Posts Tagged ‘web 2.0’

PostHeaderIcon Meograph: New Face of Timelines




Timelines are a staple in social studies and ela.  They help students keep track of dates and facts.  I have been searching for a good online-timeline creator for a while.  I have tried dipity which is good but I find that it is very slow to load and is limited to the number you can create and information mediums.  So I searched and searched for an alternative and lo and behold I found Meograph.  Not only is it free (YAY!) it can embed videos, text, audio, and uses Google Maps.  I was in heaven.  I did this with a class and it went smoothly.  Well almost smoothly (internet went down once).


As you can see at the left you can add an event, then a when (date), where (location), link (with more information).  You can also add a photo, youtube video, and even narration.  The narration online is limited to 30 secs.  However, you can upload unlimited audio.  I used audacity (remember you need the LAME encoder to save as MP3) and had the students record and publish as a MP3.

A note on location:  You must use the current name of the city or town.  Therefore if you are talking about Ancient Persia you need to find the modern country.



PostHeaderIcon Death to Powerpoint

There are many presentation options in the cloud.  Powerpoint is not always the best choice when creating a presentation.  Depending on where the presentation will be shared and presented, I have found better options.  Cloud computing is helpful when you do not know where you will be presenting or if the machine you will use is a mac or pc.  However, keep in mind if the location you are presenting does not have internet access cloud options are not ideal.  Keep in mind the criteria Sliderocket writes about in their blog.


Pros:   This option reminds me of keynote in its end product.  The graphics and functionality are seamless and professional.  I really liked the user interface for editing and adding content.  You can easily embed any presentation into your website.  You can also export the presentation as a PDF (But you must be in presentation mode in order to do this).  Adding charts, media, and forms/polls is easy and integrated.  There are a lot of cool effects that you can use during the presentation.  Not to mention the ability to create your own theme.  It also allows you to add music to your slides that will auto play.

Cons:  You have to purchase a subscription to export your presentation as an editable presentation.  Flash-based utility (no iOS)


Pros:  Easy embedding into any site.  Also easy import of YouTube videos by merely pasting in the URL for the video.  I really like Prezi for an interest catcher.

Cons:  It is easy to overuse the zooming effects and some listeners to your presentations might become motion sick.  Be careful when using the zoom feature.  Limited background but this can be remedied with importing images.  It is flash-based so viewing on iDevices is out.  Hopefully they will come up with a HTML5 version soon.

280 Slides

Pros:  Very easy to use and embedding, downloading, and sharing of all kinds is easy to use.  One does not have to create an account which is nice in a school (but you cannot save to the site without a login).  The site is free and exporting in Powerpoint 2007 is very easy to do.  The user can import media and pictures.

Cons:  The user is very limited in terms of backgrounds.  Although you can import a picture as a background this is not as convenient as creating a theme.  This is a very stripped down version of powerpoint.  Flash-based utility (no iOS)


Pros:  Very easy to use, however, it is a unique presentation tool.  Instead of creating slides from original data, this product takes pictures, audio, video, and urls located online to create a stack of information.  An interesting idea and a new way to think about presentations.  The embed code is listed on the website and it can easily be posted to twitter and Facebook.

Cons:  If the data required is not online,  this solution would not be ideal.

Google Docs Presentation

Pros:  User friendly and connected to the users Google Account.  Another login is not necessary.  Product functions very similar to powerpoint.  Adding speaker’s notes is easy and any presentation can be shared and collaborated on in realtime.  Exporting can be accomplished from a PDF, text, and Powerpoint file.  Importing media and pictures is clear and understandable.

Cons:  Limited amount of fonts to choose from.  There are no layouts to choose from.  Objects cannot be rotated.






PostHeaderIcon Go Go News

Go Go News

I recently came across a news site geared toward elementary and early middle school students. It is called Go Go News. It does not have a lot of news, but it is high interest and impact news that students would find interesting and engaging. The layout is very simple and it includes a search. Each article allows students to look at additional articles similar to that topic.

I read an article about the uses of Llama poop and as we all know any bodily function is automatically interesting to kids. They love to hear about it and learn about it. I even learned that the descendants of the Inca people still use Llama poop as a fuel source. Wonders never cease.

Educational Connection:
Students could complete current events based on online news. It is important for students to understand the history and news around the world.

CNN Student News

I also found another site from CNN called Student CNN News. Each day CNN creates a student news video. It goes through the news for that day. However, to celebrate the end of the school year, they created a video based on the news from the past school year. I thought this was a great idea.

Education Connection:
History/Social Studies information is key, however, one could have students create their own news program. This would be beyond the traditional morning announcements.

PostHeaderIcon Docs Finder

Docs Finder is ” a search engine designed to search document files over internet websites.  As an documents files search engine, finds documents matching your search criteria among the document that has been indexed as reference by our search robots.  This information is accumulated in a database. When you execute a search it delivers results from the database.”

You can search for nearly any topic.  It is the Google for documents.  You can search by format: Powerpoint, Word, PDF, and Excel.  The sources cultivated appear to be edu, org, and other organizational sources.  This could be beneficial to students.

Source: Twitter

PostHeaderIcon JayCut — Green Screen on a Budget

I was lucky enough to attend a Discovery Education Network day long workshop.  It was great and I met some awesome people.  It was held at a local high school.  At that workshop, I really learned a lot more about a program that I had been experimenting with: which is a good solution for those people who do not want to shell out mega bucks for Adobe Premiere.  Not to mention, students will not have Adobe Premiere at home.  So this is a good solution!

Jaycut is a video editing program and so much more.  Jaycut makes the green screen process so easy an elementary school student can do it!  Chromakey is a fabulous technology that really opens the doors for creativity and innovation.  It is easy to use and requires very little explanation.

But then you say, I do not have a green screen.  Well, creating a green screen is so easy.  You can use paint, fabric, or even a shower curtain.  The only requirement is that it is not a color that your students tend to wear (unless you require subjects lacking a body in your movies).  That is why neon green tends to work well.  I went to Joann Fabrics and was able to get 4 yards of green fabric for $10.00.  I like the fabric because I can then move it anywhere.  Nothing like a portable green screen.  You never know where you will need a green screen and I like flexibility.

  1. First you must create an account, which is free.
  2. Next, you need to record your green screen video and acquire your background video.
  3. Video A = your green screen video (upload your video or record with a webcam)
  4. Video B = your background video (whatever will run where the green background is located)
  5. You can delete audio from either video and add your own under Audio effects (which comes up when you select the video)
  6. Green Screen — select your Video A and go to Effects (enable Chroma Key), select the dropper and select the green in the video box to the right. 
  7. Then click preview mode, please note if you only click the play button it will not work.
  8. Publish/Download movie and you are done!

Let me know how you like the site!  I plan to use it for our video announcements and any number of video-making projects.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to let me know.  Happy Videomaking.

PostHeaderIcon Apple vs. Android

So I was reading a blog that did a nice job laying out public opinion on the Apple vs. Android discussion.  Should schools get iPads or Android Tablets?  Which is the best solution?


One of the big concerns with Apple is the way they are marketing the iPad.  Users seems to be looking for a netbook replacement.  They want to be able to hook in their peripherals.  They want USB, HDMI, & SD Card ports, not to mention the limits of Google Apps on iPads.  Android allows users to use Flash and other popular tools.  Though with the transition to HTML5, maybe Flash will not be such a big deal in the future.

I do wonder if jumping on the tablet band wagon is necessary….could education wait until the price goes down?  Are there cheaper options such as the Nook Color adding Android accessibility options?   Companies are rushing to come out with the next solution.  Is the first solution the best?  Should schools even be buying these things when students can bring them in to school to use on a wireless network?  Not all students have these tools…so buy a few instead of for all students.  Cellphones are quickly replacing laptops for simple and general computing.  Things change every day…I look forward to the next advance with interest.

Another user notes the ease in which Google makes app creation.  In the Google App Inventor, users can easily create apps.  This is ideal for students.  However, Apple caters to education and has a variety of educational apps.  Android needs to catch up to be a threat in that field.

To create an iPad, iTouch app there are a few more steps.

“First start by joining Apple’s iPad Dev Program ($99).  With your membership you will get iPhone SDK with Xcode, interface builder, ipad simulator, sample codes, video guides, forum, and performance analyzer.  Download and install the latest version of the iPhone SDK. Note, you will also need a MAC or  Mac Mini with the freshest Snow Leopard installed in order to run it. If you cannot afford a MAc. you may try to develop on a Hackintosh PC. Here is a tutorial on building a Hackintosh with Snow Leopard, no hacking required that might help you in your project.  There are some great places with tutorials and guides or forums to ask for help from other developers: Apple Dev Forum, iPhoneSDKiPhoneSDKForum.(Source)”

What will you choose?  Will your choose?  Take a look at your needs and reasons and then decide.


PostHeaderIcon Wii in the Classroom Update

So, I have been using the Wii in my library for the past 4 days and it has gone well. I must say my favorite games are those which are multiplayer and the students either collaborate or compete against each other.

In Just Dance 2 — I have 4 controllers and students try to copy the hand movements of the on-screen dancer. The person who does this most like the on-screen dancer is the winner. What is really great is that students are not waiting to use a controller. They are just enjoying the dancing, and following the moves without the need to use a controller. This has happened in K-3.   Students who are normally quite shy are getting right in the middle and dancing their hearts out!

Mario Cart — this is a wildly popular game and I was fortunate to be able to borrow this game and 4 wheels.  Instruction is simple, and before too long beginners easily surpass older players. Students can work as a group team or have versus matches. Although it is competitive, the students compliment each other and good sports. (Pic Source)

Why are there Wiis in the library you ask?
Students read over 80K pages this April and as a result I promised a chocolate party.  Well a chocolate party was not enough, so I decided to borrow some Wiis.

What is also great about the Wiis is the students taking on the role of teacher for each other. In some cases, they know the games better than I do and are able to aid their fellow classmates in understanding and being successful at the game. The best part is when a quiet detached student shows another student how to play a game.

Wii in the Classroom Website — Articles and some great activity sheets

TeachHub Article:  Wii in the Classroom

New Tech Tools for Young Scientists

How to Use Wii in the Classroom

Wii in Physical Education

Wii in Education — Ways to use in classroom and physical ed

Turn your Whiteboard into a WiiBoard

April 2014
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