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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Post It - Labeling Tool - Class Tools

Grades
K to 12
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The Post-It Labeling Tool allows you to annotate images. Upload an image from your computer and add labels to the image. Place the Post-it where needed by dragging and dropping ...more
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The Post-It Labeling Tool allows you to annotate images. Upload an image from your computer and add labels to the image. Place the Post-it where needed by dragging and dropping and extending the connecting line. Change the background color of the Post-it from the default yellow to color code items in the image. Find the tools to upload the image, and work with it, in the bottom left corner. Scrolling over the icons will tell you what they are. Save your finished product as a webpage, embed in your blog or wiki, or print. Clicking the green question mark will show you samples. See the example made by a TeachersFirst reviewer here. The Post-It labeling tool is FREE, you can annotate your image and save it without even registering.
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tag(s): digital storytelling (94), images (224), posters (30)

In the Classroom

Share the Post-It labeling site on your interactive whiteboard or projector to show students how to use the tools. Have students label and identify objects in an image. Label parts of a plant, continents, landforms, etc. Practice new words in world language classes by asking students to label and identify objects in that language. This would make an excellent ESL/ELL formative assessment tool. Create a storyboard using several annotated images as a story starter. Art students can annotate images to point out design elements or annotate images of their work to talk about the creative decisions they made. Share annotated Post-It images on your class website or blog to tell about a field trip or class event.

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The Sketchbook Project - Art House Projects, LLC

Grades
6 to 12
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Discover over 32,000 digitized artist sketchbooks from over 70,000 artists in 135+ countries. The Sketchbook Project is a crowd-sourced collaborative of artworks by very serious artists...more
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Discover over 32,000 digitized artist sketchbooks from over 70,000 artists in 135+ countries. The Sketchbook Project is a crowd-sourced collaborative of artworks by very serious artists and those just starting out. There is an annual cycle (that costs money) to JOIN the project and have your own sketchbook digitized, but not to see the results. Browse the sketchbooks by theme or check out artworks created in response to a "Challenge" such as creating a collage from found objects in 5 minutes or less. Weekly Challenges offer "creative prompts to medium-specific swaps and exchanges," often shared via this site as well as through social media such as Twitter or Facebook. Browse to find inspiration for your own art or for challenges to share with others. You need not join to enjoy browsing sketchbooks and to "peek" into artists' creative process. If you join for free, you can curate your own collections from the various sketchbooks. The FAQ page (accessed via a link near the bottom of the "Participate" page) explains the curation tools. One caveat, however: since this site is open to the public for contributions, there is no restriction on the types of sketches or artwork topics the sketchbooks may include. You will want to preview before turning young people loose on this site in a classroom setting.
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tag(s): artists (66), creativity (97), journals (18)

In the Classroom

Share this site or specific sketchbooks in an Art class to inspire students to find their own creative process and to start a sketchbook or electronic "idea bin" for collecting bits and pieces of inspiration. If you teach writing, share the concept of a sketchbook as a place to collect quick doodles with accompanying bits of writing as material for personal writing projects. Show the sketchbook process of these modern artists alongside the sketchbooks of Leonardo DaVinci as part of a STEM/engineering unit on inventions and creative thinking. Encourage your gifted students to maintain a sketchbook or "idea bin" for the creative ideas that pop into their minds. The examples here will help them get started. If your school permits and parents grant permission, allow your young artists (over age 13) to curate their own sketchbook collections from within this site or participate in weekly challenges. You could also set up a class account to collect specific projects and works in a curated collection.

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Papaly - Papaly

Grades
6 to 12
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Create boards of links to your popular tools and bookmarks curated into one beautiful and simple interface! Use Papaly to collect links from Twitter, Facebook, news sites, Pinterest,...more
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Create boards of links to your popular tools and bookmarks curated into one beautiful and simple interface! Use Papaly to collect links from Twitter, Facebook, news sites, Pinterest, existing computer bookmarks, and new bookmarks. Follow the pop-up messages to learn the controls from the Tutorial. Hover over Boards to click on the + sign, and then name the new board. Select from popular categories to instantly populate your board with common tools. Import computer bookmarks by installing the Chrome extension or creating an HTML file of them following the tutorial. Click on Board Properties in the upper right corner to change your board to Secret (private), make your board Invisible for Google, alter your settings, and change the layout of the board. Share boards by email, Twitter, or Facebook. Note: If using the boards with students, be sure not to import information from personal sites such as email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. as the login information would be visible to students.

tag(s): bookmarks (58), news (173), social networking (102)

In the Classroom

Create an account to keep track of bookmarks to share with students in your class. Bookmarks can be viewed on any browser, anywhere. Create separate boards for the various projects and units in your class. Add information that is useful for student understanding and application of concepts. Keep the boards and bookmarks throughout the year. Consider creating a board for student current events or happenings. Use this for access to information on various topics such as food issues, diseases, political information, cultures around the world, and more. Create a board with more challenging topics for your gifted and advanced students. Students can create a board of links from the web on a certain topic to share with other classmates. Create a Professional Development board to share with other teachers. Challenge your middle and high school gifted students to curate a board for themselves on a topic of individual interest. For example, a student interested in rocketry can locate and add blogs from rocket scientists, NASA feeds, and more. Talented writers may want to collect links to literary publications and author blogs. Consider creating a login that all students can use in order to add bookmarks that they find useful.

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Teampedia - Seth Marbin

Grades
K to 12
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Teampedia is a comprehensive and collaborative resource for finding icebreakers, team building, and leadership activities. Browse through almost 100 categories on this wiki. Find trust...more
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Teampedia is a comprehensive and collaborative resource for finding icebreakers, team building, and leadership activities. Browse through almost 100 categories on this wiki. Find trust activities, getting to know you, and online/remote team building. Explore activities based on the group size involved. If you have a great activity and don't see it, add it to Teampedia by following the steps provided. Each game or activity includes a list of materials needed, number of players, time required, and directions for play. Some directions for strategy games also include strategy options.
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tag(s): back to school (40), creativity (97), problem solving (203), social networking (102)

In the Classroom

Use this site to find Icebreaker activities and options for the first week of school community building. Bookmark this tool for the first week of school or any time that you want to experience some "team-building" in your class. Use this site if you have weekly classroom meetings to build relationships among students. Share this site with students and have them create their own games based on research projects or as a review for major tests. Share this site with parent helpers to find ideas for classroom parties.

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PastBook - PastBook P.V.

Grades
K to 12
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PastBook is a wonderful site for creating online photo albums or scrapbooks. The tool was originally intended to create memorial books. Now you can create memory books and even choose...more
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PastBook is a wonderful site for creating online photo albums or scrapbooks. The tool was originally intended to create memorial books. Now you can create memory books and even choose a year to display. Choose "Start Now," to begin. Add a title, description, and pictures by uploading from your computer or social network accounts. Provide the text to describe images and a date if desired. When ready, choose "Create Your Book" to complete the book process. View finished books online or download for free in PDF format. Invite others to collaborate on your book through social networking links. Privacy settings allow only those with the URL to view your book. This tool is available on the web and iPhone. It will soon be available for any device. At the time of this review you needed to use your FaceBook account to sign in.
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tag(s): digital storytelling (94), images (224), photography (139), portfolios (20)

In the Classroom

Use a class PastBook account to keep track of the day-to-day happenings in your classroom (especially for younger grades). Consider creating albums of specific events such as field trips, service projects, hands-on activities, field experiences such as watershed studies, and more. Have students create portfolios for art and photography classes. Create a magazine of photos that portray different history and social topics. Set the scenes for novels or stories. Explain a specific science concept (using Creative Commons images AND proper credit). Anywhere photos can be used to showcase achievement or explain a concept, this service would be an excellent resource. Learning support, speech, ESL/ELL, autistic support, or world language teachers can collect images into "magazines" for students to practice/develop speech and vocabulary.

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Pear Deck - Pear Deck

Grades
K to 12
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Plan and build interactive presentations directly from your Google Drive! Share your presentation on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Your class can participate in your presentation...more
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Plan and build interactive presentations directly from your Google Drive! Share your presentation on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Your class can participate in your presentation using their own device! Simply install Pear Deck and go to your Google Drive. Next, click Create and choose the Pear Deck icon (in your Google Drive). An untitled Pear Deck file can be found in your drive. Click on "Untitled Pear Deck" and rename this file. To create slides, choose "Normal slide" for standard text slides that are not interactive. Add images and text blocks, and a title. Choose a "Draggable slide" to enter a student question for student input. Add a line or dot for students to answer the question. Use the "Multiple Choice" slide to enter a question and answer choices. To present, click "Start Presenting." You can use the option to "Open Session Dashboard" and see all of the students who joined the presentation. You can also choose "Open Projector View."

Invite students to join. Students will not see your slides UNTIL you start the presentation. Use the presentation tools. Students' view of the presentation follows the changes you make. Be sure to become familiar with these tools before using the tools with students. As students join, their names appear in the dashboard view. Tools include Lock and Unlock Responses from students, Hide and Show Responses, Ask Again, and more. Answer the questions more than once if desired. Pear Deck maintains the results of both attempts. While presenting, use the "Add a Question" tool to enter a last minute question. This includes a thumbs up or thumbs down choice to check on understanding. Make sure you "End Session" to save the results from the questions. The free account provides basic interactive questions with unlimited interactive sessions, 5 free presentation imports, and a maximum of 30 session participants. Help can be found by clicking on Menu and then Support. Find more information on Google Drive here.
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tag(s): slides (55)

In the Classroom

It may be a good idea to open both the Session Dashboard and the Projector View before using with the students. Keep each in separate tabs (or use a different device such as a tablet for one of these). Be sure to turn off student responses and lock responses UNTIL every student has responded (so students will not be swayed by other responses or change answers). With the draggable slide, insert an image that requires quick input such as where a basketball thrown at a hoop will land, where on a timeline image a specific event occurred, or where erosion would be deposited on a river bend picture. This resource is invaluable for presenting questions for quick formative assessment of the content that students are to learn in any subject area!

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Canva - Canva.com

Grades
K to 12
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Canva presents a simple way to design almost anything with drag and drop technology. Create custom posters, business cards, presentations, flyers, and more using a custom layout or...more
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Canva presents a simple way to design almost anything with drag and drop technology. Create custom posters, business cards, presentations, flyers, and more using a custom layout or a blank page. Begin by choosing the type of design you want to create. Choose pre-made templates or design your own. Upload images from your computer or your Facebook account. Change your background, add text, and personalize as desired. When complete, choose link and publish to save and download your creation as an image or PDF file or copy the link to share via URL. There is an iPad app (free) available for this tool. Note: you must register (with email and password) before you can access this site.
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tag(s): graphic design (29), images (224), posters (30), slides (55)

In the Classroom

Create a slideshow, invitations, or photo collages for any classroom presentation. Share what you created on your website or blog for students to review or for students who were absent. In the younger grades, teachers would be the ones creating the project. However, older students could easily create themselves! Have students create their own Canva presentations. Have students use this online tool as they would any presentation tool or image enhancing site. Use this site for research projects about famous people from the past and present. Have cooperative learning groups create presentations about science or math topics. Have students create presentations to "introduce" themselves to the class during the first week of school. Link or embed the introduction presentations on your class wiki and have others guess who they are about. Use this tool with your 1:1 art class for students to practice design principles and techniques. Share student projects with parents and others via URL. Be sure to demonstrate HOW to use this tool on your interactive whiteboard or projector.

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myWebRoom - Rooms, Inc.

Grades
K to 12
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Decorate a 3D room and make it your computer home page. Categorize and store all of your favorite sites in objects around the room. Choose a room with a view: ...more
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Decorate a 3D room and make it your computer home page. Categorize and store all of your favorite sites in objects around the room. Choose a room with a view: cities, a beach, snowy mountains, jungles, and many more. Select a contemporary room, a retro room, a Disney room, or just about any theme imaginable. Establish and save the room's look, and then click objects to store favorite sites. There are also website suggestions. Browse everything in one category by clicking on the object in the room. Invite friends to your "my WebRoom" by giving them a key. Make your computer home page convenient and reflect your interests by storing all your online favorites within the objects in your "room."
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tag(s): bookmarks (58)

In the Classroom

Create a "myWebRoom" for class sites used with students. Share the "my WebRoom" on your website for parents and students to use at home. Create myWebRooms, with a theme, for units your students study. To save time, have sites open in separate tabs to copy/paste urls of the resources you are planning to store in the objects around the room. Older students can create myWebRooms for characters in the book they are reading or as a literature circle project for a book they read together. Also, older students can use this tool to create a myWebRoom with a theme when researching topics or working in groups for projects or research. Use this tool to share sites with non-readers or ESL/ELL students.

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Witty Comics - WittyComics.com

Grades
K to 12
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Use this tool to design a comic with dialogue between two characters. Use the pre-drawn backgrounds and characters. Add a title for each scene/page and add dialogue between the two...more
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Use this tool to design a comic with dialogue between two characters. Use the pre-drawn backgrounds and characters. Add a title for each scene/page and add dialogue between the two characters. These are quick and easy three page comics. You can create without an account. However, if you want to SAVE, you must register for a free account (email required).

tag(s): comics and cartoons (75)

In the Classroom

Create dialogues that introduce new content topics in your classroom. Students can use this "witty" tool to introduce topics from research or to practice a speech to be given in class. Use comics to create a dialogue discussing misconceptions in the content and a discussion of the actual facts to dispel the misunderstandings. For more ideas about using comics in the classroom see Comics Workshop for Teachers. To view more comic creator tools and ideas view this collection.

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Tableau Public - Tableau Software

Grades
9 to 12
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Tableau is a free tool that brings data to life. Create and share interactive charts and graphs, stunning maps, live dashboards, and engaging applications in minutes. Publish anywhere...more
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Tableau is a free tool that brings data to life. Create and share interactive charts and graphs, stunning maps, live dashboards, and engaging applications in minutes. Publish anywhere on the web. Download Tableau's software for Windows or Macs and follow directions for installation. View the training videos to learn how to build maps, charts, and share data. Other training videos share how to publish your information using direct links or embed in websites or blogs. Some of the videos are hosted on YouTube. However, our editors didn't find any video that required Flash. If your district blocks YouTube, then they 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.

tag(s): data (145), maps (255)

In the Classroom

View the training videos together as a class before asking students to use Tableau. Have a few students become "experts" on this software and help others as needed. Create Tableaus for any projects requiring the gathering of data such as research into individual countries, comparison of statistics across states, or compiling poll results. Be sure to check out Tableau's Gallery for many ideas on using the software.

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GIF YouTube - GIFYouTube

Grades
K to 12
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Did you ever wonder how they make the animated GIF's? You know, the images that look like a video playing the same small and looping video segment? Create your own ...more
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Did you ever wonder how they make the animated GIF's? You know, the images that look like a video playing the same small and looping video segment? Create your own animated GIF images easily from a YouTube video. Simply enter the URL of the YouTube video you wish to use and then click "Create GIF." Move to the part of the video you wish to highlight using the same controls you would use in YouTube. Change the GIF length up to 15 seconds. Enter a title and then click "Create GIF." Once created, copy the URL of the GIF to share with others. Ratings from other users are simply an up or down arrow. A gallery of animated GIFs are found on the main page. Be sure to view these before sending students to this site.

tag(s): animation (52), images (224), video (195)

In the Classroom

Create an animated GIF to get student's attention! A cat reading a book is one way to begin reading time! Show any science concept such as development of an organism, cell division, a chemical reaction, formation of stars, a bullet in slow motion, or anything a student should look at several times to see every aspect of the event. Do you want to reveal portions of a video outlining the travels of historic expeditions, addition of the states to the US, or any other historical event captured in video? Use a looping animated GIF! Every subject could use one of these GIFs to generate an interest in a class activity or new content.

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EDPuzzle - EDPuzzle

Grades
7 to 12
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This tool is a great way to take sections of videos and add your own voice or add questions within the video. YouTube videos are viewable in EDPuzzle even if ...more
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This tool is a great way to take sections of videos and add your own voice or add questions within the video. YouTube videos are viewable in EDPuzzle even if your school filters block them! Search for educational videos from sites such as Khan Academy and Learn Zillion. Use the sliders to choose the section of the video. Insert your own voice or comment on the video. Create a series of questions to go along with your chosen video and insert them into the correct part of the video. There is no need for students to watch the whole video to access the questions at the end. Follow the on screen directions for chopping the video for the section you need, adding your own voice, and choosing where to add text based questions. Create a class and then add students into the class either in the dashboard or after creating the video. Use student codes to access the video. There is a 13 page guide available by clicking on FAQ and the last item which is "How can I help?" Next click on "Workshop." There is also a short demo video hosted on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, simply find the video you want to use and embed it in EDPuzzle. It is viewable when used through EDPuzzle! Of course, you could always view the video at home and bring it to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid reviewed here to download videos from YouTube if you wish.

tag(s): digital storytelling (94), questioning (32), video (195)

In the Classroom

Create short review videos or use your own narration with chosen videos to create flipped lessons for your students. Consider the power of students using EdPuzzle to annotate videos in order to explain the material in their own words. You or your students can use the tool to create and narrate "how to" videos. Annotate by highlighting the important aspects of videos through the creation of voice comments. Students can also use the question building option to create questions to play with each video. Be sure students create a script to read from before editing their chosen video.

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Shotclip (Beta) - Shotclip.com

Grades
K to 12
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Create and edit professional looking videos in a three-step process using Shotclip. Use the storytelling guide to choose a template. Template options include My Summer, Halloween Fun,...more
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Create and edit professional looking videos in a three-step process using Shotclip. Use the storytelling guide to choose a template. Template options include My Summer, Halloween Fun, blank templates, and more. Templates provide guidance for scenes or shots to include in your story. Templates also offer suggested length and music for each portion. Upload images, video, audio, add effects, and edit video as desired. When complete, publish and share to receive an email with a link to your video or publish directly to your YouTube account.
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tag(s): digital storytelling (94), images (224), movies (51), video (195)

In the Classroom

Demonstrate this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. In lower grades, make videos together as a class. Have students create short book reviews for classmates, explain a math concept or procedure, provide a short overview of a class field trip, or demonstrate a quick science experiment. Create a video montage of images taken in the classroom. Use to show a process, explain an experiment, discuss data collected, create club or class movies about happenings throughout the year, and much more. Use this tool as a creative and easy alternative to boring slideshow presentations. Introduce the major points of a topic through images and added text. Use this site to make commercials, science fair previews, and animated shorts in any content area. Have students make "advertisements" for an organism or a literary character. Make a travel commercial for a country being studied or for cultural sites in a world language class. Be sure to share the presentations on your projector or interactive whiteboard.

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CodeCombat - CodeCombat

Grades
3 to 12
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Harness the power of problem solving with CodeCombat. CodeCombat provides a unique challenge to learn code while playing an engaging game. Escape enemies or navigate a dungeon by typing...more
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Harness the power of problem solving with CodeCombat. CodeCombat provides a unique challenge to learn code while playing an engaging game. Escape enemies or navigate a dungeon by typing basic JavaScript commands. Each level of play provides a new challenge for programmers to experiment the best way to accomplish the goals of the game. Write JavaScript code to direct the character's actions, and then run the code to see what happens. Correct the code if needed to complete the level. Programmers earn accessories, XP, and achievement badges after conquering a level. A series of five stars indicates the difficulty for each level. CodeCombat never feels like a gamified coding course because it makes learning fun. The emphasis is on the game instead of the code. CodeCombat is free to play, but an email is required to create an account to save information and for the multiplayer option. A premium upgrade is available for a fee. This review is for the FREE portion only.

tag(s): creativity (97), critical thinking (69), problem solving (203)

In the Classroom

Learning to code is an opportunity to teach students to think and problem solve. Coding is a critical digital literacy skill for the future. Create an after school coding club for students to access the site. Challenge students to write stories to accompany each level of code they complete in CodeCombat. Encourage students to create as they become more advanced in CodeCombat. Provide an environment for students to collaborate to solve the levels.

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Prismatic - Prismatic

Grades
6 to 12
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Organize and collect article "feeds" for your personal interests using this social content tool. Prismatic calls itself "the home for all your interests." Sign up for a free account...more
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Organize and collect article "feeds" for your personal interests using this social content tool. Prismatic calls itself "the home for all your interests." Sign up for a free account (email required), and select general topics of personal interest. The topics are grouped under categories as varied as Arts, Nature, Health, Science, Music, DIY, Business, College Admissions, Parenting, Animals, and many more. There are scores of interests to choose from under each category. Once your select your areas of interest, click the little menu square (top left) to open a side menu. There you can click a topic of interest to see the latest articles. You can read and click to save, share, or remove. Your collection is your own. You can also follow others' Prismatic collections or share yours, similarly to the way you can share Pinterest boards. The articles in each feed include those recommended by other Prismatic members for that topic as well as recent tweets and published articles discovered by Prismatic. Use Prismatic to customize a reading list as you may have previously done using an RSS Reader but with more social options. You can integrate it with your Twitter and Facebook accounts (or not). Tip: click your name in the left menu to access "Support Center" for how-to information. Free app versions are available.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (101)

In the Classroom

Create a professional Prismatic feed on topics related to teaching and to your own subject matter. You might even want to include some parenting topics to discover useful articles to share at conferences. Create a class feed on topics related to your curriculum, such as global warming, weather, and environmental issues. Since this is a DAT (device agnostic tool), it would be terrific in BYOD/BYOT schools! The articles that "come in" can serve as prompts for class discussion or as real world connections to make curriculum more meaningful to your skeptical students. In math class, collect articles on architecture (scale, angles, etc.) and other applied math uses. In world language classes, collect feeds for culture from other countries. Set up a feed on U.S. politics for your government class. Collect recipes for your Foods class. Better yet, invite your students (over 13 and in accordance with school policies) to create their own Prismatic collections to find articles that relate to the topics you are studying. Give points for creating a feed that connects and encourage students to respond to the articles in blog posts or share them during a mad minute at the start or end of class. Teachers of gifted can encourage their students to follow personal interests and connect to real world experts using Prismatic. This tool might also be helpful for finding articles to use in your own grad classes.

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Virtual Science Hub - Global excursion

Grades
9 to 12
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Create or view Excursions to learn various science topics! Find the available Excursions by clicking on Browse. Click Educational to see the catalog topics in Mathematics, Physics,...more
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Create or view Excursions to learn various science topics! Find the available Excursions by clicking on Browse. Click Educational to see the catalog topics in Mathematics, Physics, Biology, and Technology. This site includes Excursions created by the International community. Each Excursion plays like a PowerPoint. Advance through the slides to see embedded content included as part of the Excursion. Content includes Wikipedia entries, websites, quizzes, videos, and more. Create an account to make your Excursion. Click the + sign at the top to create. Add a title, description, and tags. Click to add content (photos, videos, text, quiz, etc.) Have a PowerPoint you would like to use? Export it as a PDF file and upload to Vishub. Another upload possibility is ZIP files, among others. Easy to use tools include changing background, animation, and style. Save, preview, and publish. Favorite and comment on popular excursions. If your district blocks YouTube, the videos 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.

tag(s): animals (241), cells (99), environment (296), medicine (54), plants (119), solar system (111), water cycle (29)

In the Classroom

Encourage students to create an excursion about a topic being studied in science class. This tool would be an excellent alternative to a conventional PowerPoint or other presentation tools. Consider assigning projects where students teach one another using this tool. Gifted students will love learning from already created excursions or extending their learning by creating their own. This tool would be useful for blended or flipped learning. Give students time to absorb information about content. Leave class time for individualized learning.

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Breaking News - NBC News Digital Network

Grades
4 to 12
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This current events site can take you places! Type in the topic you want to read about and view a list of headlines to stories about the topic. Choose one ...more
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This current events site can take you places! Type in the topic you want to read about and view a list of headlines to stories about the topic. Choose one of the headlines to read the story that comes from a variety of news sources. Click on the globe icon on the upper right of the news page to view the world map. This shows the location of where the stories originate. Clicking on the dots on the map also take you to the stories. This tool is available on web browsers, iOS, and Android devices.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (101), globe (14), maps (255), news (173), newspapers (50)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a resource for current events projects. Assign students various weeks through out the semester in which they are to be the class news reporter. The reports should keep their peers up to date and informed. Have students research what is going on via this news site, and give a small presentation at the beginning of class every day during their week. Students can do an oral presentation or create a short video summarizing the same information. View several news articles from different areas and discuss bias and point of view from other cities and countries. Choose dots on the map randomly from the various sections to see what is trending in different regions. Have students create news briefs and share them using a tool such as SchoolTube reviewed here.

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MediaFire - MediaFire

Grades
6 to 12
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Get organized with Media Fire. Store and sync files, folders, and media (photos, music, video). Access them from any computer or mobile device. Download the program to your computer...more
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Get organized with Media Fire. Store and sync files, folders, and media (photos, music, video). Access them from any computer or mobile device. Download the program to your computer for times when there is no Internet access. MediaFire Desktop keeps your online and locally stored files safe and in sync. View and edit all files and folders privately or share them to collaborate. Find a comprehensive Getting Started PDF manual on the left side menu. Signing up is as easy as typing in your email. MediaFire claims to be "the only online storage solution to offer unlimited downloads, download resuming, zero wait times and more, all for free."
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (101)

In the Classroom

Use MediaFire to transfer files and images between devices quickly in your BYOD or 1:1 classroom. Student groups working on projects in class can gather and share data easily from anywhere. Use for any work students may wish to collaborate on. They can easily make documents public or private and share with others. What a great way for students to turn their work into you when completed on their devices! During curriculum development and other professional development activities, members of a department (or even school-wide) can share resources and documents easily with each other.

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Kotobana - Kotobana

Grades
K to 12
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"Draw" a flower from the visual text of a single word using this simple Japanese tool. The basic tools are labeled in English. Browse the Gallery to see examples, including ...more
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"Draw" a flower from the visual text of a single word using this simple Japanese tool. The basic tools are labeled in English. Browse the Gallery to see examples, including this one our editors made using the word "teaching." Click +draw to make your own. Enter a single, short word and choose options such as font and color scheme. Give it a name, and it will be added to the Gallery. There are other sharing options for the designs you make, but many are labeled in Japanese! If you click to open it from the Gallery, you can copy its direct url from your address bar to save as a Favorite or share with others. Turn off autoplay in the Gallery to keep your design on the screen. Roll your mouse over a design (or tap it on a tablet) to make it spin! You can share to Facebook and Pinterest directly. The easiest way to share is by saving the url or by taking a screenshot of your finished design (Printscrn button on Windows or Command+Shift+4 on Mac). You also have the option to actually print. Note that the gallery could have word designs that may be in other languages or possibly be inappropriate for young people. Our editors found nothing objectionable at the time of this review. Preview to be safe. Click the sound on/off option in the footer to turn off the music as you enjoy the site.

tag(s): design (81), graphic design (29), symmetry (52)

In the Classroom

Demonstrate radial symmetry in an art or math class using this tool. As you teach letter shapes in kindergartens, try making a design to help your students see the shape in this colorful format. If you teach about fonts in an art or graphic design class, this tool can spark discussion about the design elements of letter forms. An idea for elementary or middle school teachers: Have students create "flowers" of their own names (or shortened nicknames) as a getting to know you activity during the first week of school. Post the design screenshot images on your class web page or print them to put in the hallway.

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Comment Bubble - Vivek Agrawal and Jean-Sebastien Legare

Grades
4 to 12
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Get explicit feedback for any video you want to share with others. Comment Bubble has a feedback feature that allows viewers to react to your video using five "Quick Comment" ...more
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Get explicit feedback for any video you want to share with others. Comment Bubble has a feedback feature that allows viewers to react to your video using five "Quick Comment" colored buttons (without pausing the video). Type in the information you want to know on the button. Viewers click on that button when they see it in the video. Viewers can also comment via text, audio, or video. Share the video with the URL provided or make it public for anyone to see. Comment Bubble will record and graph where in the video the audience reacted. See viewers' names with each comment. The demo video is hosted on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, it 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.

tag(s): assessment (71), video (195)

In the Classroom

Introduce Comment Bubble on an interactive whiteboard or projector with a video you have prepared. It could be a video you use in conjunction with your lesson or a video of you actually giving the lesson. Show students how they can click on the Quick Comment buttons and also make text or verbal comments. Use Comment Bubble for flipping your class lectures. Have buttons for students to click when things are unclear or when they strongly disagree. Record student presentations and upload for self-evaluation or peer and teacher comments and questions. Use this tool for formative assessment. ESL/ELL and resource teachers could record students reading or conversing with a group and create a Comment Bubble for the students to self score their activity.

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