Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Posterini






Posterini is a website that allows users to upload a picture and then create a downloadable and/or purchasable poster.  There are several features that allows users to edit the poster and the text on the poster to meet their needs.  It uses a simple interface, but simple enough to create a product. 

English teachers could use this to turn a book into a poster for a movie.  Social Studies Teachers could use it to create a poster advertising a historical event.  There are several ways that a poster could be created for a classroom project. 

What is great about this simple product is that it does not require any registration to use, just the ability to select and upload a photo.  I recommend using it first and playing around to see what all it can do and then devise a plan for integration into the classroom. 

TagMyDoc





TagMyDoc is a service that allows users to easily "tag" their documents with a QR Code and by doing so automatically stores the document (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) in the cloud so that it is easily accessible by anyone needing a copy.  To use TagMyDoc you will need to install an extension to your Office software that allows the service to work.  The extension will appear as a new option in the Office Ribbon at the top of the screen. 

With a free account you have the ability to upload 100 documents that you tag.  You can add more space for small monthly fee if you find yourself using this service all the time.  You can also organize your documents on the website as well.  There is a ScanMyDoc App as well for both Apple Devices and Android Devices

I could see this being used for students who have a tendency to forget assignments in their locker, so they could easily scan the document after class or in class (Depending on school policy) so that they have access to this at home.  Administration could also use this document to provide ways for teachers to get access to documents that they share for professional development and faculty meetings. 

Screenr


Screenr is a free, simple, and instant screencasting software.  On the main page is a record button.  Click that and you can begin recording video and audio of your screen.  To save your screencasts you will need to login using Twitter, Facebook, Google, or Yahoo!  You can resize the frame around what you want to record.  You have up to five minutes for your recording. 

For educators, Screenr provides an opportunity to share with students a video for searching through a teacher webpage or using a software.  For teachers and principals, it could be used to show teachers how to proctor an online assessment or access important documents.

Just so you know, you will need to have an updated version of Java.

gzaas!





One of the aspects of teaching that has become a staple is the idea of using a "bellringer" as students enter the room that they begin to work on and connects to the objectives or lessons for the day.  I would usually put them on board or in a PowerPoint slide.  Nothing fancy; just simple and to the point.  gzaas! (Don't ask me how to pronounce it) is a website that allows you to easily type some text and the change the various styles, backgrounds, fonts, effects, etc. 

Using gzaas! would allow a little creativity and spontaneity to the process of creating bellringers.  This could be used in other ways as well, such as bonus questions on a test, essay question, journal entry, etc.  The more we can change up the process of how we do things in our classroom, the more beneficial it will be for our students.

BenchPrep



Chances are you have a few students taking the ACT/SAT and AP exams this school year.  Often times these test stress out several students and can be a daunting task for teachers to cover the material and get students prepared; especially for the AP exams.

BenchPrep aims to help students prepare for those exams by providing test prep.  You and/or your students can search through the various courses and see which ones are available for them.  Each test provides the source for where the content is added.  The AP test in particular come with reading and review material, several practice questions, practice tests, and digital flashcards. 

One of the best features, as you can see from the image above, is that BenchPrep makes all the test prep available on iPhones/iPads and Android phones, as well as on the web.  By syncing, students will be able to pick up where they leave off when switch devices.

Other features include the ability to bookmark important parts of the reading material, questions, and flashcards.  Questions and reading material can be marked by a level of confidence as well.  Notes can also be taken for reminders.  At the conclusion of a sample test or questions, students will receive a report and analysis of their work as well.

There is a cost involved, but for what it provides, it seems like a good option.

Jolicloud

We are slowly but surely moving ourselves and our students towards saving documents, music, photos, videos, and other important documents into "the cloud."  The problem is that keeping all our different clouds organized and in one place easily accessible makes the transition difficult; myself included.  I have documents on a SkyDrive, a Google Drive, an iCloud Drive, a DropBox, etc.  I am still struggling to make that transition to working completely from/in "the cloud."

That is what Jolicloud is aiming to do; organize all our clouds.  You can login via Facebook or create an account using an email address.  You can then use the service via Google Play and get an App from the App Store.  Learn about their Desktop which makes organizing your cloud easier.  They also have an OS that can be utilized as well.

With Jolicloud you can connect the apps and services you already use and have it all in one library.  You can organize all your stuff in the library or create custom collections.  A search feature allows you to easily find older documents and memories.  IF you choose to connect via Facebook you would be able to browse the public content within their library. 

As with any site where you are providing "access" to your "stuff" read all the fine print.  See the short video below for more information.

Sitehoover





Sitehoover advertises itself as a website for collecting and storing your favorite websites.  Like similar sites, it makes all your favorite websites available from any computer.  One difference is that Sitehoover will inform you about new stuff coming up on your favorite websites.  Registration for the site is simple.  All that is required is an email and the creation of a password.  If you don't create an account, the hoover is removed in a few days.

When you visit the site you will type in a topic you are interested in.  You then add the websites that belong under that topic.  You can also create folders which will thematically organize your websites for you.  For each website you can add a note about them as well.  For teachers there is the ability to see previously tagged websites.  For example, here is one for K-5.

Sitehoover could be utilized in the classroom by allowing students to collect and document websites for a class project.  The ability to add notes to a website will allow students the easy ability to annotate the website as well and then retrieve those annotations at a later time.   See the screenshot below.  But here is an example for how a teacher is utilizing it for her classroom. 


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