Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Two Educational Videos Sites

WatchKnowLearn is a video site that offers educational videos that users can organize by ages 3-18, while also searching for videos by content area.  Visitors have the option to create an account to store, organize, and rate the best K-12 educational videos on the Internet.  In order to help the site grow, it is up to educators to help suggest videos to include in the directory.  There are currently approximately 50,000 educational videos available that have been divided into over 5,000 categories.  Videos are also aligned to Common Core standards as well.

Users can also set up classrooms which is a personalized subdomain on WatchKnowLearn.  Through these classrooms users can collect the videos, create personalized categories, drag and drop videos into the classrooms, create student account that allows users to assign and track the students' viewing of the videos, and create a custom layout.

NeoK12 provides users access to thousands of educational videos that are separated by content area.  There is also a "Today's Interesting Video" that can provide teachers with an educational video that could be utilized as a writing prompt.  The sites main focus is on science videos, but there are tons of videos for other content areas as well.  Also available on NeoK12 are Educational Games and Puzzles, Quizzes by topic, Interactive Diagrams, and 1000's of pictures by topic as well.  Users can create a dashboard and a playlist as well.  This is just not a video site, it is also a great site for teachers looking for whiteboard resources as well.

Monday, February 25, 2013

4 Video Tools

Not a big fan of reinventing the wheel when someone else has done a tremendous job of sharing and writing about valuable resources.  In the past week, Free Technology 4 Teachers has shared 3 new video creation sites that I want to share here before getting into one I found.

wireWAX is the world's first taggable video tool.  Users can start adding tags to moving people and objects from within the video to other outside sources, such as videos, pictures, and articles, but with the option to watch the video from within the video.  For more information, check out the post on Free Technology 4 Teachers

The Mad Video is also a new service that allows users to make videos interactive.  It shares a lot of the same features as the service mentioned above.  For more information, check out the post on Free Technology 4 Teachers

Wideo, currently in Beta, allows users to create animated videos and other types of videos online.  The service uses a drag and drop feature and then allows users to set the order of the animations.  There are stock elements that are available, but the option to upload your own is also available.  To learn more, check out the post on Free Technology 4 Teachers.

Vibop (pronounced Vee-Bop) is another option for users to create videos online using video clips that they have created.  The service also has an available iPhone app (currently $3.99) that users can utilize as well.  With the service, users can easily create videos and then upload them to YouTube from within the web app. There are ready made themes with intros, effects, and soundtracks available, while at the same time providing users the ability to create their own.  Users can also wrap the videos with their Twitter information as well.  Below are some videos that showcase the web app and the mobile app.

Friday, February 15, 2013

10 New(er) Tools or Web/Mobile Apps

Symphonical is a collaborative whiteboard/post-it note tool that can be used to work on group projects.  With teachers roles changing and the increasing use of PLC's in schools, Symphonical would be a valuable way for departments to collaborate on lessons, assessments, projects, and other necessary agenda items.  Items can be given priority levels and notes can be categorized into rows to see who is responsible for what items.  Notes can also be dragged from one area to another, so as one part of an item is completed, it can be moved to the next person responsible.  There is also the option of embedding into a Google+ Hangout as well.

Somcloud provides cloud based storage, while also making two other apps available for users.  Somnote for creating notes and Somtodo for creating a To Do List.  Both of these apps are available on iPhone and Android devices while also providing web access.  All users can have a free account, but premium accounts are available as well.  The ability to sync all three together makes it a very user friendly application system.

UtellStory is a service for creating and sharing digital photo stories.  Users add photos, captions, and audio narration to each slide or upload a soundtrack.  Users can share their story through email, social networks, or through an embedding feature.  You can find other digital story telling options HERE.
h/t to Free Technology 4 Teachers.

FindSounds is a web search audio sounds.  Various languages are available as well as formats, resolution, sample rates, and number of channels.  If you don't want to complete a search, users can click and find categories of sounds that are already cataloged and easy to find.  For mobile users there is a mobile version and an Android version as well.

My Study Life is a free online planner for students and teachers that is designed to make life easier by storing classes, tasks, and exams in the cloud, therefore making your study life available at anytime.  This app provides users the ability to track the tasks that are due and stay on top of them.  The app offers several customization features as well in order to stay up to date.  The app is available for Windows, Chrome, and coming in 2013 Android and iPhone.  For more information, take the tour.  

JumpRope is an app for the growing concept of Standards Based Grading.  There are several features for this grade-book service which include the ability to communicate effectively the mastery of standards, makes data much more transparent.  There are also attendance options, character education, curriculum design tools, custom reporting, and much more.

Doctape is a personal document and media hub.  Like other cloud storage options, users can access the content from anywhere and get embedded security as files are scanned for viruses.  There is also an optimization feature that makes audio and video files in a format that delivers the beast streaming experience based on screen size and bandwidth.  There is an email option for sending files and an editing feature that allows users to use Google Docs to make necessary changes.  Currently, users get 5GB for free and CLICK HERE to learn about some other features.

Narrable is another option in the growing list of digital photo storytelling applications.  The main difference is that instead of captions, users narrate (music is still an option) over the slides through several different ways.  Users can record the narration via phone as well, so therefore, users could have multiple people providing narration over a story.  This service would be a valuable tool for students conducting interviews.  You can learn more about the service from this blog post as well.  

OnePAD is an app that creates a notebook page for each day of the year for iDevice users.  There are no files or folders, just a page for every day.  The app uses iCloud accounts to sync notes over various devices. Users can email a single note or export an entire collection to a text file.  A simple app for taking notes and creating to do list.  

Cruxlight is a Chrome Extension that simplifies the information and research process of the web by automatically summarizing the information on a webpage or article and highlighting the important parts.  The app also provides the important keywords that the article revolves around.  With the keywords, users can select a particular word and view a summary of the article from that point of view.  Users can determine the length of the summary and also provides a clutter-free reading environment of the article as well.  There are also several sharing and customization features as well.  Not sure where this will go down the road in terms of student use, but as a teacher reading articles for school or personal knowledge, it is an interesting tool.  

Video Battles with ClipChoose

For years videos have been part of the education process.  With video creation becoming an even easier task for students and teachers, there are also several services that are becoming to use those videos in different ways.  Through ClipChoose, users can select multiple videos from YouTube which can then be voted on to determine a winner.  Teachers or students wanting to use the service for a project can add a question and then choose up to 8 videos.  Visitors then vote on the video that best answers the question.

I could see government teachers using this service to portray sides to differing political views.  Video projects uploaded to YouTube could be voted on by students and the winners could receive a prize in the classroom.  Marketing and business teachers could use the service to teach advertising techniques by companies and which commercial was more influential.  There are several videos for teaching a concept and students could choose which concept helped them learn the content better.  ClipChoose could be another valuable option in the classroom.

h/t to InTec Insights

BUMP Provides Ability to "Bump" Even More

I recently wrote a post discussing how the Bump App for Android and Apple now had the ability to Bump pictures to your computer.  In the most recent update to the service, users can now bump a lot more.  By using the app and "bumping" your phone to the spacebar, users can easily share videos, files, audio, photos, and everything from their phone.

With phones increasingly becoming a valuable tool in the classroom, it is going to be worthwhile to utilize what apps and tools are available to easily make files available.  As students are using their phones for video and photo projects, Bump could be a valuable tool for teachers to use to gain access to student work.  It might also be a good way for teachers to collect contact information of parents, students, or athletes if they are a coach.  

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

State of the Union Word Clouds

I have previously compared two State of the Union Addresses by President Obama and thought it would be interesting to take word clouds from the four previous ones as comparison for tonight's State of the Union Address.  This might be interesting to share with your social studies teachers as well.

You can find transcripts of the previous addresses for all the presidents through the American Presidency Project and it might be good for your social studies teachers to create their own Wordle or Tagxedo Word Cloud and compare previous State of the Union Addresses from various presidents.  Remember, the words that are the largest are the words that appear the most in the speeches.

If looking for a writing assignment, here are some suggestions: Where The Classroom Ends

2009 State of the Union Address*

2010 State of the Union Address

2011 State of the Union Address

2012 State of the Union Address

2013 State of the Union Address

Friday, February 8, 2013

Flashcard Resources

In the digital age, flashcards in the literal sense have taken on a new meaning.  Computers, tablets, and other mobile devices haven't changed how way can use flashcards to study, but they have definitely provided a new way to study.  Below are some resources for creating, finding, sharing, and studying using flashcards.  Share with the teachers in your building so that they can find the one that meets the needs of their students.

Quizlet - One of my favorite, and thinking back, the very first Web 2.0 tool I used as a teacher provides students and teachers the ability to create accounts, search through a database, and then participate in games to help study.  You can also find an iPhone App and Google Chrome App as well.  One of the great things about Quizlet; it was created by a high school student.

Braineos allows users to create flashcards, play study games to learn the the information, while at the same time allowing users to challenge their best friends.  Competition is sometimes the best way to increase learning.  There is also a database that you can search for flash cards as well.  There is also the option of having a multiple choice quiz based on the flashcards as well.

Cramberry is another free option that allows users to create or search for flashcards in the database, and then when you are ready to study, Cramberry will analyze a users progress and help users hone in on the areas that they are weakest.  You can also get the service as a iPhone/iPod App and an iPad App.

Study Stack is a simple, no muss, no fuss type of flash card site.  You can browse previously created flashcards or you can create your own and study on the web.

StudyBlue is a mobile and web based flashcard creation option that also allows the creation of study guides and quizzes.  Users can create an account via Facebook or through an email address.  Teachers can also create an account that allows users to create cards for students and then share them for them to access.  StudyBlue also has mobile apps as well.

Memerise is more of a course based system, but provides a lot of features for studying content.  Users can use images and audio (good for language learning), take tests that help users exercise their brain, and then get reminders to help users remember to study.  There are currently 145 languages and over 203 categories that users can browse through.  This might be the most advanced of all I mention, but worth looking into.  No account is needed to use, but creating an account will make tracking and storing easier.

Flashcard Stash is built on top of a dictionary, so users can look up words and save them.  Users can also get sentence usage, synonyms, and audio as well.  Using the service is free and user can login using Facebook or standard email login.  If you are a teacher, you can create an account and share lists of flashcards easily with students.

Superflashcard provides users the ability to look for and create flashcards in various languages and for various categories.  Users can also view in a slideshow or study using matching, memorizing, or through a quiz.  Users can connect with Facebook, Google, or an email account.  Users can also create a review schedule to help them remember to study.

Flashcard Database is a free service to create, study, and share flashcards online.  Users have the ability to study in two different methods and make study easier and more efficient.  Users can search for recently created lists, recently studied, or look through popular subjects.  Signing in is not required to study cards, but it is for creating them.

Flashcard Exchange is also a free service that allows users to search from over 50 million flashcards or create their own.  By creating an account users can save their flashcards and access them later.  This service is more about utilizing what is already available and not reinventing the wheel; although you can if you want too.

Headmagnet is a free services that helps users predict and understand what users are forgetting the most and helps them focus on what you need to remember.  The more it is used, the better the service and its users can learn how to study.  Users can create lists and track what they have learned as well as share with others through the Headmagnet Community.  The service also provides stats that are helpful in determining strengths and weaknesses.

What Flashcard service do you use that I have not shared?

Padlet...Formally Wallwisher

Wallwisher has been making some changes recently and I have written about them here and here.  Now, the most recent change is its name.  Padlet, it is the portmanteau of paper + wood + tablet...the rock kind, as a tribute to our ancestral beginnings of writing.  If you have been an avid user of Wallwisher, then you will have nothing to worry about with the name change.  It will not affect previous walls that you have created and there will be a period where you will be redirected to the new URL in the future.  To read more about this change, check out the Wallwisher Blog.

To see suggestions for using Wallwisher in the classroom, see my previous post about this tool.  

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Slide Talk

Voice recognition software and typing text to voice over is becoming a very popular service.  There are also several apps and web based services that provide this for free.  Slide Talk is one of those options.  To use the service, you first must create an account.  Users will then upload their slides and arrange them to build a story.  These slides will need to be images.  For each slide users need to type some text to explain what is in the slide.  From there, in 20+ different languages and 70+ different voices, the service will convert the text into a voice over speech.  The images and audio are turned into a video and automatically published to YouTube, or can downloaded for personal use.  See video below that showcases several of the different voice options.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Largest Archive of Biodiversity Sound and Video Library

The use of sounds in our lives is taking a dramatic turn with the use of Apps and mobile technology.  How many of you know someone that has an animal sound as a ringtone or message tone on their phone?  That is what I mean.  The Macaulay Library archive is the largest collection of biodiversity audio and video recordings that was just recently completely digitized for anyone to access.  The collection contains over 150,000 digital recordings with about 9,000 different species represented.  There is an emphasis on birds, but the library also includes the sounds of several other types of animals.

The Macaulay Library is working to improve search features and make it possible for people to collect their own recordings and upload them directly to the archive.  Many of the recordings are being used in movies, museums, and as mentioned above, in smartphone apps.  On the site you can browse by bird, mammal, reptiles, amphibians, arthropods, and fishes.

For each sound, other information is also provided that might be of use.  Behavior is discussed as well as a location for where the recording to place as well.  Users can also learn the equipment that was used to capture the sounds.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Share the Wealth

Many of the educators that write a blog or that are on Twitter often have several bloggers that they read and follow on a daily basis.  Whether they have them on a list in Twitter or have them in their Google Reader, they are often our favorites.  They generally share something that we see as a vital resource for others or a thought/experience that we often relate to or learn something from.  When we see something on these blogs that we really like we often tweet them to our followers or share on another social network.

One way to share our favorites automatically is to use a service called Twitterfeed.  To use this service, all you need to do is link your Twitter account and then if you have your own blog, provide the RSS feed.  The service will automatically post to Twitter the most recent blog post.  You can also add a "header" or "footer" to the tweets as well.  I use the service and often attach a hashtag like #edchat and #edtech or a mention of who the author is by using their Twitter username.

I also recommend that you use the service to share the wealth.  Take a blog or two that you really like and collect their RSS feeds.  Attach them to the Twitterfeed service so that they are automatically tweeted for/from you.  This way your twitter followers will get the opportunity to read your favorite blogs in case you forget to tweet them, you read them from your Google Reader, or you are away for some time.

If you have a class blog, this is a great way to tweet those as well.  You can also link it to a classroom Facebook page to have the link automatically posted to the wall.  If you have your students blogging, you might want to share this service with them as well as a way to share their blog posts to Twitter

Top Posts of January

Hard to believe that a month has already gone by.  Before we know it, spring break and summer will be here.  Lots on the agenda before those breaks get here.  In the mean time, lets look back at what was most popular last month.

Turn Your Phone into a Presentation Remote - Using Google Chrome and some other services, users can make a phone a presentation remote and also a remote for YouTube.

Wallwisher Got a Makeover - I am a big fan of Wallwisher.  It was the very first web 2.0 tool that I wrote about on this blog.  Over the past few months they have made some positive changes to their software and I think it is even better than before.

10 QR Code Ideas - These were ideas that I saw teachers using, read about, or just thought that would be a pertinent way to share information with students, parents, and the community.  QR Codes could be a game changer in education in the future.

Mind Mapping Tools for Teachers and Students - A good list of some mind mapping software that are available for teachers and students for free or for minimal cost.

10 Apps for Students to Take Notes - iPads, netbooks, and other tablet devices are invading the classroom and there are several web-based and mobile apps for students to use to take and organize notes.  Here is a good list of some to share with your students.

Turn Google into an App Search - I discovered recently that you can use a Google search for finding an app that meets your needs in that search.  I explain that discovery in this post.

And still popular from December is 10 Cell Phone Apps for Teachers.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Create Amazing Videos from your Photos with Picovico

Digital Photo Stories are a popular method for students to use when creating a project and there is certainly no shortage of options out there on the web.  Picovico is another option for creating a Digital Photo Story.  Users can login with Facebook or create an account using the usual credentials.  For other options, see previous posts for Digital Story Telling.  

After creating an account users will choose from a particular style they want their show to be in and users can see a preview of each before selecting.  Users can then add photos of their choice through Facebook, Flickr, or from their computer.  After adding the image users can then add text to describe that section of the video or set a storyline in place.  The next step is to add music, if so desired.  Users can add the music of their choice or choose music from the available list.  To finish off the project, users can add a title and text about the video, choose the quality, the privacy settings, and then where to share it (Facebook or YouTube).  If looking for another Digital Storytelling option, give Picovico a try.  

Google Science Fair

Google has launched is Science Fair for 2013 and throughout history inventions and new ideas have been developed by people who are the same age as our students (13-18) and through the Google Science Fair, students can showcase their ideas to the world.  This is the 3rd annual Google Science Fair, and it is in partnership with CERN, the Lego Group, National Geographic, and Scientific American.  Pertinent information is available below:

Here’s some key information for this year’s Science Fair:
  • Students can enter the Science Fair in 13 languages.
  • The deadline for submissions is April 30, 2013 at 11:59 pm PDT.
  • In June, we’ll recognize 90 regional finalists (30 from the Americas, 30 from Asia Pacific and 30 from Europe/Middle East/Africa).
  • Judges will then select the top 15 finalists, who will be flown to Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. for our live, final event on September 23, 2013.
  • At the finals, a panel of distinguished international judges consisting of renowned scientists and tech innovators will select top winners in each age category (13-14, 15-16, 17-18). One will be selected as the Grand Prize winner.
Prizes for the 2013 Science Fair include a $50,000 scholarship from Google, a trip to the Galapagos with National Geographic Expeditions, experiences at CERN, Google or the LEGO Group and digital access to the Scientific American archives for the winner’s school for a year. Scientific American will also award a $50,000 Science in Action prize to one project that makes a practical difference by addressing a social, environmental or health issue. We’re also introducing two new prizes for 2013:
  • In August, the public will have the opportunity to get to know our 15 finalists through a series of Google+ Hangouts on Air and will then vote for the Inspired Idea Award—an award selected by the public for the project with the greatest potential to change the world.
  • We also recognize that behind every great student there’s often a great teacher and a supportive school, so this year we’ll award a $10,000 cash grant from Google and an exclusive Google+ Hangout with CERN to the Grand Prize winner’s school.

If you feel like you have some students that could benefit from their experience and love for science, or you have a class project that you think could compete in the Google Science Fair, take advantage of this opportunity to allow your students to spread the idea to others.