TeachersFirst Edge

New web 2.0 tools appear each day. Many of these tools were not originally intended for classroom use, but they can be powerful learning tools for today's techno-savvy students and their more adventurous teachers. These sites appear (and frequently disappear) very quickly, launched by creative techno-geeks out there in the world.

Many of these tools require a higher-than-average set of teacher tech skills or some extra monitoring to assure student "safety." TeachersFirst Edge reviews these "tools on the Edge" carefully, and with specific ideas for using them safely and effectively in teaching and learning. Reviews point out any safety or policy concerns for the tool and offer links to management tips for each concern.

Especially popular is this subset of the Edge: BYOD Dream Tools: Free tools that work on any device. Look for the device agnostic tool tag in any review.

This is the world your students already know. Try teaching in their vernacular. A little adventurousness makes for powerful learning.

See General Tips for using Edge Tools - a must for first-time users

Browse the full listing of detailed safety/school policy tips or save time by reading them as needed from each tool review.

Learn about school web filtering, a critical issue with many "Edge" tools

If you try one of these tools and find it especially useful, be sure to leave a comment on it to share your students' successes with other teachers. If you know of another tool that teachers would find beneficial, please suggest it via our webmaster account, as a "suggested resource."

Here's the Edge:

 

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Share What You're Reading - Scholastic, Inc.

Grades
K to 12
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Use this handy tool to share favorite books and discover new ones. Read the advice for writing a good review at the top of the form before starting. After writing ...more
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Use this handy tool to share favorite books and discover new ones. Read the advice for writing a good review at the top of the form before starting. After writing the review submit to Scholastic by filling in a simple form that asks for first name, last initial, and no email required. To discover the next book to read select from a grade level or genre list and then find an interesting title and click to read the review. The More to Explore menu on the left links to How to Write a Book Report with Rodman Philbrick, which is more extensive in depth with Writing Tips, Challenges, and Revision Guidelines.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): book reports (33), independent reading (121), reading lists (72)

In the Classroom

Introduce students to this tool using an interactive whiteboard or projector. Share the list of books already reviewed, and read a few reviews together. Read the guidelines for writing a review, and create a book report for a book read in class lately. First, model by creating a rough draft, then copy and paste the final version of the rough draft to Share What You're Reading. Last, show the students how to publish. Then, set up a station in class where students can write up other books they read. Another idea would be to use the published reviews for grammar exercises. Not only can you edit and revise a review, but it could also be a "book talk" to introduce students to a title.

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SMS Generator - Class Tools

Grades
4 to 12
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Use this clever and simple tool to create conversations (or presentations) that look like text messages. Use the icons on the bottom to get started. Email is not required. Clicking...more
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Use this clever and simple tool to create conversations (or presentations) that look like text messages. Use the icons on the bottom to get started. Email is not required. Clicking either speech bubble will begin the text message, and click the other one to reply. Save the presentation with a password. Share via embed or QR code or a URL.

tag(s): book reports (33), chat (47), creative writing (158), social networking (127), writing (354)

In the Classroom

Engage students with what they know, text messaging! Inform students you will be creating a text conversation between two historical figures, fictional characters, scientists - anything from something the class is reading. On the whiteboard or with a projector display the SMS Generator. Show students how to use it by having them create the conversation. The text is not limited, but keep it reasonable. Besides using SMS Generator for presentations, it could be used to teach or refine social skills, practice writing in a new language, or explaining a math or science concept to a peer.

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Code Avengers - Mike Walmsley

Grades
4 to 12
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Code Avengers offers free introductory courses for learning computer coding. Teachers receive access to all lessons; students have access to introductory lessons in HTML/CSS, JavaScript,...more
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Code Avengers offers free introductory courses for learning computer coding. Teachers receive access to all lessons; students have access to introductory lessons in HTML/CSS, JavaScript, and Python 3. Introductory courses run about one hour in length and include video instructions along with opportunities for practice of tasks. Participate in lessons without registration. Registration does allow you to save work and return to the stopping point at any time. If your district blocks YouTube, the videos may not be viewable. You could always view them at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid, reviewed here, to download the videos from YouTube.

tag(s): coding (20), computers (72), engineering (108), STEM (103)

In the Classroom

Although only the introductory lessons are free, they provide excellent tutorials for beginners. Create a link on classroom computers for students to learn at their own pace and develop an interest in pursuing further coding instruction. If you are looking for more ways to use coding in the classroom, check out TeachersFirst's Coding in the Classroom page. Make coding part of science inquiry or math logic in any classroom. Include it as part of the scientific method or discussions about careers in science. You may even want to portray coding as just another "world language" in today's world.

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Drafting Board - iCivics

Grades
5 to 12
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Drafting Board is a set of six modules that guide you through the steps of creating an argumentative essay. Upon completion of all modules, you will have a complete essay ...more
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Drafting Board is a set of six modules that guide you through the steps of creating an argumentative essay. Upon completion of all modules, you will have a complete essay starting with an introduction, counterpoints, and a conclusion. Download information in three parts: an overview to Drafting Board, a self-guided training PowerPoint, and the teaching guide and tips. You must register with iCivics using email to fully access all of the Drafting Board features. Be sure to read all notes on the site for suggested times for completing activities. The overview to Drafting Board is a three minute video. If your district blocks YouTube, the video may not be viewable. You could always view it at home and bring it to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid, reviewed here, to download the videos from YouTube.

tag(s): debate (39), essays (22), expository writing (43), persuasive writing (47), point of view (9), writing (354)

In the Classroom

This site is an excellent way to teach an argumentative essay. Complete one essay together using the steps provided, then assign students an essay to complete on their own. You may want to give students a choice of topics to write about from 301 Prompts for Argumentative/Persuasive Writing, reviewed here. Upon completion of their essay, challenge students to create a presentation about their topic using Slidestory, reviewed here. Slidestory allows for narration. Be sure to share a link to the site on your class webpage for students to use throughout the year.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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ThinkCerca - ThinkCerca

Grades
4 to 12
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Sign up for ThinkCerca's eight free starter lessons and get your students on the road to better critical thinking, close reading, and academic writing. Find a starter kit with 8 ...more
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Sign up for ThinkCerca's eight free starter lessons and get your students on the road to better critical thinking, close reading, and academic writing. Find a starter kit with 8 lessons teaching students the art of argumentation. Each lesson is 30 minutes long. These lessons contain standards-aligned literacy concepts and vocabulary. Start with Cerca's baseline assessment for writing, and then proceed with the lessons in order since the lessons build on each other. Sign up with your email, first and last name, and school zip code. Create your class or classes, and have students enroll via a class code. Find prompts for ELA, Science, and Social Studies. Math is coming soon (as of this review). The support section has several categories which include specific help directions, and also includes Instructional Strategies, Personalized Learning Models, and Tips and Resources.
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tag(s): expository writing (43), persuasive writing (47), reading comprehension (112), writing (354)

In the Classroom

Students will need to click Sign Up and "I'm a Student." Students will enter their first name and last name so be sure you have parent permission. They will also need an email address. There is a work-a-round for the names and email address. For the first and last name you could have them enter a code, for example, the first two letters of their last name and first three letters of their first name. If students cannot have their own email accounts, ThinkCerca has a suggestion or consider using a "class set" of Gmail subaccounts, explained here; this tells how to set up Gmail subaccounts to use for any online membership service. Once your students have worked through the eight lessons here, you may want to look at 301 Prompts for Argumentative/Persuasive Writing, reviewed here, to help you differentiate future writing lessons.

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Genius - Genius Media Group Inc

Grades
8 to 12
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Genius allows you to "Annotate the World." Begin with the music portion of the site to view lyrics and crowdsourced knowledge for thousands of songs. In addition to music, Genius ...more
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Genius allows you to "Annotate the World." Begin with the music portion of the site to view lyrics and crowdsourced knowledge for thousands of songs. In addition to music, Genius also offers annotations for literature, news, sports, TV shows, and movies. Search any section to find specific content or browse through the latest offerings. Install the Chrome extension to use Genius's Web Annotator and add your own notes to any web page or put genius.it in front of any URL to annotate and read other user's notes on any web page. If your district blocks YouTube, some portions may not be viewable. You could always view the videos at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid, reviewed here, to download the videos from YouTube. Important: Content is not moderated, be sure to PREVIEW and check for inappropriate content before using with students.

tag(s): bookmarks (56), citations (29), note taking (30)

In the Classroom

After creating an account, type Teacher's Guide in the search box to find the link for a very complete guide. The guide has information for using Genius in the classroom and creating accounts. Use the information found with literature selections to build Common Core skills analyzing informational texts. Use the site to post and share discussion assignments on specific articles or even parts of articles. Find a relevant article to your subject. Highlight the part that you want students to read. For younger students, keep it short to reduce the intimidating reality of too much information for kids. Attach a note with a discussion question for the students. Have them comment on the link in a "class discussion" as an outside assignment.

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Global Virtual Classroom - AT&T and Give Something Back International Foundation

Grades
1 to 12
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Join the Global Virtual Classroom (GVC) and bring students from other regions and countries into your classroom - virtually! Global Virtual Classroom has been around for a long time...more
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Join the Global Virtual Classroom (GVC) and bring students from other regions and countries into your classroom - virtually! Global Virtual Classroom has been around for a long time and has learned what is needed to create global citizens. They've done everything for you from Lessons, Resources, and a Web Design Contest, to directions for becoming part of the community, providing a list of other educators who would like to participate, and a Clubhouse for your students. Be sure to register by mid September each year!

tag(s): competitions (14), cross cultural understanding (109), cultures (103), social networking (127), wikis (20)

In the Classroom

Take students to another place, encourage them to understand other cultures and create global citizens by signing up to join GVC. After introducing GVC on an interactive whiteboard or projector, create a quick poll (with no membership required) using SurveyRock, reviewed here, to vote for which country or region to communicate with and share information. Begin a blog for each student to share reflections. Consider asking the partner teacher to have their students blog, too, and encourage students to respond to each others' blogs. Students' writing improves when they have an authentic audience. Haven't started blogging yet? Check out TeachersFirst's Blog Basics.

Another idea would be to use a projector and Lino, reviewed here, (no membership required) to discuss and informally assess prior knowledge about the culture with whom students will be working. Lino creates virtual sticky notes on a bulletin board. Once the project is underway, go back to Lino occasionally, and add what they learned and whether it coincides with the students' original ideas. Before culminating the project, ask the partner class if they will fill in the areas and ideas missed on your Lino. Consider starting a lunch time or after school club for students to have more time to participate in the Clubhouse.

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Ourboox - Mel Rosenberg & Ran Shternin

Grades
2 to 12
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Publish ebooks in any language with Ourboox. Keep track of how many readers you have and read their comments. Sign up with email and get started right away. Click Create, ...more
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Publish ebooks in any language with Ourboox. Keep track of how many readers you have and read their comments. Sign up with email and get started right away. Click Create, add a title, choose the style of your book (Square Book - a picture book with up to 15 lines of text, or a text-oriented book, more like a long story or novel). Choosing a Square Book enables the ability to have an image (jpeg, png). You can also upload animated GIFs or embed a YouTube Video. Ourboox will step you through the process of getting your book online and publishing it. The pages of the book will flip, and the tool has an accommodation for languages that read from right to left. It can take up to 24 hours for new books to process. Before starting on your own book, you may want to look at others' books to get ideas about the format.

tag(s): digital storytelling (120), ebooks (38), writing (354)

In the Classroom

There is no end to the ideas for stories! Now you can easily publish and share them with Ourboox. At the beginning of the year have students develop stories to tell about their summer and share with classmates. Create a photo story for history, showcasing great people or specific historical events such as the signing of the Declaration of Independence. In the arts, create a photo story of achievements of various artists. In science, create a photo story of famous inventors or have students explain their understanding of cell division. ESL/ELL students can use the site to recreate folk tales from their home countries. Encourage your older students to use this tool for digital storytelling projects created in response to research or extra study. This is a great find for gifted students who want to include art work and use their creativity in productive ways. If students cannot have their own email accounts, consider using a "class set" of GMail subaccounts (managed by you), explained here. This tells how to set up GMail subaccounts to use for any online membership service. This would provide anonymous interaction within your class.

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Add Text - FlamingText.com Pty Ltd.

Grades
4 to 12
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Add text to any image or photo, using a web browser or smartphone, and share with no registration. Choose images from one of seven categories or upload your own. Change ...more
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Add text to any image or photo, using a web browser or smartphone, and share with no registration. Choose images from one of seven categories or upload your own. Change the color of the text or elect to add more text. Share using FaceBook, Twitter, or Google+ or the URL given. At the time of this review, all images in the Gallery were appropriate for the classroom. However, we recommend to preview the images before you share with younger students.
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tag(s): creativity (102), digital storytelling (120), images (255)

In the Classroom

Use this easy tool to add captions to images, create memes, or posters for your bulletin boards. Use this easy tool with students during back to school time as a way for them to get to know each other. Have students upload a picture of themselves doing their favorite activity and label it with amusing text or a favorite quote (or song lyric?). Have them upload images that represent their interests and character traits. Print the images with text for a back to school bulletin board. Use after a field trip for students to write captions on the photos they took. Be sure to share the photos on your class webpage, blog, or wiki. Haven't started blogging yet? Check out TeachersFirst's Blog Basics. For other uses, have students practice new words in a world language class by labeling and identifying images in that language. Create writing prompts using several annotated images. Have students create annotated images to explain key terms in science class. In ELA class, make homophone or vocabulary images to show the correct word along with a picture that explains it.

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Comments4Kids - William Chamberlain

Grades
6 to 12
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We all know that having an audience for our writing makes us better writers. Comments4Kids provides that audience. There are four rules for commenting on others' blogs: be relevant,...more
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We all know that having an audience for our writing makes us better writers. Comments4Kids provides that audience. There are four rules for commenting on others' blogs: be relevant, be positive, comment only when you have something to say, and always use good conventions (grammar, spelling, punctuation). Explore 5 Smart Ways to get Comments4Kids on your blog, read the Rule of Return, and learn how one teacher manages his students' comments on others' blogs. Back on the main page, click the link to see how another teacher manages blogs and also testimonials from several different professionals about why creating an audience for writing is necessary. Then, start by adding your class blog or your blog to the registration area. Consider Tweeting the blog address under the comments4kids hashtag when you want your students to have a commenting audience. On Twitter, type in #comments4kids, to see the current activity.

tag(s): blogs (82), writing (354)

In the Classroom

If your students blog, you may want to consider using Comments4Kids to encourage them to do their best writing, proofread, and learn how to tactfully and meaningfully comment on others' writing. You might want to consider using the hashtag #comments4kids in your Tweets. Read the 5 Smart Ways To Get Comments4Kids page to learn more. If you are interested in blogging but never have, you might want to check out TeachersFirst's Blog Basics For the Classroom. You also may want to use prompts from Thought Questions, reviewed here, as an easy way to get kids writing blogs. There are many other ideas for your students to blog about such as having science students display photos and information about lab work or research findings of a famous scientist. Language arts students can write about the main character in a book. Have literature circle groups create one blog to present the book and its different characters. Create blogs for current events, biographies, or explanations about curriculum topics such as plants.

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Panoramio - Joaquin Abela, Jose Conde and Eduardo Aguilar

Grades
1 to 12
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Panoramio uses Google Maps to encourage you to "share and explore the world in photos." Type in any place in the world to view the map and click on images ...more
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Panoramio uses Google Maps to encourage you to "share and explore the world in photos." Type in any place in the world to view the map and click on images submitted by other users. Browse by choosing the Explore option to see the world map, tags, or cool places. Double click on any image to view the full size image and additional information.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (157), directions (20), maps (282), photography (154)

In the Classroom

If you teach geography, this one is a must. It is also helpful for showing students WHERE a story or news event takes place. In lower grades, use it to show students basics of their community. Teach map skills by showing students their own community. Zoom in on their street or the school. Connect your Google account to Panoramio and upload student pictures of your community.
 

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Makewaves - Mark and Tim Riches

Grades
1 to 12
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Makewaves is a social learning platform for schools to create and publish blogs, videos, pictures, and audio. Free accounts allow you to create a school site with any number of ...more
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Makewaves is a social learning platform for schools to create and publish blogs, videos, pictures, and audio. Free accounts allow you to create a school site with any number of teachers and students. Audio and video uploads are limited to 30 minutes and you can create three badges. Use personalized badges to create your own missions that relate to classroom studies or current events. Take advantage of the many badges already available on the site. The teacher dashboard allows teachers to monitor and manage student content.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): classroom management (116), social networking (127)

In the Classroom

Create a class account as a tool for sharing and publishing student creations on Makewave's secure platform. Even if you aren't ready to join Makewave, take advantage of the many lessons and badge activities to incorporate into your teaching units. Share Makewave with parents as a resource for individual learning projects for their student.

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Connect Fours - Russell Tarr

Grades
4 to 12
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Connect Fours is an interactive that is a takeoff of the popular British Gameshow Only Connect. Create a game show using a minimum of 16 cards with word sets or ...more
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Connect Fours is an interactive that is a takeoff of the popular British Gameshow Only Connect. Create a game show using a minimum of 16 cards with word sets or phrases that will fit into four or more categories. After clicking "Create a New Quiz" you can upload a CVS spreadsheet or simply type in the words. Clicking Help, Example, or Submit will bring up directions for the exact formatting needed to have for the successful creation of a quiz. Don't forget to title your quiz! Save the URL or bookmark it to share it with others. Tip: when clicking the cards they ding. You may want to turn the sound down on the computer.

tag(s): quiz (78), quizzes (88)

In the Classroom

Create a Connect Fours game with various aspects of information about curriculum content to share with students. Develop activities to review any topic and save for use as a classroom center. Have students create review Connect Fours as a study tool. Be sure to demonstrate how to make and share Create Fours before having students set up their own. Ideas for categorization activities are unlimited, but can include categorizing types of animals, literary elements in novels, habitats, characteristics of geographic areas, and much more.

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newhive - Zach Verdin, Cara Bucciferro, Abram Clark

Grades
2 to 12
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Use newhive as a clean slate to express your ideas, artwork, videos, and more. Begin by using an email address to sign up for a free account. You will then ...more
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Use newhive as a clean slate to express your ideas, artwork, videos, and more. Begin by using an email address to sign up for a free account. You will then see a blank white slate to start. Easily add text, images, video, audio, files, and shapes. Once you are finished adding content, save to your account by giving your multimedia project a title and tags. Then decide if you want it public or searchable. This tool is simple, quick, and easy to use. The tool requires that a member be age 13 or older.

tag(s): multimedia (47), portfolios (26), social networking (127)

In the Classroom

Students can use newhive to demonstrate learning of any kind across grade levels and content areas. They can practice good digital citizenship by citing images, videos, and online content properly or use student-created images, videos, and other content. Use this tool as a portfolio for any subject. Art, music, and language arts are naturals for collecting original student work, but what about science? Students can photograph experiments and write up labs and post to newhive for their portfolio. Teachers can use the site as a jump page to guide a lesson or create WebQuests. Make a work prototype page and upload examples of exemplary work to share with students to set expectations for completed products before beginning a project. The uses for this tool are wide open!

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shortText - shortText.com

Grades
2 to 12
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Post text online quickly and easily, without registration using shortText. Type or paste text into the text box and click Create URL. Instantly receive the URL to share or use ...more
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Post text online quickly and easily, without registration using shortText. Type or paste text into the text box and click Create URL. Instantly receive the URL to share or use as desired. Options allow users to include a link to a video or image, allow comments, or make the message private.

tag(s): blogs (82), creative writing (158), descriptive writing (39), writers workshop (26), writing (354)

In the Classroom

Use shortText for quick writing projects on an interactive whiteboard or projector. When modeling writing or notetaking in class, open shortText instead of a word document! Enabling comments would allow students to ask questions about the assignment. When finished, share on your class website using the URL created. Have students use shortText in your classroom when using mobile devices to write a short journal entry or exit ticket at the end of a lesson. Be sure to give students the URL for this and have them identify themselves, so you don't end up with 30 URLs to open and assess. Use this site in world language classes to have students write a blog entry in the new language. Have students write about how they solved a math problem and include an image of their work. Create a standing assignment for elementary and middle schoolers on snow days. Have students write a post about the snow using shortText and share the URL on a class wiki.

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RefME - RefME Ltd. (2015)

Grades
8 to 12
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Create bibliographies and works cited with Refme. The reference styles include Harvard, APA, MLA and thousands of others. Not only can you reference the standard sources (books, videos,...more
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Create bibliographies and works cited with Refme. The reference styles include Harvard, APA, MLA and thousands of others. Not only can you reference the standard sources (books, videos, etc.), but your sources can also be doctoral dissertations, reports, book chapters, legislation, artwork, and more. Create projects, annotate web pages, and add quotes using the RefMe's WebClipper. Scan book and journal barcodes. Sync references across devices. Invite others to collaborate on projects using any device.

tag(s): citations (29)

In the Classroom

Share with students as a resource for saving and organizing web material. The Webclipper feature allows students to highlight the key information from a page so that a few days down the road they're not wondering why they bookmarked a web page. The bibliography tools help students properly format their Works Cited pages. Use this tool to help keep your students (or even yourself) organized! Make sure you teach plagiarism lessons about paraphrasing and proper citation of sources, so students use this tool properly! You may want to start with a review of plagiarism and copyright law by using Gaming Against Plagiarism (GAP), reviewed here.

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Typewrite - Josh C.

Grades
5 to 12
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Typewrite.io is a collaborative writing tool that is in real-time so multiple editors can be working on the same document at the same time. It is distraction free, and you ...more
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Typewrite.io is a collaborative writing tool that is in real-time so multiple editors can be working on the same document at the same time. It is distraction free, and you can save versions and revert to previous versions. When viewing versions, changes will be highlighted. Sign up using email and get started right away. There is no waiting for approval. Share documents via email to have them edited.

tag(s): editing (54), proofreading (19), writing (354)

In the Classroom

Have your students set up collaborative groups for projects, lab data, and more. Anything students can do on a single computer; they can do collaboratively with this tool, accessing their work from any online computer. Be sure to test out this tool before using with your class. It may be a good idea to set up the groups with the teacher as a "member." Make sure you are protecting the safety of student work and identity and are within your school's Acceptable Use Policy.

This tool facilitates teacher comments on student essays by not having to wait until students turn in their papers. Have them share links with you to their works in progress. Check essays online, monitor progress, and even make suggestions for revisions to provide feedback along the way and drive successful evidence support, proofreading, and editing skills. Challenge gifted students on their drafts and push their thinking further, adding questions or responses. Since most of us do not have time to provide such individual challenge throughout the writing process, why not connect them with other gifted students to collaborate and debate beyond just your classroom? Obviously, this tool is also fabulous for collaboration among students or teachers creating a shared writing piece at any level. You could even use it for parent input into draft IEPs.

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Blab (Beta) - Shaan Puri & Furqan Rydhan

Grades
9 to 12
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Watch live conversations or create your own discussions with Blab. Sign in with your Twitter account to start your own Blab on Firefox or Chrome browsers. Click "Start a New ...more
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Watch live conversations or create your own discussions with Blab. Sign in with your Twitter account to start your own Blab on Firefox or Chrome browsers. Click "Start a New Blab" and send the URL for others to join you. Use the settings to record your Blab if desired. To get ideas for how Blab works, view Blabs created by other users by scrolling through the home page or use the search bar to find specific topics. Two to four people can participate in a Blab, and others can call in with comments and questions. Blabs shared on the site are not moderated, so use caution before sharing with students.

tag(s): chat (47), social networking (127), video (236)

In the Classroom

Connect whole classrooms across the country for book clubs. Create connected learning experiences with other students, especially those in older grades. Connect world language classes to other countries. Students interested in graphic design can connect with an expert or artist far away and share current work in a virtual critique. Connect students with mentors or older students for help with homework. Students working together for a presentation or literature circles can practice, discuss, and communicate easily. Teachers can hold "office hours" for homework help and asking questions. Whole buildings can collaborate and share professional development with others in their own district and beyond!

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COW (Creating Outstanding Writers) - Alieo Games

Grades
1 to 8
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COW is an online application designed to engage classes and individual students in writing. Create a free account using the provided coupon code for free access through August 2016....more
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COW is an online application designed to engage classes and individual students in writing. Create a free account using the provided coupon code for free access through August 2016. Add class members to begin writing challenges. Challenges provide opportunities to free write or use an engaging prompt as a story starter. After reaching the word number goal for each prompt, COW provides a detailed analysis of the writing. The analysis includes items such as the use of bonus words, common word usage, sentence length, and types of words used.
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tag(s): creative writing (158), writers workshop (26), writing (354), writing prompts (89)

In the Classroom

Students need to write OFTEN and get feedback in order to improve. What a great help this program will be for teachers with large classes to ensure students get the writing practice they need. Consider partnering students when it comes time for them to read their feedback so they can talk about and internalize their results. Create student accounts and use COW as a computer writing center. With younger students, display a writing prompt on an interactive whiteboard or projector and write together as a class. After analyzing a piece of writing, rewrite to see if you can improve your score together. Share a link to this site on your class webpage for students to practice writing at home. Have cooperative learning groups create digital stories from the prompts using a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here.

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Voxopop - Voxopop/Chinswing Pty Ltd.

Grades
K to 12
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Create a voice recorded message board with Voxopop. Set up a public, restricted, or private talk group. Anyone can listen to public discussions, but you must have an account to ...more
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Create a voice recorded message board with Voxopop. Set up a public, restricted, or private talk group. Anyone can listen to public discussions, but you must have an account to contribute to a talk group, create a talk group or set up email notifications to know when someone has contributed to your talk groups.

tag(s): listening (91), social networking (127), speaking (22), speech (90)

In the Classroom

Use Voxopop with any language learning students, both ELL/ESL and world languages. Students can practice speaking and listening in their new language. Create small groups to discuss anything from current events, how to complete a math problem, to contributions for group research projects. Use the site with early readers in your Daily 5 literacy for oral reading and listening to others read. Reluctant writers could use this tool to brainstorm their thoughts for a writing piece.

Think about how you want to use this program. Having a restricted talk group means you would invite students via email. When signing up one is asked to give their country, email, and whether you are a student, teacher, or other. There is also an option to give your town/city. With students under 13 consider setting up a class account using a global login. Students would need to give their first name when contributing so you will know who is speaking. With students who are a little older, it might be easier to set up small groups. Consider using Gmail subaccounts, explained here, this tells how to set up GMail subaccounts to use for any online membership service. This would provide anonymous interaction within your class.

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