Adobe Spark: Easily create and share videos, images, and newsletters

Adobe Spark: Create videos, images, and newsletters in a snap!

 

Adobe Spark: Easily create videos, images, and newsletters in a snap!

What it is: Adobe Spark is a collection of fantastic (free!) creative tools available online or as an app download.

  • Create social graphics that are stunning and easy to share (you know the kind: flyers, memes, posters, ads). The example above took under 2min to create and share! ūüôā
  • Make beautiful web stories for event recaps, newsletters, photo journals, portfolios, etc.
  • Produce and share impressive videos for storytelling, projects, or to share to social media.

If you (or your students) are feeling a lack of creativity, there is even a bank of inspiration that will get you started! This is particularly helpful for your students who struggle with a place to start but are brilliant with a little nudge. Whether you begin with inspiration or not, you’ll be feeling an extra burst of creativity in no time.

How to integrate Adobe Spark in the classroom: The collection of tools in Adobe Spark are perfect for students and teachers alike. Students can use these tools to create book reviews, to document science experiments, for storytelling, to explain their inquiry process, as an eportfolio, to illustrate math concepts, and so much more! These tools will help your students take their learning and present it in a way that is both visually powerful, and easy to share.

Teachers, you can use Adobe Spark to create a weekly newsletter (SO easy to share home with parents!), create photo journals of class events or field trips, to create writing and thinking prompts to share with students, quotes, presentations, and announcements. The photo journal would be a great way to give families a glimpse into your classroom, if you’re like me, your phone is FULL of pictures at the end of each week! If you have a class social media channel on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube- Adobe Spark is about to take it to the next level of awesomeness!

I love the way that Adobe Spark has made digital storytelling that much easier to create and share. This is a site that you’ll want to bookmark for easy access, and put on all of your students devices if you have a one-to-one environment.

Tips: If you have laptops, the web version of Adobe Spark is best, otherwise download the app!

PowToon: AMAZING free animation tool

What it is: ¬†I have discovered my new favorite creation site. ¬†Holy wow this is a cool tool. ¬†Basically, it makes you (and your students) look like rockstars when they present. ¬†You know all of those super cool animated videos that tell a story through drawings on a whiteboard? ¬†Now you can make those all on your own with a super simple drag-drop tool. ¬†Meet PowToon. ¬†It is awesome. ¬†I’m a little addicted to playing with video creation…no joke.

PowToon has a great mission: “to address all the frustrations that people have with power point and keynote and add animation and killer design.” ¬†You don’t have to be super tech savvy or design skills to create spectacular animated presentations. ¬† The goal here is to help people communicate in a way that conveys ideas. ¬†Best of all…it is FREE! ¬†Woot! ¬†Also, PowToon loves education, they want to help teachers and students create great content that is visually engaging, captivating and fun to make.

Right now PowToon has 5 design styles (with more coming). ¬†Added with your student’s creativity, these animations are going to be fabulous. ¬†Finished videos can be shared all over: YouTube, Facebook, Google Plus, Pinterest, Twitter, exported or embedded.

PowToon is currently in Beta version. Sign up for an early look at this super cool creation tool.  I got my invitation within a few hours.  #bam

How to integrate PowToon into your curriculum:¬†PowToon is a fantastic way to share ideas and story. ¬†Communication is a vital skill. ¬†The ability to express ideas and story in a succinct, clear manner is crucial. ¬†Today, students have another facet of communication to learn…visual communication.

PowToon would be a great addition to the design thinking routine. ¬†Students can use PowToon to share their ideas or to “prototype” an idea. ¬†Students can create videos to show math processes, explanations of complex concepts, review new learning, teach others, explain processes, tell stories, or present research. ¬†The possibilities are really endless and students will come up with hundreds of other creative uses.

Teachers can use PowToon to create animations for students.  This is a great way to present new information or ideas for discussion.

Tips: The PowToon Interactive Tour and How to Create series are very helpful to watch prior to creating your first animations.

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

Flixtime: Video slideshow creator

What it is: Flixtime is an online tool that lets students create 60 second video slideshows.  Slideshows can contain videos, pictures, text and music. The interface of Flixtime is easy to use; it looks a lot like the timelines used in iMovie and would be a great way to introduce students to the idea of video timelines and a separate sound track.   With Flixtime, students can adjust the screen resolution of their video and choose a speed for their slideshow to play.  As I used Flixtime, I couldn’t get over how much like Animoto it is.  If you need an alternative to Animoto, this is your tool!

How to integrate Flixtime into your curriculum: Flixtime is a great tool for telling a story.  Students can use Flixtime to tell a story about their learning, to illustrate a science experiment, to create a video timeline of a historical event, to illustrate vocabulary, to create an auto-bio poem, or to create a custom public service announcement.  Flixtime is an easy way for students to create something new and demonstrate understanding on any topic.  My students have used video slideshows to create math story problems for a buddy to solve, they turn out great and sure beat the dry story problems from math textbooks!  Flixtime videos can be saved on the student Flixtime account, embedded in a class blog/wiki/website, emailed, and even downloaded!

Tips: Flixtime requires an email account for sign up.  The email account doesn’t need to be verified which means that students can sign up with a temporary email account from tempinbox or mailinator.  If you teach elementary students, create a class Flixtime account where students can create and save videos.  This ensures that you know what is being posted and puts the videos all in one place for easy viewing.

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

Sharendipity

What it is: Sharendipity is an excellent online tool that lets you easily create your own learning and educational game.¬† You can do this by using one of the Sharendipity ready-made templates, or you can create a game from scratch.¬† There just isn’t always a quality game for students to practice with when you need one.¬† I know I have found myself wishing that I could find a game focusing on the exact phonic skill or a game that used the vocabulary that we were working on in class.¬† Often those tailor-made games just don’t exist.¬† Sharendipity is the answer, making it simple to create your own custom games.¬† Games are a fun way for students to practice a new skill and they make a great quick center activity on classroom computers.

How to integrate Sharendipity into your curriculum: Create games that are tailored to your students learning needs.¬† Sharendipity makes it easy enough to create fun games, you can create one in the time it would take you to make copies of worksheets. ¬† Use one of the ready-made templates for the easiest game creation, or if you are feeling brave, start from scratch and make your own.¬† You can upload all of your own images to Sharendipity making customization really easy.¬† Consider using pictures of your class, school, or students as the background of a game.¬† Your students are sure to love seeing familiar faces or landmarks as part of the game.¬† These games are great for fact practice and recall in math, vocabulary, spelling, phonics, or geography where quick recall of the basics is key.¬† Sharendipity will walk you through each step of the game making process and when you are finished, you can share the url or embed the game in a class website.¬† If your students are a little older, they can make their own Sharendipity games to practice with.¬† Students can create games for their classmates to play as a way to study.¬† I have students who were constantly creating games and practice activities for my classroom; they got really good at it!¬† If you are teaching in a computer lab, Sharendipity is a fun way for students to create “original” content for their wiki, blog, or website.¬† At my school, we buddy up older grade level students with younger grade level students.¬† It was fun for the older kids to create special games for their buddies after learning about their buddies favorite things.¬† For example, one student found out that their buddy loved basketball and created a basketball themed spelling activity for them.

If you collaborate with another class or another school, it would be neat to swap customized games with them.

Tips: If you are braving creating your own game, be sure to check out Sherendipity’s learning center for a great guide on how to use the tools.

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

Search Me

What it is: I have been testing the Beta version of a new search engine called Search Me for the past few months and today the public beta was released for everyone. Search Me is really unique…it lets you search webpages the way that iTunes cover flow works. Their motto is “You’ll know it when you see it.” The engine is very easy to use and brings up great results with the ability to narrow down a search by category. For example, when I do a search on “dogs” It brings up the websites to browse through as well as icons to narrow down my search and gives me options of searching “dogs”, “pet stores”, “hunting”, “pet health”, “savings and bargains”. This is a great engine for teaching your kids how to search effectively for what they are looking for. The best part is the cover flow like feature that lets you flip through actual websites. Yellow squares appear on each site where your search word pops up and when you hover over a site, the site description pops up. There are safe settings so that adult content is automatically filtered out and you can flag a website as inappropriate right from the search results without actually traveling to that website.

How to integrate Search Me into the classroom: Search Me is a really great way for students to perform searches on any subject. They get instant feedback based on the sites that come up if their key words were too broad, narrow, etc. They can also preview sites right away and can often tell if it is what they are looking for without actually traveling to the website. The ability to narrow down a search by category is also a great option! Try Search Me out with your students, I know they will love it!

Tips: Search Me has a free tool bar that can be integrated into your web browser with the click of a button making it simple for kids to perform a search in one step.

Leave a comment and share how Search Me is working for your students.

Skitch

What it is: In a word…awesome! Skitch is an amazing new (beta) application created by Plasq. Rather than reinvent the wheel, I decided to let the Skitch creators SHOW you what Skitch is and does. Watch the video below for a quick run down of Skitch.

How to integrate Skitch into the classroom: Skitch is a great training tool. Skitch lets you capture any screen (or portion of a screen) and add your own notes, doodles, etc. Put together tutorials for your students on any computer related subject. Skitch is also a cool tool for students to use. Teach your students to use Skitch. They can use Skitch for research projects, to show another student how they solved a problem, or even as a place to take notes. All of your Skitch content can be saved as a picture file on the computer, saved on the web, or emailed. Students can embed Skitch onto their blogs. Once you start using Skitch, you will think of a million every day uses for it (BTW, share those with us as you come up with them!). It is so intuitive and easy to use!

Tips: I should mention that Skitch is only available right now for Mac’s. If you don’t have a Mac you should…this is yet another reason! ūüôā

Update 1/31/2008:

When using Skitch in my computer lab, I used Remote Desktop to push the Skitch¬† application to all of the student computers.¬† I set up one Skitch account for each grade I teach.¬† This way, when students upload to the web, it goes to one page.¬† This was the best solution for my lab since I teach k-5 many of my students don’t have email addresses to set up their own Skitch account. ¬†

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