholic.com - shareaholic.com

Grades
9 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Use this free Firefox or Chrome add-on to quickly share sites and content with others in your network. Download the add-on and click the Shareaholic button to share what you ...more
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Use this free Firefox or Chrome add-on to quickly share sites and content with others in your network. Download the add-on and click the Shareaholic button to share what you are reading easily with others. Customize the add-on to offer only the ways you want to share by choosing only certain services such as: Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon, Delicious or Google Reader.

tag(s): bookmarks (60)

In the Classroom

After installing this add-on, choose the applications you wish to share on the next screen by simply clicking on the names. Protect your settings by creating a username and password. Click profile to create your account. Click on the connections tab to allow Shareaholic to access your Facebook account among others.

Use this service where add-ons are allowed to be used on the computers. Recommend only the services allowed by your district such as Google Reader or Diigo. Students can easily share with their classmates using approved services. Students should be made aware of proper sharing of information and consequences for inappropriate use.

Use this browser add-on to quickly and easily share with others, generating a library of information (articles, bookmarks, and other data) that all students can use. For example, when studying the animal kingdom, world wars, works of Shakespeare, or other content, assign students the task of collectively sharing articles and sites that they find to enhance the learning of all students in the classroom. Consider assigning each group a different aspect of the information to be found which would result in an unbelievable bank of links for the entire unit of study. Decide which service you would wish to use such as Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, & bookmarklets.

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Drop It To Me - JAJAdesign

Grades
6 to 12
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DropItToMe is a nifty tool that complements DropBox (reviewed here). It allows you to create a secure email address that is password protected so...more
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DropItToMe is a nifty tool that complements DropBox (reviewed here). It allows you to create a secure email address that is password protected so that anyone you provide with this information can send you files. The files go to your Dropbox account. This is bigger and better than regular email. DropItToMe can accommodate files that are too large to be sent through regular email. This can also help when you may not be able to access email accounts because of filtering software and firewalls. Dropittome makes the need for access to email for sending documents obsolete. Note: Some schools block Dropbox, so check first!

tag(s): homework (44)

In the Classroom

This tool would be mighty handy for online assignments and anything that is completed digitally. Best of all, as the teacher you can set up one email account, share the password with all of your students, and they can send you files. They never need to access anything but this website. This is extremely handy for those who are conducting or pushing towards paperless classrooms.

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Interesting Ways - Tom Barrett

Grades
3 to 12
10 Favorites 1  Comments
    
Interesting Ways will help you find new ways to present old material, or give you ideas about how to use new programs, web tools, and technologies in your classroom. ...more
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Interesting Ways will help you find new ways to present old material, or give you ideas about how to use new programs, web tools, and technologies in your classroom. Topics range from "Ideas for Class Blog Posts" to "Use Web Conferencing in the Classroom" to "Use QR Codes In the Classroom" and countless other topics. Many Google Tools are listed here also. There is so much more on this site that you just have to go and investigate! This is definitely a must-see.

Users can comment on this site and the contents. Be sure to preview before having students investigate on their own. And be sure students are clear about your expectations regarding their own commenting on this site.

tag(s): qr codes (21), tutorials (47)

In the Classroom

This is a professional resource to save in your favorites and share with your friends! With older students, challenge cooperative learning groups to investigate one "interesting way" and then create a project (using the suggestions in their "interesting way") to teach the class about a topic currently being taught. Make the choices on this page the options for a student research presentation. What a fabulous way to truly learn the material.... teach it to the rest of the class! Students will also gain expertise at choosing the best tool for the task, a true 21st century skill!
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

Comments

This should now read "Thirty-Two Interesting Ways to Use Wallwisher".

Editorial Note: we have updated our review. Thank you
Shirley, CA, Grades: 6 - 12

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GoodReads - Good Reads

Grades
10 to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Goodreads--it's an intersection between Facebook, your local book club, and your neighborhood library. While it is a social networking site (and TF warns all teachers of the complications...more
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Goodreads--it's an intersection between Facebook, your local book club, and your neighborhood library. While it is a social networking site (and TF warns all teachers of the complications and dangers of encouraging such sites in a school setting), English and social science teachers, especially, will find benefit in the intellectual commentaries written about certain books. Perusing this site is like viewing the personal library of all your friends. You may want to create your own Goodreads page to prove to your students and colleagues that you take reading seriously. It will encourage your students to do likewise. You may even want to form a network of teachers to post valuable educational books for professional development. Of course, if monitored closely, your high school students will enjoy creating their own Goodreads page to promote their favorite 'good reads.' We definitely suggest that you watch the 'tour' at the top right to learn about the inner workings of this site. Don't miss the Quotes area, available by clicking "more quotes" after the featured one in the sidebar.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): authors (120), independent reading (128), quotations (23), social networking (112)

In the Classroom

Share this site to promote independent reading as a life habit or as a way to facilitate book discussion and book sharing among your mature students. Since the site is intended for the general public, not just for schools, it includes ALL books and open discussions. Be sure to have discussions about safety concerns in an online environment. You might also want to use a whole-class account to be able to monitor activity. Have students initial their own comments. Use the quotes available on this site as writing prompts or daily class starters or encourage students to "collect" their own favorite quotes about writing and other topics. For more visual students, suggest that they create an online multimedia response space for their independent reading using Glogster, reviewed here. They can include quotes, images, and responses to the books they discover via Goodreads.

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Alternative to... - alternativeto.net

Grades
K to 12
0 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Use Alternative to... and find a new alternative to one of your favorite online tools. Use the social-network powered database to suggest the new application. Find featured applications...more
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Use Alternative to... and find a new alternative to one of your favorite online tools. Use the social-network powered database to suggest the new application. Find featured applications ready to view. Use the tabs below to find the applications with the "Most views," "Most likes," "Recent," or even those that do not have an alternative. Join/follow the site to vote on favorite and alternative apps as well as uploading new applications to be considered.

tag(s): social networking (112)

In the Classroom

Click on one of the applications to see a great list of alternatives that may meet your needs or those of your students. Offer this site as a means for students to differentiate and express their understanding of the content in different ways. In a technology class, provide time for groups to explore the variety of options and report on ease of use and features for each. Be sure to check whether the sites listed are blocked by any filters in your school first.

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Courosa's library - Alec Couros

Grades
K to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Need to create an email account(s) to sign student(s) on to various web 2.0 tools? Use this screencast to learn how to create subaccounts for your gmail account. Follow the ...more
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Need to create an email account(s) to sign student(s) on to various web 2.0 tools? Use this screencast to learn how to create subaccounts for your gmail account. Follow the additional information in the screencast for creating filters when subaccount emails come into your inbox.

tag(s): video (254)

In the Classroom

Depending upon the age of your students and whether they are allowed to make their own accounts for Web 2.0 tools, consider making subaccounts to register students for accounts. Use the subaccounts for websites requiring email verification. Remember to create a master list of logins, passwords, and even subaccount email names.

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Wolfram Alpha - Wolfram Alpha LLC

Grades
6 to 12
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Looking for a great search tool for quantitative information? Use Wolfram Alpha to find responses in a whole new way. Use the power of Wolfram Alpha to get to the ...more
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Looking for a great search tool for quantitative information? Use Wolfram Alpha to find responses in a whole new way. Use the power of Wolfram Alpha to get to the heart of computational and mathematical data with corresponding information and explanations. You must be exact in the wording of your query since Wolfram Alpha may not know what to do with your request. Wolfram alpha is peer reviewed vs. user generated and should be considered a valuable resource. To better understand this entirely different approach, watch the "Take the Tour" video available by clicking on "About." Browse the examples to notice the subtleties. To see the vast differences between Wolfram Alpha and Google using Goofram, reviewed here.

tag(s): resources (112), search engines (65)

In the Classroom

Experiment together with your students to understand how Wolfphram Alpha works. For example, type in two cities (such as New York and Melbourne Australia.) Results from the search can include: distance between in various units, flight path on a map of the world, time to travel (as a person, light beam, or sound wave), portion of circumference of the Earth, population, elevation, and time zones. Use this site to not only get numerical answers but the computations behind them. Compare this to Google which provides great search results, but sends you mostly to another site for the math. Use Wolfram Alpha to uncover and connect a vast amount of factual scientific, mathematical, socio-economic, biographical, cultural, and linguistic data. View National Mortality Rates and follow these numbers down to view chances at specific heights and weights. Use to examine DNA sequences, various biochemical reactions and equations, and investigate particle physics. Wolfram Alpha can handle tough advanced math problems, not only providing the answer but walking step by step through the solution. Practice different queries for students to learn how to be more exact in searching. Be sure to compare Wolfram Alpha and Google side by side to determine the advantages for each.
 
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Quicklyst - Shantanu Bala

Grades
6 to 12
0 Favorites 0  Comments
 
This application for note-taking is extremely simple to use, but performs in a very sophisticated way. There is a very easy text tutorial and FAQ to tell you about such ...more
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This application for note-taking is extremely simple to use, but performs in a very sophisticated way. There is a very easy text tutorial and FAQ to tell you about such features as creating an outline, accessing the DuckDuckGo search engine or looking up a word on the Merriam-Webster online dictionary without ever leaving your notes. It also connects to definitions from Wikipedia. And, you can automatically send your notes to your Amazon Kindle device. For math and science, the text tutorial will also show you how you can enter equations in your notes using the LaTeX format.

tag(s): note taking (32)

In the Classroom

If you do not approve use of Wikipedia, you will want to state this up front to your students. Before turning your students loose with this program, use your interactive whiteboard, projector and Quicklyst to show them how to put information in their own words. Then you can have them use Quicklyst to take notes for any type of summarizing or research. Create separate accounts on Quicklyst for student research groups. Students can then easily share their notes with their group members. Create a class account, and use your interactive whiteboard and projector along with Quicklyst to have the class create a study guide for a test on any subject. These can be saved and used for notes for a final test. If there is a common class password, students will be able to access the notes from home.

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Flickriver - flickriver.com

Grades
K to 12
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Use Flickriver as a new way to view photos from Flickr. Click the "Explore" tab to view recent pictures uploaded to flickr. Create your own flickriver stream and view all ...more
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Use Flickriver as a new way to view photos from Flickr. Click the "Explore" tab to view recent pictures uploaded to flickr. Create your own flickriver stream and view all photos from other flickriver streams by registering and creating a flickr login. Use the search bar at the top to customize search by users, groups, tags, or places.

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

In the Classroom

Users must be familiar with how to use Flickr reviewed here.

Create a class Flickr account to upload pictures of experiments, student projects, and items related to class content. Use Flickriver to pull these pictures in to view by the class. Use pictures to represent Math concepts, poems and stories, science concepts in the real world, or items belonging to cultures. Create a flickriver of art projects to display to the world. If students are allowed individual accounts, they could use this as a way to share their portfolios of artwork or digital images.

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Skype for educators - Marie Rush

Grades
K to 12
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Excited about Skype and looking for others to connect with? Find a list of educators who are looking for others to connect with. Add your name to this list as ...more
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Excited about Skype and looking for others to connect with? Find a list of educators who are looking for others to connect with. Add your name to this list as well and be sure to contact those who are of similar grade levels or topics. Be sure to read more about Skype here.

tag(s): skype (12)

In the Classroom

Be sure to check school policies and obtain parent permission before using Skype in the classroom. Discuss appropriate and inappropriate behavior and the consequences. Anything you can do by telephone or video call you can do on a projector with your entire class. 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.) 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

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The Data Liberation Front - Google

Grades
7 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Do you use various Web 2.0 items and are unsure how to move information from one to the other (or from the cloud to your computer?) Use this site to ...more
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Do you use various Web 2.0 items and are unsure how to move information from one to the other (or from the cloud to your computer?) Use this site to learn how to move information from one area to another. For example, learn how to import and export bookmarks. Also learn how to import, export, or zip google documents to your computer.

tag(s): directions (20), resources (112)

In the Classroom

Provide this link as a resource to your students. Allow them the opportunity to learn techniques to move and manage their online information. Consider putting this link on your class website for students (and parents) to access at home.
 

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