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Class Tools

What it is: Class Tools is possibly the most impressive, easy to use tool that I have reviewed to date! This allows teachers (even those who aren’t incredibly tech savvy) to create interactive Flash diagrams and games for learning and revising material. It is FREE! All diagrams created can...

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Widbook: Online Collaborative ebook Creation

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Art, collaboration, Create, Evaluate, Foreign Language, Government, History, Interactive book, Language Arts, Middle/High School, Phonics, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Teacher Resources, web tools, Web2.0 | Posted on 15-06-2012

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Widbook – Write, read and share! from Widbook on Vimeo.

What it is:  Widbook is a new publishing platform for ebooks.  What makes this publishing platform so neat is the social aspect, it allows authors to collaborate and make suggestions.  Each user also gets their own bookshelf where they can subscribe to other author’s work.

When students start a new ebook, they can choose who can see the book when it is published, choose whether they will accept collaboration for the book, and choose if they want to accept comments for the book.  Actually writing the book is fabulously simple.  All of the onscreen tools are easy to use and intuitive as to their function.  The book can have a table of contents, multiple chapters, and pictures and video embedded right into the book.  When students are finished, they simply save the book and publish it.  The finished book gets a unique url that can be shared.

How to integrate Widbook into the classroom:  Widbook is a fantastic, simple tool for secondary students to use to create ebooks. Students can create individual published works that can be commented on by other students and the teacher.  Students can receive relevant-real time feedback not only from their teacher, but also from other students.  Students not only get practice writing their own works, they also get practice evaluating writing of their peers.

Students can use Widbook to write final drafts of any piece of writing be it an essay or creative writing assignment.  The ability to add video and images easily is wonderful.

Widbook would also be a great place for students to collaboratively create books about their learning.  Each student can add a chapter, or groups of students can create chapters together.  Instead of assigning students a textbook to read for the semester, include them in the creation of a collaborative textbook.  Provide students with a table of contents and put them to work creating a chapter for each topic/unit throughout the year.  At the end of the year, each student will have a book of their learning that they helped to create.  Much more useful than a textbook that one of the Big Six wrote that gets opened only before tests!

Are you having trouble finding a book that matches your classroom learning needs?  Create an ebook that perfectly meets your students right where they are.  Include videos and images relevant to learning.

 

***For younger students be sure to check out BoomWriter!

Tips: Older students who have Facebook accounts can choose to link their Facebook account for easy login (make sure you know your school’s policy on social networking sites being accessed at school, even if it is just to login with).

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Widbook in  your classroom!

BoomWriter: Collaborative story writing

Posted by admin | Posted in collaboration, Create, Evaluate, Interactive book, Language Arts, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 12-06-2012

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What it is:  I just learned about this fantastic site from fellow edublogger @dkapuler, thanks David!  Boom Writer is a fun site that gives you a new way to engage your students in creative writing, and will have them assessing themselves in a new way.  Using Boom Writer, you (the teacher) choose or produce your own story starter.  Each student follows this prompt letting their imagination take over.  One chapter at a time, student write, read and vote on the submissions they like the most.  The winning chapter gets added to the story and the process continues.  You can determine how many chapters will be completed.  When the collaborative story is finished, the book can be read online or published and turned into a published print copy.

How to integrate BoomWriter into the classroom: BoomWriter is a great tool for creating collaborative stories as a class. I like that BoomWriter has students not only creating, but critically evaluating each other’s work. Students work on their own creative writing while building each other up as writers.  Begin by creating a prompt.  Give it to your students to think about.  They can write their “what happens next” chapter of the book and submit it for approval.  This is your chance to edit or return to a student to continue development of the story or idea. After student writing has been approved, students can read each other’s addition to the story and vote on their favorite (they won’t see who the author was and they won’t be able to vote on their own).  The chapter with the highest votes gets added to the story and the process repeats.  You can choose as many chapters as you would like the finished story to have.

This would be a fun whole-class project, but if you have a large class, you might split your class into smaller groups so that each student has the opportunity to get “published” in the book.  Groups could start with the same prompt or each have a different prompt.  Rather than the group voting on their own story, they could vote on another groups story.

BoomWriter isn’t only for creative story writing, students could share what they know about a specific topic or unit of study.  Each student can add a chapter about what has been learned.  Students can essentially create their own collaborative textbook.

BoomWriter is a great tool to help students understand writing with purpose and audience in mind.  It is also a helpful way to get students to think critically about their own writing and evaluating other’s writing.

Tips: Books can be read online or purchased and added to your classroom library.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using BoomWriter in  your classroom!

We Give Books: Read digital picture books online for free

Posted by admin | Posted in Interactive book, Interactive Whiteboard, iPod, Knowledge (remember), Language Arts, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Websites | Posted on 09-01-2012

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What it is: We Give Books is a fantastic initiative from Pearson.  Here, you will find award winning digital picture books for students through age ten.   There is a mix of fiction and non-fiction, a variety of authors, and a balance of read-aloud books and independent readers.  New books are added every month along with special, seasonal books.  Now any student with internet access also has access to high-quality picture books!  Even better? The more books you read, the more books that are made available for everyone.  Choose a book to read, choose a literacy partner campaign to support through your reading, and the more that you read, the more books that are shared with those that need them.  Way cool! The site reminds me of Lookybook (which is sadly no more).  I’m happy to *finally* see another option!
How to integrate We Give Books into the classroom: We Give Books instantly increases your classroom library and puts high-quality books within reach for children everywhere.  We Give Books makes an excellent companion to the interactive whiteboard or projector-connected classroom computer for a class read along.  Pull up a story and read the book chorally, ask students to take turns reading, or simply follow along.  Everyone can see the pictures and words!  This is a great resource for practicing reading strategies together as a class.
We Give Books makes a wonderful reading station on classroom computers.  Students can access wonderful stories any time through We Give Books.  For those students that struggle with indpendent reading (or are emergent readers) there is a read-along option on some of the stories.  Students can follow along with the reading building fluency, flow and vocabulary.
If you are a primary or elementary teacher, this is a must-add link to your classroom website or blog.  Be sure to share the site with families so that students can access the same wonderful library of books from home.  Students (and teachers) can create their own library where they keep the books they have read (or enjoy reading).  To add a book to a library, you must be a member of We Give Books- no problem, it is quick and free to become a member!
Tips:  Students can use the word cloud on the right side of the We Give Books page to find books about their favorite subjects.  Thank you to @Shannonmmiller for pinning We Give Books on Pinterest, it is a great find!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using We Give Books in  your classroom!

Moglue: Create interactive ebooks and release as apps!

Posted by admin | Posted in Art, Create, Download, Geography, History, Interactive book, iPod, Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Software, Teacher Resources | Posted on 26-10-2011

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What it is:  Moglue is an interactive ebook builder that helps students create and share their stories on mobile devices as an app.  This download desktop platform makes it a snap for students to create interactive ebooks and release them as apps for iOS devices (iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch), Android tablets and Android phones.  Students only need to build the content once and Moglue makes it compatible with each user interface seamlessly.  No programming is required, this is a great creation platform for all classrooms!  Using a simple drag and drop interface, students can make their stories come to life.  Every child is enabled to be an artist now.

How to integrate Moglue into the classroom:  I think tools that make content creation simple are absolute genius.  As much as I would love for every student (and myself) to know how to program, it takes quite a bit of know-how before students can make their stories and ideas come to life.  The intuitive interface of tools like Moglue let students focus on breathing life into their creations and not on the technology tools used to build them.  Tools like Moglue are wonderful for the classroom where students are often short on time and resources (someone to teach them programming).  Because the interface is so easy to use, students can focus on telling a story, releasing their inner artist, and letting their creativity shine.

Students (or classes) can use Moglue to:

  • Tell a fractured fairy tale
  • Create a choose your own adventure story
  • Demonstrate science concepts in an interactive “glossary”
  • Create a class dictionary of math, science, economics or geography words
  • Write creatively
  • Create an interactive “textbook”
  • Create an illustrated dictionary for a second language
  • Create an interactive “travel-the-world” geography book
This is a neat way for students to publish their work and share with others!

Tips: The Moglue builder can be downloaded on Mac or Windows computers and has a great tutorial to get your students started!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Moglue in  your classroom!

Draw a Stickman

Posted by admin | Posted in Art, Create, Fun & Games, Interactive book, Interactive Whiteboard, Language Arts, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Websites | Posted on 25-10-2011

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What it is:  Draw a Stickman is a delightful site that I learned about from @amandacdykes on her blog Upside Down Education.  On Draw a Stickman, students are prompted to draw a stick figure, the figure they draw springs to life and is faced with several challenges, students must follow directions and draw several props for their stick figure to interact with.  This is a mini interactive story that has students reading and following directions, solving mysteries, thinking creatively and solving problems.  Students will love the hero of the story (the character they created) and the villain (a dragon).

How to integrate the Draw a Stickman site into the classroom: Draw a Stickman is a fun interactive site that uses student creations to tell a story.  Students can complete the interactive on individual computers, iDevices (the site works great!), interactive whiteboards, or classroom computers.

Aside from just fun practice at following instructions, Draw a Stickman would be a great fictional story prompt.  Students have the bones of a story and can fill in details, vivid verbs, adjectives, etc. to tell the story.  Students can focus on fleshing out their hero, the plot of the story, the details, the setting, etc.  Students can come up with a moral of a story that they add in the customized ending.  This link can be sent as a tweet, facebook link, or in an email to accompany the story they have created.  These stories would be fun to share as a class…how many different stories did students come up with using the same base?

On an interactive whiteboard, students can go through the story together, labeling the different parts of the story (beginning, problem, climax, resolution, ending).  This interactive can help students identify parts in a story including setting, characters and plot.

Tips: After you have gone through Draw a Stickman, you can personalize the message at the end and share.  Add any two lines of text that you wish.  This could be a fun way to reveal messages to your students!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Draw a Stickman in  your classroom!

FlipSnack: Turn a PDF into an embeddable Flash Flip Book

Posted by admin | Posted in Create, Interactive book, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, web tools, Web2.0 | Posted on 27-05-2011

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What it is: FlipSnack lets students turn PDF documents into embeddable Flipbooks quickly and easily.  Students upload a PDF (or multiple PDFs) to be included in the book and FlipSnack instantly transforms it into an interactive flippable book.  In order to login to FlipSnack, students will need an email address (this can be a temporary email such as Tempinbox or Mailinator).  Students can also login using a Twitter account, Facebook connect, Google connect or MySpace connect.  FlipSnack has some neat options available that other pdf to embeddable book services like Issuu do not have.  Students can choose a template for their Flip including classic, hardcover, coil bound and interactive.  Student also have the ability to customize the background, size and buttons included in their embed.  Students can share their FlipSnack with a unique url, on social media sites and email, or embed it in another website.  The free version lets students embed the finished FlipSnack on a website or blog with a FlipSnack watermark.

How to integrate FlipSnack into the classroom: FlipSnack is a neat way for students (and teachers) to share pdf documents online.  Students can save their work as a PDF and upload into an interactive book that can be embedded on a blog, wiki or website.

Use your classroom computers as a student created library.  Students can upload original stories to a class FlipSnack account to create a library of student work.  During silent reading time, give students the opportunity to enjoy their peers as authors.  This is perfect for an elementary classroom that may not have the email addresses for each student to sign up for a separate account.

Create custom books for your students by combining PDF documents into one customized text-book.  These can be embedded on a class blog, website, or wiki for students to access from anywhere they have internet access.

Upload school handbooks, resources etc. to the classroom and school website for easy access by students and parents.

One of the features I enjoy about FlipSnack is the ability to view statistics for the flip books.  Find out how many views a Flip has had by day, month or all time.

Tips: I often use Issuu to share and embed PDFs.  It has been my go-to favorite for personal use.  I hesitated to use Issuu with students because of the collection of ALL user publications on the home page of the website.  Sometimes these were inappropriate for elementary students.  I like that FlipSnack doesn’t share user-created publications with little eyes.

Take a look at the FlipSnack I created for my new school, Anastasis Academy, embedded below:

 

Please leave a comment and let us know how you are using FlipSnack in your classroom!

Fraboom Online Children’s Museum: Online classes, videos, interactive book, games, oh my!

Posted by admin | Posted in Art, Classroom Management, Create, Fun & Games, Government, Interactive book, Interactive Whiteboard, Language Arts, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, video, Websites | Posted on 04-05-2011

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What it is: Oh. My. Word. I have just stumbled on gold my friends, gold!  Fraboom is an online children’s museum packed full of games, interactive books, creativity, learning and-are you ready for this-LIVE online teachers!  On Fraboom students can learn about US presidents while they play games, watch Fraboom TV cartoons to learn vocabulary, read interactive books that encourage creativity and join live online classes with real flesh and blood teachers!  Fraboom TV has a variety of cartoons that will teach students content area vocabulary words. Each cartoon on Fabroom TV lists all associated vocabulary words so teachers can quickly find a video that will support learning.  Cartoons can be searched by keyword or category.  The very best part of Fraboom (in my humble opinion) is the live online teachers.  Drawing classes start every hour on the hour.  Students can drop into a class and learn how to draw cartoons.  There is a new challenge every day so content is always fresh!  Students can interact with teachers through the chat feature; students type a message and the teacher responds to them by name.  Fraboom cartoon characters introduce the activity for the day and the teachers interact with the cartoon on the screen- very fun!  Students learn how to draw step by step guided by the teacher and follow along on their own whiteboard space.  When students are finished, they can share their pictures with the class.  After drawing, the class completes a mad lib together.  The teacher explains a part of speech and requests words for that part of speech from the class.  Students can contribute words to the story by typing them into the chat area. Throughout the class, the teacher shares submitted pictures with the whole class.  I attended two live classes and was really impressed with the teachers in both sessions. They are upbeat, engaging and fun.  Fraboom was created for students six to twelve years old.  Content is being added regularly and fresh challenges in the live classes every day.  Plenty to keep kids creating and learning!

How to integrate Fraboom Online Children’s Museum into the classroom: With widespread budget cuts and art programs being cut regularly, Fraboom is a welcome new addition to the education landscape.  Being able to connect every student in your class with another teacher is amazing.  Fraboom could be used on classroom computers as a creativity/art/grammar center that kids can visit throughout the week.  Students can get one-on-one attention from a virtual teacher freeing you up to work in small reading or writing groups knowing that all of your students are engaged in learning.  Connect to a Fraboom online session as a class using a projector-connected computer or interactive whiteboard.  Students can follow along with the drawing instructions and take turns engaging in the chat as a whole class.  Students can take turns creating the class picture on the projector or interactive whiteboard while students at their seats create their own masterpiece.  This would be a great activity for students to do while you hold one-on-one student conferences in your classroom.

Fraboom TV is full of fun cartoon videos that help students learn a variety of content area vocabulary.  Use these videos to introduce a new unit so that students are familiar with vocabulary before engaging in new learning.

The interactive stories on Fraboom can be shared with your class using an interactive whiteboard or projector-connected computer.  Read through the story as a class and practice comprehension strategies together.

Tips: Be sure to share Fraboom with parents, this would be a great opportunity for learning at home too!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using  Fraboom in your classroom!

Digital Book about Energy

Posted by admin | Posted in Interactive book, Knowledge (remember), Middle/High School, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), video | Posted on 23-03-2011

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What it is: IKT FOR LAGET out of Norway has created a fantastic ebook all about Energy.  This is more than just a book that happens to be online (I know we have all seen those!), this is an interactive book that is great for ALL of your learners.  In addition to the text and bold images in the book, there is an audio feature on every page that will read the text to students.  Click on the video icon to watch a related video.  Students can even download related images from some of the films for use in their own projects where they reflect or construct their own understanding. Additional resources and links are provided within the book for teachers, parents, and students.  All of the additional content “enlarges the book” into something really useful for learning and exploring.   This is a big step in the right direction for ebooks– no more trying to pass off a PDF as a digital ebook, this is the real deal.

How to integrate the Digital Energy Book into the classroom: If you study energy in your science curriculum this ebook is a super resource and addition to your classroom library.  Set up the ebook on classroom computers during independent reading time for some non-fiction reading material.  The ebook is great for all levels of readers, confident readers can read the book independently while struggling readers may want to read along with the audio.  Use the ebook as a “big book” using an interactive whiteboard or projector connected computer to read about energy as a class.

Tips: Right now the digital book uses Flash and is only available on a Mac or PC.  Work is being done to bring the ebook to the iDevices!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using the Digital Energy Book in your classroom!



Interactive book from Google: 20 Things I Learned

Posted by admin | Posted in Interactive book, Internet Safety, Knowledge (remember), Middle/High School, professional development, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources | Posted on 18-11-2010

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What it is: Google has done it again with a new online e-book called 20 Things I Learned.  This interactive e-book is your guide to how browsers and the web work, how the World Wide Web has evolved, cloud computing,  and what we need to know to navigate the web safely.  The book has an enchanting quality with its humorous approach to the web (love the titles) and fun illustrations.  This guide-book is one you will want to share with all of your colleagues, relatives, friends, students…you will want to dive into it yourself.

How to integrate 20 Things I Learned into your curriculum: This handy little online book is a great one to share with students.  Share an individual chapter (called a thing) or the whole book.  Here your students can learn all about the web, how to keep themselves safe, and will know the difference between cloud computing and a web app.  20 Things I Learned is also a must share with your co-workers, neighbors, mom, grandpa, and the rest of the crew that is constantly calling you for your tech expertise.

Tips: Each page has a little red bookmark that drops down, scroll over the bookmark to share the thing on Twitter, Facebook, or printout.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using 20 Things I Learned in your classroom!

MeeGenius

Posted by admin | Posted in Foreign Language, Fun & Games, Interactive book, iPod, Language Arts, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 17-06-2010

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banner_logoScreen shot 2010-06-17 at 5.55.00 PM


What it is: MeeGenius is an outstanding site I just learned about from @NMHS_Principal on Twitter.   MeeGenius is an online library of picture books that kids can read independently or as a read along.  Books can be personalized with students names, just answer a few quick questions and the book is rewritten for you.  Each book comes with audio playback and word highlighting, perfect for beginning or struggling readers to read along.   

How to integrate MeeGenius into the classroom: MeeGenius is a nice web library of picture books that can digitally expand your classroom library.  Students will love the way they can personalize books using themselves and friends as characters in the book.  Personalized books can be saved and shared with friends.  Set up MeeGenius on classroom computers as a listening and reading center.  Students can practice their reading, vocabulary, and fluency.

Begin the school year by making personalized books that contain your students names in them.  Read them throughout the first week as a class on the interactive whiteboard or projector connected computer.

Older students can use MeeGenius, too!  If you have students who are learning a foreign language, have them listen to or read a story and translate it into the language they are learning.

Tips: MeeGenius is also available as an app for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using MeeGenius in your classroom.