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What it is: FontStruct is a free website that lets students build, share, and download fonts that they create in a simple font editor.  First students name their font, then they use the font editor to draw each character of the alphabet using font bricks and a grid system.  After each character has...

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My Simple Show: Create your own explainer videos for free!

Posted by admin | Posted in Anastasis Academy, Character Education, Create, Foreign Language, Government, History, Inquiry, Language Arts, Maker Space, Middle/High School, Phonics, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Teacher Resources, Technology, video, web tools, Websites | Posted on 22-09-2016

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Create  explainer videos free with My Simple Show!

What it is: My Simple Show Video Creator lets students easily create professional level “explainer” videos. The finished product looks just like a Common Craft video, so cool! The step-by-step tool helps students think about storyline and the flow of explaining a concept.

How to integrate My Simple Show into the classroom: My Simple Show is a fantastic option for digital storytelling. Students begin by choosing to write their own script, or by uploading a Power Point presentation. Next, they can choose from one of many templates to start from, or alternately, start from scratch. The templates are an awesome option because they give kids an outline and break down the story telling/explaining process. For each step in the process, it guides students with a prompt and with some examples. My Simple Show auto-magically picks up words in the script and suggests pictures. Students can use the pre-selected images, choose an image from the My Simple Show library of images, or upload their own image or picture. In the final step, students add audio. This can be computer generated or students can record their own audio. The finished product is pretty impressive! Below is a video I made quickly today.

My Simple Show’s obvious use is for explanatory digital storytelling, but it would also be a great way for students to reflect on a field trip, tell a story, retell new learning (pssst. this is an awesome way to check for understanding!), or create their own “textbooks.”

Students can use My Simple Show to explain a historical event, introduce a biological process, introduce a physical law, summarize literature, summarize a biography, discuss pros and cons, explain a law, etc. Use My Simple Show to create whole class stories where each student contributes a portion of the explanation or story.  This type of video can be made over a few weeks using classroom devices as a writing center.  This would be a fun way to create an A to Z type book of learning, reflections by students after a unit, a 100 day video,  fact vs. opinion video,  a class video of poems, a phonics video, or a class video about a field trip that students took. Students can take pictures of science experiments and create a digital video detailing the experiment with text, images, and student voice reflections included.  The finished product can be shared with parents and families easily through YouTube, Vimeo, or downloaded as a MP4 file.

For a back to school night activity, take a picture of each student to add to a class video and record students sharing an explanation of a school day. This same idea could be used in preparation for parent-teacher conferences. Students can create a video about their learning during the quarter/trimester, record thoughts about why they are proud of the work they did, and add reflections.  These can be shared as a starting point for conferences, at the end of the conference, parents have a keepsake. My Simple Show could also be used for character education. Give the students a scenario or problem, and have them work out a step-by-step explanation or solution.

Because of the voice recording capabilities, My Simple Show, would be a great way for students to practice a foreign language.  They can illustrate a word or phrase accompanied by the audio.  Classes could work together to create a “living” digital glossary.

Be sure to give your students access to My Simple Show in your Maker Space, it is a great option for students to choose!

Tips: My Simple Show has video guides that lead students through each step of the process…I definitely recommend watching these at least once as a class or for the first round of creation!

Stormboard: Beautiful virtual brainstorming and collaboration

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Anastasis Academy, Classroom Management, collaboration, Create, Download, Evaluate, Interactive book, Interactive Whiteboard, iPod, Knowledge (remember), Middle/High School, professional development, Secondary Elementary, Subject, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), video, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 12-03-2014

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Stormboard-beautiful virtual brainstorming and collaboration

What it is: Stormboard is a super beautiful virtual sticky note brainstorming and collaboration application that lets classrooms or teams share online whiteboard space. In addition to virtual sticky notes, Stormboard makes it simple to add quality and usefulness to your shared space with photos and video. Each idea that gets added to a Stormboard has a comment thread attached to it, this ensures that everyone’s voice gets heard and conversations about specific ideas don’t get lost. Users can also vote on ideas, this is a quick way to get feedback. Stormboard lets you instantly generate “innovation” reports so that all ideas can be easily captured and saved as a spreadsheet or pdf. Shared space is flexible, you can share both synchronously or asynchronously. Stormboard works on any internet connected device making it ideal for a BYOD (bring your own device) classroom, and seamless regardless of what platforms your school uses.

How to use Stormboard in your classroom: I’ve seen lots of sticky note type applications over the years. Stormboard is hands down the most flexible and the most aesthetically pleasing. It gets all of that without being difficult to learn, it has a really great intuitive interface. Stormboard is a great way to capture learning that happens. In an inquiry classroom, we are regularly brainstorming, asking questions, following bunny trails of important thoughts and ideas, and sharing photos and video. Stormboard would be such an ideal place to capture all of this thought during an inquiry unit. I love the way that it threads conversations so that everyone’s voice gets heard and captured as it relates to an idea.

At Anastasis, our kids are constantly discussing big ideas. Stormboard would be a great way for the students to take notes and capture those ideas all together. As they go through literature, research, current events, science experiments, etc. they can capture all of their ideas, quotes, related images and videos in one place. When it comes time to write a report, reflection, summary or do some design thinking with their learning, students will have all relevant information in one place that THEY created together. This could be huge! Our Jr. High has been going through a book chapter by chapter throughout the year. So many of the discussions they have should be captured, the deep thinking is truly awesome! Stormboard would be a great place for this to happen. Learning and thinking process recorded.

Stormboard would also be perfect when you are implementing design thinking in the classroom. It is the perfect place for the ideation and research phases of the project to be captured.

Students can use Stormboard to work collaboratively with others in their class or with other classes in their school. It would also be a great tool to use with a collaborating school. Because it has options for sharing synchronously or asynchronously, it can be used with schools in different time zones around the world for collaborative projects.

Teachers can use Stormboard to collaborate on units or lessons with other teachers, make plans for new team undertakings, or just as a place to share or capture ideas.

Classrooms can use Stormboard on classroom computers OR on an interactive whiteboard or projector-connected computer to capture learning each day. This would make a cool living “textbook” where students could gather materials, resources, share ideas and conversations. Each day assign a different set of students to be in charge of the record. If you have a one to one device situation, each student can collaborate in this process together. At the end of the day, download the PDF or innovation report and save it. What a cool yearbook of learning and insight into your classroom.

As a school, plan new initiatives with your administrative team. We are currently dreaming of our own building (right now we lease space). This is the perfect place to share that dreaming with all stakeholders and capture conversations and thinking along the way.

I think it is awesome that Stormboard works on all devices, but also provides the option of downloading your work. This way you aren’t SO reliant on a tool that if it disappeared, all would be lost.

Tips: Stormboard is free to use. However, the free account is limited to 5 collaborators at a time. I’ve got my fingers crossed that when they see the awesome way that educators are using Stormboard, they will consider offering a free education account with enough for a class or two to collaborate. For $5/month/user you can add as many as you want. For $10/user/month you get unlimited users and unlimited administrators.

 

Rodan + Fields Consultant

Soo Meta: Digital Storytelling Tool

Posted by admin | Posted in Create, Geography, Government, History, Interactive book, Knowledge (remember), Language Arts, Middle/High School, Phonics, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Teacher Resources, Technology, Understand (describe, explain), video, web tools, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 10-04-2013

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What it is: Soo Meta is an awesome new site that lets students build mixed media stories.  Students can use this storytelling tool to collect, sort, edit and publish web content easily.

There are two options for login, with name/email/password or through Facebook.  For students who don’t have their own email accounts, you can have them login using a temporary inbox like Tempinbox (just type in a word or words followed by @tempinbox.com and you are in business!).

After students have logged in, they will be asked to enter a title for their new story.  Then, they can search for videos, pictures, sounds and text or copy and paste their links into a new story.  Videos can be trimmed and edited, pictures resized and text edited.

Soo Meta is incredibly simple to use.  Just search the web, choose content to remix and off you go!  You can also simply drag and drop content from your computers desktop to create something new.

When finished, just publish the story and you can share it via link on Facebook or Twitter or you can embed the story like I did above.  (I literally spent a grand total of 2 min creating this story!)

How to integrate Soo Meta into the classroom: Soo Meta is a fantastic online tool for digital storytelling. It makes the process incredibly easy and the possibilities are limited only to your student’s imagination.

With Soo Meta, students can compile research on any topic or subject and create their own digital “textbook” of the learning to share with other classmates or students around the world.  I love that Soo Meta combines the research component with the creation piece.  So often students want to skip right to creation…with Soo Meta the two are so interdependent, it would be impossible to do one without the other!

Teachers can use Soo Meta to create learning stories for their students.  Pull together various videos, pictures and articles and mash them up for your students.  Embed finished video stories on a classroom website or blog.

Older students can create interactive video stories for younger “buddy” students.  They can solidify their own learning of history, math, science, geography, etc. by putting together learning opportunities for younger students.

The storytelling aspect of Soo Meta is fantastic!  Students can do story re-tells, current event mashups, historical documentaries, political commentary, science discoveries, etc.

Tips: Don’t be discouraged if your students are too young to create their own Soo Meta stories, create your own mashups for them to enjoy!

I’ve been nominated for a Bammy Award for Educational Blogger.  I’d appreciate your vote to help spread the word about iLearn Technology.  Vote here.  Thank you for your continued support!!

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

myHistro: timeline/story/map/picture mashups created by you!

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Art, Create, Evaluate, Geography, Government, History, Knowledge (remember), Language Arts, Middle/High School, Science, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Virtual Field Trips, web tools, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 23-10-2012

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What it is:  myHistro is a really great site (and app!) that lets students combine maps and timelines seamlessly into one great presentation of information and understanding.  myHistro is more than just data collection, it is a way to share stories.  With myHistro, students can create a rich timeline/map mashup complete with additional text, pictures and video.  The result is truly incredible!  It is easy to get started, just create an event and associate it with a time and place.  Events can be gathered together and turned into stories.  Stories, in turn, can be used together to create a collection.  Stories can be viewed in multiple ways, by events on a timeline, in chronological order with a page flip feature like an album, or as a story summary of chronological events.  Create as many events as you would like and add as many photos as you like, all for free!  The finished product can even be downloaded into Google Earth format for offline storage. Completed Histros can be embedded in other blogs and websites for maximum usability.

How to integrate myHistro into the classroom: myHistro has SO many uses!  At Anastasis, we just completed an inquiry unit on who we are.  myHistro was a perfect tie in for students exploring family histories, heritage and tradition.  Students could add pictures, and stories along with the interactive map of where events were taking place and a timeline where they could see it all unfold chronologically.  This is like a family tree on steroids. Pretty outstanding.  Even better? It ties directly into Geni (blogged about here).  

myHistro isn’t just for family trees.  It could be used for students mapping out history chronologically, mapping out a fictional story, creating a story map for their own writing, mapping how ideas and invention spread, looking at explorers, migration, etc.  As I said, the options are endless!

myHistro is collaborative, students can create projects together and even invite parents to join in the learning.  Pretty cool!

As a teacher, you can ditch the text book and help students really visualize that history in new ways.  A completed myHistro can be embedded in your class blog or website for students to access without having to visit multiple sites or login.

There are a number of fabulous myHistro stories that you can borrow to share with your students.  They can view these to learn more about events in history, or they can go on a fact checking mission to double check the validity of the stories created by others.  Definitely worth doing!

Tips: myHistro also happens to be an app.  Find it in the iTunes store.  This can be your first download on your new iPad mini 😉

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

Help me personalize education for EVERY child!  Donate (even just your coffee money!)  and spread the word about the Learning Genome Project.

The Physics Classroom

Posted by admin | Posted in Interactive book, Interactive Whiteboard, Knowledge (remember), Middle/High School, Science, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Websites | Posted on 23-07-2012

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What it is:  Today I learned about this impressive resource from @ccscoachadams on Twitter.  The Physics Classroom is a really great place where you can access physics tutorials, Mind on Physics Internet Modules (more than 1300 questions designed to improve understanding of common physics topics), problem sets for practice, multimedia (illustrated physics concepts), animations and activity sheets, curriculum corner (pdf downloads to complement the website), laboratories, photos, and more.  The site is like a better version of the text books that I had when I was in physics.  What I like about The Physics Classroom is the variety of resources that teachers can use to help their students discover and explore physics concepts.  The student extras that take you to Flickr collections of “physics” photos is fantastic!

How to integrate The Physics Classroom into your curriculum: I’m not sure I would have my students spend a lot of time on this site on their own (it is very text heavy and they may feel overwhelmed at the scope).  I would send my students to very specific places on The Physics Classroom to help them dig deeper into their learning and make connections.  As I said above, the Flickr sets are fabulous.  These are worth some time exploring!

The animations and information can be used to help students understand specific concepts that they are struggling to grasp.  These could be shared on an interactive whiteboard or projector-connected computer.

The Physics Classroom could be used to help students extend their learning and understanding outside of the classroom.  Students can use the site as a study aid or to dig deeper for additional understandings.

At the end of the day, this site is a treasure trove of resources for physics classrooms.

Tips: Spend some time exploring this site before recommending it to students so that you can help them navigate it.  It is SO information heavy that it could be a turn-off for students who are just dropping in looking for something specific.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using The Physics Classroom in your classroom!

Qwiki Creator: Create the textbook of the future with a few clicks

Posted by admin | Posted in Anastasis Academy, Create, Foreign Language, Geography, History, Interactive Whiteboard, Knowledge (remember), Language Arts, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), video, web tools, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 28-06-2012

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Play the Qwiki: Anastasis Academy

What it is:  I first wrote about Qwiki in 2010 when they launched their search service.  I just got word that you (and your students) can now create your very own Qwiki.  When students search using Qwiki, instead of coming up with a list of links to websites, images, and videos, a slide show of images and videos begins complete with computer voice narration.  It is truly an incredible experience.

With Qwiki Creator, it is easy to create your own Qwiki to share.  Creating a Qwiki is really easy and intuitive.  First, you find the content and media you want to add to your Qwiki.  This could be web content, video, images, maps, content from your computer, text or even a tweet.  Next you add narration and set your timing.  Finally you can preview your Qwiki and publish it.  I created the Qwiki above in about 5 min.

If you are looking for the original Qwiki, you can get to it at http://qwiki.com/reference.

How to integrate Qwiki Creator into the classroom:  Qwiki Creator is a fantastic way for students to create impressive presentations about their learning.  Students can quickly create mashups of web content and record or type narration to demonstrate understanding of material.  Qwiki Creator is also a great tool for teachers, create customized content for your students.  This is textbook 2.0 for sure! It can be tailored to the exact needs of your curriculum and can become an additional way for your to “flip” your classroom.

I love the idea of students creating their own digital textbooks as they learn about a subject. Throughout their learning and research, students can keep a table of contents of items they want to be sure to include in their Qwiki.  Students can create a Qwiki about the information they have learned, add text/voice/video narration to help describe the learning and publish it for classmates to learn from.  The Qwiki can be shared easily or embeded on a student blog or website.

Create your own series of Qwiki’s for your classroom blog or website where students can further their learning.  They can access any of the websites or resources you include in your Qwiki for a majorly upgraded version of a webquest.

Qwiki Creator could be used for digital storytelling.  Students can find images, videos and maps that help them tell their story and narrate the creative story for others to enjoy.

In a foreign language class, students can give a web tour where they narrate in the language they are learning.  This would also be neat to do in a geography or history class.

If you teach students who are younger than 13, consider creating Qwiki’s as a class using an interactive whiteboard and teacher account.  Students can help put the Qwiki together and the finalized Qwiki can be put on a class blog or website for students to learn from any time.

Tips:  Students must be 13 years old or older to use Qwiki Creator according to the Terms of Service.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Qwiki Creator  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!

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!

Symbaloo EDU and Weblist: Sharing the web with students

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Apply, collaboration, Create, Evaluate, Interactive book, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Subject, Teacher Resources, web tools, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 26-10-2010

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What it is: Sharing the web with students can be a challenge.  Websites can often have urls that feel unending, students can copy down a url incorrectly, students type with different speeds, or characters show up in the address that they are unfamiliar with.  Complicated urls can single-handedly convince teachers to ditch a wonderful web resource for something easier to manage…like a worksheet.  Sharing websites with your students doesn’t have to be a challenge.  Symbaloo EDU and Weblist are two of my favorite ways to quickly and easily share websites with students.

Symbaloo EDU is fabulous because it was created with educators in mind.  Symbaloo lets you gather all of your favorite online tools and sites into a webmix about the topics you teach.  Symbaloo web mixes can be published and shared with colleagues, students, and parents.  Symbaloo can be used by students or teachers to create a personal learning environment. With Symbaloo folders can be created that contain sites and resources that are related.  Symbaloo can be used year-long, just continue adding sites and resources for your students throughout the year.  Everything that you have used all year-long will be in one easy place for students to access.

Weblist lets you pull together and organize content on the web.  Create a list of urls centered on a theme and it is combined into one easy to navigate url.  The list can be saved as a bookmark or a homepage.  What I like about Weblist is the visual aspect.  Each website is saved as a snapshot of that website with the website name and a description below.  The visual organization is perfect for younger students who may not be able to navigate links designated by text.

How to integrate Symbaloo EDU and Weblist into your curriculum: Symbaloo can be used by students to create their own “textbooks”.  As students search the web for resources based on subjects or inquiry questions, they can save what they find and create a virtual e-book of sorts.  Symbaloo can also be used by students to organize all of their online work in one place.  Students can add links to the slide shows, documents, videos, images, etc. that they create online.  Symbaloo becomes an e-portfolio.  Teachers can also use Symbaloo to create a customized “textbook” for their students complete with articles, maps, video, images, and interactive content.

Weblist is great for quickly sharing a collection of sites with students.  Weblists are fast and easy to create (you don’t even have to login or register first!).  Weblists are perfect for sharing a collection of sites in a computer lab setting or with colleagues.  The visual interface of Weblist is perfect for students.  Students can easily travel from one site to another because the web page is embedded in the Weblist, the url never changes.

Want to get really crazy? Combine Symbaloo and Weblist.  Create folders for your students on Symbaloo so that there is one central url to go to.  Have Symbaloo link to your various Weblists.  This combines the great organization and collaboration aspect of Symbaloo with the awesome visual interface of Weblist.  It is a powerhouse of learning for your students created by you.  Cool!

Tips: Don’t forget that both Symbaloo and Weblist make for a great way to share online resources with your colleagues!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Symbaloo EDU and Weblist in your classroom!

HippoCampus

Posted by admin | Posted in Geography, History, Interactive book, Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Open Source, Science, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Teacher Resources, Video Tutorials, web tools, Websites | Posted on 22-10-2009

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What it is: HippoCampus is a website with incredible vision.  The goal is to provide high-quality multimedia content on general subjects to high school and college students free of charge.  Subjects on HippoCampus include algebra, American government, biology, calculus, environmental science, physics, psychology, religions, statistics, and US history.  Each of the subject has a large library of multimedia content from students to learn from.  HippoCampus was designed as part of the Open Education Resources, a worldwide effort to make education available equitably to everyone.  Each lesson includes multimedia lessons, the text of the lesson, and related resources.  I believe the HippoCampus model will be the textbook of the future.  Students are able to learn at their own pace, pausing, reviewing, and receiving instruction on demand.

How to integrate Hippo Campus into the classroom: HippoCampus has an incredible library of content for teaching and learning.  Use the multimedia lessons in place of traditional textbooks or as a supplement to your current curriculum. Teachers can build their own HippoCampus homepage where students can access specific lessons targeted for them.  You can even create custom announcements to be displayed to students.   Although HippoCampus was designed with high school and college students in mind, many of the multimedia presentations could be used to teach middle school students as well.

Tips: HippoCampus uses Adobe Flash and QuickTime.  Make sure that you have each on your computers before using HippoCampus.

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