Cool Tools for Your Classroom
We've culled a few tools here to get everyone started. Each of these offers free usage, and can enhance your classroom and teaching in some way. We've grouped these into some general categories, and followed each one with a description, an explanation of its strengths, some suggested classroom uses, and links to how-to videos and instructions to get you started.



Productivity Tools




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Google Docs allows you to create documents, spreadsheets, surveys, and presentations online. These files can be created from scratch, created from an online template, or you can upload existing files in their native format. Below, educators discuss the benefits of using this tool in their classrooms.













Benefits:
Every year, students, parents and teachers struggle to create and print documents with a wide range of file extensions. It causes a lot of stress when a student comes in with an assignment on a flash drive to print out but we are unable to open it because it's not Microsoft Office compatible. By using Google docs, this is no longer an issue. Almost all of the possible file formats can be uploaded to the Google docs site.

The biggest advantage to using Google Docs is that it allows you to share and collaborate your work. Just imagine having four students working on the same "PowerPoint" project. Before, that meant students had to visit each other out of school or they would create separate slides then try to merge them at school. If they create a presentation in Google Docs, all four students can work on the SAME presentation at the SAME time from DIFFERENT houses! Students can collaborate with their peers as well as teachers. They can share work with teachers to get feedback. Teachers can then monitor work being done by seeing revision made as they happen. Here are a few additional benefits:
  • Up to 10 people can edit a document at once, in real time
  • Saves all earlier revisions, so you can always go back and undo changes
  • you can upload any of a number of formats
  • Interactive presentations - while you or some students present a slide show on google docs, the rest of the class can post questions / comments in real time along the side - visible to all in real time on the projection screen.
  • There's an app for that! If you need to, you can access your account and docs from your Iphone or Droid...

Examples of Uses:
  • Create and store handouts online - no more worrying about forgetting something on your home computer.
  • Create a survey for your students to complete - beginning of the year, end of a unit, etc. Google Docs gives you a 1-click snapshot of the results. An excellent way to check and see how much your students "got" from a lesson - do a quick check and see what needs to be retaught
  • Edit a document online - students can peer edit, and you can give spot feedback.
  • Real-time collaboration - several students can collaborate on a document or presentation, and you can check the document history and track who did what.
  • Team teachers can create a document together - like a newsletter - and not have to wait for each contributor to add their material, one at a time - cuts down on the need to meet to create something.

Getting Started:
  1. Click on the logo above.
  2. Register for a google docs account.
  3. Get started!

Tutorials:
  • See the Google Docs Page on 8Gold.org for some background videos and tutorials
  • Here is a great presentation on 24 ways to use this tool in your classroom. Note that the presentation itself was done in Google Docs!
  • The Florida Center for Instructional Technology has put together a very good pdf handout that walks through a lot of the basics.
  • The Google Docs Community Channel on Youtube has all sorts of videos full of instructions and ideas.
  • Everything Google - this Wiki gives insights and instructions for many of the tools Google has created.
  • This Google Docs tutorial does a nice job walking you through the tool.
  • This tutorial is the one used in the PD class, based off a web doc.

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Dropbox is an online, virtual hard drive. When you register for a free account and install the program, it creates a folder on your computer. This folder is like any other folder on your system - you can store files in it, open them, save them, etc. The difference is that the items you save in that folder are being saved remotely - on the dropbox site, not your computer. You can then access your files from any computer, at any time. You can also share specific files or entire folders in your dropbox with other users -- allowing you to get files to those who need them, without worrying about an email attachment being too large. The site gives 2 gigabytes free, and another 250 MB for each person who references you when they sign up - they also get an additional 250 for using the referral. The short video below explains the basics of this tool.











Benefits:

Dropbox is designed for people who are tired of carrying around flash drives, or having to email documents to themselves and others. By using dropbox, you can:
  • have access to your files from any computer - just install the dropbox program onto each of your own computers or, when on a public system or someone else's, go to the dropbox site and log in to your account.
  • Go back to earlier versions of your files - each time you change a file in your dropbox, the site records your earlier version - you can simply click on an earlier draft, and your work is back.
  • Use it to back up your critical files, so they are safe from a computer crash or the loss of a flash drive / disc.
  • As with Google Docs, there's a dropbox app for smartphones.

Examples of Uses:
  • Critical file sharing - I needed to get a copy of a video to a colleague - the file was 800 MB large, and way too big for email. I uploaded it to dropbox, shared it with him, and he was able to use it. (Just be patient - big files do take a while to upload!)
  • Keep backups of grades, critical lessons and documents - use it as an easy-to-access storage space.
  • Create a folder for key team documents that each of you needs to access.

Getting Started:
  1. Click on the logo above.
  2. Follow the steps on the page to watch the overview, install the program, and set up an account.
  3. Get started!

Tutorials:
  • The dropbox tour can be found here.
  • An overview of dropbox and how to get going with it is here. Note the related videos in the left column - they cover walkthroughs, tutorials, and features.

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**Drop.io** is an easy to use, online collaboration and file sharing service that provides users with a simple, real time and private way to chat and share images, video, audio, documents and other digital content through unique, user-created and controlled sharing points called 'drops.' The video below gives a good overview of how it can be used.






Click on TV icon at bottom of video to watch it in full screen.



Benefits:

Drop.io is a FREE tool that allows anyone to share up to 100MB of files with others. You can share just about any type of file (documents, powerpoints, pictures, music, videos, etc.) Once you create a new "drop", you can choose to have guests enter a password to view the files making it more private or you can have them public for viewing by anyone. You can also give guests privileges to add files as well, edit/delete files, leave comments, and so on. One of the best features of Drop.io is that guests can preview your files without having to download them first. You may also link to the file or embed in another location. If you have more than 100 MB of files, don't worry! You can create an endless number of free drops (or you could pay a monthly fee to get more storage but who wants that?)

Examples of Uses:
  • Set up a drop for all of your team documents (schedule, newsletters, permission slips, etc.) and add documents to it throughout the year. You could also add team photos.
  • Set up drops for specific units in your class. You could either post all handouts and homework assignments in a drop OR you could set up a drop for students to put their assignments. Let's say students have a lab report due...give them a link to the "Lab Report Drop" and tell students they must upload their report to the drop by homeroom.
  • Have a drop for your department to share files with each other (e.g., "8th Grade Science").

Getting Started:
  1. Click on the logo above.
  2. Create a new drop. (You do NOT sign up!) The address for the drop will be "http://drop.io/___". Your drop name must include at least 7 letters.
  3. Upload some files!

Additional Resources:


Communication & Discussion Tools



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Well, a Wiki is what you're reading now -- it's a platform for the sharing of ideas and information on the web. Basically, the site gives you the tools to create your own pages, which can be edited by other members of the site. The nice thing with using Wikispaces to create your team - or class - webpage is that you can edit it from any computer... no special software is needed. Plus, by giving access to each teacher on a team, you all can edit your own pages. Working with a wiki is very easy - you can type in text, add links and images, and insert all sorts of interesting little programs, called widgets (such as calendars). Also, as a teacher, you automatically qualify for the plus membership for free - this allows you to create different types of pages - some can be for just you to edit, and you can have other pages that your students can edit as well. In general, Wikis are supposed to be pretty democratic, with members adding in information on equal footing (think Wikipedia).This
short video
explains exactly what a Wiki is.













Benefits:
As we mentioned above, this is a really easy way to start creating a team webpage. You can get up and running in no time, for no cost. Beyond this, some other benefits are:
  • Requires no technical experience - designed for beginners, but versatile enough for more experienced users.
  • Ability to add to / edit your pages on the fly, from anywhere with online access.
  • Increased collaboration, through multiple people having access to your site - you control who gets to edit the pages.
  • The site notifies you when a page is updated - so you always know when your content is being edited.

Examples of Uses:
  • This Wiki is for a middle school French class.
  • Mr. Armstrong's US History Wiki shows the use of this tool in social studies class
  • An art teacher is using a Wiki to connect with the 30 teachers in her building, in order to make connections into disciplines
  • Mr Bergman's Science (grade 8) Wiki details each unit, and supports it with embedded videos.
  • Miss Cartier's Spanish Wiki offers students a location to present work
  • This English class in Iran is using a Wiki for classwork and to present a conservationist message
  • Educational Origami is aimed at educators trying to incorporate the 21st Century literacy skills into the classroom.

Getting Started:
  1. Click on the logo above.
  2. Fill in the form - I'd select "protected" for the type of pages...
  3. Get started!

Tutorials:

blogger
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A blog is an online public journal, a way to share your thoughts about any topic and to find others discussing the same issues. Blogger, a Google product, makes it easy to do this. It has a number of templates that allow you to get up and running quickly, it's free, and has plenty of features for both novices and those who are experienced with this online format. It's a great way to communicate to students, peers, and parents. Check out this article on using blogs in education to see some of the benefits of using this tool.


Benefits:
While there are many blogging tools out there (Edublog being a prime example), Blogger offers several advantages which made us include it here:
  • It is totally free
  • It is linked to your Google / Gmail account so, if you are using Google Docs, you're already set for creating a blog. Having them on the same account makes things a bit easier - no new access or password.
  • You can include pictures, videos, links -- anything you need to get your message across
  • You can create a group blog - where several people can access and edit it - great for creating a team blog, with each teacher contributing.
  • Blogger allows multiple pages - so, you can have a main team / class page, and then separate ones for other topics as needed.

Examples of Uses:

Getting Started:
  1. Click on the logo above.
  2. If you have a GMail / Google account, you're now on your dashboard page and can start creating your blog. Otherwise, you'll need to register for an account. It's free and painless.
  3. Get started!

Tutorials:

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(from the site)
ePals is the leading provider of safe collaborative technology for schools to connect and learn in a protected, project-based learning network. With classrooms in 200 countries and territories, ePals makes it easy to connect learners locally, nationally or internationally. Once you register as an educator, you can create a profile and connect with classrooms around the world. You can post requests, asking for classes / teachers in a specific country or region, or for classes dealing with specific topics. You can also seek out other educators to collaborate on projects, and your respective students can then communicate with one another and collaborate together on assignments. Here's a video by a teacher in Palmer, describing the project he designed using ePals.
Benefits:
ePals allows you to connect with other educators across the globe. They offer ready-made projects, a discussion forum for educators and a separate one for students, and tons of resources to help make reaching out easier. Some of the benefits are:
  • A safe, monitored site wherein your students can communicate with other classes and cultures.
  • Lots of support for collaboration - each of their projects has a discussion board where teachers discuss how they've used it and ways to make it work.
  • Authentic learning - students can practice language skills on native speakers, discuss regions they are studying with students who live there, etc.
  • Moderated student forums allow kids to post questions and get responses from around the world
  • Provides multiple ways to connect with other educators - by subject, region, project topic, etc.

Examples of Uses:

Getting Started:
  1. Click on the logo above.
  2. Create an individual login -- unless the school system creates a master one for the district, we need to do this one individually.
  3. Get started!

Tutorials:

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Descriptor:
(from the site)
"VoiceThread is a tool for having conversations around media." With VoiceThread, you can combine images, audio, and text into a presentation (you don't need all 3 - it can be as basic as a single still picture that you want to discuss). Once the presentation is uploaded, viewers can post comments - they can leave text, an audio recording, or video for other viewers to see/hear and react to. The presentation you create becomes the center point for an ongoing, online conversation which is available for others to join. This introductory video explains it nicely.









Benefits:

  • Basic service is free, and educators can get the full featured version at no cost as well, allowing them to set up threads for students.
  • With an educator account, you can monitor and edit student content.
  • You can 'capture' a discussion about an image / video / audio clip - students can comment at any time, from their computer or a phone, and others can respond at any time. All of it is then viewable on the site.
  • You can extend a conversation about media that begins in the classroom - students who need more time can access at home.
  • You can search VoiceThread for subjects / topics and see what has been done.

Examples of Uses:
  • VoiceThreads for Education Wiki - dedicated to the many uses of this Web 2.0 tool in the classroom, a great resource
  • Here's a Web 2.0 webinar focusing on effective use of VoiceThread in classes. You need to have Java installed to play it.
  • This VT focuses on a science experiment. Members of the group narrate pictures taken during their experiment.
  • VT for character mapping - an elementary school group shares thoughts about a central character in a novel.
  • A novel summary of To Kill a Mockingbird by freshmen
  • Faces of the World -- VT is used to narrate images of target countries. A basic setup like this could then be used to elicit feedback from students.

Getting Started:
  1. Click on the logo above.
  2. Click "sign in or register at the top right, above the logo
  3. Click the yellow "register" prompt
  4. At the bottom right, click "Educator? Click here."
  5. Choose VT Educator -- this is free. You can upgrade to the full classroom module for $60 per year. Schools can purchase a library account for $1 per student - could be very worthwhile for a couple teams to pair up.
  6. Follow the prompts to set up a free account
  7. Get started!

Tutorials:



Presentation Tools




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What is a glogster? It's a combination of a blog and a poster (why not a blogster? I'm not sure). You and your students can create interactive posters, using text, images, audio, video... the results can be quite impressive. Think about the traditional poster assignments a kid might create in a class - with Glogster, that poster is interactive: the viewer can click on an image and bring up links for more information, hear an audio analyzing it, or have it play a video about it. Here are examples of what we're talking about. These are from a Spanish class - be sure to click on the interactive elements, the videos and the texts that scroll...


Benefits:
Glogsters bring life to topics - the opportunities for engaging students are endless - whether it is teacher-created (a glog that focuses on a specific topic) or a student project, the results can be eye-catching and exciting.
  • Easy, intuitive interface for adding elements. Lots of "stock" backgrounds and themes, you can get up and running in no time.
  • The free account for educators allows you to create up to 100 student accounts.
  • Once registered, you can search glogs for topics relevant to your class.
  • Easy to publish what you create, or embed it into a webpage / blog etc.

Examples of Uses:

Getting Started:
  1. Click on the logo above.
  2. Click "sign in or register at the top right, above the logo
  3. Click the yellow "register" prompt
  4. At the bottom right, click "Educator? Click here."
  5. Choose VT Educator -- this is free. You can upgrade to the full classroom module for $60 per year. Schools can purchase a library account for $1 per student - could be very worthwhile for a couple teams to pair up.
  6. Follow the prompts to set up a free account
  7. Get started!

Tutorials:
  • Tracy Blazosky as put together a terrific site which walks through how to register and use this tool.

This Web 2.0 Webinar

focuses on the uses of Glogster. Make sure you have Java installed!
  • Learn it in 5: A 5 minute tutorial that will help you get set up for classroom use.

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Why these two tools together? One is the companion of the other. Jing is a screen capture tool - once you install it on your Mac or PC, it has a simple drag n drop capture interface - you can select a portion of your screen and take a snapshot, and then edit it - add arrows and shapes and text, so that you can draw attention to the parts of the screen that interest you. A more powerful feature is the video capture - with this, you select part of your screen and then click the film icon - it then video tapes all of your screen action (up to 5 minutes) - your mouse movements, anything you type or do in the selected part of your screen. Moreover, it connects with your computer's microphone so you can narrate what you do. Many of the how-to videos you see, where someone walks you through how to use a program or site, are done with this program. Once you make a video, you can then upload it to Screencast - the free version gives you 2 Gb of storage - where you can easily embed it into a webpage, blog, etc.


Benefits:
  • Jing is incredibly easy to use -- capturing images and video takes moments, and the interface is very straightforward.
  • Very easy to share what you create with others.
  • images and videos can be embedded in websites, presentations, blogs, etc

Examples of Uses:
  • Create how-to video walk throughs of tasks you want students to complete, and post them for review at home / beyond the classroom.
  • Have students create "think alouds" as they work through a problem or scenario online.
  • Testimonial from a 7th grade math teacher.
  • An example and discussion of using Jing to give students support and feedback
  • From Edtech, here are a number of ways to use Jing in your classroom.
  • This slideshow gives an overview of some student and teacher uses.

Getting Started:
  1. Click on the logo above.
  2. Click "download now" for your system (Windows or Mac OS)
  3. Once download is complete, click the icon to install.
  4. Once installed, you'll have a cute little sun hiding along the edge of your screen - look to the top center. This is the Jing toolbar - click to use.
  5. Get started!
  6. When you go to upload a video to Screencast, you'll be prompted to create an account, if one isn't automatically set.

Tutorials:
  • Excellent slideshow / presentation that walks you through downloading, installing, and using this.
  • Jing's help center has a good set of tutorials.
  • A decent tutorial for how to use the basics, created by a kid - see how easy it is to use?
  • Screencast gives a good introductory video that shows its key features.

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Prezi is a slide presentation tool - think PowerPoint - freed from the constraints of slides. You create your presentations online, without any need to install software, and save them on the site, for publishing, downloading, and embedding where you see fit. So, what's the difference between a Prezi and a PowerPoint presentation? In a Prezi, you create all your content - your "slides" on a big open canvas - you can import images, video, pdfs, or type in text... create whatever you want, and then order your creations into a presentation by simply clicking from one "slide" to the next. When presenting your slideshow, you can play the embedded videos, zoom in on specific parts of an image or slide, glide forward and backward in the presentation seamlessly. Here's a
nice example
of what a Prezi is, and what it can do - be sure to click on full screen mode, by scrolling over "more" beneath the presentation!












Benefits:
  • Very easy to use -- within an hour of first going to the site, you can build a presentation.
  • By having the entire slideshow created on one canvas, it's easy to zoom out, make quick edits to specific slides, and change the order of your presentation.
  • You can store 500 MB of presentations for free and download your presentations with a free educator account.
  • the fluid movement and ability to zoom in on details creates more interest and chances for interaction than a standard slide show.
  • Frees you from system-based software - if you can get online, you can create a presentation.

Examples of Uses:
  • This site has a discussion between educators about how they use Prezi in the classroom.
  • Ideas to Inspire features 8 ways to use Prezi in your classroom. Note this was done using Google docs...
  • This Prezi focuses on evaluating websites for accuracy / authority -- note the individual web screen shots that were edited using Jing.
  • Eblahblah (just another digital learning blog) has a brainstorm of classroom uses.
  • This webinar goes into the many uses of Prezi - make sure you have Java installed. They start going over Prezi around 15 minutes in.
  • The Power and Point of using Prezi in the Classroom - a nice presentation and discussion of its many uses

Getting Started:
  1. Click on the logo above.
  2. Click "Sign up now"
  3. Click "Student / Teacher Licenses"
  4. Select the middle option
  5. Enter your school email address - the k12 tag on it shows them you're an educator. Click continue.
  6. Follow the prompts to register.
  7. Start creating!

Tutorials:
  • Prezi has a solid set of tutorials to walk you through the features.
  • On Schooltube.com, this presentation does a good job walking you through signing up for and using Prezi.
  • This Prezi Quick Start Guide can be printed as a reference.


Note Taking / Research / Bookmarking Tools



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Delicious is a social bookmarking service. What does that mean? Think about the traditional bookmarks, which save your favorite websites in folders that you access through the menu on your web browser. Social bookmarks are saved online, so you can access them from any computer. Furthermore, you can add tags to them - key words, so that you can find what you need quickly: let's say you have 30 sites that all relate to medieval life, and you want to find the two that discuss stewards. With traditional bookmarks, you would have to look through them; with Delicious, you just search for the tag "Stewards" that you placed on them. In seconds, you have what you need. Furthermore, you can share your bookmarks with other people - and see what others have bookmarked as well. This 8 minute video walks you through what Delicious is, what it does, and how to use it in the classroom.











Benefits:
  • Access your bookmarks from anywhere - have one set of bookmarks, no matter where you are.
  • You can set whether a bookmark is public or private - only share what you want to share.
  • You can share your bookmarks and notes with others who share the same interests - or with a class, peers, etc
  • Helps you quickly assess websites - when searching for a term, you can see how many people have tagged a particular site (thus how popular it is)
  • Students can share research sites across classes and teams, without needing to meet in person.
  • It will synchronize with your current bookmarks in firefox and IE, so you can keep all your current ones and add tags to them.

Examples of Uses:
  • You can create a tag for a specific class - like 7BlueELA - that your students can then find, directing them to what you consider the best sites.
  • Anna's Geography Bookmarks - see how one social studies teacher has grouped resources.
  • Physics bookmarks - note the tags to the right, and how they act like a table of contents.
  • Here's a fairly basic lesson plan for introducing social bookmarking to your students.
  • Delicious uses in the classroom - a blog entry from an educator exploring this tool
  • My Integrating Technology Journey presents the author's lesson for introducing social bookmarking to her students.

Getting Started:
  1. Click on the logo above.
  2. Note that Delicious is based on a Yahoo ID - if you have a Yahoo account, log in to it. Otherwise, click "sign up."
  3. Once you sign up for Yahoo, you will be brought back to Delicious, where you can select your Delicious account name.
  4. Follow the onscreen steps.

Tutorials:
  • This downloadable pdf walks you through what social bookmarking is, and how to get set up on delicious.
  • Here is Delicious' overview and help page.

diigo.jpg
Descriptor:
Diigo combines some of the aspects of social bookmarking with research tools. Like Delicious, you bookmark sites of interest and can tag them. Beyond this, you can actually save the website - Diigo will archive its contents so that you can access them later. The full text of that website then becomes searchable - so, if you have saved 7 sites for a research project, through Diigo you can search those seven sites for key words or phrases. Also, you can highlight information on a webpage and annotate it - add post-its - that will be there any time you go back to the site through Diigo. You can also share your notes - make them public, or share them with a group... when you turn on the feature that lets you see public bookmarks, you can see comments people have left on various sites. This short video explains what Diigo is, and what it does.










Benefits:
  • Web-based bookmarking - save your material and access it from any computer, online
  • Take notes right on the page, and share them with peers and students
  • Based on your bookmarks and tags, Diigo will suggest other sites and bookmark collections that may be of interest
  • With the free educator account, you can set up student accounts and classes that can share notes with one another, but keep them private from the rest of the world.
  • It is compatible with Delicious, so bookmarks from one can feed into the other.
  • You can create a slideshow of bookmarked pages - good for a quick overview of 'top sites' for a class project.
Examples of Uses:
  • Edudiigo is an excellent Wiki dedicated to helping teachers collaborate on ways to use this tool. It's under development, with some good videos and tutorials.
  • Classroom 2.0 Group - this Diigo group for and by educators focuses on the use of Web 2.0 tools in the classroom.
  • The Connected Classroom blog has a great entry about Diigo, getting into some of its features in more detail. Once you get your feet wet, check it out.
  • Using Diigo for Organizing the Web in Your Class discusses some of the powerful functions that Diigo offers.
  • Clif's Notes has an ongoing discussion at the bottom of the page, in which educators discuss ways they can use the tool in their classroom.
Getting Started:
  1. Click on the logo above.
  2. Next to the "Get Started Now" button, there is a smaller print link that says "Educator? Get Started Here." Click it.
  3. Fill out the form - be sure to use your school email address!
  4. Once accepted as an educator (isn't that what we all want to be?), get started!

Tutorials:
  • This slideshow goes over Diigo, signing up, and all its functions - including setting up classes and using the educator account tools.

zotero.jpg

Descriptor:
Zotero is more of a research tool than a social bookmarking site. It works with Firefox - not Internet Explorer or Safari - so keep this in mind when considering its use. Like Diigo, the user can take pictures of websites, which then become searchable. The user can also add notes right to the page, add tags to make the pages easy to find later, and share their notes and sites with others. Beyond this, Zotero has a plug-in for Word and Google Docs, which allow the user to transfer quotes and notes right into their papers, and then format citations - both in text and for the bibliography - automatically. Overall, this is a very good research tool, aimed more for grade 8 and above.










Benefits:
  • As with Diigo, users can take notes on a webpage right on the same screen - and then organize their notes into folders, and by tags.
  • By having students share their notes folder with the teacher, the educator can quickly check to see how a student is doing - are they paraphrasing, as opposed to copying?
  • During grading, access to a student's notes folder makes it easy to check online sources and fair use.
  • It can simplify parentheticals and bibliographic entries through its add-on - but we still need to teach beyond relying on the tool.
  • Very powerful for organizing materials for a unit - researching a topic, taking notes, and preparing to share materials with students.
Examples of Uses:
  • Teaching with Zotero Groups features a college professor discussing how he uses this to check in with students during a research project.
  • This Zotero site lists some of the ways to use Zotero in the classroom.
Getting Started:
  1. Click on the logo above.
  2. If you don't have Firefox,

Tutorials:
  • The Zotero Quick Start Guide from Stanford University offers a step-by step overview of installation and use.
  • This 6 minute video gives a good overview of the features and functions.
  • This short video shows how to export references for a bibliography.


Animation / Video Tools


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Animoto is an easy way to create video presentations - you upload videos and pictures, add text... then select background images and music -- the result is a Powerpoint on steroids... engaging, visually appealing content that is integrated with sound and video. Here's an example of what Animoto can do:












Benefits:
  • Very easy to use, with a drag and drop interface. Just upload, drop items into the images area, select music, finalize your presentation, and you're done.
  • Videos can be embedded or shared very easily.
  • Free educator account allows you to create full-length videos. You get a classroom code to share with your students, giving you access to their products.
  • Final products look quite professional, with very little time needed to create them.
  • Students can start making a video in school, and continue at home - entirely web-based

Examples of Uses:
  • Great alternative to traditional book reports - students can create a video short of images / music that relate to a specific character in a novel, a setting, etc.
  • A number of educators discuss their Animoto use on this Wiki.
  • The Animoto for Education site contains a number of classroom examples.
  • A science teacher put together this video on the scientific method.
  • After a field trip, an Animoto video is a great way to send the highlights to students and families.
  • Use videos as a get-to-know-you activity

Getting Started:
  1. Click on the logo above.
  2. Fill out the educator registration. It may take some time for approval, but you can work with the 30-second videos immediately.
  3. Get started!

Tutorials:

goanimate.gif
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Go!Animate allows you to create cartoons - using their stock scenes, characters, and movements - to illustrate anything. The free site contains a lot of content - from Star Trek characters and scenes, to Underdog... paying users can make their own characters and blend a variety of backdrops together. That being said, the free content is extensive and allows a lot of opportunity for students to present their knowledge in a different format. Once you create a cartoon, you can share it with others online. One word to the wise - like Youtube, there is a LOT of content on here, some of which can be inappropriate for younger kids... if you have concerns about this, there is a companion site called Domo Animate - it is much
more controlled, with all material reviewed before it is posted. Here is an overview of how it works:










Benefits:
  • Stock characters and scenes make it so that, with a little practice, anyone can create a cartoon.
  • Fairly easy interface - a story board, with buttons that show you what each character can do.
  • Wide range of scenes and characters available - can be adapted to almost any class / topic.
Examples of Uses:
  • In a French class, students are asked to use their vocabulary in an animation at the start of the school year.
  • School Library Journal describes using this as an alternative to the standard slide show presentation
  • A teacher describes his use of this tool on the Discovery Educator Network
  • The Daring Librarian has a solid entry about her experiences with this site, and some good tips.

Getting Started:
  1. Click on the logo above.
  2. Sign up for the basic package (free)
  3. Get started!

Tutorials
  • Go Animate! Has a nice assortment of video tutorials.
  • This powerpoint walks through signing up, creating, and embedding a cartoon.

Voki.jpg

Descriptor:
Voki is an incredibly easy tool for creating a speaking avatar (online character). You go to the site, design a character based on their menu of stock people, adjust it, and then can record up to 60 seconds of audio to accompany it. Here's an example:











Benefits:
  • REALLY easy - you can create an avatar in a few short minutes.
  • Creating an avatar for online use can protect a student's identity while online
  • provides opportunity to practice speaking and annunciation skills.
  • versatile - can be used in any content area.
Examples of Uses:
Getting Started:
  1. Click on the logo above.
  2. Click "Sign up now" - you can even create a Voki, and then set up your account when you are done.

Tutorials: