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Fotobabble

What it is: Fotobabble seems to be everywhere I am lately, and now that I have had a minute to play with it, I can see why.  Just upload a photo, record your voice, and send or embed away.  It is very simple to use and has really fun results!  The only downside for use in education are: 1. on the home page of Fotobabble you can see other members creations, at the time of writing they are all clean but I would hate to send my kids here without knowing exactly what content they would run into; 2. To use Fotobabble as a student, you must first sign up. This requires an email address Which means that under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, that children under the age of 13 cannot sign up for an account on the site for their own creations.  I would love to see Fotobabble create an education version that can be used by students under 13 if monitored and signed up by an adult, and without the other user generated content on the home page.  That being said, Fotobabble is a fantastic tool for the classroom. How to integrate Fotobabble into the classroom: Fotobabble can be used in a variety of ways in the classroom.  For students over 13, it is a great creation tool.  Students could take pictures, or find creative commons images that illustrate vocabulary that they are learning and record themselves saying the definition and using the word in a sentence.  Students could collect and trade Fotobabble vocabulary with other students in the class and embed them in a blog or wiki to create their own visual talking dictionary.  If you teach students younger than 13, have teachers or parent helpers build audio visual dictionaries that can be added to throughout the year.  How neat would it be to have a talking, visual word wall?!  This would be helpful for math, science, social studies, history, and regular vocabulary words that students learn.  The format will be so valuable to your audio and visual learners.  Did you take pictures of that field trip? Upload them to Fotobabble and students can record thoughts, observations, and lessons they learned on the field trip.  Consider creating a class Fotobabble account that you (the teacher) are in charge of.  Upload student illustrations and record a story that they have written using their own voice.  This is the perfect type of project to share at parent teacher conference time.  Parents can get a good idea of their child’s writing, reading, and fine motor skills all in one spot.  If you complete a similar project several times through the year, both students and parents can see the growth and progress that has been made during the school year.  Fotobabbles are an outstanding way to send your young students on an Internet scavenger hunt.  Along the way, record directions with Fotobabble and embed on your class website, wiki, or blog.  Non-readers will be able to listen to, and follow directions for any assignment.   Upload a picture of a landmark or map and have students record fun facts that they have learned about the place.  Send special messages from your class home to parents in the weekly newsletter.  Take a picture of a project that the class has done, or of a fun activity from the week.  Students can record a message about upcoming events, fun highlights of the week in learning, and a list of helpers who have signed up for the week.  Parents will love hearing their kids give the news updates for the week!  Are you wracking your brain for a fun Mother’s/Father’s day activity?  Why not record the kids leaving a special message to their parent with a special picture made just for them? Now that is a keepsake! Tips: Because younger students can’t sign up for their own Fotobabble account, consider creating a class account that you can be in control of.  For younger students, having a Fotobabble recording center set up on one of the classroom computers might be appropriate.  Since you will control the account, you will be in charge of what content is added by students. Please leave a comment and share how you are using Fotobabble in your classroom.

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Mural.ly: Google Docs for Visual People

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, collaboration, Create, Evaluate, Geography, Government, History, Inquiry, inspiration, Interactive Whiteboard, Language Arts, Middle/High School, Science, Secondary Elementary, Subject, Teacher Resources, Technology, web tools, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 03-04-2013

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What it is: Murally is a tool I learned about from my friends over at House of GeniusMurally’s tagline is: “Google Docs for visual people.”  Being highly visual, that description immediately resonates with me!  Murally reminds me a little bit of Wallwisher (now Padlet), it is a way for learners to come together to think, imagine and discuss their ideas.  With Murally, students can create murals and include any content they want in them.  Learners can drag and drop images, video, etc. from any website (or from their computer) onto their mural.   Learners can create presentations from within a mural they have already created.  The best part: this all happens with the ability to collaborate with others.  Murally makes it easy for students to collect, think, imagine, show and discuss learning.  Murals can be made public (shared live with a link) or private (only friends granted permission can access the mural).

*** email address, Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus account required for login.  You know what that means: 13 or older!

How to integrate Murally into the classroom: Murally is brilliant in the way that it enables learners to work and dream together.  My FAVORITE feature: you can drag and drop content from ANYWHERE!!! It works like the spring-loaded folders in Apple’s iOS.  LOVE this feature.  Honestly, this ability to clip content is a game changer.  It makes creating a mural incredibly easy.  Stinking brilliant!  

Murally is the tool that I wish existed when I was doing research projects in school.  Students can conduct and collect their research solo or invite friends to contribute to their research mural.  Students can add text, drag and drop links, pictures, video and other content.  After they have gone through the hunting/gathering phase of research, Murally makes it easy for students to go through and mindmap it all into some sort of order.  This tool is going to make me a better writer.  Visually being able to organize research and thoughts is HUGE.

Being inquiry based, I love the idea of beginning a mural for students with the driving inquiry alone on the board.  The learners job: be curious together.  Ask questions, explore, research, collect evidences collaboratively.  Capture all of that learning in one place.

Murally could be used for any mind-mapping appropriate project.  This is mind-mapping in the future.  Truly amazing!  The collaborative nature of Murally is fantastic.

Students could begin a Murally with a novel as the base.  As they read, they can include quotes, related thoughts, pictures, video clips, discussion, and related research.  I’m always amazed by the connections that our students make to other learning, a commercial they have seen, or a song.  Murally is a great way to visually collect all of this to share with others.

Murally would be an outstanding way to hypothesize about what will happen in a science experiment.  Students can then add in any research, class notes, discussion, etc.  After students have conducted the experiment they can include observations, photos, and final conclusions.

Use Murally with a projector-connected computer or interactive whiteboard for class notes.  As class discussions unfold, notes can be taken for the whole class and shared later.  Students can add to these later with additional learning, thoughts, and plans.

Because Murally can be used to show learning, consider creating map boards where students link what they know of Geography with the cultures, habitats, religions, politics of that area.

Murally would make the COOLEST “textbook” alternative.  Student created, mashup of all different tools, collaborative, discussion included, and organized in the way that makes sense to the learner.

This is one of those tools that has my mind spinning.  The possibilities overlap all subject areas and are endless.

Tips: The collaborative feature of Murally is so well thought out, see history and message collaborators quickly and easily.  Wonderful!

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using  Murally in your classroom.

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