Thursday, March 15, 2012

Putting EdTech Into Practice - Drag On Tape


I previously wrote about Drag On Tape when working as a Technology Integration Specialist  and thought it was a great idea.  Drag On Tape provides a way for users to create a mix tape of videos fromYouTube.  I imagined immediately how teachers across the various subject matters could use this service and shared it with the teachers in my building.  I also have an iPad at my disposal and you can get Drag On Tape as an App as well.

Now that I am in the classroom, I had my opportunity to share it with my student teacher and then use the service for creating a mix tape of various videos to showcase Propaganda.  I can think back to before Drag On Tape was available how difficult it would have been to have each video up in its own window and hope that my computer is fast enough to handle all the various YouTube links and hoping that they would load in a timely fashion.

By using Drag On Tape, I was able to add the videos in about 5-10 minutes and get a link that I could easily share with my students.  It also removes all the comments and other aspects of videos on YouTube that could be considered a distraction. I can easily take the entire mix tape full screen and see how long the entire video is.  I can pause the videos between each separate video as well.

You can see a sample of my Propaganda Mix Tape below

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

inFocus


Some websites have those annoying advertisements on them (not that my blog is abstained from such...trying to make a little extra money) that can be a distraction for students in your classroom.  inFocus aims to help with that problem by providing users a SIMPLE and EFFICIENT way of highlighting the important parts of websites and darkening the least important parts of websites. 

With inFocus, you easily drag the bookmark tool to your toolbar and when you come across a site that you want to highlight, copy the url and then click on the bookmarklet.  Paste the URL and you will be ready to highlight the area you want to showcase.  It is a great tool to focus on certain areas of a picture as well.  If you use Google Chrome, you will need to get the extension HERE.

Here is a sample image.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Purpose Games


Purpose Games is a website that allows users to create and play their own educational trivia and quiz games.  It only takes a few minutes to create games.  This would be a valuable tool to use for students who are in the computer lab and get done with their work and need more to do.  They could create a game or play a game related to the content that you are working on.

Students can compete against each other or themselves.  Various subjects are available to users of the websites.  You can view previously constructed games in the library as well.  Challenge your students to take first place.  Registering is free and simple.  It does require email verification because the password will be sent in an email.

Gives Games Education a try with Purpose Games.

Readability


Readability is a website/plugin/application that helps remove all the annoying clutter from websites.  This is a great tool for teachers because you can remove adds from websites that you are showing in class.  The service allows you to also save readings for later.  You can also get it as a iPhone or iPad app as well.  If you have a Kindle, you can send it to your Kindle as well. 

For more information, see the video below.

Playfic


Playfic is a website dedicated to creating "games" around pieces of fiction.  The purpose is to allow users to write, remix, share, and play interactive text-based games with the world.  Signing up for Playfic requires logging in to use the service.  All the usual requirements to create an account are necessary.  Want to learn more, check out this Playfic Tutorial to see a sample.  If you want to learn more, check out this cheat sheet that explains how to play the game.  Playfic uses a programming language called Inform 7.  To learn more, click here.

I got to say that I think this is a great way to get students engaged in writing fiction, or for that matter playing games relating to fiction.  It keeps the writing interesting, and catches peoples need for mystery. 

Entri





Entri is a free and simple user friendly collaborative document sharing tool.  The tool allows you to jot down ideas and get feedback.  You can share your document through Twitter as well.  Entri is still new and several features are forthcoming, but if you don't have access to Google Docs, this is an alternative solution.  Getting started is simple and you just share a created link with friends and start working on the document.  If you want to avoid unnecessary edits, you can lock your document so that it can not be written on. 

TimeHop


Timehop is a service that allows users to write about their daily lives each day and then in a year you will get en email that tells you what you were doing a year ago.  So if you are someone who is constantly forgetting your past, this would be a good way to help you remember (wives I am sure would like to share with their husbands).  At the same time, I could see the benefits of a site like this for people who suffer from Alzheimer's as well.  If you login or connect to Facebook, Twitter, Instragram, or Foursquare, it will add in memories from those services. 

This would be an interesting service for students to use to help them see if they reached a personal goal or write about experiences in school and think back to how much their opinions and friends might change within a year.  The only negative is that right now, it does require Facebook to use, but it would still be a neat writing experience. 

Zopler


Zopler is a website that allows authors, writers, and students to collaboratively write on a story or other piece of writing as a group.  Get with your friends in your English class and start writing.  It is like playing the game telephone in the 21st Century.  You can sign in using Facebook or create an Zopler account.  See the video below for more information. 

Zopler allows users to upload artwork or images for certain paragraphs or the entire story itself.  There is also a rating feature that allows users to track their reputation and help other writers know what you think of their efforts. 

Pinnion


Currently in beta, Pinnion is a survey website that allows users to have access to the free basic version, or while in beta testing get access to the premium account for free.  The premium access does mean that they will want your feedback on the service.  What makes Pinnion different from the others is that it is compatible with phones and tablets. 

Pinnion allows unlimited questions and responses.  You also get custom branding and graphics as well as a custom closing message.  There is a free WordPress plug-in as well.  You can also embed the surveys onto a website as well.  There is a quick sharing feature through email and other social media sites.  Results for your surveys are available in real time with the ability to filter and report on results.  You can also export to Excel/CSV. 

You can find the apps for both iPhone/iPad and Android phones as well.  So if you are in the market for creating surveys, you might want to give Pinnion a try.
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