TeachersFirst's Creative Tools for MySciLife

This collection of media tools will help you make your MySciLife posts more interesting. Add audio, video, a comic strip, or even an online poster. Many tools require a free membership. Choose one or two tools and become an expert at using them. Share your expertise with the MySciLife community by showing your science knowledge using media!

Notice that MANY of these tools allow you to “embed” your creation using the “embed code.” You can copy and paste this code directly into your MySciLife post. Type an introduction for your media piece, then paste in the embed code.   Other tools simply give you a url (link) to share your media. Simply include the link on your post. For many more tools, be sure to visit the complete collection of reviewed tools at the TeachersFirst Edge.  

MySciLife participants who wish to nominate a "favorite" tool should ask their teacher to share it in the MySciLife teacher community.

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Breaking News Generator - Russell Tarr

Grades
4 to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Design professional looking front pages for a newspaper with this tool. Simply fill in the pertinent information (headline, date, place, and more) and an image. Share via URL, Twitter,...more
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Design professional looking front pages for a newspaper with this tool. Simply fill in the pertinent information (headline, date, place, and more) and an image. Share via URL, Twitter, or download to your computer. Be sure to view the several samples available, and click on the little question mark at the end of the title to see ideas for use of this tool. No registration is necessary.

tag(s): digital storytelling (133), images (252), newspapers (90)

In the Classroom

Assess students prior knowledge by creating a Breaking News piece to introduce a new unit. Replace paper and pencil and ask students to fill in an interactive KWL chart from Holt, reviewed here, or discuss in small groups what they know about the topic. Transform student learning by using their "Breaking News" in presentation slides by downloading the image from your computer. Then upload the image to a slide presentation creator such as Slidestory, reviewed here. Suggest to students that they do the same for their presentations. Use as a timeline of events for lab experiment, a novel study, historical event, and more. You might want to think about using this tool as a storyboard for digital storytelling as this tool could work well for storyboarding.

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Photos for Class - Clever Prototypes, LLC

Grades
K to 12
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Here is an excellent site for finding images for non-commercial use that will have the proper citation downloaded with it. Find a photo you want to use. Click the download ...more
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Here is an excellent site for finding images for non-commercial use that will have the proper citation downloaded with it. Find a photo you want to use. Click the download link under the picture. The downloaded image will have the appropriate attribution information with it. Note: right clicking on the photo will not produce the attribution information. Our editors found all photos to be "class appropriate." However, it is always best to use caution with image searching. Provide students with clear guidelines and expectations.

tag(s): images (252), photography (129), search engines (50)

In the Classroom

Have students use this site for Creative Common images for any report, newsletter, or project. The images from this site are all supposed to be G-Rated for classroom use. The search engine uses Flickr safe search, and other built-in filtering so all images produced should be appropriate for school use. Have students create an annotated image or build a story including text boxes and related links using images found on this tool and a tool such as Thinglink, reviewed here. Be sure to keep a link to this site on your wiki, blog, or web page for students to use whenever they are working on a project.

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PicResize - Internich, LLC

Grades
K to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
 
PicResize is the free, easy way to resize and alter photos online without requiring expensive programs! Use this tool for a quick altering of a single picture: resize, crop, or ...more
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PicResize is the free, easy way to resize and alter photos online without requiring expensive programs! Use this tool for a quick altering of a single picture: resize, crop, or shrink. Resize multiple pictures as well. Upload your picture from a computer or from the Internet. Use the Crop and Rotate menu to alter the picture. All changes are viewable in the preview window. Use the default options for resizing: 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% or customize as you like. Add image effects from a multitude of choices: Grayscale, Sharpen, Gaussian Blur, Oil Paint, Rotate, Polaroid, Brightness, Contrast, or Raised Frame. Save your finished image to your computer or the web as a GIF, JPG, PNG, or BMP. For privacy, PicResize keeps your pictures for 20 minutes for you to download and save it on your hard drive. After 20 minutes, picture(s) are automatically deleted from the server. PicResize offers an alternative to the usual image editor. For one, it's web based.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): editing (83), images (252), photography (129)

In the Classroom

Use this site to create artistic effects with student pictures. The ideas for picture taking, creating, and sharing are endless. Be sure to discuss with your class the importance of using copyright free materials from the web using tool such as Vecteezy, reviewed here. Use this tool to alter an image to meet website constraints such as when creating an avatar. Make this a link from your class wiki or website so students can cut down file sizes before uploading large photos. Art teachers will love the ability to alter photos with artistic effects without expensive software. Make creative bulletin board displays from multiple digital pictures of special events. Check understanding of concepts by taking or finding images that help explain a concept being studied in any content area. Use images to show what the students know. Use images to help ESL/ELL, language, and special students learn in the classroom. In primary grades, this tool can be useful for teachers to use to edit pictures from a field trip, science experiments, and more. Share the editing process with your younger students using your interactive whiteboard or projector. Edit together! Encourage older students to use this site themselves on images for projects or presentations. Use the editor to edit pictures to fit styles of pictures when doing historical reports or to set a mood. Be sure to keep this tool handy as a link from your teacher web page for quick access anytime!
 

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moovly - Brendon Grunewald

Grades
K to 12
5 Favorites 0  Comments
  
moovly is a wonderful animation tool for creating videos and presentations. Create an account with your email and watch the two-minute video about how to use this tool. Click on ...more
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moovly is a wonderful animation tool for creating videos and presentations. Create an account with your email and watch the two-minute video about how to use this tool. Click on "New Moov" to begin. Give your Moov a title and description then choose from templates offered or create your own Moov from scratch. Modify slides, text, font, image holders, and props. Preview your creation at any time with the play button. Stop and make changes as needed. Upload sounds from your computer in MP3 format: voice, music, or noises. These can be used in parallel, or click the microphone to record your voice. You can also make your moovly interactive by using Flash. Save and share via YouTube, Facebook, or email. You can also download to your computer using MP4 (video) or SWF format. Download the 28-page PDF guide for step-by-step directions and answers to specific questions. Emailing customer support will get you answers within 24 hours.

If you scroll to the bottom of the landing page and click on Education, you'll now find moovly Studio for Education. This is a new version of moovly that offers special FREE plans to teachers, students and employees with email addresses from educational email domains. Users from educational email domains known by moovly automatically get a free Education license. If your educational email address is not recognized on sign-up, you can request access. You can now search the VideoBlocks catalog of stock video, sound and graphics via the extended library search. And upload it into your story in just one click! Free accounts can create unlimited videos that are each ten minutes long. The intro videos reside on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, the videos may not be viewable.

tag(s): animation (64), communication (135), movies (55), multimedia (41), slides (41), video (243)

In the Classroom

Modify or redefine learning and challenge older students to create their own moovs. Students can use moovly to share their ideas or to "prototype" an idea. Students can create videos to show math processes, explanations of complex concepts, review new learning, teach others, explain scientific processes, tell stories, or present research. Flip your classroom using moovly presentations. Use moovly to create teacher-authored animations for students in ANY grade. This is a great way to present new information or ideas for discussion. It is an easy way to prepare information for the class when a substitute is coming. Embed moovly creations on your website or blog for students to review at home. Use a moovly video on the first day of school to explain class rules or give an exciting introduction to the year ahead. Use moovly to create movies or presentations for back to school night or conference nights to display on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Teacher-librarians can ask students to create moovly book reviews to share kiosk style in the library/media center.

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Visme - Hindsight Ineractive

Grades
7 to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Visme helps you create presentations and documents, charts and infographics, videos and animations (GIFs), documents, and social posts. There's more! Be sure to scroll to the bottom...more
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Visme helps you create presentations and documents, charts and infographics, videos and animations (GIFs), documents, and social posts. There's more! Be sure to scroll to the bottom of the page, find the Create column, and click More to Create. Find templates for all the projects listed, there are 5,000 audio files to select from, and Visme includes the capability of audio voice-over; you can also make your objects into interactive hotspots! At the bottom of the page, under Resources, you'll find the Templates and Video Tutorials for just about anything you want to do. Fortunately, there is a menu on the left for all the video tutorial categories.

To start, choose your type of creation and then a specific template theme. The Navigation area is along the left side. Customize the various tools by clicking on My Files, and upload your Google Drive, Dropbox, and/or OneDrive. The work area is to the right of the Navigation, and where the template you selected appears, various new tools, grids, and texts appear to the left. Drag and drop items into the work area and even include vector images. Click My Files to upload images, audio, and video from your computer. Once placed in the work area, style images the way you want, including animation! Invite collaborators or team members through email. Products created by this tool play on any browser or device or can be embedded in a web page or blog. Free accounts allow 100 MB of storage.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): animation (64), charts and graphs (165), images (252), infographics (53), multimedia (41), presentations (8), video (243)

In the Classroom

Use Visme to create educational slideshows and Infographics to introduce and interest students in a topic of study. Use to generate questions before the discussion of topics. Create a multi-image slideshow where students brainstorm how the images are all connected. Have students create projects for the class using this easy-to-use tool. Include this tool on your blog, wiki, or public page for easy student access. Depending on school policies, you may consider allowing your older students to create an account. Read tips for safely managing email registrations here. Create a project site for students to upload images and videos found when studying any subject. Find images with various shapes when discussing geometry or shapes in nature. Find pictures of plants or animals for a science unit, etc. World language students can create digital photo stories to narrate using new vocabulary: present teacher professional development or an end-of-year display for the school media center.

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PowToon - powtoon.com

Grades
K to 12
6 Favorites 0  Comments
   
PowToon is an amazing, free, animated presentation tool. Choose from one of many templates available to edit, or start from scratch. Then start making magic! Label your title and description....more
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PowToon is an amazing, free, animated presentation tool. Choose from one of many templates available to edit, or start from scratch. Then start making magic! Label your title and description. Modify slides by changing text, font, image holders, and props. Preview your creation at any time with the play button. Stop and make changes as needed. Change styles easily by choosing a different style within the program. Select from the royalty free music options offered by Powtoon to enhance your presentation. Share the finished presentation via social media buttons on your page to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other popular pages or export to YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, then using YouTube may not be your best option. Use the embed code provided to easily embed in your website or blog -- or simply share your Powtoon using the URL provided. Exports are not included with the free membership plan. Email is required to register and use Powtoon.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): animation (64), digital storytelling (133), movies (55), multimedia (41), slides (41)

In the Classroom

Challenge older students to create their own PowToons. Students can use PowToon to share their ideas or to "prototype" an idea. Students can create videos to show math processes, explanations of complex concepts, review new learning, teach others, explain scientific processes, tell stories, or present research. The possibilities are really endless, and students will come up with hundreds more uses. Flip your classroom using PowToon presentations. Use PowToon to create teacher-authored animations for students in ANY grade. This is a great way to present new information or ideas for discussion. It is an easy way to share information with the class when a substitute is in your classroom. Embed your PowToon creations on your website or blog for students to review at home. Use a PowToon on the first day of school to explain class rules or give an exciting introduction to the year ahead. Use PowToon to create movies or presentations for back to school night or conference nights to display on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Teacher-librarians can ask students to create PowToon book reviews to share kiosk style in the library/media center.

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ThingLink - Thinglink.com

Grades
2 to 12
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ThingLink is an interactive image tool offering a unique way to link "things" within images. Teachers and students should register using the EDU area. Although the example on the home...more
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ThingLink is an interactive image tool offering a unique way to link "things" within images. Teachers and students should register using the EDU area. Although the example on the home page uses Facebook to share a ThingLink, you do not have to use Facebook at all. Start with an image from upload, online URL, or Flickr. Select specific items within your image (called "things") and link them to resources or other websites. By clicking an area within the image, viewers can access the "thing" (website) that you have linked. Add multiple links to separate items from areas within a single image. Choose or upload an image and click on the ThingLink icon on your image to begin editing. Click on specific spots to add information to the link. If you plan to create many ThingLinks from your own images, it may be easier to use a class or personal Flickr account to pull images from instead of using the maximum number of images to upload. Preload your images to that Flickr account before starting your ThingLinks. ThingLink presents a variety of levels for technology use depending on teacher requirements for the project, or even student ability; it allows for adding narration, videos, text and links to help explain different parts of the image. Free Android and iOS apps are available. Teacher tools include making student groups and more.

tag(s): bookmarks (48), DAT device agnostic tool (136), game based learning (157), gamification (78), images (252)

In the Classroom

Use digital images of lab experiments or class activities for sharing on a class wiki or blog with clickable enhancements offering additional information. Have students add links or even a blog reaction or explanation to their project or experiment image. Use the site for making a photography or art portfolio blog. Have students annotate images to explain their work or various techniques they used. World language or ESL/ELL teachers can enhance images with links to sound files or other explanations for better understanding. Use in world language to label items in an image with the correct words in that language. Young students could write simple sentences to practice language skills while explaining about a favorite picture or activity. Use in Science to explain the experiment or in a Consumer Science class to explain cooking or other techniques. Consider creating a class account for student groups to use together. Teachers can create a ThinglLnk of an image with questions and links that students must investigate to respond as a self-directed learning activity. An image of a tree could have questions and links about types of leaves, photosynthesis, and the seasons, for example. Gifted students could create a collection of annotated images that link to sound files to add "personalities" to science objects (think of the talking trees in the Wizard of Oz) or create an annotated image of a almost anything they research to go beyond regular curriculum they have already mastered: Annotate an image of a food product to link to information about its sources and potential harms. Annotate an image of a campaign poster and "debunk" its claims with links to video clips that show the politician in action, etc. Annotate an advertisement with links its propaganda techniques. Teens with a sophisticated sense of humor will especially enjoy linking to ironic examples that debunk or offer a satire of the original!

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Scrumblr - scrumblr

Grades
2 to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Use this free tool to create an online whiteboard with as many columns you create and sticky notecards you place on the board. No sign up or membership needed! ...more
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Use this free tool to create an online whiteboard with as many columns you create and sticky notecards you place on the board. No sign up or membership needed! Just start right in. You can type information on a each new card you make and drag it into place. Start by entering a title for your board. This becomes part of its url. Add sticky notecards with messages to your board using the plus sign at lower left. Draw attention to specific sticky notecards -- or color code them into groups-- by dragging one of the colored dots (lower right) to each notecard. Anyone who has the link will be able to add to the whiteboard. Add or remove column dividers on the whiteboard by using the + or - icon to the side. Label pro/con columns or other categories for as many columns as you wish. Don't forget to copy the url for your board before you close it! Paste it somewhere you won't lose it or mark it in your favorites.

tag(s): bulletin boards (14), organizational skills (92)

In the Classroom

Use this as a place to put web quest links and information. As a project idea, have students create a wall about their summer vacation. They can include links and other information to display. Have elementary students build a class homework board each day, having a different student add the assignment for each subject; then share the link to the board for them to access at home. "Writing down" assignments can be fun! Any activity you can do by sorting and ranking words, terms, or ideas can be done instantly (and changed later) on a Scrumblr board. Use this tool as a new format for book reports. Do your students have favorites such as music or sports? Create a wall around these favorites or hobbies. Use a wall for grammar or vocabulary words or science unit terms. Create walls of pro/con for debates or high level thinking viewpoints. Post assignments, reminders, or study skills on a wall. Do you use student scribes or reporters? Use the site to create a wall with the goings-on in class. See a similar tool (and more ideas to use either tool) in the TeachersFirst review of Stixy here. Decide which one you prefer!

This is the perfect quick start tool for your gifted students to record the ideas that occur to them during class. Have them create their own boards with a "what if" column for the crazy questions that pop in their heads, things like "What if Shakespeare wrote in a different meter?" or "Would Poe and Stephen King get along?" Give permission for far-fetched questions and graffiti! Have them create pro/con boards for tough topics such as gun rights during a unit on the Constitution, including links to evidence to support the statements they make on notecards. This tool could also help them brainstorm and sequence steps for a major independent project, sometimes a real challenge for the brightest students!

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Kaseta - Dragontape Ltd. (Tamas and Peter Szakal)

Grades
5 to 12
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Kaseta allows you to create editable sequences of video and sound from different online sources, including YouTube. You can create up to a three hour long playlist of videos and ...more
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Kaseta allows you to create editable sequences of video and sound from different online sources, including YouTube. You can create up to a three hour long playlist of videos and music, and share them through both URL and embed codes. Embed multiple videos in ONE box or page. You can add new clips during the playback. If you have a Twitter account, you can gather clips from feeds of those you follow and enjoy. You can trim and use the fade feature on video clips for more seamless viewing. Basically, you can create your own online "bookcase" for web based videos. This is a great collaborative tool for merging videos, and it is so easy to use that the creators have what they call "couch editor mode." This means you do not have to do anything but DRAG ON to tape, a great online equivalent to the tape recorders of the past.

tag(s): sounds (44), video (243)

In the Classroom

In class, register and use this to provide a single link to multiple video clips you can use or assign for a single class period. Pull different sources together to create a more complete and informative video presentation for your students. Or have students create their own Dragontapes for online, multimedia collage projects. Great for any class, but especially great for music, drama, and art classes. Some other project ideas: juxtaposing politicians, critics, authors talking about writing, or anything you want to compare/contrast. Student organizations could create playlists of current music for a school dance, saving money on a DJ as long as the school has the proper sound equipment to amplify the playlist.

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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 (118), digital storytelling (133), writing (294)

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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Word Clouds for Kids - ABCya.com

Grades
K to 7
8 Favorites 0  Comments
 
This word cloud generator is made specifically for children. This site takes any text and creates a "word cloud" (graphical display) of the words in a passage of text. The ...more
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This word cloud generator is made specifically for children. This site takes any text and creates a "word cloud" (graphical display) of the words in a passage of text. The most frequent words appear larger. Paste in any passage or grouping of text to create a word cloud of the text. Students can choose their own colors, type of display, font, and the final cloud can be printed or saved.

tag(s): speech (67), vocabulary (229), word choice (15), word clouds (12)

In the Classroom

This is a great visual tool to use. Take a poll and have your students type their answers into the word cloud builder. Then display on an interactive whiteboard or projector and see which answer was the most popular. Use this site as a way to help students see and memorize text, especially visual learners. Use it also when writing poetry or to "see" themes of repeated words and images. Have students paste in their own writing to spot repeated (and monotonous) language when teaching lessons on word choice. Students will be surprised to see what words appear to be dominant. Have students work in groups to create word posters of vocabulary words with related meanings, such as different ways to say "walk" or "said" and decorate your classroom with these visual reminders of the richness of language.
 

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lino - Infoteria Corporation

Grades
K to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
 
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 (20), creative fluency (5), creativity (95), DAT device agnostic tool (136), gamification (78), note taking (32)

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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WordArt - WordArt.com

Grades
4 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
This site takes any quotation or poem and creates a "word cloud" (graphical display) of the words in a passage of text. Paste in any passage or the URL for ...more
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This site takes any quotation or poem and creates a "word cloud" (graphical display) of the words in a passage of text. Paste in any passage or the URL for any blog entry or web page (including newspapers online) to create a word cloud of the text. This resource is currently free while in beta and intends to keep it free for NON PROFIT only. Enhance basic word clouds by using this site to create clouds in various shapes, use mouse rollover options, use font effects, and more. Elevate your word clouds into an art form. Once registered, change your password by clicking on the profile tab and entering your changes. Before creating a word cloud, agree to their terms that includes only using appropriate content. Copy and paste series of words or use the URL of a page where the words can be found. Choose a shape such as a heart, cloud, or geometric patterns. Choose a font as well as other options, and then click "Build the Cloud." Preview your cloud before saving.

tag(s): images (252), vocabulary (229), word choice (15), word clouds (12)

In the Classroom

You must be able to copy and paste text or provide a url to a page of text as well as determine parameters of more advanced word clouds. Alternately, these word clouds can be kept very simple. After creating the word cloud, be sure to save the image (or use a screen capture) to share with others. Another idea, use the url of the cloud or embed into a place to share such as blog, wiki, or site.

This is a terrific visual tool to share on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Help students develop creative fluency by creating their own WordArt and ideas from scratch. Paste in a passage or URL for a political speech to visualize the politician's "message." Analyze advertising propaganda by visualizing the language used in TV or print ads. Create WordArt of historical texts of inauguration speeches as time capsules of the issues of the day. Use this site as a way to help students see and memorize text, especially visual learners. Use it also when writing poetry or reading passages of great literature to "see" themes and motifs of repeated words and images. Have students paste in their own writing to spot repeated (and monotonous) language when teaching lessons on word choice. Students will be surprised to see what words appear to be dominant. ESL and ELL students will eagerly use this site since word order will no longer be a problem for them. Have students work in groups to create word posters of vocabulary words with related meanings, such as different ways to say "walk" or "said" and decorate your classroom with these visual reminders of the richness of language. Collect thoughts about the class subject at the beginning of the year and then again at the end of the year to determine changes in thoughts about the subject matter.

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Animoto - Animoto Productions

Grades
8 to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
  
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 (64), images (252), movies (55), photography (129), slides (41), video (243)

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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Chirbit - Chirbit

Grades
8 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Upload an mp3 or wmv audio file, record your own voice, or enter text for the site to provide a text-to-speech recording. ...more
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Upload an mp3 or wmv audio file, record your own voice, or enter text for the site to provide a text-to-speech recording.

tag(s): communication (135), speech (67), text to speech (17)

In the Classroom

Recording of voice requires knowledge of internal and external microphones. Use the "text to speech" option for an easy way to record using a computerized voice. You do need a microphone either attached or built in to your computer to record chirbits.

Categories shown include Confessions, Jokes, and Pickup lines, among others. Though these are quite humorous, they may be inappropriate. Chirbits created become public, however by choosing "Settings" across the top, check the box to protect your chirbits and make them private. Consider creating a class chirbit with a global email. You may want to require that students initial their contributions in order to get credit. Accounts have an RSS feed where you can follow others to keep up with the chirbits created. You may allow students to self-register, but be sure to keep a written record of their passwords for when they "forget." Click on "Profile" and then the gear symbol to copy a link to share. 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.

Use chirbit to record quick assignments or responses. Create prompts which require clever answers such as viewpoints of famous people in your subject area. Use chirbits to record thoughts or facts of the day. Use chirbits to record how to solve problems, define vocabulary, or to understand class material. As closure at the end of class, ask a student to record a "chirbit" summary of the most important concept for the day's lesson. You could even have a competition to decide which group/pair has composed the best sentence for a chirbit recording and have them make the recording on the spot.

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Padlet - Padlet

Grades
2 to 12
12 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Padlet is an application to create an online bulletin board that you can use to display information for any topic. There are seven different layouts to choose from that allow ...more
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Padlet is an application to create an online bulletin board that you can use to display information for any topic. There are seven different layouts to choose from that allow you the ability to present information in various ways, create maps, and make timelines. Easily create an account and build a new board. Add images, links, videos, columns for sorting or refining organization, and more. Return to your Padlet to add additional information at any time and collaborate with others. Settings offer options to make Padlets open for public contributions, private, or moderated by you (you approve all contributions before they show). Free accounts allow you to make 3 Padlets that include search, themes, stats, premium wallpapers, and cross-device support for uploaded videos. You can always delete an old Padlet to make a new one. 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): bulletin boards (14), DAT device agnostic tool (136), images (252), timelines (45)

In the Classroom

Use a Padlet to collaborate in collecting ideas, brainstorming, and more. 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. Padlet does not show which work is attributable to which student, so you may want to require that students initial their contributions in order to get credit. If allowing all students to post to the wall or make comments, you may want to discuss internet safety and etiquette and establish specific class rules and consequences. Making the setting private again will prohibit content from later being replaced by classmate "vandalism."

Use a Padlet to collect webquest links and information to share with students. By leaving the wall open to comments, solicit input, discussions, or viewpoints from students. They can even contribute other sources they find. Color code resources to indicate different reading levels or "high challenge" sources for your more able students. Assign a student project where students choose their theme and design a wall around it. For example, have students create a wall about an environmental issue. They can include pictures, audio or video, links, and other information to display. Use as a new format for book reports. Do your students have favorites such as music or sports? Create a wall around these favorites or hobbies. Use a wall for grammar or vocabulary words. Create walls for debates or viewpoints. Post assignments, reminders, or study skills on a wall. Do you use student scribes or reporters? Use the Padlet site to create a wall with the goings-on in class. Embed your walls in a blog, wiki or website. See a similar tool (and more ideas to use either tool) in the TeachersFirst review of Lino here. Decide which one you prefer! Unfortunately, the Padlet embedded viewer is very small but can be scrolled in both directions.

Use Padlet as a class space during snow days and school breaks. Share the link to a teacher-created, public wall where students can share notes about what they did during the snow day or respond to a thought-provoking question.

Encourage creativity and organization by having your gifted students (or anyone doing independent projects) create Padlets to collect ideas, images, quotes, and more in an "idea bin." Require them to share a brainstorming Padlet to show you the ideas they considered before they launch into a project. Have them brainstorm (and later sort/color code) the possibilities for a creative problem solving or "Maker Faire" project. In writing or art classes, use Padlet as a virtual writer's journal or design notebook to collect ideas, images, and even video clips.

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Pixlr - Pixlr

Grades
2 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
This free, beta site is a useful photo editing service. Edited pictures are saved on the computer and are not public for viewing. Use this site to create montaged ...more
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This free, beta site is a useful photo editing service. Edited pictures are saved on the computer and are not public for viewing. Use this site to create montaged images, resize photos for emailing or use on wikis, etc, or simply because your camera files are too big to store.

tag(s): editing (83)

In the Classroom

Know how to browse to find files saved on your computer and be willing to "play" with the tools and menus, if you are unfamiliar with photo-editors.

Click Jump In to access Photoshop-type tools. Select an image saved on your computer or your desktop or create a new one. Currently, pictures cannot be accessed from online photo storage sites. The top menu contains almost any option the average user would need to edit and manipulate pictures. The menu is easy to navigate and read. Help is minimal at this time. The site is easy to use, and users of other paint and editing applications will be at ease using this site. Students will love the filter options for altering pictures. Multiple images can be edited or "montaged." When editing is complete, save the image by specifying an image name and file type (JPEG or PNG). Click "OK," and the file will be downloaded to your machine. The simple interface and fast site makes this a great editing application to try.

Use this site to add information to pictures for class and student projects and creations. Add attributions (copyright info and sources) directly to the photo. Add student responses to pictures of class experiments. Create artistic effects with student pictures. The ideas for picture taking, creating, and sharing are endless. Make this a link from your class wiki so students can cut down file sizes before uploading large photos or make edited composites to communicate their message visually. As you study propaganda, have students create propaganda images to share on a class wiki or classroom bulletin board. Art teachers will love the ability to teach photo montage without expensive software. Make creative bulletin board displays from multiple digital pictures of special events, adding text and captions right into the photo. ESL/ELL, language, and special ed teachers can ask students to label images with sentences including correct vocabulary and grammar. Have students in your reading class create visual idiom images using digital pictures.

Keep this tool handy as a link from your teacher web page for quick access any time!

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