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Exploratree - Futurelab

Grades
4 to 12
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Exploratree is a free online library of thinking guides where you can choose a graphic organizer/mind map and fill it in. Or, you can create your own thinking guide. There ...more
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Exploratree is a free online library of thinking guides where you can choose a graphic organizer/mind map and fill it in. Or, you can create your own thinking guide. There are many highly interactive features: printing, emailing, and collaborating with others in real time. The home page has several videos that show you how to use the features of the site, and it has many ideas for how to use Exploratree in your classroom.

tag(s): brain (73), brainstorming (24), graphic organizers (42)

In the Classroom

Play with the tools and toolbars to create a mind map; use toolbars to collaborate, publish, or print diagrams. Creating the organizers is of easy to medium difficulty depending upon how elaborate your organizer is. You and your students must be registered and logged in to share, or comment on each other's thinking guide. Note: to use the collaboration feature, collaborators need individual email accounts to gain access. You can also export the mind maps in pdf format, text, or as an image (gif).

Make sure your students use a code name or number when registering. Be sure to save their names/numbers, for when they "forget."

Have students create graphic organizers in cooperative groups as a study guide for unit content, to collect information for a group research project, or show examples of an important concept. In science classes, have groups generate visual illustrations of processes such as photosynthesis. In literature, generate story maps or diagram the relationships between characters. In social studies, illustrate different factors that lead to a war or economic meltdown. Share and compare the organizers on an interactive whiteboard or projector in class and allow classmates to suggest changes. Use student-made organizers as an informal formative assessment part way through any unit.

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Homestyler - Autodesk

Grades
5 to 12
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Homestyler is a free online interior design planner. Users choose a layout plan, add details such as doors, windows, and furnishings, and then decide on color schemes for interior decorating....more
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Homestyler is a free online interior design planner. Users choose a layout plan, add details such as doors, windows, and furnishings, and then decide on color schemes for interior decorating. Designs are viewable in both a 2D and 3D format. This is a free online program that requires no downloading. Registration does require an email address. This site may or may not be fully accessible inside your school filtering. Check to make sure all portions of this site are available when using your school's network. Homestyler does have a retail component that suggests certain name brands for appliances, and building supplies but the 3D designing capability outshines this form of advertising.

tag(s): architecture (83), area (67), design (83), volume (44)

In the Classroom

Users click and drag design components onto the main layout page. The free draw tool is a bit trickier to control but is similar to drawing tools in other programs. The perimeter measurement scrolls alongside the line you are drawing. The interface for such a complicated concept is intuitive. Students will need explicit instructions on how to operate this program.

Use an interactive whiteboard or projector to share the tutorial presentation and demonstrate how to use the design tools. Divide students into cooperative learning groups to explore the site. Consider this resource to help math students visualize how to compute the surface area of three-dimensional shapes and understand how area and volume change with scale. Social Studies and History teachers can ask students to re-create the interior of an early American home, Greek Temple or even their own classroom. With guidance, this could be a wonderful tool to help younger students understand interior mapping skills. Classrooms focusing on "real-world learning" may find this a valuable resource tool to help students create design plans for an alternative environment.

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Flisti - Flists

Grades
2 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Create free online polls easily without creating an account. Enter your question and possible answers. Click create a poll. Want to place the poll on a website or blog? Copy ...more
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Create free online polls easily without creating an account. Enter your question and possible answers. Click create a poll. Want to place the poll on a website or blog? Copy the URL and use it as a link. Or click the link below your poll to copy the embed code to paste wherever you want. Click view results to see votes in a bar graph form. Copy the graph by using the print screen function of your computer. Use Print screen for PC or Apple/Shift/4. Print the graph or upload to a wiki, blog, or site of your choice.

tag(s): quiz (85), quizzes (97)

In the Classroom

Users must be able to copy/paste the link to the poll or know how to use embed codes if placing in a wiki, blog, or site. Since this service is free and does not require signup, use this site whenever a quick and easy poll is needed.

Be sure that students use the poll appropriately and that personal information is not given out in poll responses.

Use this site anywhere quick answers are needed. Have students create a poll about what they are interested in and allow time to analyze responses and report findings. Use this site to vote for correct answers in math class, project ideas for science or social studies, social issues in current events, and practically any other subject area. In an elementary math class, collect quick data to show how graphs can be used. Provide options for students to gain confidence in generating and analyzing statistics they have created. Make a quick parent poll to include on a class web site to keep the lines of communication open.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Quicklyst - Shantanu Bala

Grades
6 to 12
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This application for note-taking is extremely simple to use, but performs in a very sophisticated way. There is a very easy text tutorial and FAQ to tell you about such ...more
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This application for note-taking is extremely simple to use, but performs in a very sophisticated way. There is a very easy text tutorial and FAQ to tell you about such features as creating an outline, accessing the DuckDuckGo search engine or looking up a word on the Merriam-Webster online dictionary without ever leaving your notes. It also connects to definitions from Wikipedia. And, you can automatically send your notes to your Amazon Kindle device. For math and science, the text tutorial will also show you how you can enter equations in your notes using the LaTeX format.

tag(s): note taking (34)

In the Classroom

If you do not approve use of Wikipedia, you will want to state this up front to your students. Before turning your students loose with this program, use your interactive whiteboard, projector and Quicklyst to show them how to put information in their own words. Then you can have them use Quicklyst to take notes for any type of summarizing or research. Create separate accounts on Quicklyst for student research groups. Students can then easily share their notes with their group members. Create a class account, and use your interactive whiteboard and projector along with Quicklyst to have the class create a study guide for a test on any subject. These can be saved and used for notes for a final test. If there is a common class password, students will be able to access the notes from home.

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MagCloud - Hewlett-Packard Development Company, LP

Grades
K to 12
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Use this free service to create magazines from your Flickr account. Authorize MagCloud to access your flickr account to pull album pictures into a magazine. Registration on the site...more
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Use this free service to create magazines from your Flickr account. Authorize MagCloud to access your flickr account to pull album pictures into a magazine. Registration on the site is required using an email address though verification is not required. Magazines can be printed for a fee or shared and viewed online for free. Click Browse after creating your account to view already created magazines. Search using search terms and by clicking on popular topics. Click Publish to begin creating your own magazine. Enter a title, subtitle, description, and category. Next, create an issue title, decide whether it will be public or private, and choose tags. Connect with your Flickr account, choose your Flickr album, and create the album easily. Setting your album to public allows others to view and buy (which can provide income as well.) Set Bind/price to choose bindings and price. Check the box if you wish free download to iPad.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): flickr (7), images (269), photography (160)

In the Classroom

Users must have a Flickr account and be able to navigate the authorizing of flickr as well as choosing an album to publish. Be sure to create titles in Flickr since these are imported as well.

Be sure to check district policy about creating student accounts and publishing student pictures and/or other material before using this tool. Note that by choosing Public in creating the magazine, the magazine is viewable online. Check your District policy. When browsing existing magazines, note that these may not be monitored and check for possible classroom-inappropriate material (though none was detected at the time of the review.) Consider creating a class Flickr account for students to upload class and group pictures.

Use a class Flickr account to keep track of day to day happenings in the classroom (especially for younger grades). Create albums of specific events such as field trips, service projects, hands-on activities, field experiences such as watershed studies, and more. Uploaded photos can easily be manipulated into an online album. Art and photography classes can use the magazine format as a portfolio. Create a magazine of photos that portray different history and social topics, set the scenes for novels or stories, or explain a specific science concept. Anywhere photos can be used to showcase achievement or explain a concept, this service would be a great resource. Special ed teachers, speech teachers, or world language teachers can collect images into "magazines" for students to practice/develop speech and vocabulary.

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Lino - Infoteria Corporation

Grades
K to 12
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Create online sticky type bulletin boards to view from any online device using Lino. Click to try it first without even joining. The trial canvas has stickies explaining how to ...more
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Create online sticky type bulletin boards to view from any online device using Lino. Click to try it first without even joining. The trial canvas has stickies explaining how to use Lino. Join and create your own canvases to share stickies, reminders, files, and more. Change sticky colors from the menu in the upper right hand corner or use the easy editing tools that appear when the sticky is selected. Use the icons at the bottom of each sticky note to "peel them off," share, edit, and more. Create a group from your Lino page to share and collaborate on canvases. You can also share canvases publicly so anyone with the URL can participate. This is a device-agnostic tool, available on the web but also available for free as both an Android and iOS app. Use it from any device or move between several devices and still access your work. App and web versions vary slightly.

tag(s): collages (17), creative fluency (8), creativity (111), DAT device agnostic tool (159), gamification (70), note taking (34)

In the Classroom

Use this tool easily in your Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) classroom since all students will be able to access it for free, no matter what device they have. Students can use this when researching alone or in groups, sharing files, videos, and pictures quickly from one computer to another. Have students write tasks for each member of the group on a sticky so that everyone has a responsibility. Show them how to copy/paste URLs for sources onto notes, too. Use Lino as your virtual word wall for vocabulary development. Use a Lino for students to submit and share questions or comments about assignments and tasks they are working on. Use it as a virtual graffiti wall for students to make connections between their world and curriculum content, such as "I wonder what the hall monitor would say finding Lady Macbeth washing her hands in the school restroom... and what Lady M would say back." (Of course, you will want to have a PG-13 policy for student comments!) Encourage students to maintain an idea collection lino for ideas and creative inspirations they may not have used yet but do not want to "lose." They can color code and organize ideas later or send the stickies to a new project board later. In writing or art classes, use lino as a virtual writer's journal or design a notebook to collect ideas, images, and even video clips. In science classes, encourage students to keep a lino board with (classroom appropriate) questions and "aside" thoughts about science concepts being studied and to use these ideas in later projects so their creative ideas are not 'lost" before project time. A lino board can also serve as a final online "display" for students to "show what they know" as the culmination of a research project. Add videos, images, and notes in a carefully arranged display not unlike an electronic bulletin board. This is also a great tool to help you stay "personally" organized. Use this site as a resource to share information with other teachers, parents, or students.

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TeachersFirst's Webquest Resources - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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This collection of reviewed resources from TeachersFirst is selected to help teachers, parents, and students find, use, and create webquests. Teachers can find examples of webquests...more
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This collection of reviewed resources from TeachersFirst is selected to help teachers, parents, and students find, use, and create webquests. Teachers can find examples of webquests across the curriculum (and places to find MORE). Both students and teachers can find tools for creating their own webquests. We have even included some sample web resources as terrific seeds for webquest ideas.

In the Classroom

Mark this in your professional favorites for planning and finding webquests. The webquest format has been around for years and can be adapted many ways. Start from this collection and consider designing a webquest "Task" that uses a collaborative, web 2.0 tool such as those reviewed in the TeachersFirst Edge listings. Today's students will love the authentic, creative tasks and collaboration made possible by today's tools. TeachersFirst Edge reviews include ways to use the tools safely and within school policies, for a learning "win-win." You might even want to have student groups design their own webquests for classmates to try as a new twist on "jigsaw" learning.

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Polldaddy - Automattic

Grades
K to 12
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Use Polldaddy to create polls or surveys to place on a blog, wiki, or site. Sign up to register (email address is required.) Choose your template and style. Change various ...more
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Use Polldaddy to create polls or surveys to place on a blog, wiki, or site. Sign up to register (email address is required.) Choose your template and style. Change various features such as progress bar, restrictions, and notifications. Choose from Free Text, Multiple Choice, or a Matrix. Enter your question and choices. Upload media if desired. Click Finish and Embed when done with the survey. Use the embed codes and links for either creating a pop up page, or embedding directly into a page on a blog, wiki, or site. View reports of the results, locations, and participants of the survey.

tag(s): quiz (85), quizzes (97)

In the Classroom

Users must be able to determine the question and possible responses to generate the poll online. Remember to Publish your quiz to be able to share it.

This tool does not show the individual votes of students. Though this tool can be used by students, it may be best used by a teacher. Students using this tool, need an email to register.

Use polls created using Polldaddy on a projector or interactive whiteboard to discuss and informally assess prior knowledge as you start a new unit, asking questions about the material. Discuss in groups why those in class would choose a particular answer to uncover misconceptions. Use for Daily quiz questions to gain knowledge of student understanding and a means of formative assessment. Have student groups alternate to create a new poll for the next day. Place a poll on your teacher web page as a homework inspiration or to ask questions to increase parent involvement. Older students may want to include polls on their student blogs to increase read involvement or create polls to use at the start of project presentations. Use polls to generate data for math class (graphing), during elections or for critical thinking activities dealing with interpretation of statistics. Use "real" data to engage students on issues that matter to them.

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Ed.Voicethread Digital Library - Voicethread LLC

Grades
K to 12
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Unsure of classroom uses for Voicethread? On this site, teachers share successful projects that use Voicethread. Choose from the subjects along the left side. Read articles sharing...more
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Unsure of classroom uses for Voicethread? On this site, teachers share successful projects that use Voicethread. Choose from the subjects along the left side. Read articles sharing ideas, challenges in the use of Voicethread, and a sample Voicethread to view. New to Voicethread? Check our review of Voicethread here.

tag(s): digital storytelling (150)

In the Classroom

Find great project ideas from educators who have used Voicethread in the classroom. For example, in Math find great projects about measurement, probability, and problem solving. In Science, view stories about Astronomy. View projects about Ellis Island and the Reconstruction along with other Social Studies examples. Find great projects on these subjects as well as Language Arts, Foreign Language, Information Technology, Professional Development, and Performing Arts. Have a great project using Voicethread? Join the community and submit your as well.

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Show my street - showmystreet.com

Grades
2 to 12
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Use this easy site to find any address on satellite view. Show My Street uses Google Street View. Type in an address. As you type, street views that begin to ...more
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Use this easy site to find any address on satellite view. Show My Street uses Google Street View. Type in an address. As you type, street views that begin to match the address will appear. As you continue to type, the street views continue to change. (This is actually a really great way to see other places.) Zoom in on your address using the same tools found in Google Maps. Share the location by clicking on the Twitter, Facebook, or link icons.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): maps (287)

In the Classroom

Have students choose any place, then post the link to it on a blog, wiki, or website, and write a description of it. Describe what they would see out of their window, create a story about what they hear or see, or describe their family and what's inside of the house. Research the history of the area to determine how it may have been different in the past. Of course you will went to avoid posting personal information on the web, but students could write fictional stories or keep personal information out of their writings. Describe the wildlife (plant or animal) that exists in their area. Describe the community of people in the area or an important neighbor and why they are important. Create a persuasive essay why their house (or school) is the best, friendliest, etc. in the area. Use tools to determine the distance between houses or to local historical places, places of interest, etc. Use the image as a powerful tool for writing.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Google Sites - Google

Grades
K to 12
3 Favorites 1  Comments
 
Need to create a simple website without cost? Google Sites offers a simple interface that is easy to use to build websites. Use some advanced features such as fonts, text ...more
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Need to create a simple website without cost? Google Sites offers a simple interface that is easy to use to build websites. Use some advanced features such as fonts, text size, text color, and headings. Add images and videos from You Tube to your site. Revert to previous versions of the pages you create through the revision history. Add a Google map to your page easily. Use other Gadgets that are easy to plug in by choosing one of the many Google Gadgets. Create many different kinds of pages in your site. Choose your own privacy rules for the site as well.

tag(s): wikis (20)

In the Classroom

Users must have a Google account or sign up for an account. View the controls in Google sites before creating to get an idea of usable features. Find great hints and tips about using Google sites here.

Click "Create a new site" to name your site and begin the process. Choose from a variety of templates and begin building your pages. Click "Edit" on your page to bring up the editing options. Use the buttons on the editor bar to change font sizes, color, etc. Click "Insert" to view a drop down menu of a variety of content that can be included on the page. Use the other tabs such as "Format," "Table," and "Layout" to change other aspects of the page. Be sure to click the "Save" button when finished editing a page. Create a new page within the site by clicking "Create a page." Choose from a variety of pages that have different formats suited for a web page, announcements page, file cabinet, or list. Be sure to select where the page will be found such as the top level menu or as a subpage under a different page in the site. Click on "More actions" to bring up other menu items such as "Manage Site," changing page settings, moving or deleting a page, and more. Share your site with others and invite users who can also make changes on the site.

Use a Google Site to create a simple web page for communication with students and their families at any grade level. In middle and high school, use student-created site(s) as a way for students to collaborate and share with many of the same features as a wiki.

Comments

Very versatile for portfolios. Does take some work, not particularly well-documented. Frances, CT, Grades: 6 - 8

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Mapcrunch - MapCrunch

Grades
2 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Use MapCrunch to go to places in the world without ever leaving the classroom. Explore the world's geography and cultures easily. View detailed "Google Street View" snapshots of towns,...more
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Use MapCrunch to go to places in the world without ever leaving the classroom. Explore the world's geography and cultures easily. View detailed "Google Street View" snapshots of towns, cities, and areas all over the globe. Randomly tour spots on the earth or choose a tour by continent. Use the navigation buttons to zoom in or out or shift the MapCrunch window to face a different direction. Click on the checkbox to use the slideshow feature. Share by using a link, through Facebook, or email.

tag(s): maps (287)

In the Classroom

Assign students various countries, regions, or continents to make comparisons. Identify the biological, geographical, cultural, and social issues that exist in the world, based on what the pictures show and what their research uncovers. Bring a greater understanding to current economic and environmental issues in many countries. World language (or World Cultures) classes can help students understand the cultures of the countries where the language is spoken. Compare specific attributes of two countries using an online Venn Diagram, such as the one reviewed here. Another idea: have cooperative learning groups use this resource to create online books about the country of their tour using a resource such as Bookemon,
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Model Bank-Elements of Language - Holt, Rinehart and Winston

Grades
7 to 12
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The Elements of Language Model Bank is the ideal teaching companion for any type of written expression. Whether you are teaching how to write a news article, a descriptive essay,...more
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The Elements of Language Model Bank is the ideal teaching companion for any type of written expression. Whether you are teaching how to write a news article, a descriptive essay, a cause and effect piece, a short story, or just about any type of writing, including research reports, these online, interactive examples are perfect for students to see exactly what an outstanding assignment should look like. There is a link for a printable Writer's Guide at the top of each model that explains exactly what to do and how to do it, with directions and illustrated explanations. Teachers and students will find the framework and information super easy to follow, attractive, and a real "life saver."

tag(s): essays (22), test prep (95), writing (365)

In the Classroom

There is no doubt that you will want to bookmark this site in your favorites and put a link to it just about everywhere...on your computer's desktop, on your portable USB drive, and maybe even in your email...it's just that good! Use it as a teaching tool itself, for practice, and as a go-to site to project examples of various types of writing assignments on your classroom whiteboard. There will be no more excuses for not knowing how to write an attention grabbing opening, thesis, and main idea statements, supporting details and elaboration, and conclusion and call for action. When assigning a specific writing project to students, or when preparing for the written portion of standardized tests, including SATs and other college entrance exams, providing a link to this site on your class web page or wiki is like giving your students an easy place to get plenty of extra help.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Embed Plus - EmbedPlus

Grades
K to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Want to enhance the viewer experiences and discussions around the YouTube videos you embed? Enter the URL of your You Tube video to add DVD-like controls without altering the original...more
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Want to enhance the viewer experiences and discussions around the YouTube videos you embed? Enter the URL of your You Tube video to add DVD-like controls without altering the original content. Use EmbedPlus to add features such as scene skipping, movable zoom, third party annotations, slow motion on-demand, and instant replay. Set start time and scene markers if desired. Add your annotations during this set up process. When done, click get Code to either copy a new URL for your video or obtain an embed code to place in a blog, wiki, or site to share with others.

tag(s): movies (67), video (262)

In the Classroom

If using student created video, please check with district policy about sharing student work on the Internet. If using with students, be sure to discuss what is considered appropriate/inappropriate annotations to make on videos. These videos may not play in districts where You Tube videos are blocked. As EmbedPlus uses its own wrapper around the You Tube video, it may be viewable in your district depending upon the filter being used. Be sure to test this before using with students. Note: The "real time reactions" option pulls in and displays public comments when you click it. Use the "enhanced embed" wizard and be sure to click the checkbox that deactivates this feature. You may wish to monitor these for possible inappropriate content.

Use the controls to add annotations or student thoughts to sections of the videos. Students can make these comments on their own videos or on a different groups contribution. Use this just to add playback controls that allow for greater viewing of You Tube videos. Have students find a video (or assign one) and annotate it with curriculum related discussion, criticism, vocabulary, etc. Students can then embed this product in his/her blog or a class wiki or site. Consider creating a glog using GlogsterEDU, reviewed here. Make an annotated video with question prompts in annotations and embed in wiki or glog to share with your classes. Playback using the slow motion and zoom would be a great item to show on a whiteboard or projector.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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CoSketch - cosketch.com

Grades
9 to 12
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This free site provides an instant whiteboard for collaboration by multiple people. Brainstorm, add text or shapes, or upload and annotate an image. Use Google Maps to add a background....more
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This free site provides an instant whiteboard for collaboration by multiple people. Brainstorm, add text or shapes, or upload and annotate an image. Use Google Maps to add a background. Create a graphic from scratch using the geometric shapes. Share the whiteboard to brainstorm with both words and shapes. Include photos or other images as part of your collective visual "thinking." A chat function exists on the whiteboard space, as well.

tag(s): chat (51), multimedia (59)

In the Classroom

Users need to know how to locate and upload a picture from the computer and how to manage basic tools, etc. Use the temporary room for use by you or a group of collaborators. Invite others to collaborate by sharing the URL of the whiteboard. Change your nickname so that others can recognize you. Tools are easy to use and require very little play to be comfortable. Click "Save sketch as embeddable image" to save the creation as an easily embedded image file. You can also use the print screen function (PrtSc button on a PC) or apple/shift/4 combination on a mac. For schools needing more photo mash up options to alter artwork or photos, this is an alternative.

The site includes a chat function. Be sure to caution students about appropriate use. Continuous monitoring by teachers is essential!

Use pictures from a science lab or experiment to write information on the picture. Have student groups collaborate to create a diagram of the steps in a process shown in a photograph. Have students add annotations to art images or ad layouts, showing design elements and the path of your eye as you view the image. Show math concepts using geometric shapes. Create images as a group or use for tutorials. Create artwork or use for brainstorming. Have students create their own whiteboard as part of a research project. Project the image on your interactive whiteboard or projector as you begin a unit or lesson or to recap the steps in a process with the entire class. Collaborate with others outside the classroom as you create a community map or action plan together. Encourage students to use this site to review or plan together.

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Radio Diaries - National Public Radio

Grades
6 to 12
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This site provides a large, indexed database of first person accounts and contemporaneous accounts of important eras and events in history. Primary sources can give the sense of "you...more
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This site provides a large, indexed database of first person accounts and contemporaneous accounts of important eras and events in history. Primary sources can give the sense of "you are there" that can make history come alive. They can also give valuable insight into the context and culture of a time and place remote from our own. Without the interpretation, summarization, and dilution that comes from textbook accounts, these narratives are invaluable to understand history in its purest sense. Search by time period or general topic and get speeches, diaries, and eyewitness accounts. Use the "Voices" tab to access audio recordings (requiring RealPlayer). Use the "History in Motion" tab to view film clips (requiring Flash). SnapShots provides photo montages from recent history. The home page is updated regularly to include "this month in history" features, a photo of the week, and a list of new entries to the database. A collection of the audio essays ("Teenage Diaries")draws on the experiences of a diverse group of teens who describe their lives, what's important, and what they're thinking. It's fun to browse and explore, but there is also a comprehensive index if you're searching for something in particular. One downside is the liberal use of moving advertising that can be distracting. This website requires Flash and RealPlayer.

tag(s): writing (365)

In the Classroom

This is a fabulous resource for augmenting generic textbook accounts of history with primary source material. Whether we like it or not, our students are more visual than we were; they will love the film clips and photo montages from recent events. Use these on an interactive whiteboard or projector for full impact (although the film clips are fairly small to maintain resolution). If you teach social studies, this is a site you'll want to bookmark and visit often. English teachers will want to use the teenage diaries as inspiration for creative writing assignments, or even as a source of ideas for college admissions essays. Challenge students to create their own visual complements to the audio essays using a tool such as GlogsterEDU, reviewed here.

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Digital Is: National Writing Project - The National Writing Project

Grades
K to 12
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The Digital Is website hosts resources, reflections, and stories about what it means to teach writing in our digital, interconnected world. This special resource from the National...more
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The Digital Is website hosts resources, reflections, and stories about what it means to teach writing in our digital, interconnected world. This special resource from the National Writers Project looks at what digital writing is, what it might look like in practice, and the many new multi-media authoring tools and websites that redefine the kinds of writing students can compose in our classrooms. Writing today is so much more than pens and paper. Digital Is explores how we write, share, collaborate, publish, and participate today and in the future, and what that means for the teaching of writing. It is an emerging knowledge-base created and curated by its community of educators, kindergarten through university level. In today's world of texting, tweeting, blogging, and social networking, young people need new literacies to succeed in the information rich, fast paced world, and schools need to adapt teaching practices to equip students with the technology-related communication skills they need to thrive in the global workplace.

tag(s): multimedia (59), writing (365)

In the Classroom

Save this site in your favorites to integrate new technologies for 21st century learning. Then make a point of stopping to explore the new ideas on this site regularly -- or whenever you need inspiration. Challenge yourself to start by using one of these new writing ideas per marking period. You may get hooked. Teaching writing is undoubtedly undergoing a huge change, and the models, tips, and information from Digital Is can help you discover how to use digital writing as a means to develop critical thinking, strategies, and skills that enrich learning beyond just the traditional. An added bonus to trying these ideas is that your students will see writing as something "now" not something "required." Make digital writing part of your teaching vocabulary.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Writing Bugs - Education World

Grades
3 to 12
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Writing Bugs is an online library of writing prompts organized in a timely fashion by months, (for example: Describe snow to someone who has never seen it), as well as ...more
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Writing Bugs is an online library of writing prompts organized in a timely fashion by months, (for example: Describe snow to someone who has never seen it), as well as "Anytime Writing Bugs," such as: Write about a goal that you would like to achieve this year. Stop racking your brain for new writing ideas and start livening up your resources with this variety of topic and story starters. A huge advantage for these writing prompts is that the subjects are categorized month by month so you can be assured that the topics deal with relevant content, or you may choose from the many that are applicable all year round.

tag(s): writing (365), writing prompts (93)

In the Classroom

You can easily click on the current month and display a particular journal entry starter on your whiteboard or choose to project a few to provide your students with options. They can be used to "get the ball rolling" at the beginning of class, as daily or weekly warm-up activities to practice general writing or skills that you are focusing on, preparing for state assessments, free-writing, or as an "anytime" or "when you're finished with your work" activity. They can be easily printed to use as "emergency" or substitute lesson plans.

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Classrooms Around the World - Matador Network

Grades
2 to 12
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This photo essay shows classrooms and conditions in schools all around the world. As might be expected, there is a great deal of variation in comfort, school supplies, facilities, students...more
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This photo essay shows classrooms and conditions in schools all around the world. As might be expected, there is a great deal of variation in comfort, school supplies, facilities, students per room, etc. IMPORTANT NOTE: Preview photo details before sharing this with children as some contain material that you might not find suitable to share. (For example, one photo contains vocabulary terms regarding pornography and sexual addiction!) Also, be aware that there are some advertisements on this page. At the time of this review, one of the particular advertisements was about the "Best Nude Beaches In the World."

tag(s): cross cultural understanding (115), cultures (105), photography (160)

In the Classroom

Use this site when discussing world cultures or economics. Use this site as an anticipatory set or "activator" to introduce a unit or lesson on a projector or interactive whiteboard. To avoid displaying certain content, you can selectively take screenshots (CTRL+PrtScrn on Windows, Command+Shft+4 on Mac) or copy images temporarily into PowerPoint slides or a whiteboard file-- with credit--to show them alone. Use it to jump off into a discussion or unit on some of the countries displayed here. Have students create original photo essays online following this model, using Have students create original photo essays online following this model, using Slidestory, reviewed here. Slidestory allows you to narrate the slides and images. Challenge students to find photos and then narrate the photos as if in a news report. To find Creative Commons images for student projects (with credit, of course), try Compfight, reviewed here. Other areas where this website might be useful are when you do units on world education, world poverty, etc. Have students do comparison/contrast essays using these photos as introductions to the differences between classrooms. Or have students compare/contrast using a site such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here). The many small details that differ from place to place would make getting details and examples easy. Ask students also to extrapolate differences in teaching methods just by viewing these photos.

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Wylio - wylio.com

Grades
K to 12
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Find and use copyright-free pictures using simple tools and copy/paste to get the embed code. Use Wylio to search for a picture in the topic of your choice. Enter a ...more
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Find and use copyright-free pictures using simple tools and copy/paste to get the embed code. Use Wylio to search for a picture in the topic of your choice. Enter a search term, view the possible pictures, and click on your choice. Change the alignment of the picture and the size it will appear using the simple tools. When done, click "Get The Code" to view the embeddable code. Copy and paste the code into a site, blog, or wiki to share with others. What is special about Wylio? The attribution to the picture's author is embedded into the code, so you are modeling ethical use of electronic resources!

tag(s): creative commons (22), images (269), photography (160)

In the Classroom

Users must be knowledgeable about embed codes and how to use them in a site, blog, or wiki. Be sure to test out embedding a picture on your site to anticipate problems when students use Wylio. Use Wylio to find copyright-free pictures for teacher use in any subject area or for student use as soon as they learn to copy/paste embed codes. This tool would be a great asset to a photography or art class but can be used in any subject area. Use pictures that showcase life around us or in a Math class to show various Math functions in man made structures and nature. Use this site to take your geography class around the world (virtually). Have students create presentations in any subject area and narrate the pictures rather than doing a traditional oral report. Use a site such as Slidestory, reviewed here, to narrate the pictures. Speech and language in lower grades or ESL/ELL teachers could use pictures for vocabulary development and allow students to add words or sentences to go with the pictures. In Science, find pictures that represent various concepts and encourage explanations of these concepts for better understanding. Embeddable pictures also work very well in "glogs" (online posters made using GlogsterEDU, reviewed here) or on your class wiki. Note: embedded picture only show on computers connected to the Internet since the embed command "goes and gets" the pictures using the web.
 

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