Friday, August 27, 2010

Kwik Surveys

Kwik Surveys offers user the ability to create "quick" and easy surveys or forms for completely free.  You have an unlimited number of questions, answers, and surveys that you can create.  Visit Kwik Surveys to see all the features that they advertise, saving me from the trouble of reinventing the wheel and typing it all here.  You can view a 2 Question Demo survey to get an idea of how it will look.  No sign up is necessary, just click on the "Create" button and start creating your own survey.  If you want to save your surveys you will need to create an account however.

Kwik Surveys will be a great way to start the school year and discover information about your students and retrieve results without all the paperwork.  I used a lot of surveys in my classes for the purpose of creating discussion in class.  This site would be useful in getting opinions on hot topics to discuss in classes such as Sociology and History. 


Newsy is a site dedicated to merging news stories from various sources into one video clip.  They use various news agencies, newspapers, magazines, and websites to create the story thus provide various views on a news story. 

The news is broken down in to popular categories (US, World, Politics, Business, Tech, Health/Science, and Sports.  I like the organization of Newsy for the purpose of covering current events and getting different views.  It can help create discussion because of the different views you get about different stories.  You could easily adapt the stories from Newsy to many of the subjects in schools while providing an unbiased view.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

TinEye - Reverse Image Search

TinEye is a reverse image search engine.  You can upload an image from your computer and search the Internet for it.  You can also paste a image URL and find other places that the image exist on the Internet.  What is neat is that you don't necessarily have to have the same file name.  TinEye will use Image Identification Technology, not keywords, metadata, or watermarks.  The site currently has 1.6 billion images indexed for you to use in your search.

TinEye would be a great site to use to check on students using images in a presentation but did not site the source for where they received the image.  It will also help with those teachers who have students publishing websites to ensure that students did not use copyrighted photos. 


Livestation is a site that allows you to watch live TV and listen to radio.  The TV stations are centered around news stations, but Livestation would be a great tool for classrooms that are studying current events and want to see news from other parts of the world.  There are several channels that would be of interest to teachers and provide an alternate source to news.  News stations include Al Jazeera, BBC, NASA, and United Nations.  A valuable news source separate from network and cable news stations that most, at least Americans, are used too.  You can also watch the news from their mobile station on the iPhone and Blackberry.

OneExtraLap - Social Quizzing

OneExtraLap is a site dedicated to the idea of creating a quiz, making it social, and then turning that quiz into a competition.  It allows you to create and take compelling and content rich quizzes while competing with friends and earning points and badges.  Sign up is easy.  Username, Password, and Email address.

Each quiz is limited to 9 questions, but each question can have up to 9 answers, so you could also turn your quiz into a survey.  You can also tag your quizzes making it easy for students to find them online and take them.  I think a site like this could really take off if they created a way to create teacher accounts.  It would be a great way to create competition online for your students and provide another way for your to assess your students.  It is still in its infancy, but I think the site shows some promise of being useful and neat.

Khan Academy

Khan Academy is a site that offers TONS of videos related mostly to Math and Science.  The videos are basically tutorials or explanations on how to solve equations.  From their site "The Khan Academy is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) with the mission of providing a world-class education to anyone, anywhere. Despite being the work of one man, Salman Khan, this 1600+ video library is the most-used educational video resource as measured by YouTube video views per day and unique users per month. We are complementing this ever-growing library with user-paced exercises--developed as an open source project--allowing the Khan Academy to become the free classroom for the World."

There are some videos for other subjects, but they don't compare to the number of videos for Math and Science.  Not a replacement for your lessons, but a great supplement to what you are teaching and maybe even in a method you might not normally teach it.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Read Print - Free Online Books, Poems, Short Stories

Read Print is a site dedicated to finding Books, Poems, and Shorts Stories online and for completely free!  You can search by author and title to find what you are looking for.  Just on the main page, I saw several that I know are very useful for educators.  You can search for Essays, Fiction, Non-Fiction, Plays, Poetry, and Short Stories.  For those schools struggling with textbook cost, Read Print might be a great option depending on what students are reading. 

When you visit the main page it has a list of the top 250 authors; so to see if this site has an author you are studying that would be a great starting point.  Another great section is quotes.  You can search for quotes by an author or on a certain subject.  What is also great is that the site offer biographical information about the authors as well.

Read Print also has a reading mode that provides a way to easily read each chapter.  The negative, there are ads throughout the text, but they have to pay for the site some how.  Read Print seems to be a very thorough site for online reading, especially for classrooms strapped for cash to purchase books.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Photovisi is a site that allows you to upload several photos to create a collage of photos.  The site is fairly simple to use.  Select a template, upload your photos, then download the collage in jpeg format.  There are several different templates to choose from as well, and if you create an account you get access to all the templates.  Each template can be edited to organize the pictures in a way that best suits your needs.  You can change the background color or even put an image in the background of the template.  You can also crop the photos once you upload them.  The upload features was also rather fast.  I was surprised.  Photos can be re-sized, turned, and warped as well.

You could use Photovisi as a way to organize many photos for a presentation, or even take pictures of your students and then have that as the background on your computer (if you edit the photo, you can put their name on the picture as well.).  Would be a great tool for yearbook or journalism teachers as well for organizing photos of several students at one event.  Great for adding photos to a classroom or school web page as well.

Drag on Tape

Dragontape is an online video mixing tool that allows you to take videos from a site like YouTube and merge them together to create one large video.  Dragontape would be a great way to merge together several clips to show your students without having to go back and forth and save to a playlist.

Dragontape uses a simple drag and drop feature and you can search for YouTube videos from within the website or you can copy and paste the URL.  Organizing and watching the videos is very simplistic as well.  You can register for an account, but it is not necessary to use the software.  Registering does allow you to save your video mix tapes that you create.

You can give your "tape" a title and determine whether you want it to be private or public.  Go here to get started creating your own video collage.

Monday, August 23, 2010

7 Technology Alternatives to Standard Homework Assignments

Standard Homework Assignment: Create a poster board over a book/person/event.
Technology Alternative: Create a Glog using Glogster for Education

Standard Homework Assignment: Find an article about a certain topic (Current Event maybe) and bring into class with a write up discussing the content
Technology Alternative: Have students find that article online and post a link to it on a blog or wallwisher wall discussing the content.  Share the blog/wall in class the following day.

Standard Homework Assignment: Complete the questions from a certain section or chapter review in your textbook.
Technology Alternative: Create a Back Channel Chat using a site like TitanPad and discuss the questions from the book at a certain time that night. 

Standard Homework Assignment (Math): Do a certain number of problems from your book and bring them in to check for correctness
Technology Alternative: Use a site like Twiddla and provide a whiteboard area for students to collaboratively work together on the problems.

Standard Homework Assignment: Complete a worksheet and turn in to the teacher the following day
Technology Alternative: Create the worksheet and make it available to students online (Use a Word to PDF converter).  Have students search the Internet for the answers and provide a link to the source for where they found the answer.

Standard Homework Assignment: Read a poem/story/section of a book and be prepared to discuss in class the next day
Technology Alternative: Read a poem/story/section of a book and create a blog or Twitter account for students to discuss the night they read it.  Then share the comments on the blog with students to facilitate the discussion in class the next day.  It also provides a way to grade them for participating in the reading.  If they do a blog response, they get a grade, if not, they don't.

Standard Homework Assignment: Write a Poem.
Technology Alternative: Use a site like PicLits and write the poem using an image as inspiration.  Email the completed poem to the teacher.  Share in class.

What Technology Alternatives do you have for the Standard Homework Assignment?  Feel free to comment!

Top 10 Things I Learned Going From Teaching Students to "Teaching" Technology Integration - My 200th Post

I do want to point out before getting into the list that these are in no particular order and one of them is not more important than the other. Some of these are personal opinion, while some of these are from personal experience.  However, all ten are very true to the successful integration of technology in the classroom.

1.) So much of the technology integration that I am sharing was available while I was teaching, I just did not have anyone to show it to me.

2.) With what I know now, I am intrigued with the idea of going back to the classroom to use the technology to improve my lessons and activities and engage my students more in class.

3.) It is still, and will truly never be about the technology; it is about the teacher who uses the technology and how they use the technology.

4.) Possibilities for integrating technology across the curriculum are endless for those teachers that are willing to learn.  Technology is the one true resource that is not biased to a certain subject matter.

5.) Twitter is a great method of Professional Development for educators and should be encouraged by teacher education programs and school administrators.  We expect students to be lifelong learners, but then don't expect it of ourselves.

6.) It is good practice to use the tools that you are sharing with the staff during meetings and professional development so that they can see the tool and resource in action.  It is also good for them to see it not always go right when you are using it and how you adapt to a "problem."

7.) You don't have to be a technology integration specialist or a technology resource teacher to share technology with your staff.  You just have to be a teacher who is willing to share personal experiences with integrating technology in the classroom.

8.) Blogging (both writing and reading) provides a way to share, discuss, and reflect on experiences as a teacher.  It has been a great experience in my position, especially receiving feedback and learning the powerful uses of RSS (Really Simple Syndication)

9.) Ups and downs that come with technology integration are no different than any other ups and downs that one might experience while teaching and working in education.  The Internet will always be down at some point....but so might the copier that you need for those copies.

10.) Technology integration offers more opportunities and possibilities for communicating with students and parents....especially outside the classroom.

So what is keeping you from having the same eye opening experience I have had in the past year? 

Friday, August 20, 2010


DOC Cop is a Plagiarism detection website.  It can check PDF files as well as any version of Microsoft Word.  DOC Cop is completely free to use and for the first time that I have seen of any of these sites, it does not keep the submissions.  It deletes the document once it completes the submission.  No submission is copied, retained, or passed on to be sold. 

The idea behind DOC COP is really to compare papers over the same topic, not necessarily papers to other books, magazines, or websites.  It is good if you have the resources in PDF form to check against, otherwise you are only able to check a students paper against another paper.

All the files must contain at least 20 words and no more than 100,000.  All checks on web based submissions have a limit of 550 words.  If you want to check a web submission you can do so, and it is powered by a Google Search.  This would be good to check web pages that students created to see if they copied any material.

Sign up is as simple as providing an email and waiting for a Guest ID to be emailed to you.  In the time it took to write this post I had not received a Guest ID though.

Graphic Organizers

I was asked by the Principal at one of the high schools that I work at to provide websites that contain usable and printable Graphic Organizers for the staff to use with their students.  Here is the list of sites that I came up with.

First, a great starting point is Cybraryman's Website for Graphic Organizers.  Many of the below are probably on his website once or twice.

Otherwise, I would suggest viewing the following sites for some graphic organizers to use in your classroom

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

SchoolRack - Free Website or Blog

SchoolRack is a site that advertises itself as a place for teachers to create websites and blogs to increase communication with parents and students.  SchoolRack says that it is free of advertisements and that you can upgrade to a Pro account for a small fee.
Without creating an account myself, it seems to have a useful and easy to follow user interface.  It also has a simple Teacher Search, making it easy for parents and students to find your site if the URL is not handy.  When looking at one of the websites, there is an option in the top corner that allows you to click and receive an email when the website is updated, kind of like an RSS feed.  SchoolRack looks to me like this site would be a great starting point for teachers hesitate about creating their own website.

Book Glutton

BookGlutton is a website that provides the ability to read books online.  It has eBooks that would be of interest to educators.  I saw "The Scarlet Letter" and "A Tale of Two Cities" on the website for starters.  Several of the books are available for free, others are available for purchase.  In the end it offers a way for students to read books for your class without having to go to the library or purchase a book.  1:1 schools could really benefit from this site when reading books in class.  They do have a search option if you want to try out the site for books in your class.  As they always say, you can't beat free.

Google Earth Help

Came across this from a weekly email I receive.  If you have students, or even teachers, interested in using Google Earth, it can be a daunting task for many of them.  Google Earth has created a quiz/tutorial that has 7 levels plus a bonus level that students/teachers can take to get a better understanding of this great educational tool.  The tutorial does a great job of showing all the features and how to use them.  Google Earth is a great tool for Earth/Space Science, History, Geography, Math, and Current Events.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Pleft - Help you Plan Appointments

An interesting occurrence the other day on Twitter, when I received a Tweet wondering if I would blog about a Web 2.0 software.  Not everyday you get someone asking you to blog about something for them.  So I replied and said that if they could explain how it could be used in education I would think about it.  I got their reply and decided to check out the site.

Pleft is a site that provides a way for you to schedule meetings and let other people respond to see if it is a time that works for them.  It is color coded for easy viewing and Pleft requires no sign up to use.  Invitations are email based, so you would have to know your invitees email address.

Impact on Education:
1.) Would be a great way for principals to schedule a meeting  with teachers after school
2.) Would provide a way for teachers to see what evening might be best to have a mandatory homework assignment (seeing a speech, watching the news, etc.)
3.) Would be a great way for teachers to schedule after school meetings.
4.) Would provide a way for coaches to communicate the best way to schedule a meeting with parents.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Every once in a while you find a site that really makes you say Ooooh and Ahhhh. is one of those sites.  All you have to do is copy and paste a URL of an image and it will upload it to the website.  You can then view the picture full screen and zoom into the image getting a better view of certain areas.

I used to teach the Renaissance and we would always examine the art from that time period.  I would always point out certain aspects of the paintings. would have been a great addition to that curriculum.  If you are ever examining a picture, this site is a must.

You can also embed the utility into a blog or website, as seen below.

TwistyNoodle - For Elementary Teachers

TwistyNoodle is a site that offers FREE coloring pages and Handwriting Practice Worksheets.  This could be a useful site for Elementary teachers especially who might not always have the worksheet they need for a certain activity that they are working on.  You can browse different categories as well as search for s specific type of worksheet.  If you use these types of worksheets, then this site is a must for you to check out.

Web 3.0 Search Engine??? - Kngine

Kngine is claiming to be a Web 3.0 Search engine.  I tested it out, and found the results kind of useful.  Especially searching for people.  It would provide a biography of that person.  If you searched a location it provided a picture as well as a map (which is provided by Google...kind of funny).  

From their own description, Kngine aims to organize the human beings Systematic Knowledge and Experiences and make them accessible to everyone. We aim to collect and organize all objective data, and make it possible and easy to access. Our goal is to build Web 3.0 Web Search Engine on the advances of Web Search Engine, Semantic Web, Data Representation technologies -- a new form of Web Search Engine that will unleash a revolution of new possibilities.

Try it out for yourself....

Print What You Like

I have to thank Kelly Tenkely and her iLearn Technology Blog for sharing this great tool.  Print What You Like is a website that allows you to easily edit a web page so that you can only print what you need from it.  It can really be helpful in reducing printer ink and paper cost because you don't have to print ads that appear on the page.  The web-based interface of Print What You Like is very easy to use and all you have to do is provide the URL address to use the editor.  You can create an account and save the edits that you make as well.

I can see Print What You Like being useful for teachers who require students to submit weekly current event articles, or articles related to a particular subject matter.  It could also be used to easily provide documentation of research for a project to help alleviate plagiarism.  Teachers could also use it to share stories and articles they are using in the classroom as well.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Creaza - All in One

Finally a site has decided to merge many sites together. Creaza is a site that offers a mind-mapping tool, cartoon creation, movie editor, and audio editor.  You can read their blog to discover some of their amazing features. The layout seems very similar to Microsoft Office 2007 version products.

- Click Here for a video about the Mind-mapping software.
- Click Here for a video about the Cartoon software
- Click Here for a Demo/Video of the Video Editor (Does take some time to load)
- Click Here for a video about the Audio Editor

In order to use the software you do have to register for an account with Creaza.  It creates a profile page like most websites are doing these days.  It seems to have a lot of useful tools all in one.  Something I was waiting to happen.  You can use the audio tracks you make in the audio editor in your video editor.  The video editor offers a ton of options.

My best advice is to watch the videos.  Each has unique features that are very useful for projects.  I really enjoyed exploring this site and seeing the tools available to teachers and students.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Do's and Don'ts of PowerPoint

I admit it.  I never did a good job of teaching my students how to create a PowerPoint Presentation.  I made the same assumption so many other teachers do.  I assumed that the students knew how to create a good PowerPoint.  They don't.  At the same time, teachers also struggle with making quality PowerPoint Presentations.  I know I did.  The following is a short manual or resource listing GOOD ways to use PowerPoint, and BAD ways to use PowerPoint.

There are other options out there.  I know, but so many teachers and students are still using PowerPoint.  So I figure it is best to teach them how to properly create a PowerPoint.

You can view the Resource below, or visit the website and download a PDF.