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Pages and Files
Assumptions of America (Collaborative Writing)
Protecting Digital Identities
Protecting Digital Identities 2
Smart Phones-There's an App for that
Social Media-Do We Share Too Much?
Add "All Pages"
Tech Tip Home Page
Your "digital handout" must be completed BEFORE you present your tech tip. The "digital handout" is NOT a replacement for your presentation. Rather, it is a supplement to your presentation. The "digital handout" is a resource that students can visit to review the basic function of the tool, to learn MORE about the tool, and to see interesting ways to use the tool in a classroom. Your job is to create a "digital handout" that accomplishes all of those goals. The best way to describe the "digital handout" is to show you an exemplar of what is expected. Please read the
entry found below carefully. You will be expected to follow the format (use the listed headings in your entry).
Wikispaces - by Nanette Dietrich
A wiki is a webpage that has multiple authors. Think of it as an Online Bulletin Board where people can visit and leave content. Wiki's can be open to everyone like the site
or you can make the membership exclusive and restrict who can see and who can edit the webpage. In the classroom, wiki's can be used as a safe online gathering spot. Students can use a class wiki to share ideas, display their writing, or engage in a conversation. The power of a wiki is best seen when STUDENTS are editors. So resist the urge to use a wiki only as a space for the teacher to "talk" to students or post assignments.
(Why is this tool better than other choices?)
For teachers, a wiki can be a better choice than facebook or other social media sites because teachers serve as the administrator and can monitor and see EVERYTHING that has been posted to the wiki even if the content has been deleted. (This is particularly important with the pervasive problem of "cyber bullying"). The teacher serves as the site administrator and can control the site's content by monitoring changes to the site. Wikispaces will even send the teacher emails every time a student makes a change to the site. The site has a clean navigation and is easy to use. A wiki makes it easy to share text, files, links and multimedia. Using the "widget" feature, students can add videos, slideshows, polls, bookmarks and a myriad of other content to the wiki. If you plan to ask students to write a paper, consider implementing a wiki page instead and embrace the opportunities afforded by the addition of multimedia. PS - Did I mention that creating your own wiki is FREE?
I wish I could say a wiki is perfect but sadly that is not the case. Below is a list of the flaws I discovered when using wikispaces.
The format of the wiki isn't as visually appealing as sites like facebook, twitter, etc. This may be a deterrent to today's tech savvy students
The wiki is NOT truly interactive. It is not a "chat site". In fact ONLY ONE PERSON can edit the wiki at a time. This makes it a poor choice for in class collaboration. (Other sites like google docs, typewith.me, webspiration, or moodle's discussion forum are better choices).
Because the site only allows one editor at a time, students can inadvertently overwrite each others' entries. (This can be fixed by the teacher who has access to all previous drafts).
My favorite explanation of a wiki comes from a site called common craft. Common Craft posts their videos on YouTube but does not publish an embed code. (If you want the embed code you have to pay them!) So if you want to view the video, you will need to visit the following site
You will need a free wikispaces account in order to create your own wiki. In class, we use wikispaces.com but K-12 teachers have a better option at
wikispaces for educators
. This wikispaces option allows teachers to create truly private/protected wikispaces.
Click on the above link and you will see the following dialog box.
Completing the above form is all you need to get started.
For more detailed information visit
Uses in the Secondary Classroom -
Too often wikis are used by teachers as a "glorified PowerPoint" where the goal of the site is for the teacher to present info to students. This type of direct instruction is not the best use of a wiki if your goal is to empower students to take charge of their own learning process. In order for a wiki to support the goals of 21st century learning, students must be the "creators" of the wiki content. Viewing the wiki should provide teachers with a glimpse into the students' thinking processes. When searching for good examples of classroom wikis, I found many sites that supported direct instruction like
. In fact it was hard to find a "good" example of a classroom wiki. I did however find a few examples and my favorite comes from a 2nd grade classroom
Another great example comes from an AP English Classroom.
This tool is really much more than a wiki and is more like a D2L course management tool. The site's goal seems to be to encourage you to purchase their premium site. It doesn't provide the FREE privacy tools that wiki site for educators includes.
This is a really good tool that also has a free teacher version. (The site does promote the purchase of a premium edition but the basic addition offers a lot). The features are similar to wikispaces but the platform is more visually appealing.
Good Luck Using Wiki's in your future classroom!
Wordle - by Christine Van Cleve-Bauer
Wordle was created by Jonathan Feinberg in 2008. A wordle is a simple, fun, creative way to visually represent words from a chosen text. The supplied text is depicted in a word cloud. Wordle describes itself as a "toy." The more frequently a word is used, the larger and more prominently the word appears in the cloud. The creator is able to choose from various fonts, layouts and color schemes. After the Wordle is created the user can print the word cloud or save it to the public wordle gallery.
Here is an Example of a Wordle
depicting key words or phrases from our assigned reading from
21st Century Skills,
Part 1: "What is 21st Century Learning?"
For teachers, Wordle is a simple, creative tool that can be used in a digitally equipped classroom. It is fun for students and easy for teachers to explain and implement in a busy classroom. It can be used to introduce a topic or particular lesson to generate student enthusiasm and interest. Wordle should not be blocked by the district's technology department and the homepage will never feature images that are inappropriate for classwork. A school is capable of blocking the Wordle gallery if there is a concern about anything inappropriate entering the classroom.
Students can easily navigate the website and utilize the tools to creatively express their chosen text. The language tab allows the creator to eliminate stopwords (unimportant words such as the, but, etc.) or the user can choose to incorporate them. Including numbers are also an option with Wordle.
Although the creator cannot add words once the Wordle is completed, the user can right click on a word and eliminate it from the cloud and the Wordle will be rearranged to accommodate the change.
Wordle is a better choice than other word cloud sites like
because there is no need to sign up to create a cloud and there are no offers to buy products which makes Wordle ideal for the classroom.
I found several disadvantages while researching Wordle:
There is no option to have words fill a shape and no way to add words once the Wordle is completed. The user must start over.
The word cloud cannot be saved without taking a screenshot and cropping it on an image editor.
There is no way to search for a particular Wordle, there is no capability to index and search for text in the saved data.
If you save your Wordle to the public gallery, you cannot control how people will use it.
Apple users may have trouble printing because Apple has pulled Java from OS X Lion, therefore Apple users must search for the installer on Apple's support site.
Finally, note this disclaimer from the creator of Wordle, "With all respect to teachers, whom I revere and consider to be the underpaid champions of our future: I wish you wouldn't assign Wordle as homework. It results in angry emails to me from kids and (especially) their parents, who are understandably frustrated when they cannot get it to work, and feel under the gun to do so."-Jonathan Feinberg
Technical Directions -
Creating a Wordle is uncomplicated and free! Simply go to
Click on the create tab.
Paste or type in text or key words you want to use to create the Wordle. Wordle uses the number of times a word appears in a text to determine its relative size. In order to incorporate spaces in between two words use the tilde ( ~) character.
Once all the text is entered click go.
View the word cloud and choose one of the tool buttons to explore and modify your Wordle!
When you are finished simply print out the Wordle or save it to the public gallery.
It is that easy. The Wordle site also has a FAQ tab that is helpful and includes contact information. Wordle is very user friendly.
Uses in the Secondary Classroom -
The possibilities for implementing Wordle in the secondary classroom are limitless. I think the only risk with using it to teach seventh to twelfth grade would be overuse. It is adaptable to any subject, grade level or student.
Here is a list of some ideas that could be integrated into a secondary classroom:
Summer Vacation/Introduction of Self Wordles- use as a warm up activity for the beginning of the year to get to know students or to introduce yourself to the class!
Foreign Languages, ESL Students, Vocabulary words- Wordle could be used to introduce vocab words to students, they could create the wordles to help them learn the words.
English Teachers- Wordle could be used to list author's traits, compare and contrast any topic, list mood of novel, create a character trait analysis...
History Teachers could use Wordle to depict key words in historical speeches or to conduct an historical document analysis.
Math teachers can incorporate vocabulary or use wordle to introduce a unit.
Classroom Rules and expectations can be posted on a word cloud.
The list is endless. This link provides 52 examples on how to incorporate Wordle into the classroom, you can share these ideas in your classroom or use it as a springboard to create your own lessons!
Similar Sites -
-This site is similar to Wordle with a few exceptions. You do have to sign up and create an account in order to make a word cloud but the cloud can be in various shapes.
- Tagxedo is another wordcloud site that requires an account to use and offers shapes, and the ability to save images in jpeg resolutions.
- Worditout allows the user to save images but offers a lot of products to buy, it is more of a consumer driven website.
– by Elizabeth Simon-Lewis
Today’s Wikispace -
Wikispaces is exactly that – a “space” that can be used by individuals, groups of people, or businesses. A Wikispace is a blank slate that can be used for storage, collaboration, or even entertainment. The most notable feature of a Wikispace is its simplicity. Any technophobe can open an account and create a Wikispace by following a few simple directions. The tools on Wikispace are very easy to understand, and if you need help you simply click on the “Help” icon in the upper right corner.
For educators there is a specific K-12 wiki that is completely free. The great part of this is that your Wikispace will be private, meaning non-members can neither see nor edit the space. Also, as the creator you have the ability to monitor every single change your students make, even if it has been deleted or removed.
The most notable advantage to using a Wikispace for teaching purposes is its simplicity. Anyone who would be intimidated by the idea of creating a class blog or website would be much more comfortable working within the wiki format. Also, the use of Wikispaces is generally free unless you choose some specific types of services. This combined with the ability to monitor the members makes it ideal for classroom use.
A Wikispace can certainly be a little bland looking. If you do not change the layout and colors, and add some visual elements, your Wiki will be pretty boring. There are fewer than fifteen options for layout, and even less for color. You would definitely need to spruce up the space to keep adolescents interested. Also, as Dr. Dietrich pointed out, there is no live chat option, so conversations will not happen in real-time. This might be irritating to more techno-inclined students who are accustomed to texting and getting immediate feedback.
Joining Wikispaces is relatively easy, so I would say creating an account takes less than five minutes.
Creating a New Page
– Click on the small + sign next to
Pages and Files,
a box will pop up asking you to name your page, choose and name and save. Note, you must type a word or two into your new page in order to save it.
then click on
Look and Feel.
There is an option called Themes and Colors where you can choose your new look.
First create a playlist on your chosen site, click
to create a code, and then copy the code. In your Wikispace click
Edit and then Widget
, click on
Other (this is at the bottom of the list),
paste your embedded code into the space and save. The playlist will appear in the middle of the screen.
If you are on Youtube or some other video site, you have to click
to produce a code. Copy the code. On you Wiki click
Edit and then Widget,
and then click
There is a list of possible video sources, click on your source (or other) and then save.
Uses in the Secondary Classroom
As a teacher of English, I think Wikispaces is a good place for students to work on collaborative writing. I also think using art, music, and video is a good way to inspire writing, thinking, and general conversation. The tools available on Wikispaces help to make the material you are teaching more relevant to today’s students.
- This site offers all of the same convenient features of wikispaces. The biggest difference is the ability to use the site for posting grades/school notices. I would not put student grades on Wikispaces because they would be visible to all members.
- This is a collaborative site, similar to wikispaces, but it is geared toward teachers. I did not create an account, but it looks to me like this is for teachers to collaborate with each other, not so much for use with students.
- This site works best as a collaborative word processor. The social element is missing a little here, and I am not familiar enough with it to determine if you can monitor any changes the same way you can on wikispaces.
- by Jami Zimmerman
This is a web-based collaborative real-time editor that allows students to simultaneously edit a document. It is very
simple and easy to use, and best of all it requires no sign-up and it is FREE! Up to 15 people can join your Pad and each person is color-coded to show who contributed to the document. This is ideal for group projects or small classes. A chat box is also available for the users. Documents can be exported into Word, pdf, html, Wordle.
Student activity can be monitored by the teacher
Fastest way to start collaborating
No sign-up and FREE!
Document can be exported
Each document has its own URL so you must know the URL in order to participate in that particular document
Color coded by user
Built-in chat feature and is also color coded
Has the typical word processing features
50 revision saves
Time-slider – see how your Pad has evolved
Students can edit others work/grammar
Documents need to be exported or copy/past to another location
Finished documents live on the web after you’re finished and cannot be deleted
Not appropriate for sensitive material (student’s names, scores, etc.)
Anyone can access the URL
Images and other types of media from text cannot be added to the Pad
No spell check
Contributors can be anonymous (but with group work students would know the members of their group)
Uses in the Secondary Classroom:
Group discussions on an assigned topic
Editing – students can edit a document the teacher uploads
Story openers – assign each group an opener and allow them to work together to complete the short story
Incorporate student’s notes from typewith.me and add them to a wordle to show the words that were used more frequently among the groups
Google Docs -
– This tool is a free, Web-based office suite and data storage service. It is most familiar to students and parents.
Google Docs serves as a collaborative tool for editing in real time. Documents can be shared, opened, and edited by multiple users at the same time.
Easy to navigate, but cannot be edited by multiple users at the same time, only ONE person can edit at a time.
When starting a new Pad you will see this screen
It's as simple as clicking “New Pad” OR you can create your pad with a specific name in the box and click "OK"
Each new pad has its own URL. You can send an email and invite participants using the URL.
If you would like to test it out, click this link:
Google Docs- John Monaco
Google Docs is a fantastic feature brought to us through one of Google’s many sources. This is a feature that you must acquire through your Gmail account, and allows your to use many of the basic functions of Microsoft word, PowerPoint, Excel, and brings much more to the classroom, and you. Google Docs can be accessed by anyone who wants to create an account, and you can have an infinite amount of new projects made. The functionality of this source in the classroom is almost shocking, Google has really designed this to benefit teachers, and promote group work for multiple users. By this, students can be added to groups, and they can co create the projects from two separate computers and work together on projects. An un heard of feature is when partners are working on a project they can work on it while not even being in the room, and can adjust changes to what is written in real time, and having immediate responses. Students are able to create what ever they would like and have a wide variety of styles they may add to the project to make it feel authentic and original. Google Docs is a amazing source to the class room and can really promote group work and also homework at the same point.
Google Docs has many advantages that make it widely popular in the classrooms today. The first important advantage is the access, it can be made by everyone, and is free, and is simple to set up. When looking past this, you can take different angles to show what really works for you. If you are more inclined to go down the group path, or the individual assignment work, either or is capable of being done quickly and easily. From the group work side, teams can operate from different computers and work on the assignment together, and see what others are writing, while they themselves are writing and responding. It gives real time feedback, and you can ad notes for people to adjust or fix certain areas. This allows for corrections to be made quickly and easily. Also this takes out the sometimes-annoying mistake of not having the right format for Mac or PC. Power points will never be lost in translation, since it is through a Gmail account. In addition to all of this, backgrounds and individual artistic touches can be made to nearly everything to allow for a creative presentation, or assignment. Moving on to the individual side, more specifically the teachers, you can assign your own groups by sharing mini sections to who is in the group by email. Also you can create your own homework questions, or quiz questions, and incorporate online sources to the classroom quite easily, and have it be capable of being done from personal devices such as I pads, I touch, computers, phones, and other portable devices. You may also restrict who is able to view, and you can lock questions so when sharing, people may not edit the questions. One final advantage is that you do not have to save the work you are doing, Google Docs auto saves, so no matter what happens to your source you are working on, it will still be there regardless of your battery dying! The advantages for this are numerous and can be incorporated with little effort, students find it quick and easy to sign in, and do not have to deal with getting together to accomplish something if they have difficult schedules.
Google Docs is a amazing site, but it does has it downfalls like everything, it is not perfect, and may become a headache after some time.
While working with multiple people is nice, Google Docs tents to freeze up when multiple people are typing, it lags out and is very annoying when trying to review, and look at work.
Google Docs at first is also somewhat hard to navigate, it has plenty of help options to help overcome this, but when first toying with it, it takes a few go around
You must create a Gmail account, for those of you who already have to many accounts and lose track of what username and password goes to what, this adds to that pile.
Google Docs opens up many tabs or new windows which if you are using a PC can become rather annoying to find you have 15 windows open, and your computer is operating slowly.
Google Docs is a great sources for Teachers, and for students, it encompasses both individual, and group work all at the same time, and can be shared with many or whoever the creator pleases. The benefit with this, is they have many you tube videos with a tutorial to show you how to use Google Docs. One good one that shows a good overview was located here
Besides this though, first one must create a Google account, and sign in. After you get to the the home screen which has your mail and such, you must click on the tab in the top that says documents. It should bring you to opening screen, which looks like this.
From this you must click on the create button, and click on the appropriate source you need for your project. Here is what is listed and how they may benefit you, first, Documents, this is your basic word processor, you can write up papers on this with relative ease. Second, you have Presentation, which is essentially Power Point; you can change backgrounds, and do all of the basic features as Power Point. Third, Spreadsheet, which is excel, and the same goes for that. Next, Form which is a question feature, which allows you to make quiz questions and send them to the class. Drawling, which is similar to Photoshop, follows Forms. Finally, you have Table, which allows you to make graphs of all types.
Once inside of this new project, you can toy with just about everything, and customize it so you are not looking at a generic project, that becomes boring.
Uses in the Secondary Classroom –
Google Docs Is a great site for the classroom, and can really incorporate new technology in the classroom, and at home for the students, and yourself. The privacy of the groups are high because you can allow only those you deem necessary to the group to join. You can check on the progress being made and students will see how much others are working on it, and realize they need to spend time on it as well. This is bringing in new ways to get across to the 21st century learner who is already very savvy with the Internet.
The tool really works with students to become all encompassing, and gets students to help out and divide workloads. The real time involvement can make it seem easier for students to accomplish groups without meeting up.
For the teacher, this is beneficial because you can use it to create tools in class, and also new homework assignment techniques. Instead of handing out the conventional assignment sheet, why not construct it on Google Docs, and have the students take a quiz online? After this is completed you can look in the results category and get a chart showing the percentage of questions answered, and what was answered for each question. You my also limit the amount of times this can be taken. It is a phenomenal source for the classroom and can be benefited by all.
Since Google has the essentially only show on the road for this, sources are not identical to it.
Google Plus is a great site, which is similar to facebook, but has been used in many classrooms I have been hearing of from friends in placement now.
Word processor, PowerPoint, Excel, Photoshop, and Clip Art, are all similar sources that can be used, and their counter parts on Macs
Word Press- by Morgan Martelle
Wordpress is a free site people can use to create their own blogs or even create their own websites. A wide variety of companies use the site including CNN, NFL, and People Magazine. The blogs can be public or private, and even a public blog can feature individual private posts that can be accessed by a password.
One of the most important advantages of Word Press is that it is free. Some other nice features include online support available 24 hours a day for any questions that may arise; each blog is given 3 gigabytes of storage space which equals about 2500 photos, and the site uses a unique stats system that allows you to see how many people are visiting your blog. The website also makes embedding videos from youtube and hulu easy. The website also continuously saves your blog so you never lose anything you write.
One of the biggest disadvantages that I found was that even though the site uses akismet to eliminate spammers, the site has a disclaimer saying that inappropriate material may still be found on blogs. In addition to that, the site reserves the right to change the agreement you accept when creating the blog without notifying you of the changes; they also can delete your blog with or without reason and do not have to inform you of the deletion. The company also reserves the right to post ads on your blog that you cannot take down unless you pay for an upgraded blog which a non-attentive student may accidently hit since the site frequently asks you if you want to upgrade while signing up. If you decide to discontinue using wordpress, the site simply tells you to stop using it; it does not give detailed information on how to delete your blog.
All you need to sign up for a blog on this site is an email address. When signing up for a blog, you create a url address, username and password. You give your email and when wordpress sends you an email (it took about 30 seconds to receive the email), you follow the directions in the email. You will be taken to a page that gives you a short video to watch and things to explore to become familiar with the blog site.
Here is a youtube video that thoroughly explains the process. It's a bit long (12:18) and the audio is very quiet, but it takes you through every step.
Uses in Secondary Classrooms-
Because this site is for individuals ages 13 and older, this would not be a very good choice for a middle school classroom. However, blogging can be a very enriching activity. A teacher can create a blog and have his/her students follow him/her on wordpress. The students can then comment on posts the teacher creates for the class. In addition, this would an excellent way for students to facilitate group work or group discussions outside of class. One downside to wordpress, however, is that if there is an option for a teacher to monitor student blogs, it is not easily accessible; I was unable to find any information on such a topic. This site seems to be geared mostly toward individuals or businesses.
Both of these sites are blog sites that allow members to do similar things as wordpress.
Twitter- Carlos Ferron
Twitter is an ever-growing online social networking site that allows you to reach millions of people in real time. These days everyone has a twitter account from celebrities, athletes, politicians, businesses/corporations, organizations and consumers like you and I. The origin of Twitter comes from the SMS model of 160 characters Twitter allows only 140 characters in a single post. You can make your posts or “tweets” private or make them public to reach a wider audience
Twitter is Free
Updates in Real Time
Allows for quick, short responses (140 character limit)
Keep track of current events from around the world.
Get up to date info involving people of interest (lawmakers, gov’t officials, celebrities)
Can get full access on a mobile phone via Text or with Mobile Internet access using Apps via iTunes store, Android market, Blackberry App World
Upload pictures, videos, articles, and other hyperlinks.
Students can get familiar with classmates that they do not know
Cannot be monitored
This is a public social networking site. It can easily become a distraction
Only 140 character limit. It is meant for quick thoughts, memos, or reminders
Not every student has a mobile device capable of using twitter.
If tweets are unprotected, your profile can be solicited by SPAM accounts
Creating a twitter is very easy and straightforward. Log onto Twitter.com
Click on the Sign up for Twitter Tab
Enter Login Info (Full Name, Twitter Username, email address, password)
Click Create My Account
Then just begin tweeting
For more information watch this step by step tutorial on youtube.
Uses in the Secondary Classroom
There are several ways that you could include Twitter into the classroom. Twitter allows your students to connect to the world instantly. I think if Twitter were used in a classroom it would be best if it was utilized in the beginning of the class. I would also suggest that if your students have a personal twitter account to create a Second account just for class. This would allow teachers to somewhat monitor if students are using their accounts appropriately for class.
1.) In any classroom, you could use Twitter to replace any bulletin board. Post classroom announcements, homework assignments, due dates, etc.
2.) Social Studies teachers- Have students respond and voice their opinions on current events from around the world as they happen.
3.) English Teachers- Post daily quotes or poems and have students give their 140-character reflection.
4.) Have students share articles that they have discovered to spark classroom discussion
5.) Math Teachers- Perform classroom warm ups, post a “Question of the Day”
6.) Allows teachers to provide immediate feedback
7.) Students that aren’t vocal can use twitter as their voice.
For more ways to use Twitter in the classroom I found a nice website that lists 50 different ways to use this application. Use activities from the site or just as a guide to spark your own ideas.
– Facebook is another social networking site that has web and mobile web based capabilities. Facebook allows the students to be more creative and customize their pages more than you can with twitter.
– A blogging site that allows you to share anything. Post text, pictures, links, music and videos.
zamzar – by: Sarah Nagy
Zamzar is a wonderful site for anytime you get that little warning box that says “this file type is not supported.” You can change any file type to any other kind of file type that is desired. You can take movies from your video camera or iPhone and turn them into videos that are supported by youtube so that they can be posted for anyone to access or you can change them to a file type that windows movie maker supports. You can download videos from a web page or from youtube for future use as well. For documents you can change anything into a PDF so that it is universal or switch between different Word files that are supported by a particular computer.
Zamzar is free!
There are many sites that offer software to do this on your own but you have to pay for them.
Nearly every file type out there is accessible!
There are a few other sites that are free, but most of them do not do all file types. They will either do just media or just documents.
Zamzar allows you to make videos into audio!
You no longer have to worry about a link to a video or web page changing once you convert it you can save it on your computer for future use.
No login is necessary, just open the page and go!
You can convert more than one file at a time.
Zamzar has a toolbar that you can just click “convert it while” you are on a webpage or on youtube and then it will do the process for you and send you an email with your conversion without even going to the site.
After zamzar completes the conversion an email with the link to your document/media will be sent to you but you only have 24 hours to retrieve and save the file or it is gone.
The process to get a file can be slow at times. It is typical for it take 45 minutes to 1 hour to receive the email link to your download. So, don’t procrastinate!!!
Videos will only allow you to convert up to 100MB.
2. Choose the tab that you need: convert files or download video
3. Follow the steps from 1-4.
4. Wait for your email with your complete download.
5. Follow link in email within 24 hours.
The following link shows what file types work best with powerpoint and some of the differences between the file types.
Uses in the Secondary Classroom :
One of the main uses of zamzar is to get youtube videos for use in schools. Often times, schools block youtube so that it is not misused. If you have a link in a powerpoint to youtube you will not be able to access that link if youtube is blocked. By being able to download the video and imbed it directly into your powerpoint you no longer have to worry about access to youtube. This is also helpful in the event that the url was changed. It could also be helpful if you receive a paper via email from a student and the file type is not one that is supported by your computer. You can put it into zamzar and choose a file type that you know is supported by your computer and you will be able to view the document.
The following video shows how to use zamzar, but also describes why it is helpful in a secondary classroom.
- does most all file types but did not appear as user friendly to me.
- only does video and audio conversion not all types of documents.
- only does documents not media.
Bubbl.us By Colleen Fague
Ever experience writer's block? Well, bubbl.us is a brainstorming website students (or teachers) can get started on papers, projects etc. by putting their thoughts on a page in an organized format. It is a tool that students can use to make a modern, digital "web" online instead of just drawing one on paper. Bubbl.us is easy to maneuver and can be a great way to motivate students who are not confident in their ideas or writing skills. Students can also collaborate in each others pages which can facilitate doing group projects from home.
Advantages--A major breakthrough in brainstorming and drafting methods
bubbl.us is free!
Students can work together on each other's sheets.
You don't have to sign up for an account, but it is advised if you want to easily collaborate with others online, save your work online or share with others.
Students can change colors and styles of their brainstorming maps in to fit their tastes and suit the way their mind works.
You can download your sheet to your computer as an html or image file, print or save on the website through your online account.
It is safe and appropriate for both middle school and high school age groups.
This website is SO EASY to use! That's the point of the website- to promote freethinking and get your ideas on paper quickly.
Some menu options are slow and downloading to computer can take a long time.
Teacher cannot fully monitor the uses
The features and looks of the website are constantly changing and evolving which can cause confusion.
Must have an email address to sign up
Go to bubbl.us
Choose a username and password then select 'create account'
Some helpful tips are there for you to read
Click 'start brainstorming' and your new sheet is ready for you to create!
Add friends to share your sheet with!
Click help for all additional details and suggestions.
For more tips:
Uses in the Secondary Classroom:
bubbl.us is a great place to start brainstorming for projects, papers and more!
Use it with students who struggle with organizational skills or who are bored with basic brainstorming methods.
Allow students to collaborate on group work and facilitate working together.
Quiet students can contribute their ideas without having to say a word!
Add yourself to their groups to monitor and see what creative ideas your students have.
--A little bit harder to use but with the same basic principle in mind!
--Explore even more options with this complex and aestethicgally different mind-mapping site!
Webspiration - by Katie Weisser
A collaborative on-line visual-thinking and writing tool that can be used across disciplines. Webspiration classroom helps students develop effective writing skills and synthesize material. Taking students through the entire creative process from teacher assignment to a graded project, entire group projects can be developed and saved on-line. Teachers can assign work to the site, and students can begin their work there. This engaging format helps students with the brainstorming process, organizing ideas through visual mapping, while working with peers through comments, editing and live-chat functions. Mind maps are converted to structured outlines with a click of the mouse, providing logical and necessary structure for presentational work, be it a research paper, study guide, presentation or speech.
Colorful and engaging with a decent assortment of clip art to create basic visual maps
Visual maps are instantly converted to standard outline format
Outlines can be saved directly as a Word Document, or transferred to Google Docs, wikispaces, webpages and blogs
Timeline shows student contributions, and teacher can monitor
Members need to be invited to the chat, keeping the work secure to that group
On-line saving, so you don't need to go and save each time you make changes
Teacher can assign from the site, provide feed back, and also provide grades directly to the students -- all paperless
Students can collaborate, comment, and chat in the live sidebar
Easy to make hyperlinks or insert images
On-line ideas about how to use in the classroom (see below)
Pre-made webs as springboard
It used to be free. You can get a 30-day trial, but after that, you need to subscribe for your class.
Couldn't include embedded material or videos -- only hyperlinks
Students could get distracted or bogged playing with the options rather than focusing on content
Getting Started with Webspiration
-- the site's basic walkthrough instructions
This video walks you through the basic features of webspiration
This site lends itself to a wide variety of applications. To name a few ideas:
Analyze a civilization/geographic region/story line etc
Story line creation
Investigate a place in time
Narrative writing workshop
Persuasive speeches and essays (from organization to presentation)
Visualizing vocabulary, especially for Second Language Learners
Visual study guides
Food webs in science
Also uses audio and voice for collaborative projects, up to 5 contributors, good applications for speeches, dramatizations (radio shows), and foreign language proficiency assessments
Inspiration fuels webspiration. Their site has useful applications for classroom use of webspiration.
My Fake Wall- Natashia Ramos
My fake wall is a free web program that works just like Facebook. It fits best in a classroom environment because it gives you the opportunity to make a fake wall where students can bring to life historical figures and or fictitious characters from a book or novel. This tool allows students to use a popular media tool that can motivate them to think "out of the box". It is a fun and creative tool that allows students to be involved to do projects in a media they feel comfortable without having others alter their fake wall.
The fake wall can be shared with URL
It has all the tools that a Facebook page has: upload pictures, add friends, update status etc.
Only the user can make any changes to the wall.
Instructions are right there at the screen when you are editing the page
Easy to edit
Saves work automatically
Heavy in advertisements
It requests an email address
Page might be blocked in schools
No way to monitor it!
Very slow especially uploading pictures
There isn't a help button, one can only send emails
Uses in Secondary Classroom
Students can use the fake wall to demonstrate the understanding of historical figures
Connect characters from different books
Make new characters/ Change storyline of a book or novel
Show the development of a character as students read book or novel
Find and illustrate themes
Can be used as a handout for ELL students
Weebly by Susan Caramanico
Weebly is an online site builder with some advanced features. With it simple drag and drop menu, one can create a simple website in almost no time. The registration is fast and easy, with only an email requirement. Weebly includes a very functional platform that requires no payment for the start of a website. With premade templates and layouts available, the creator is able to customize his or website to their liking while enjoying a free unlimited trial.
Weebly has a fast and easy setup than can only take a matter of a few seconds. The creator can set up password protection and add multiple pages with lots of personalization. Multiple editors can be added as administrators and with basic website building tools and the administrators can really customize the site. Some other advantages range from text blocks, photo galleries, slide shows, video and audio players, Google maps, embedding of documents, and E-commerce functions. Blogging features are also available with Weebly as well as a custom template design option. There is a backup function that can be used to save all previous work. Weebly provides a free website address appearing as: xxxxx.weebly.com where “xxxxx” could be whatever you want. There is also a blog feature, where one can post and comments can be added.
Upgrade needed for more complex features and personal domain name (xxxx.com)
Limited number of design templates without the upgrade.
Once webpage is set up, a little confusing when adding templates, video, and embedding.
Overwhelming to start, no clean layout.
Not interactive, only administrators can control commands.
Drag and Drop feature for most functions
Pictures, videos, documents
To add more tabs to top of custom page:
Add page, customize name and function
Enter Emails, customize accessibility
Use in the Secondary Classroom:
In the classroom the instructor can open a lesson with a personalized template concerning the topics discussed.
Each student or group can start up a website with only a verification email while presenting a topic for a project.
For the teacher, he or she can present a video, document embedded, and picture all on the same screen.
The website can act as the class “page” with discussions, homework, readings, etc.
A blog feature can be added with comments coming from students.
Website builder that allows you to track who has visited the site.
Free website builder that allows your own domain (
Our Class Spring 2012
This is a great place for teachers to have a website for their classrooms. It is free, and can be accessed by anyone as long as they know the web address. A lot can be done to change the layout and design of the site, making it interesting to look at, and easy to navigate.
Gives great step-by-step instructions.
As the teacher you can control who sees the website.
You can see who posted what at what time, and if anything was deleted.
Every few minutes, changes are saved automatically.
Nothing needs to be downloaded
Google owns everything you post, which could cause some privacy concerns.
Because it is a simple website builder, there are limitations to what you can do, especially related to graphics.
For technical directions go to:
Uses in the secondary education classroom:
Class website—A place where all your information is, as well as everything your students need to know for your class.
Class project—As a way for students to present their findings on a topic in groups they make a website to organize all they learned.
Weekly questions—Each week (or however often you choose) students log on and answer some type of answer to a question. It can be used as a type of discussion board.
Link for how to use sites.google.com in your classroom
-free website builder—have to sign up
-free website builder—have to sign up
Google+ by George Eager
Google Plus is a social networking site that was launched on June 28, 2011. Initially Google Plus was an invitation only site but on September 20, 2011 it became public. Google Plus allows individuals to stay in contact with one another while also being able to share photos, ideas, and thoughts. This site is quickly becoming a rival of facebook because it shares many similarities while also having its own uniqueness separating it from other current and past social networking sites. Google plus boasts many features such as circles, hangouts, and sparks. Circles allow the user to break up individuals into certain categories such as friends, family, and students for instance without any of these individuals knowing what category they were placed in. Hangouts allow for multiple individuals to participate in a group video chat. Sparks is a Google search that identifies topics that users might be interested in sharing with others. Google Plus will allow teachers to communicate with students outside of the classroom. Teachers will have the ability to post assignments, photos, and other information relevant to class.
Google Plus is very easy to use. You sign in by using your gmail address and creating a password. Once logged in, the site will take you to the home page. This is where you will want to start locating people and/or students you know. Here is a video describing the “circles” feature of Google Plus:
Google plus combines other popular features from social networking sites that offer several advantages to its users. Circles allow users to break individuals up into groups such as friends, family, and students. These individuals cannot see what group they are placed in and they do not have access to everything you share. This brings me to my next advantage of the site which is privacy. Users can post certain things such as photos or comments to certain groups or even individuals without everyone being able to see. This option differs from other popular networking sites. Users can also follow individuals and receive updates from people that might not necessarily be following them which is similar to twitter. Google plus is also very versatile in that it can work in many languages, 42 to be exact. Video chatting is also a possibility. The “Hangout” feature of Google Plus allows for up to 10 individuals to group video chat with one another. This feature will allow for better student collaboration. Similar to Yahoo.com’s front page, Google Plus offers a “What’s hot” stream that shows what users are currently excited about. This site will truly allow teachers and any individual for that matter to share thoughts with others while also keeping their privacy.
A disadvantage for Google Plus users is the amount of privacy offered by the site. While working with students, teachers may find it hard to monitor them. Teachers will only be allowed to see what students post while in the same circle. Students could essentially post the answers to class work by creating a circle with other students that excludes the teacher. Another disadvantage to Google Plus is that it is driven by the “circles” feature. Like most social networking sites, if the user does not have people to communicate with then many of the site’s features are lost. Another potential disadvantage lies within individual schools. Some schools currently block all social networking sites. Google Plus is in fact a social networking site so schools that block these sites would not have access to the site.
Use in a Secondary Classroom:
The “circles” feature in Google Plus allows teachers and students to share information and projects while also having privacy. Teachers also have the ability to post comments to the entire class or just to certain individuals. “Hangouts” are another feature that can be used in the classroom. Here students can communicate with other students that might be located on the other side of the globe via video chat. Students can gain real-life perspective through this type of communication. They can even work on joint projects together. Also, guest speakers can talk to students without having to be in the same room. More general uses for teachers consist of being able to post assignments online so students have access to view them out of class. Students will have access to a search engine while on the site which gives them the ability to research information.
By Lindsey Miller
Edmodo was founded by Jeff O’Hara and Nic Borg for use by teachers. Both worked for school districts in their IT departments, and found that they constantly had to block social media sites from the school’s sites They realized that within a school’s walls children enter “a void” where the social sites and tools they use to connect to each other were suddenly off limits. They felt that education needed a social site all its own, so they started Edmodo.com. Edmodo allows teachers and students to exchange ideas and collaborate in ways that are secure and address the privacy concerns of a school environment.
Foremost Edmodo creates a safe environment for students.
It can accommodate both one-on-one and group discussions, can be accessed anytime and anywhere with smartphones, and provides students with access to school assignments.
Edmodo can connect teachers with a network of educator and allows districts to register so that all teachers within the district can collaborate.
It allows teachers to post homework assignments and reminders and allows students to look at a calendar of events so they can see the upcoming events, tests, projects, etc.
I think this would work well in a middle school environment the best, because of the ability to collaborate with other teachers.
One of the few downsides to Edmodo is there is no live chat feature. Students must email their questions to the teacher (the upside to this however, is that teachers have to option to get alerts sent to their cell phone).
Another disadvantage of Edmodo is that the pages are barely customizable.
Students and teachers must sign up to use the site and must have a “class code” to sign up. Students might lose this code or forget their username/password.
The site also went down while I was trying to write this review, so I’m not sure if that happens often or if I just have bad luck.
Technical Directions: My best explanation is that the site is like a simplified Facebook page in which only you, your students, and their parents can access.
You must sign in or sign up.
Once you’ve created the page you must create a group and gain the access code for the class/group.
This access code must be entered when the students make their username and passwords.
Once you have this code it’s really up to you how you use the Edmodo site.
I recommend watching some of the How To videos located in the help section, they even have ideas listed by content area!
Uses in the Secondary Classroom
Edmodo offers a few ideas and starting places for the Math, Science, Language Arts, and Social Studies content areas here:
This site can be used extensively in all disciplines. It is really up to the teacher how much he/she uses it.
Students can share their work with peers for peer assessment/feedback
Discussions of texts and other literary works
Form connections with other teachers and students from all over the world through Edmodo
Role playing as prominent characters from history:
Edmodo provides support for writing math equations
Create a Data Tracking Group enter daily data points on the calendar and use the information for graphing or qualitative lessons.
Create a Science Fair Group and allow students to upload videos of their work.
Have an “In the News” section and allow students to post articles that are relevant to the classroom.
There are literally hundreds of more idea and if you go to the Edmodo Blog you can see all the ones I wasn’t able to include here!
Glogster - by Kimberly Scott
Glogster is like a social network in which students and teachers can create and share Glogs. Glogs are interactive posters in which you can add text, graphics, music, videos, etc. Glogster is a great way for students to express their knowledge and skills on a topic in a creative way.
-Glogs can be private or public, the creator gets to choose.
-Can add statuses and friends.
- If you pay for upgrades, teachers can monitor content.
-Also with upgrades there is a student account generator – so they won’t need to use email addresses.
-Glogs are private.
-Can blog and add Glogs to favorites.
-Colorful and creative.
-More interactive than a regular poster or power point.
-It has auto save for students and teachers who may forget to save frequently – keeps everyone from losing work!
-Can link to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and embed into Wiki, Blogs, or other websites.
-Need email address.
-Cannot be monitored.
-Students may be able to see inappropriate content.
-Can’t use same username/email for Glogster EDU and regular Glogster account.
Only 1 version is free; upgrades with more capabilities cost money.
-Student account generator is not available with free version.
-Cannot manage or monitor student accounts with free version.
-Cannot use ‘Draw’ or ‘Data’ or ‘Grab’ functions with free version.
Can be time consuming if you’re new to it, especially since there are a lot of options.
-Can’t see the whole page at the same time – have to scroll up or down to see it all.
-You have to use buttons inside the website – can’t use delete button, etc on the keyboard.
For more questions about Glogster visit this:
For more questions about Glogster EDU visit this:
1. You need to have an email address and then you can create a username and password for your Glogster EDU account.
-You will not be able to use the name username/email address as your regular Glogster account (if you have one).
2. After you enter your information, click SIGN UP.
3. You will arrive at your profile (also called dashboard).
4. Click on CREATE NEW GLOG to start making a Glog.
5. After you click CREATE NEW GLOG, you can change the background by clicking on WALL.
You can add audio files by clicking on SOUND.
7. You can add a video by clicking on VIDEO.
8. You can add pictures files by clicking on IMAGE.
9. You can type words, sentences, phrases, etc by clicking on TEXT.
10. You can add clipart by clicking on GRAPHICS.
11. After you add something you can click on it and hit EDIT.
-By doing this you can change the graphics color, add a link, edit the text font, size, and color, and add effects.
12. You can also click on the buttons beside EDIT to bring the item forward, put it behind, clone, cancel changes, or delete it completely by clicking the trash can.
13. When you’re done, click SAVE OR PUBLISH to make the Glog accessible.
Here is a video that also explains how to use Glogster EDU:
Uses in the Secondary Classroom -
-Glogster can be used for book and research reports.
-It can be used for class or group projects and presentations.
-It can be used for homework assignments.
-Glogster can also be good for distance learning students.
-It can be accessed anywhere there is an internet connection for them to complete homework or projects.
-Glogster helps students to be inspired and develop creativity.
- This is a cloud-based presentation website, which is like a combination between a whiteboard and slides. This is a very visual way to present thoughts and knowledge in an interactive way.
- Web Poster Wizard allows students to create poster projects similar to Glogster.
- This is a multimedia slide show website which uses images, documents, and videos. Teachers and students can navigate through the slides leaving comments with audio and video files, images, doodles, and text.
Voice Thread By: Angela Nicholl
Voice thread is a tool that is used for having conversations around media. The media can include anything from images and videos to documents and presentations. The media that is uploaded is then displayed as a slideshow and anyone from anywhere in the world can comment in 5 different ways on any image on the voice thread. The five different ways to comment include text comments, video comments, audio comments, file uploading comments, and commenting by phone. The comments allow for a group conversation to take place around a single image.
Extremelly EASY to create
Upload from multiple different sources ie:) computer, facebook, NY library, internet etc
Can monitor comments
Can always delete/replace comments or images
Can link your voice thread to other websites or convert it to a CD/DVD
Great outlet for the shy students in the classroom to have a voice
Provides an opportunity to connect to other students around the world
Comments surround the image that is being talked about so that image is always visible
Consistent, reliable, and solid source
Multiple peopple can be adding comments at once
Can take a long time to upload pictures, but especially videos. 10 pictures=15minutes to upload
If you do not have a microphone and or webcam on your computer then you cannot use those features
File uploading requires an upgrade which costs money
Simply go to
and hit the register button. It asks for a name, email address, and asks you to create a password and to decode two words. The website is very helpful and easy to navigate. Hit the create button where you upload pictures, documents, videos or whatever it is you are uploading, and at this time you can add captions and titles to pictures. After you upload your documents you can choose to comment on your own pictures. The last step is adding people to your voice thread if you want. There is a voice thread entitled, "one minute voice thread," on the home page that is also helpful.
Uses in Secondary Classroom-
Voice thread can be used in every subject area in the secondary level. The voice thread page has a link for ideas for using voice thread, here is the link
. The page lists all the content areas and under each area there is ideas and examples of how to use voice threads in the classroom.
Personally I think the voice thread can have a positive impact on any classroom. Here are some ideas of how to use voice thread in your class:
Using voice thread as a way to critique or reflect on particular documents
For ESL teachers voice thread can be used to provide oral practice for ELL students
Voice thread is a great way to have conversations with other students from around the world
I can see voice thread being a fun homework assignment in which kids have some choice as to how they want to respond to particular pictures, videos etc.
The voice thread website lists many different and unique ways on how to incorporate voice thread into your particular class
Blabberize – Melissa Pottinger
Blabberize is a fun, creative way to add audio to a picture to actually make it look like the picture is talking. It has several creative uses, and it’s a great way to get your students to perform a simple task, while having a lot of fun. It’s fairly easy to use, and it’s very quick.
It’s easy to figure out
Projects can be done very quickly
There are a lot of options for the audio (different ways to upload it)
Creative and fun…students will enjoy it
There are a lot of possibilities for using it
Only 30 second audio clips are allowed, so you can’t talk for very long
You can’t have more than one person speaking in the same blabber
There’s no monitoring
You must sign up for an account
There’s no “teacher feature”
Opens up opportunity for bullying
It would be very easy for students to get off task if you used it in the classroom
On the home page, there is a “log-in/sign up” option near the center of the page
Sign-up or log-in
Click the “MAKE” option at the top of the page, next to the site logo
Upload a picture (must be saved to your computer)
Using the select feature (which will already be up), select the portion of the uploaded photo you would like to use
Click the blue arrow to move on, which is located on the right below the picture
Using the select tool (which, again, is already up), find the mouth of the person you are going to make speak
Either accept your “Blabber” or edit it
When you’re satisfied, give it a title, description, and insert any tags you think might be useful
Save your “Blabber”
Elementary students could use it for animal noises
Students can record famous quotations
Students can pick a famous person from history and play a clip of his/her theme song
Students can make fake advertisements/commercials
Students could use it to pretend be a character from a book
Could be great for foreign languages or ELL
One teacher suggested using it for the elements on the periodic table
Another teacher suggested using it to open class and read the daily schedule
…the possibilities are endless!
--> This is a similar site; however, you have to use one of the given scenes; you can't use your own picture. You can upload audio, and the characters can have a dialogue with a maximum of ten lines. You have to select one of the pre-loaded characters as well. There are not very many free characters and scenes to choose from, but it it nice that you can have a dialogue.
--> Another similar site, you can add effects to your photos. On this site, you cannot record audio, but you can add speech bubbles and other effects.
Animoto- by Laura Haggard
Animoto helps you create custom, professional-looking videos from user-uploaded music, photos and videos. It's an easy way for students to utilize their visual creativity to tell a story.
Once completed, videos can be emailed, downloaded and embedded into other sites.
uses multi-media and many ways of uploading pictures
can be used by the students for an assignment or by the teacher to begin a lesson
very simple to use
education feature which allows for some of the better layouts and longer videos
If students don't have a camera they may find the photos/video options the site insufficient
requires email address of students
occasionally will have trouble saving
you can't add text on a photo
You can only use a few words per "slide"
You have to find a song long enough for all of the pictures you choose. Video runs out when either music of pictures run out!
It is very easy to navigate, create, and use animoto. As the teacher you will want to sign up first and create an account under the education feature (you can find this at the bottom of the homepage). This way your students can log on under your special code that will be given to you. Students will be able to have access to longer videos and a larger option of video layouts with the education animoto account, and it's FREE! You can add up to 50 students under one email. Students will need their own email address to begin working on their own video projects. Once the account is set up for each student, the actual technical direction is quite simple and self-explanatory through their program which is one of the things I liked most about it. You will have to choose from layout options provided. The education animoto account allows you to create a plain, or HD layout, but excludes the HD Pro which is an upgrade you would need to pay for. Once you choose a layout you will next begin uploading pictures or videos from animoto's library or from your own computer, facebook, flickr, or photobucket. There is a toolbox on the right side that allows you to insert a slide of text, rotate a picture, or "highlight" a photo which means it will be featured for a longer period of time. You can also add music from either your own collection or animoto's collection, which is quite extensive. Once you have ordered the photos in the way you like, click "produce" and your video will take a few minutes to be created. An email will be sent to you when it is ready to be viewed. It can also be shared on facebook, youtube, or just stored on your animoto account.
Uses in the Secondary Classroom:
make commercials for a product (persuasive advertisement)
travel commercial for a particular country
As an introduction piece to get to know your new students
visual arts to combine poetry and pictures
show the stages of metamorphosis, cell division, growth from zygote to infant
Kizoa.com (less free features) and no education feature for classrooms.
Xtranormal - by Kylie Naugle
"If you can type, you can make movies"
Xtranormal.com is an online movie making site that lets people choose different characters and backgrounds , while creating their own dialogue for the movies by simply typing the words, or recording their own voices. It has many different settings and loads of options to choose from to create a variety of movies online. You can create movies for a class project, a presentation, or just for fun.
you can watch any of the movies for free
there are educational movies already posted on the site
all you need is an e-mail address to create an account
there is a video to help you get started in creating your own movies
creating a very simple movie is not hard at all
when a movie is complete you can save it to the site for others to view
it is a "new age" way to work with multi media in the classroom
It has a special section for teachers with tips on how to use this site in the classroom
it has ways to monitor your students on the site and the teacher can control the privacy settings
you are given a limited amount of credits, one they're used up, you have to pay for more
with these credits, it is hard to create anything more than a very basic movie
the process takes a lot of time and revision to make anything worth using
with the basic packet, you are very limited with resources
the site can really slow down your computer
the teacher section costs money and it costs additional money for each student per month
it is a bit overwhelming to people who are not experienced with this kind of technology
long onto the site and create an account
from there you can watch a variety of movies or create your own
chose the characters (1 or 2), the set, which characters you want to use, the sounds, and the voices
give your characters lines and watch them speak
save your movie to the site so others can watch your creation
Use in the Secondary Classroom
Help with second languages
fun way to teach students about history
use it to create political debates with relevant candidates
make movies of their own relative to stories they may be reading in the classroom
Home Page: Napoleon
Voki – by Janelle Scheckler
My sample Voki!
Simply put, Voki is a website that allows the user to create a unique avatar and give it a voice. Students may choose from a variety of characters and customize them for any purpose. The website also features sections entirely devoted to helping educators use Voki in the classroom: The Teacher’s Corner provides a forum to which educators may post and communicate with others, while the Lessons Plan tab lists – you guessed it! – lesson plans that will accommodate the use of Voki in the classroom.
– The original Voki website is entirely free and only requires a valid email address to register.
– Voki gives enough room for creativity without overwhelming the user with too many choices.
It gives your students a voice (
– Voki avatars feature audio messages that can be recorded by a microphone and uploaded, created by a text-to-audio tool, or even recorded over the phone!
It focuses on educators’/students’ needs!
– The website provides both a
forum for educators
and a listing of potential
. Simply select the grade of your students and the subject, and the website will provide lessons that include Voki avatars as a tool for students’ learning.
– Voki avatar messages may only be 60 seconds in length. In order to upgrade to 90 seconds, a subscription to Voki Classroom is required.
– While it can also be seen as an advantage, the text-to-audio feature allows ANY text to be read by one’s avatar. This could be slightly problematic if students start to get a little “creative”.
– This feature allows educators to monitor students’ work, provide textual feedback, and organize students by class or group. Unfortunately, these awesome tools require a paid subscription.
After accessing the website, create a personal profile by registering a valid email address.
Click the “Create” tab, and customize your Voki avatar by changing the character, background, and audio message:
Character – Voki provides a wide selection of characters to be featured in your avatar. Choose a character, and – depending on which character is selected – its hair, mouth, and color can be altered.
Background – After the creation of your character, select a background to match. Remember, setting is important!
“Give It A Voice” – This tab will allow you to record an audio file by phone, use a text to speech tool, or use a microphone to record your avatar’s message.
Publish – Finally, click the “Publish” button to share your Voki with others.
Now, you can choose to share your Voki! Choose from an enormous list of social networking sites and blog sites, or simply send your Voki via email.
Here's a screenshot of the customization process!
Uses in Secondary Classroom:
I love this website for the classroom – mainly because it features a tool that makes the inclusion simply effortless! Feel free to browse the various lesson plans on the website, but I will point out a few general ways that Voki may be included: Giving perspective of “minor” characters, giving voice to “voiceless” characters, “translating” famous literary works into modern language, depicting students’ perceptions of characters, etc. Voki also includes dozens of voices for foreign languages! The characters can be modified to look like a teenager from today or a Founding Father. The customization of Voki allows it to fit into nearly any secondary classroom.
Unfortunately, it is very difficult to find a customizable avatar website that also allows audio that does not require payment. Many businesses include these avatars to make their websites more engaging, so nearly every example I found offered the same features with a paid subscription.
, however, is somewhat similar in that it features a depiction (in this case, a photo) that can “talk” when an audio file is added. It does not feature a text-to-speech tool, so all audio must be recorded.
— Amanda Wallen
Pixton is an online community which allows you to make and create your own Comics, for free, and collaborate with others online. There are three forms: Pixton for Fun, Pixton for Business, and Pixton for Schools. Pixton for Fun allows you to create your own comics, create a profile with an avatar, and publish your comics online for others to view and comment on. Pixton for Business allows you to privately publish comics online for presentations and commercial use. It gives you greater access to characters, props, layouts and colors. Finally Pixton for Schools is a secure, private comic maker, which contains grading and assessment tools for teachers. Students and teachers have separate log-ins but are connected through the online classroom where students can review and comment on peers work.
Here is a link to my Pixton:
Pixton for Schools
is a great resource to get students involved, get their creative juices flowing, and incorporate technology into the classroom. Each student has their own account, which the teacher can monitor and assess with Pixton’s 5 star rating system and comic rubric The account is private and students are able to be added with or without email. Once added, students are organized into classrooms on the teacher homepage. As the teacher you can customize settings allowing students to only see or do what you choose which allows you to adapt to student needs. Pixton certified for smart boards, smart phones/hand held devices, and runs on Mac, Windows, and Linux. Students can create comics from scratch, work on teacher approved templates or remix comics the teacher has already created. Once a comic is created, that teacher can approve or send it back for revision. Once a comic is approved it is published on the class gallery for students to comment and view; allowing for peer and personal reviews.
While Pixton has many great resources for student creativity and online collaboration there are a few disadvantages:
Pixton for Schools costs $.84 per student per two month, $1.68 for four months, and $2.60 for a year, which can be a costly investment for multiple classes of 20-30 students.
Pixton for businesses can cost anywhere from $30 to $240 depending on your usage
While the online comic creator is easy to use once you master it, it can be a bit overwhelming for less experienced computer users
Pixton offers many “How To Videos,” from how Pixton works, to Printing, Panels, and Characters. They will take you step by step through the comic creating process. There is no direct link to the “How To Videos,” but to access them go to the Pixton for Fun homepage and click on the “Create” section on the top of the page and they are under the tab.
Uses in the Secondary Classroom:
Pixton is a fun and exciting way to incorporate technology into the classroom and allow students to get creative with virtually any subject. It is perfect for any age or grade level. Here is a list of some uses in the classroom:
1. Students are able to hone personal skills such as story telling in logical sequences, communicate and collaborate with others and convey ideas precisely.
2. Students are able comment and view peer work as well as self and peer assess comics.
3. Keeps artistic and non-artistic students on the same level because each student is provided with the same materials
4. Allows students to represent their ideas in a creative medium that teachers can monitor and assess.
ToonDoo is an online comic maker with both a free public and private domain. For $.10 cents a month schools can create online classrooms for student use and monitoring very similar to Pixton
2. Make Beleifs Comix:
Make Beleifs Comix is open to people of all ages to play and explore the word of comics. Many teachers and educational therapist uses the site to help students with special needs express themselves and communicate.
Bitstrips – Will Jenkins
Bitstrips is a site for generating user created comic strips. It is a fast, easy and fun way to create and publish your own comics without needing the ability to draw.
Comic creation is both easy
deep. Using preset characters and backgrounds comics can be created in minutes, but mastering all the bells and whistles could take awhile
Regular accounts are free.
Bitstrips features a sister site
Bitstrips for Schools
, which allows teachers to add students and control how student work is shared, including a class gallery.
Bitstrips for Schools contains a hefty amount of searchable project suggestions for different subjects.
Teachers provide students with log in for BFS, students are not required to give any information.
Bitstrips for Schools offers the opportunity for students to upload their own pictures/art.
Provides a skippable tutorial for every project.
Bitstrips for schools is a per-classroom pay site, but offers a 30-day trial (classes of up to 40 students)
Regular Bitstrips site may contain mature content. Viewing cannot be controlled by teacher.
Sign up for 30 day free trial
Set up password for students to join site
Add students to your class list.
Create your teacher Avatar
Click My Comics Tab to create your own comic.
Choose strip layout, add and adjust characters, backgrounds and word balloons. (Make sure to take time to explore all of the features)
Click Save (strip can now be shared, printed or downloaded).
Bitstrips.com is a site that has the flexibility to be used by students of all grades. From writing projects to history reports, Bitstrips can add interest to any project. The Bitstrips for Schools site also features an ever growing amount of projects for every subject and grade level.
is another comic strip creating website, but it pales in comparison to Bitstrips' ability to customize.
Moodle – Eric Neff
Moodle is an online Learning Management System similar to Blackboard or Desire2Learn. The primary difference is that it is offered freely as open source software which means that Moodle is copyrighted, but that you have additional freedoms. You are allowed to copy, use and modify Moodle provided that you agree to:
- provide the source to others
- not modify or remove the original license and copyrights
- apply this same license to any derivative work
Compared to other learning management systems like Blackboard that cost
- Free (open source so it will always be available)
- No need for programming knowledge
- Support from the community of Moodle users to help you set up your own courses
- Fully customizable
- Can cut down significantly on material being printed on paper, cutting costs and conserving resources.
- Teachers can oversee any student who is in their course.
- It can be run from a remote web server so schools can outsource that if they don't have the resources to hire someone to maintain a server in house.
- It allows teachers to extend their teaching outside of the constraints of their classroom.
- Ability to track student activity
- Moodle runs from a web server whether the server is the school's or remote so it is not something that a teacher can decide to use independently of the school’s administration making the decision to utilize it.
- There is an overwhelming amount of information about it, and it can be a lot to digest.
- Could potentially overload students with information
- Students with no computer access at home would not be able to access your assignments
Without the program installed on my computer, it is not really possible for me to create a finished product to display. Technical directions are also difficult to give since I have not actually used the program. There are so many things that you can do with Moodle that technical directions wouldn't really be that helpful anyway. Moodle has a large database on their website where you can find any of the techincal information that would be needed to carry out various tasks using the program. Here is the link:
There are also many, many youtube videos of teachers who are familiar with creating courses who have been kind enough to offer their expertise to others. Collaboration seems to be a fundamental value within the Moodle community. Below is one of these videos on how to set up a Moodle course:
Uses in the Secondary Classroom
The possibilities here are endless, but here are a few things that moodle could be used for:
- Post documents, reading assignments, and other information to extend students’ learning outside of the classroom
- Give quizzes
- Online discussions
- Post lessons online
- Survey student opinions
- Post a course calendar
Moodle's demonstration site -
These you must pay for:
help on how to format text
Turn off "Getting Started"