TeachersFirst Edge - Digital Storytelling

 

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Playfic - Andy Baio and Cooper McHatton

Grades
4 to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Create interactive, text-based games with this simple tool. Perhaps you remember a text-based game called "Adventure" from back in the early days of computers. Be sure to watch the...more
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Create interactive, text-based games with this simple tool. Perhaps you remember a text-based game called "Adventure" from back in the early days of computers. Be sure to watch the tutorial on the home page that also teaches you how to navigate the stories themselves. By clicking on the "Learn More" when you're signed out, or the "About Us" when you're signed in, you can view the "cheat sheet" that will certainly make your first creative attempt at Playfic more enjoyable. Experiment with Playfic games created by others and time yourself. if you get stuck, you can look at the source code. Create your own Playfic for any topic that interests you, whether it's fiction or not. Note that there is no moderation on games created by others, so preview before sharing with young people.

tag(s): creative writing (115), creativity (92), digital storytelling (129), gamification (79), mysteries (17), puzzles (142)

In the Classroom

"Gamification" of learning is a hot topic in 21st century learning. Use this simple tool to make it happen. Use for any digital storytelling: fact or fiction. In social studies, have students create an interactive game based on life during the Depression or any historic era. Have them create a "Where in the world is ..." for geography. World language students could make a simple game (in the language they are studying) about daily life. Gifted students will love creating games on their favorite topics, so make this a research-and-create-a-game approach for independent projects. Science students could make a game about what might happen in certain weather or life as a fossil. Have your language arts students create mystery or survival stories or even a different ending to a story you've read together. Warning: all stories are PUBLIC and your students will be able to view other's stories. You'll either want to have a class account or monitor this closely.

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Scribophile, the Social Writing Community - Scribophile

Grades
10 to 12
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At Scribophile you can share your writing with others. It is self-professed as a community that takes writing seriously and wants to both give and receive feedback on writing. Publish...more
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At Scribophile you can share your writing with others. It is self-professed as a community that takes writing seriously and wants to both give and receive feedback on writing. Publish works, read others' work, write critiques of others' work, and interact with other writers. This is a good site for mature, serious writers. Joining is free but necessary to participate fully. The sample blogs given for each day are enlightening and have intelligent ideas presented in thoughtful ways. Within the "Community" section, read the spotlighted work and how others respond to it.

tag(s): creative writing (115)

In the Classroom

Caution is necessary with this site because it is completely open to the public. Be aware of what your district's restrictions are on this kind of activity. Depending on your circumstances and school district policies, this site might best be used under a teacher login. You can put models up on your interactive whiteboard for students to respond to either individually or as a class. You might have reactions to some of the blogs or have students write their own critiques of the spotlighted work before sharing what others on the site have posted. If your students are going to have their own accounts, create groups for your students to post their writing. In either of these circumstances using the "Community" section, you can read the spotlighted work and how others respond to it. That would be great for teaching students to critique each others' work in useful ways. All students would benefit from class or small group discussions of the daily blogs. Using this in class might also encourage students to seek out the writing on their own and may have them bringing in extra work for their classmates to comment on. This site might also be a good venue for students who work together on a high school literary magazine or high school gifted students seeking writing mentors outside teh school community (with parent permission, of course).

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about.me - Tony Conrad, Ryan Freitas, Tim Young

Grades
6 to 12
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Promote yourself for college or future jobs by creating your own "me portfolio" website. No matter your age or stage in life, in today's world you are what Google shows ...more
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Promote yourself for college or future jobs by creating your own "me portfolio" website. No matter your age or stage in life, in today's world you are what Google shows about you. Take control of your online presence to show your chosen audience what YOU want them to know. You are more than your FaceBook persona or Linked In profile. about.me allows you to create a "hub" with links to your online projects you want visitors to see. Upload a photo, write a short piece about your interests, then link to your online content and social networks. There is also an Assets page where you can download the about.me logo and colors to add to other pages and projects you have on the web so visitors will link back to the hub and discover your other projects. The Terms of Use for About.Me prohibits creating fictitious personas.

tag(s): college (47), communication (135), internet safety (113), portfolios (23), social networking (82)

In the Classroom

Counselors and teachers could work together to have high school students make about.me the place they use as a "branding" home for themselves online. Start by making your own About.me page to mange your own professional presence and use as an example. Suggest to students that they use a "me portfolio" on about.me for college apps, employment apps, etc. Using about.me is also the perfect opportunity to talk with students about their online presence and how outsiders might interpret what they decide to post on about.me or any social network. Along with that discussion you'll want to review Internet safety and privacy. Consider using Privacy and Internet Safety, reviewed here. If you teach gifted students (13+) who are working beyond your regular curriculum, start by having them create a real world presence using about.me, with parent permission of course. Use this space for them to publish links to their best work, especially projects that take on a life of their own long after the assignment ends. Have a student interested in international politics? Maybe STEM cell research? Have the share the class project that got the started along with essays about where they see themselves in ten years or portfolios of their related accomplishments, including those outside of school. This portfolio site is not something to "pile up" with everything. It is for them to present their best face to the public. Encourage them to take ownership of it.

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Spreaker - Spreaker Online Radio

Grades
1 to 12
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Create a live Internet radio show -- free -- with Spreaker! This super easy online tool creates podcasts instantly for you to share with your own URL, on Facebook, Google ...more
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Create a live Internet radio show -- free -- with Spreaker! This super easy online tool creates podcasts instantly for you to share with your own URL, on Facebook, Google +, Soundcloud, Twitter, or add to the Spreaker website. Follow others, or invite others to follow your podcasts. With a click of a button you are creating a live podcast. To create a podcast you do not need Flash. However, there are several tutorials, and these tutorials require flash. There is a free version and a more deluxe premium version. This review is for the free version.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): communication (135), podcasts (65), radio (22)

In the Classroom

Enjoy a live radio show from your classroom! Publish written pieces of writing, science reports, social studies reports, and any other reports you would like to share. Create a New Book or Book Review podcast for the media center. Link to your podcast URL on your class website. Publish directions to projects, explanations for difficult concepts, or even a radio show of you reading your favorite books for your students. Have upper elementary students take turns reading aloud for a podcast aimed at little reading buddies in kindergarten. Allow students to podcast to "pen pals" in faraway places. Record your school choir, orchestra group, poetry club, or drama club doing their best work or dramatic readings of Shakespeare soliloquies. Take your school newspaper to a new level with recorded radio articles. Be sure to include interviews with students, teachers, principals, parents, authors, artists, and almost anyone. In younger grades, use to save an audio portfolio of reading fluency, expression, or to aid with running records or even include writing. Be sure do this regularly throughout the year to analyze growth. Have fun at Halloween with your Halloween station filled with favorite spooky stories! Welcome your students to a new school year by sending them your message. Create messages for classmates who move away. Bring your foreign language classes an extra resource of your pronunciations whenever they need more practice. ESL/ELL, special education classes can often benefit from the extra explanations, practice, and elaborated instructions given at their own pace. The possibilities are endless! The site itself is a "web 2.0," social networking style site, so some schools may have it blocked. Ask about unblocking just YOUR teacher account so you can have students access it while at school and under your supervision.

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Storyboard Generator - Australian Centre for the Moving Image

Grades
4 to 12
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Try out this interactive tool demonstrating storyboarding concepts. You can build your own storyboard using resources from the free media library. In the 'Choose Your Script' version,...more
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Try out this interactive tool demonstrating storyboarding concepts. You can build your own storyboard using resources from the free media library. In the 'Choose Your Script' version, select from three genres: horror, comedy or romance. This storyboard can then be published and saved, shared, embedded, or linked. In the 'Build your own' version, photographs can be uploaded or used from the Free Media Library to build personalized visuals using silhouette characters. Your created script that can be embedded, linked, or shared. Be sure to check out the many instruction videos included on the site for tips on creating storyboards. Registration with email is required to share and save storyboards.

tag(s): comics and cartoons (44), digital storytelling (129), images (248)

In the Classroom

Demonstrate how to create and use a storyboard using this tool on your interactive whiteboard (or projector). View stories from the gallery for inspiration before attempting to have students create their own. Create a storyboard and share when teaching creative writing techniques or story mapping. Have students tell the story they have viewed. Challenge students to create a storyboard of readings recently finished in class as a review of characters and story plot. Use storyboards as the first step in planning larger projects from plays to videos.

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Faces of Learning - Q.E.D. Foundation

Grades
8 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Discover a community about how people learn. Attractively packaged, the site encourages you to share your experiences and thoughts about what makes a learning environment and how you...more
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Discover a community about how people learn. Attractively packaged, the site encourages you to share your experiences and thoughts about what makes a learning environment and how you learn. Don't miss the self-assessment activity called "Your Learner Sketch" to discover strengths about your own learning and potential problem areas. This is a wonderful site to find others with similar experiences and concerns. After joining the website community, you can submit sketches and photos, add to blogs, and learn about other resources and activities. Record stories orally for others to hear. Explore stories via tags in a tag cloud. Explore links to other sharing stories experiences like Story Corps.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): communities (30), learning styles (18)

In the Classroom

Encourage students to do a project about learning and post their results here, if policies permit. Share this link on your class web page and/or in a parent newsletter so they can better understand the nature of learning and its challenges. Use the self-assessment with any class -- without joining the site -- as you talk about study skills and finding individual strengths for studying and learning. Consider letting students form study groups based on the results. This is an ideal activity for early in the school year.

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Draw A Stickman - drawastickman.com

Grades
1 to 10
13 Favorites 2  Comments
 
Draw A Stickman is a delightful, entertaining site that encourages creativity and fun! This is a mini interactive story that has students reading and following directions, solving...more
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Draw A Stickman is a delightful, entertaining site that encourages creativity and fun! This is a mini interactive story that has students reading and following directions, solving mysteries, thinking creatively, and solving problems. Start by selecting an episode, then begin the adventure, you draw a simple stick figure and then bring him or her to life. Your figure is faced with several challenges; you must follow directions and draw several props for your stick figure to use. You will love the hero of the story (the character you created) and the villain (a dragon). Finished stories can be replayed or shared on Facebook, Twitter, or email. There is also an online gallery for students to explore and view others' creations.

tag(s): creative writing (115), digital storytelling (129), directions (12), drawing (58), interactive stories (18)

In the Classroom

Aside from just fun practice at following instructions, Draw a Stickman would be a great fictional story prompt. Students have the bones of a story and can fill in details, vivid verbs, adjectives, etc. to tell the story. This would be a good practice activity with writing sequences of "first, then, and next." Students can elaborate on their hero, the plot of the story, the details, the setting, etc. Students can write a moral for a story to add in the customized ending. These stories would be fun to share as a class...how wide a variety can come from the same basics? Share finished stories with a talking avatar using a photo or other image (legally permitted to be reproduced). The avatars can "read" the story. Use a site such as Blabberize, reviewed here. Teach story mapping easily with this activity: On an interactive whiteboard (or projector), students can go through the stick figure story together, labeling the different parts of the story (beginning, problem, climax, resolution, ending). This interactive can help students identify story elements, including setting, characters and plot. This site would also be perfect for ENL/ESL students for practice in reading and following directions or for speech/language students to practice retelling a story from the visual prompts. Another idea: use this activity for verb/vocabulary practice in a world language class.

Comments

This will be a great fill-in activity when my students finish their assignments. I can't wait to use it! Beverly, TX, Grades: 6 - 12
Love this! So creative. I know the kids will love it too and I think the learning activities sound very promising too. Jeannie, MI, Grades: 0 - 5

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Flipsnack - Smartketer LLC

Grades
5 to 12
12 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Use FlipSnack to create a free, online flip book from PDF documents. Create a Flip book when you want to embed a book, magazine, catalog, newspaper, portfolio, or other kind ...more
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Use FlipSnack to create a free, online flip book from PDF documents. Create a Flip book when you want to embed a book, magazine, catalog, newspaper, portfolio, or other kind of document into a website, wiki, or blog and have viewers flip through the pages interactively. Upload your PDF document and choose a title. (Choose carefully, since it is the title of the book.) Choose a template and customize by dragging elements and changing colors and then Publish. Now any content can become an online "book."

In the Classroom

Make a flipbook of a presentation as an engaging alternative to a web page or PowerPoint. If you have a Word doc or image instead of a PDF, not to worry! Use CleverPDF, reviewed here, to convert them to PDF format. Share classroom information such as rules and expectations in an easy to read format. Use for a great way to bring digital storytelling up front in your classroom. Make photosynthesis a story instead of bits of equations and information. Portray a time period in history or create books of different political or societal opinions. Create a flipbook with the viewpoints and personalities of characters in a story. Practice a different language by creating a themed flipbook. Lower grades can combine writing into a class flipbook to be shared online or read aloud. Any written assignment can easily be re-visioned as a flipbook! Make your literary magazone a flipbook or build new poetry collections during poetry month. Share all your flipbooks on individual laptops, or the interactive whiteboard or projector. Create simple flipbooks of Dolch words for beginning readers.

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Underlined - Penguin Random House Books

Grades
6 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Underlined (formerly known as Figment: Write Yourself In) is a terrific program for both readers and writers! Looking for something new to read? Want to get your student's or your ...more
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Underlined (formerly known as Figment: Write Yourself In) is a terrific program for both readers and writers! Looking for something new to read? Want to get your student's or your own writing published? You don't even have to register to read or listen to a book. It's all free. If you or your students are aspiring authors you can register and publish your writing here. Figment also has contests where the community votes for the best piece of writing for a certain prompt. Books are tagged, so you can search by tag. The Figment library has all the genres listed for you to click on and search, a section for "newest additions," "recently updated," and "all the rage." For reading and listening, the only skill you will need to know is to know how to search the site. If your intent is to publish yours or your student's writing, you will need to register. Be aware that Figment is designed for ALL kinds of writers and may include some writing that is not "kid friendly." Click the Educators link in the footer to access newer features specifically for teachers.

tag(s): digital storytelling (129), persuasive writing (51), poetry (183), short stories (18), writing (286)

In the Classroom

There are several ways you can use this site as a place to publish. Some may involve using other tools. For example, with younger students: Once your students have completed a piece of writing, have them submit it to the class using MixedInk reviewed here. The class can then collaborate by choosing ideas from any of the pieces submitted and publishing a "class" approved story, poem, etc. on Figment. With older students: Have them submit their poems, short stories, current event articles, or persuasive writing to MixedInk for peer edit and advice. After the class has collaborated on the writing, submit to Figment for a more general audience. Some teachers have their students write novels for National Novel Writing Month, and at "Figment: Write Yourself In" they will be able to publish them.

Students will need a screen name that is not their real name, and a password. See the Profile area for Scholastic's "You Are What You Read" reviewed here for several suggestions for creating a screen name. For younger students you may want to have a "class account" and supply the password. Be sure you and your students write their screen name and password down. Just make sure they sign their writing with their screen name. With older students you can use the same procedure as above, or students can sign up with their own email. Read tips for safely managing email registrations here.

If school policies and parents allow it, You may want to introduce your gifted student-writers to this site as a place where they can publish and get feedback from a broader audience. The safest way may be to set up groups as a teacher, including other student writers from other classrooms and grade levels. Gifted students interact well in multi-age settings, especially if they have common interests. Have the history buffs work together on accurate historical fiction related to the time periods you are studying or have your advanced science students write up their research collaboratively using Figment. They might even try their had at writing some science fiction based on concepts you are studying.

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DIY Podcast - NASA

Grades
K to 12
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Create a podcast using audio and videos clips featuring NASA scientists! Follow the steps to create the podcast, including writing a production script, downloading clips, recording...more
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Create a podcast using audio and videos clips featuring NASA scientists! Follow the steps to create the podcast, including writing a production script, downloading clips, recording your narrations, and editing. Use a digital recorder, camcorder, or your computer to record the audio. Download a brochure or bookmark to remember the links for creating the DIY Podcast. Click on the links along the right side of the page for great resources such as the DIY Podcast Blog for some great ideas. Several examples along the side include creating a fitness podcast, lab safety, Newton's Laws, Rocket Science, and Solar Arrays.

tag(s): podcasts (65), scientists (62), space (204)

In the Classroom

Provide example topics to your class once they have tried this site, and let them go! Podcasts can be used in any subject area. In math, have students "teach" the class a new skill via podcast. Rather than a traditional book report, have students create a podcast highlighting the main character, plot, conflict, or storyline or a book. In current events, have cooperative learning groups create a podcast debating a current area of dispute. You could record your assignments or directions; you can record story time or a reading excerpt for younger ones to listen to at a computer center AND from home! Have better readers record selected passages for your non-readers (perhaps older buddies). Launch a service project for your fifth or sixth graders to record stories for the kindergarten to use in their reading and listening center. Have your Shakespeare students record a soliloquy! Write and record a poem for Father's or Mother's Day (or other special events) and send the URL as a gift to that special person. Create great podcasts that can be shared on your wiki site, or blog!

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Protagonize - Taunt Media

Grades
5 to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
 
As of June 2017 Protagonize is no longer updated, however there is a note that all contents remain for those who would like to explore. Protagonize was originally a ...more
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As of June 2017 Protagonize is no longer updated, however there is a note that all contents remain for those who would like to explore. Protagonize was originally a site for collaborative story creation. However, now you and your students can create your own "linear" or solo stories, poems, song lyrics, etc. Stories are available for others to comment on or add to. You can easily specify two endings like the "Choose Your Own Adventure" series or leave the story's ending unfinished. Alternatively, choose to create different "chapters" of a story. Before writing, choose from many different story genres. If you prefer not to have outside input on the story, you can select "solo" writing. It is easy to change solo to collaborative writing, however. There is also an option to digitally link the chapters. The site is very flexible, and you can write poetry, drama, song lyrics, and writing exercises including role plays. Before writing, students set up "story guidelines" so that future contributors can see the parameters of the piece. Students can also view the work of others. Mature content is marked with a "Mature" marker. Students and other writers have an obligation to report inappropriate content. PDF format or RSS feeds allow the created work to be saved to another format.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): creative writing (115), digital storytelling (129), expository writing (31), narrative (14), persuasive writing (51), poetry (183), six traits of writing (5), songs (45), stories and storytelling (34), word choice (15), writers workshop (33), writing (286)

In the Classroom

You may wish to set up a group or class account, so that you can keep a careful eye on what outside additions are made (use an RSS feed!) . Students would then need to sign their writing or their comments on other class members writing, with a code known by you. Or you can invite students through email, and then create a group on the program that would include your students; however this group would also be open to the public.

Create groups of students who would like to work together on a "Choose Your Own Adventure" story connected to a science or social studies topic. Have the students create the story guidelines and parameters. Once the students have started the story, have them use your projector and interactive whiteboard and get feedback from class members about the different directions the story could take. Publish the final adventures by using the page flipping publishing program, Youblisher, reviewed here.

Have your students create "solo" stories, and then have them switch to "collaborative" to receive comments and input from other members in their writing group or class. Publish the final adventures by using the page flipping publishing program, Youblisher, reviewed here.

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Bookemon - Bookemon, Inc.

Grades
K to 12
47 Favorites 1  Comments
 
Write your own original books, add images and artwork as illustrations, and read your published books in interactive, online form. There is no fee for the online publication and sharing....more
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Write your own original books, add images and artwork as illustrations, and read your published books in interactive, online form. There is no fee for the online publication and sharing. This is the ultimate in "digital storytelling." Click "Explore" to browse many "public" examples on the templates page of books created by others. Take advantage of the free apps that make Bookemon even easier to use with any device! Use Bookemon Reader to READ books you created in Bookemon or Bookemon edCenter (available for both iOS and Android). BookPress for iOS devices only allows you to CREATE books from scratch, including using photos from your iPad/iPhone. InstaPress (for iOS only) offers options to make books from documents, pdfs, etc. to be shared on mobile devices as eBooks. Here is an example of a book created by the TeachersFirst Edge editors. Once you set up free membership on this site, students (or teachers) can select to create from a blank start or to use the templates provided. You can also create a book starter of your own as an example so students can follow the prompts you have created. The book creator allows you to upload your own images and to create books from a Word document or PowerPoint file you have already made. EdCenter users can collaborate on books.

After you save and publish the work, share the URL so people can read the entire book online, either among an audience of "just my friends" or publicly. They also offer the embed code to place your books on a class or school web page, wiki, or blog. The easiest option is to copy the address of the new window displaying the interactive book. There is an option to have the book printed for a fee, but this is not required. You can also read books created by others (if they make them public). Use the fully-public option to create learning materials for classes to access year to year for at-home review or reading practice.

This site requires a simple registration. Teachers can set up an edCenter for their school or class in accordance with school policies. See more detailed suggestions "In the Classroom" below and in our sample book! Newer mobile device options include players to view your books on iPads and more.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): creative writing (115), digital storytelling (129), writing (286)

In the Classroom

SKIP the profile and friends areas to get to the book creator to play with the tools a bit. Before you get too involved, create an edCenter to minimize advertising and create books in your own teacher-friendly class environment. Use the edCenter to register students and establish privacy settings for your class. No student emails are required.

On the Create Books page, choose from using a blank book, starting from a file, or using a template. Choose "school" to see projects from other classes or a sample created by you or a student team working in advance along with you. Explore ready-made themes (seasonal, topical, etc.) or use "open theme." Choose book dimensions (match layout shape to any uploaded files, such as PowerPoint slides). Enter settings and description of your book (editable later), including who is allowed to "see" it: everyone, just friends, or private. Again choose a "theme" - more of a category where Bookemon will list your completed book. A logical option is "school." Experiment with tools to upload files (within file limits), add images, add text, etc. Written help is offered as you go, but there is no video demo. SAVE often. Turn margins on to avoid chopping content. To share the book, you must "publish" it (i.e. finalize).

Once published, locate the book under "My Books" and use options to share (by email--and see the URL to copy from there), "Make a new edition" to create a new version--also useful for treating the original as a template for later books), Post to Other Sites offers embed codes. The BEST option is to click the book COVER which opens a new window without ads or "stuff," and copy the ADDRESS of that window to paste into email, etc. You can also mark that clean window view as a Favorite on a classroom computer!

Use your edCenter settings to manage social networking features. This will avoid the "public" Bookemon features such as opportunities to share address books, use social tools such as Facebook to share your books, etc. Teacher-controlled edCenter accounts are probably the easiest option for managing within school policies.

With younger students, have them begin their work in PowerPoint then upload for whole-class books. See an example, created by the TeachersFirst Edge editors . The example is full of ideas for classroom use from Kindergarten to high school, including science concept tales, poetry books, general writing, math problem solve-its, and more. ANY grade can use this tool, depending on the amount of direction by the teacher. (By the way, the correct answer to the problem in the sample book is c. 27.) Another idea: have students create personalized books for their parents or grandparents for special occasions (Mother's Day, Father's Day, or Grandparent's Day).

Use the mobile device features offered in your BYOD classroom to make and share books, PDF's, and more. Tip: Use this site for a guided introduction to social networking as a class, an excellent teaching opportunity for digital citizenship in the context of a project.

This is one of the best creative tools for gifted students to go above and beyond regular curriculum. Don't let the "juvenile" appearance fool you. Even older students can write and include images to create and share books of any length. Any independent research or writing project can become an interactive book. Even advanced science experiments and lab reports can be shared online using this tool. Once you have one book, you can use that as a template for others. Inspire your gifted students to create literary magazine or even a personal online "portfolio" of writing, artwork, or photography presented in interactive book form.

Comments

This is one of my all time favorite creative tools. Very versatile. Great for making "buddy books" or for teacher-created learning "books." Make one as a whole class to summarize a science unit in primary grades. I even use it personally to make fee online "gifts" for children I know. I did purchase one print version, and it looked great. Thinking, PA, Grades: 5 - 10

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podOmatic - podOmatic

Grades
1 to 12
17 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Create simple audio podcasts using this online tool and the free space they provide. Simply put, this tool lets you create and place sound recordings online for people to listen ...more
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Create simple audio podcasts using this online tool and the free space they provide. Simply put, this tool lets you create and place sound recordings online for people to listen to and/or download from the web. There are MANY free podcasts in a variety of subject areas (art, health, technology, music, business, and more.) We have linked this review directly to the K-12 area within the site. The site includes some social networking tools, so some schools may have it blocked. The site is a "general public" site, so the home page has links to recent podcasts that may not be appropriate for young people. Attach a mike or use your built-in computer mike; create the podcast by clicking a record button, (you may have to tell your computer to "allow" the site to access your mike). Choose a background for your podcast page. Share it with others using one of several sharing options on the "My Podcast" tab, including copying the link. Listeners can listen to it online or download to their MP3 player. See and hear a sample we made for you.. You can also create a "minicast" with a simple upload of images and audio that turns your images into a short video. Transitions are also available for your minicast. Share through a blog, twitter, a link or directly to Facebook. There are limits to the amount of file storage for free accounts. The site will tell you how much space each podcast takes and how much you have left. podOmatic does not allow memberships for those under 13. podOmatic now has a free iOS and Android apps.

tag(s): communication (135), DAT device agnostic tool (135), digital storytelling (129), podcasts (65)

In the Classroom

podOmatic does not allow memberships for those under 13. Teachers using this tool with younger students should do so under supervision and with a teacher-controlled account. You will want to supervise or establish consequences so students do not spend time on the public areas of the site and instead proceed to creating their podcasts. This is an opportunity to teach about digital citizenship and safety, such as steering clear of interaction and avoiding sharing any identifiable information about yourself in a podcast. You may want to share the links to class podcasts only with your students and parents. If you have students record podcasts as assignments, you may need multiple accounts because the free accounts have limited file space. An elementary teacher might have enough space for 25 students to keep a limited number of products on his/her own account, depending upon length.

Create regular or special podcasts to share on your class web page or wiki. Create a mini cast of images taken during a lab or a portfolio of images from a photography, art, or any other class. Add music and share as part of a digital portfolio. More ideas: record class assignments or directions, record story time or a reading excerpt for younger ones to listen to at a computer center AND from home, adding a touch of blended learning to your classroom! Have readers (perhaps older buddies) build fluency by recording selected passages for your non-readers. Launch a service project for your fifth or sixth graders to record stories for the kindergarten to use in their reading and listening center. Have students create "you are there" recordings as "eyewitnesses" to historical or current events, Make a weekly class podcast, with students taking turns writing and sharing the "Class News." Have students create radio advertisements for concepts studied in class (Buy Dynamic DNA!), Have students write and record their own stories or poetry in dramatic readings; language students or beginning readers could record their fluency by reading passages. Allow parents to hear their child's progress reading aloud, etc. Compare world language, speech articulation, or reading fluency at two points during the year. Have your Shakespeare students record a soliloquy. Write and record a poem for Father's or Mother's Day (or other special events) and send the URL as a gift to that special person.

If you have gifted students who lean toward the dramatic, this tool is simple enough for them to create dramatic mini casts without needing a video camera. They can collect images at Vecteezy and write a drama to accompany them, showing what they have learned in independent learning beyond the regular curriculum.

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Penzu - Alexander Mimran and Michael Lawlor

Grades
4 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Penzu offers a FREE service to write journals or diaries online with exceptional privacy options. As an added benefit, you can add images or your own artwork as illustrations. There...more
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Penzu offers a FREE service to write journals or diaries online with exceptional privacy options. As an added benefit, you can add images or your own artwork as illustrations. There is a very short demo video on the home page. On Penzu you can keep everything completely private or share selective posts by email or URL. Perhaps share selections on a class wiki page? Don't have a wiki? See the TeachersFirst Wiki Walk-Through for practical management and safety tips for a class wiki. Note: Premium service is available, but this review is for the free version.

tag(s): communication (135), DAT device agnostic tool (135), journals (16), writing (286)

In the Classroom

A class journaling program has limitless possibilities. Engage students in discussions using a topic from current events, current social issues, independent reading, literature, and more. Any class using a journal can use Penzu. For example, science lab write ups or the problem of the week in math. Penzu can even be used for homework. Just think, no more lugging heavy boxes full of notebooks around! In language arts have students journal daily and harvest from their musings and ideas to create a short story or a poem. They can even use Penzu to develop their brainstorms and rough draft. For social studies classes, students can write posts and ideas about famous people or daily life in a time period being studied, then create a "diary" for the famous person in Bookemon or a poster about daily life. For either of these ideas, once they are ready to present a final project have them use Bookemon, reviewed here, or Easel.ly, reviewed here, to share with their peers and others and possibly add other media. See more ideas for student blogging/journaling at TeachersFirst's Blogging Basics for the Classroom. Share journals with parents as appropriate by URL. Be sure to respect student privacy before sharing.

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Animoto - Animoto Productions

Grades
8 to 12
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This animation tool will help create a slide show with pizzazz. Add personal sounds, videos, and other media to create the next level of slide show for your classes. This ...more
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This animation tool will help create a slide show with pizzazz. Add personal sounds, videos, and other media to create the next level of slide show for your classes. This tool is great for schools without access to other free video or multimedia creation software. Create 30 second videos including music choices from over 300 soundtracks. A typical thirty second video requires twelve images making this a reasonable choice for projects with middle and high school level students. However, if you scroll to the bottom of the page and click "Education" when you sign up, you will see that teachers can apply for the full Animoto for free for use in their classroom. You will need a school email address to qualify for this. Animoto 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. Students ages 13+ can set up their own Animoto account if they have a school email, but their account won't be connected to your teacher account, therefore, they will need to email you their completed video links. A better solution for some teachers may be to consider using a "class set" of Gmail subaccounts, explained here; this tells how to configure Gmail subaccounts to use for any online membership service. Using Gmail subaccounts will provide anonymous interaction within your class. You will also recieve emails from Animoto when videos are completed and passwords are changed. You can also use the Gmail subaccounts for students under 13, with appropriate parent permission. See this Animoto Blog Post, about now to set up student accounts.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): animation (62), images (248), movies (56), photography (128), slides (40), video (241)

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. Users need the basic understanding of how to upload pictures, videos, and other media, especially a user adding personalized content. Use stock images and media available through the site if you prefer. To create a show, simply click on the create button and follow the onscreen instructions. If adding personal images and video, the program allows searching through files. Add music from the site bank or from personal music sources (copyright-free, of course). Finalize the video with the last click and view your video. Share easily from the codes or export tools provided. Use Animoto 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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Comics Resources - TeachersFirst

Grades
3 to 12
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This collection of reviewed resources from TeachersFirst is selected to help teachers and students learn about and create comics in any subject area. Comics have become mainstream in...more
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This collection of reviewed resources from TeachersFirst is selected to help teachers and students learn about and create comics in any subject area. Comics have become mainstream in "graphic novels" and can express or explain major concepts, portray the underlying tensions behind an issue, or simply help students remember terms and definitions. The storytelling potential of comics goes back to cave drawings and can be as simple as a stick figure or as elaborate as a photograph annotated with voice bubbles. Explore these resources for tools and ideas to "draw" comics into your classroom as a tool for learning. Many of these resources trace the history and technique of various comics, providing an interesting area of study or examples for student-made comics.

tag(s): comics and cartoons (44)

In the Classroom

Choose a comic creator tool for students to use in your class to reinforce curriculum concepts. With younger students or those who need examples, create the first comic(s) together on interactive whiteboard or projector as a closure activity to reinforce concepts before a test. Gradually allow students to create their own comics (or collections of comics) to tell stories, review concepts, or make political comments. More techno-savvy students will appreciate the variety of tool options offered here.
 

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Newspaper Clipping Generator - fodey.com

Grades
2 to 12
9 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Create a fictional portion of a web page easily by entering a fictional Newspaper, Title of article, Date, and body of article. The final image will be downloaded and not ...more
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Create a fictional portion of a web page easily by entering a fictional Newspaper, Title of article, Date, and body of article. The final image will be downloaded and not retained on any website except the ones that you publish to. Note: Model ethical behavior: Do not plagiarize or use real names of newspapers or people.

There are also links at the top of the page to create: a newspaper, ninja text, wizard text, talking flowers, talking tomatoes, talking owls, a wanted poster, talking cats, talking squirrels, and a clapper board. Be aware: this site does include some minor advertisements.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): digital storytelling (129), firstday (18), news (233), posters (45)

In the Classroom

Basic ability to enter text into fields, download and find the finished file. For file to be shared, understanding how to upload the file onto another site or blog. The "clippings" you make do NOT remain on the site for access later by URL.

As files are downloaded to the desktop, you may want to create a Favorites folder, or other "collection" of students projects in one place for easy work at grading time. Another idea: use a class wiki with all projects.

Create a fictional account of a happening or description to identify the errors or determine the item being described. Create an account of a class celebration or a fantastic project that should be shared. Students can use this site to create a fantastic account of a vacation or experience. Have students develope a newsworthy article on an event from the novel they are reading. Use this site as a "first week" activity for students to write articles introducing themselves to the class. Have them use pseudonyms in their "articles" and share them on your class wiki or web page. A week later, have a matching contest where classmates must identify the mystery students! You could do a similar "famous Americans" or "important scientists" activity where students learn and share.

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PicLits - PicLits.com

Grades
K to 12
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The title says it all: "Inspired Picture Writing!" Use this free drag and drop literacy tool to create great sentences inspired by beautiful pictures. Alternatively, add inspirational...more
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The title says it all: "Inspired Picture Writing!" Use this free drag and drop literacy tool to create great sentences inspired by beautiful pictures. Alternatively, add inspirational or humorous captions to pictures. "Lesson Plans" provides learning opportunities and examples for creating captions, compound sentences, or paragraphs. Video tutorials can be found under the FAQs tab. "Explore the Gallery" to see already-created PicLits as well as comments and ratings. After selecting a picture (or using the one they provide) and dragging a word onto the screen, choose different forms of the word by using the drop-down menu next to the word. Move your words anywhere on the screen for creative writing. You can also click "freestyle" instead to type in your own words instead of choosing from their list. Word lists change, depending on the image selected. If your district blocks YouTube, the videos may not be viewable.

Registering for a PicLits account requires the use of an email address. PicLits can be used without an account but you are unable to save or blog about their creation without an account. A class account can be created instead of individual student accounts. However, it does not show which work is attributable to which student. You may want to require that students initial their contributions in order to get credit. All work on the site can be seen without a login. All projects are public. NOTE: Our editors regret that PicLits occasionally allows advertising on their home page to include images that are not classroom-friendly. Teachers should preview to determine whether or not your students can ignore the ads.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): creative writing (115), digital storytelling (129), images (248), sentences (23)

In the Classroom

Share a PicLit on your interactive whiteboard or with a projector at the start of a grammar or writing lesson to discuss word choice, figures of speech, or vocabulary. Use the visual picture prompt for journal or blog writing, allowing each student to compose a unique poem or haiku. Even science classes can write about concepts illustrated in the many nature photos. Emotional support teachers will love the chance to discuss feelings and how to describe facial expressions in the pictures. Make a collection of PicLits using a tool like 3 x 3 Links, reviewed here, for a curriculum topic. Modify classroom technology use by challenging students to create an online literary magazine using a tool such as Underlined, reviewed here. PicLits can be used for a variety of assignments in any classroom that is integrating technology as an enhancement. ESL students can create PicLits to learn new vocabulary. Have students create PicLits for special occasions and special people (mom, dad, grandparents, school nurse, or others). Use the embed code to place your creations on many other sites, including your class wiki or blogs. Share your PicLit by using a URL or code for an embedded widget.

You may want to create a word doc, Favorites folder, or other "collection" of the URLS to all your students' projects in one place for easy work at grading time. Some teachers use a class wiki or blog with links to all projects from there. A simpler alternative would be to use a bookmarking tool such as Raindrop.io, reviewed here. You may allow students to self-register, but be sure to keep a written record of their passwords for when they "forget." It may be worth your time to do advanced registration for your younger students or simply use a whole-class account.

To use PicLits you must be able to navigate tabs on sites, manage logins, and use URLs and embed codes to share results on websites and blogs. Play to learn the tools before or after joining. The FAQs tab also provides a short-and-sweet text explanation of the tools. Find these under the Video Tutorials.

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Captioner - Big Huge Labs

Grades
4 to 12
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This creative page allows you to add captions to photographs you have uploaded or found on an online site such as Flickr. A collection of your own photos uploaded to ...more
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This creative page allows you to add captions to photographs you have uploaded or found on an online site such as Flickr. A collection of your own photos uploaded to Flickr can be used easily.

tag(s): comics and cartoons (44), communication (135), images (248), photography (128)

In the Classroom

Locate and upload digital image files or an URL for specific images. Navigate the tools of Captioner by following the simple directions. Monitor the "appropriateness" of images available on Flickr/the web. You might want to specify a tag or collection to work from for some classes. Upload your own set of digital images to Flickr ahead of time. Share also by downloading image to your desktop.

Create a captioned sequence to explain a major concept, such as mitosis or narrative patterns. You could also have students create campaign ads, posters of important people, etc. Have an object explain a concept from its point of view (solar panel tells about itself), have a famous person explain his invention or accomplishment, show what a non-verbal creature or object, such as a cell, is thinking.

Check out the Big Huge Labs educator account. Easily pre-register students to avoid creating logins, view and download their creations, and view the site advertisement free. You will find information about the Educator Account here.

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Binumi - Anthony Copping

Grades
K to 12
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Create short, powerful video stories using Binumi's ready-to-go templates and multimedia library. Begin by selecting from the large library of templates to watch a preview, then select...more
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Create short, powerful video stories using Binumi's ready-to-go templates and multimedia library. Begin by selecting from the large library of templates to watch a preview, then select one to personalize and create your video. Templates offer a wide range of options, divided into categories, or use the search feature to find a specific topic. Use Binumi's drag and drop library to add videos and images to your film or upload images from your device. Other options include adding title cards and adding voice-overs to your video. When finished, publish videos to your library to share by email, Google Classroom, YouTube, or social media. Additional options allow you to adjust settings to private or public or access the embed code to embed on web pages. Free Storyteller accounts provide you with access to the starter library of templates and multimedia, with limits on storage for uploads and personal files.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (135), images (248), movies (56), video (241)

In the Classroom

Binumi is a great choice for educators and students to create video stories easily and quickly without prior video-creation knowledge. Use the templates to provide engaging introductions to new lessons. For example, use the 15-second template to focus on the main idea to introduce and feature highlights of an upcoming novel. Share Binumi with students to use as part of any multimedia project to show what they know through video and images. Include their Binumi video within Sway, reviewed here, or Adobe Creative Cloud Express for Education, reviewed here, as part of a more comprehensive project that includes student writing, links to references, and more. Ask students to include a short video as part of their portfolio or blogging activities.

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