Thursday, December 16, 2010

Yebol - Top Ten Search Engines

No. 10 - Yebol

Yebol is a semantic search engine that will not only understand your query but also venture into categories or even explore various meaning of a particular word or phrase. For example a Semantic engine could take STAR and give you categorised results such as Astronomy, Astrology, Celebrity etc. A traditional engine would put all the results in one list, Yebol then presents each of the finds from your search into categories; news, twitter, videos, images, top sites, categories or related searches.

Kngine - Top Ten Search Engines

No.9 - Kngine

Kngine is supposed to be a Web 3.0 Search Engine (i.e. revolutionary Semantic Search Engine and Question Answer Engine) designed to provide customized meaningful search result, such as: 
  • Semantic Information about the keyword/concept, 
  • Answer the user’s questions, 
  • List of things, 
  • Discover the relations between the keywords/concepts, and 
  • link related information together such as: Movies, Subtitles, Photos.

Feedmil - Top 10 Search Engines

No. 8 Feedmil

A long tail real time, spam free search engine for the discovery of topic based blogs, podcasts streams and discussion forums from public and social networks.

Touchgraph - Top Ten Search Engines

No. 7 - Touchgraph

TouchGraph allows for the creation and navigation of interactive graphs. Ideal for organising links, or mindmapping. If you search a lot (to collect information for blogging, research and inspiration), you may know that in many cases “words” are not enough to help you find what you need. Often, you really don’t know what exactly you are looking for or you can’t describe it in words – in this case, you need other search tools apart from Google. The TouchGraph Browser is a new tool that visualises the connections between web sites in order to give you a better picture of your search.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Veiwzi - Top 10 Search Engines

No.6 - Viewzi

There are more ways to present information than in a simple list. Lists are great for some things. But when you are searching for a video or an mp3? With Viewzi, you can get results all arranged into unique “Views”, each custom-tailored for that content. It’s the right data, presented in the right way. This is a nice way to view sites quickly whilst looking for sites that meet your requirements.

Live Plasma - Top 10 Search Engine

No. 5  - Live Plasma

A visually rich application that shows the relationships between movies, bands, actors, etc. An interesting and novel method for finding similar movies, music, directors etc. Basically you search an artist and it creates a mind map. After the search term is submitted, it's immediately surrounded by other artists; the closer they are, the more similar they are in style to the target. The user can search, map, discover new movies or artists then save and share their maps.

Quintura - Top 10 Search Engines

No. 4 - Quintura

Quintura is a context based search engine  that uses data clustering, visualisation and context management that works together to create a visual search experience. It is both visual and intuitive and features an interactive word cloud that allows for more refined searches.

Spezify - Top 10 Search Engines

No. 3 - Spezify

Spezify is another inspired search engine, one that I have posted about once before. This search engine falls into the category of a Visual Search Engine. It creates a collage of quotes, images, posters, photographs, text, twitter feeds and songs that are all pulled from various media search engines. Th is form of search engine is actually called assistive search technology.

Oamos - Top 10 Search Engines

No. 2 Oamos

Oamos pings other search engines in order to find current, relevant links to your search term. It then presents the findings as a continually changing series of graphics. Each graphic is a link to the website that the image is from. The format the the information is presented in has 16 different variations depending on the type of info you are searching. 

Eyeplorer - Top 10 Search Engines

No. 1 - Eyeplorer

Isn't it funny how we just use the same things all the time, often because that is what we learnt on. Many people have Google as their Internet Preferred Search Engine. We don't always do this because it is better, we do it because that is what we have always done.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Blog Booker

I love this idea. I only wish I had found it earlier. BlogBooker allows you to produce Pdf blog books from all your blog entries and comments. These can be generated from any blog running on Wordpress, Livejournal or Blogger. The whole process takes about 3 or 4 minutes. Once your exported file is submitted the file is verified and then all your images are linked and found and the whole thing is assembled as a book.

This is great for teachers who regularly use blogs but for whatever reason need printouts. Not everyone is comfortable marking online or sometimes your Subject Co-ordinator requires evidence of learning. This is the answer.

The musings and reflections on your students blogs can become real books, cherished and shared, kept as momentos or records of the learning process, learning experiences or just of their school year.


Mutapic is an online picture generator. It is a free tool you can use to rapidly create original artworks. logos or symbols. Simply pick an image to start with, chose another to combine with the original and click on the green button to start. You can continue to click the green button until something appeals to you. This application is great for developing artwork ideas for students who are struggling to come up with their own idea.

The Graffiti Creator

This is one of the Web 2 tools that we used with a Graffiti unit I discussed earlier where we used Geotagging and Flickr. This was really an introduction to graffiti styles and a kind of how to tutorial. We really wanted to get the students to understand that Graffiti artists have rules, and even a code of conduct. Many young artists want to see this form of expression as a legitimate artform. This really is more of an art application than a game. You can see your name or any words for that matter in a variety of graffiti styles. Once you have chosen a style you can then customise it with your own colour scheme, variations galore. No two pieces will look the same. Great effects.

Monday, December 13, 2010


Memoov is a free animation creation service. Create and share user generated animations. This is a great site for digital story telling and a good alternative for Xtranormal Text-to-Movie now that they are charging for anything other the the most basic of movies.

No need to download software or spend hours an hours developing computer skills, simply chose and click, drag and drop. You and your students will be making animations in no time at all. You can even record your our voice for your animated video.


Animasher is an animation application. It has images that you can drag and drop into the active animation frame or you can even upload your own images in order to create your narrative. Build and then add a sound track.

Animasher animations can be created in 7 languages so it lends itself immediately to getting your students to practice their skills in Italian or Portuguese.

Some of the examples are a little silly but you also have the ability to clone an existing animation and improve on it. You can also embed your animation into your class wiki or blog. Very few other websites offer this type of thing. It appears overly simplistic but it actually allows for complex concepts and effects. It makes an instant cartoonist out of even the most computer illiterate.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


WeSeed is a free virtual stock market game aimed at teaching people about the stock market. It allows students to virtually invest in real stocks. You get to maintain a virtual portfolio, complete virtual trades and feel like you actually on the stock exchange.

WeSeed also has a social networking function so your students can discuss stock options, choices or opinions about particular companies and whether to invest in them or not.

This would be a great game to teach these complex concepts in Business Studies, Commerce or in an Economics class. You could make it into a Stock Market Competition or even an assessment task. Link it back to a wiki or blog and have your students reflect on their choices and stock buys, how these investments developed over the long term and what factors influenced the market that they had no control over. This could be the basis for a whole unit of work or an activity that runs parallel to your current curriculum. It could also just as easily be run as a extra curricula class or club.


Exploratree is a free online library of thinking guides and templates. You can print them out or complete them online. Exploratree allows you to build up a portfolio of thinking guides that work well with your units of work or your students. You can change or customise the images, text or shapes. You can even build and then submit your own thinking guides.

I like this site because it not only gives a scaffold to your students to complete many of the higher order critical thinking skills we want them to develop but much of the language of the guides is also based on Bloom's Taxonomy. This is a great opportunity to gets your students to use the language of pedagogy and to recognise what the task is actually asking them to do.


JogtheWeb is a web based tool that allows teachers to create guided experiences to a series of web activities. It is a step by step approach that allows the author to annotate the process and to ask guiding questions for each of the individual activities. The students can see the links between each of the activities and how they related to the overall learning outcomes.

This is really just like a Web based learning Quest. It gives your students direct links to each website and allows you to give them clear instructions for each whilst also giving them an overview of where they are at in the process.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Free Rice

I have posted about this on another blog but I really like the idea of students discussing people less fortunate then themselves and how even doing something as mundane as learning your times tables can contribute to a better live for another boy or girl their own age.

I like it because as an Art Teacher it has a lovely section on Famous Artworks. I use it as a reward for students who complete tasks early or if we have had a disrupted lesson. You know those times you get back from assembly and only have 10 minutes til the end of the lesson. I make it into a competition. Who is the first to 200 grains of rice etc. 

Boys love this because there is instant feedback and simply because they see it as a competition - they forget that they happen to be learning at the same time. I don't care because for me it tick all the right boxes both morally and from an educational point of view.


Another visual dictionary / thesaurus. These are great for visual learners or even for students who struggle to transfer the meaning of one word into a different context.

All of these online visual search tools are an excellent way for students to learn to expand their own understanding of a word and to see how one word may have many different variations -  and often in unrelated fields of study.

These would also be an excellent tool for students completing 
  • Project Based Learning
  • Challenge Based Learning.


    This application is another visual or graphic dictionary tool. Type in the word and the app finds all the possible meanings, but it also find other words or concepts that are related. This information is then presented in a smart and visually appealing graphic format.

    I like this app because each of the word presented than become a hotspot themselves that are activated when you scroll over them with your mouse - a textbox pops up giving an explanation of that term.

    Visual Thesaurus

    I can't believe I have not written a post about these Visual Thesaurus' and Graphic Dictionaries. There are lots of fun for teachers and students. It actually gets your students enthusiastic about looking up words, happy to think about language and playing with words and their meanings. Visual Thesaurus  is great language based application. You type is a word and the app connects all the ideas and concepts that are associated with the original term.

    It will even pronoun the word for you. I like the way that each of the words are categorised into Nouns, Adjectives, Verbs and Adverbs. This allows the students to develop a deeper level of understanding on how all of the terms help to define or are at least related to the original term.

    Ways to use in the Classroom:
    1. These are great to use as warm-up activities for language based lessons

    2. As part of a brain storming session about a specific topic or at the beginning of a unit of work

    3. As a scaffolding lesson for a new assignment task

    Saturday, November 27, 2010


    GeoCommons enables you to find, use, create and then share geographical data and maps. e Applicatin easily creates rich interactive visuals to present data. These can be made without any experience using traditional mapping tools. Visualize data from numerous sources to identify trends that were before unseen. Map your data with real-time social data and the over 50,000 open-source data sets in GeoCommons. You can then share your interactive maps and analysis with others. The maps can be easily embedded into websites, blogs and wikis and with one click. They can also be shared via Facebook, Twitter and many others social networking sites. 

    Deep water oil wells off the coast of Louisiana

    Friday, November 26, 2010

    File Visualiser for Mac Users

    This is one for the Visual Learners

    Even when many of us have access to cheap and reliable external hard drives and network servers it is still a good idea to manage your hard drive. GrandPerspective is a downloadable App that allows you to do this. It scans your hard drive and displays the folders size as a graphic. The bigger the file the bigger the square. The App also has a feature that allows you to click on the square and it will identify the file directory.

    It will amaze you as to the size of some of your files. Some of the most innocuous things suck up huge amounts of memory. With GrandPerspective you then have the option knowing where they are located, what amount of memory they are using, how that compares to others files and then of course of deleting the file if you longer need it.

    Thursday, November 25, 2010

    iPod Touch Devices

    It is amazing how many of our students have iPod Touch or iPhone devices. It is not unusual for 60 or 70% of the students in a particular class to have access to these devices. I had a conversation with a primary school teacher the other day and she had the same situation in her class. She had already started to get her students to bring these devices to school. I started to look at some of the more basic apps we could be using with handheld devices that our students already owned.
    I do not profess this to be an exhaustive list nor will every one of them be appropriate for all situations but if you conduct a survey and many of your students already have access to an iPod why don't you have a go at using some of these apps - even if it is as extension work or homework. One teacher I know is   using them as warm exercises with Maths and English.

    LED Banner
    Touch chords
    Smart Maths
    Idioms lite
    Touch Physics
    Sheet music
    Flash Maths
    I Quotations
    Pop Maths Lite
    Spel it Rite
    Pocket Universe
    Google earth
    Pocket Shaker
    Brain Tuner
    Nanosaur 2
    Brain Thaw
    Weather Bug
    Artist’s touch
    Solve 24
    Flipbook Lite
    NASA Apps
    Synth Pad
    Basic Maths
    Stiry Kit
    Space Images
    3d Gallery
    Star Map
    Comic Touch
    Light painting
    Apollo 11
    Jazz Sculptor
    4D Spin
    Tap the Beat
    Spider Study
    Dr Beat
    Maths Flash Card
    Miss Spell’s Class
    Crayon Physic
    School of Rock
    Musee du Lourve
    Maths Drills Lite

    Mars Study Guide
    Simple Drummer
    Sculptmaster 3D
    Dot to Dot Number quiz
    Talking Books Network
    The Chemical Touch
    Dubreq Istyophone
    Gallery of Painters
    Mighty Maths Lite

    Charles Darwin writings
    Mixmeister Scratch
    Pixpop Art
    Maths Cards


    Wednesday, November 24, 2010


    This is a blog site that my seniors put me onto. I personally prefer Blogger but my students are happier with Tumblr. We are currently using it as a virtual visual arts process diary. I know some people will sneer at this, but it is the only way that we can get boys to really reflect on images, artworks and their own process. I have got more from my current Yr 11s in the last 5 weeks than I got from my Yr 12s all year.

    The students seems to enjoy the fact that we are using blogging tools as opposed to pencil and paper. They are still drawing but are now photographing their work and then posting it along with reflections on their tumblr. They are all following each other and are starting to comment on each other ideas and work - offering suggestion, other websites, artists and resources that they think would be of assistance.

    Tuesday, November 23, 2010

    3D Museum

    This is a fabulous site that has created 3D images in the thousands - of skulls and artifacts from objects, mainly animals. They have created 3D images of these skulls and teeth so that people can look through categories or search for specific items. This is pretty cool and would be great for research or for students assignments. It would also be great as a resource for art teachers.

    Painting Machine

    I went to an interesting Breakout Session at the Ulearn Conference in Christchurch a couple of weeks back called  "A Brush with Destiny -  Promoting Sparks of Creative Brillance. It was a group of PreSchool teachers from Nayland Kindergarten who were embedding the 'arts' into their programs. I was impressed by the work of these women who each acknowledged that they started the program with little background in art teaching but with lots of energy. Apart from the wonderful work that they were doing - digital portfolios, the use of wikis, artists in residence and art appreciation; I was impressed by their painting machine.

    One of the community had placed a record turntable into a small bench. They then attached paper to the turntable and the students where able to paint the spinning paper. This made for the most wonderful patterned works of art. This simple idea is one that could give every child the chance to create a beautiful painting. I love these simple ideas that give students the opportunity for successful learning experiences.  Everyone is doing it even Damien Hirst
    Damien Hirst, Beautiful, Cyclonic, Bleeding, Slashing, Hurricane, Dippy, Cowards Painting” 1992, household paint on canvas.

    USB Cameras

    Not everyone has access to a data projector or a top quality document reader, but there are viable alternatives.  In the last couple of weeks I have seen two types of cheaper style cameras that could work well in a classroom situation. The first is the IPEVO Point2View USB Document Camera - about $89.00 AU
    The second is the Flexible Snake Scope USB Camera - about $39.95 AU
    Both of these are great for using as document cameras but are equally as good for using in the classroom for a range of activities;

    • step by step computer instructions from your screen
    • science experiments, dissections or petri discoveries
    • art and or craft demonstrations
    • solving maths problems

    These can be recorded and made into Vodcasts and then distributed to the class as personal reminders of how to complete the process. They could even be uploaded to iTunesU so other people could use them. Anyway that you use these cameras, they make good sense for your students. They are just as good to use for recording work if you do not have access to a camera in your classroom.

    100+ Google Tricks

    Came across one of those posts that just has to be shared yesterday.

    It was too big to include as a post so I put the whole lot on a new page. It is on the menu bar above the posts next to the Web 2.0 Tools page. This list of tricks is well worth a look. It not only has tricks and tips but Google Apps that are worthwhile in a classroom setting. You probably use some of these already but there are many there that I had not thought to use in a classroom.

    Monday, November 22, 2010

    Science Buddies

    I know at our school the seniors have to undertake a major personal area of research in Science. Like any big project some students have difficulties deciding what to do. Science Buddies is the answer. Your students can literally fill out a questionnaire - about 85 questions and the application will make recommendations based on the interests and strengthens of the student. The process takes about 10 to 15 minutes but at the end the student is presented with a series of options for a major study area.

    The websites has thousands of projects with detailed assistance on processes. It is also a place for teachers and parents to locate resources. It has a section on careers in science and is currently recruiting volunteers as Online Student Experts. This is a great website for science education.

    What is Web 2.0

    How do we explain Web 2.0 to non-users. More importantly how do we convince them to have a look at the possibility of Web 2 tools. This is some of what we offered our staff.

    " Web 2.0 is the second phase of internet tools to be developed. Most of these tools have been designed to allow users greater access to using and manipulating information. Many of these tools are web-based free tools or downloadable applications.

    The tools that are of most interest to educators are those tools that allow students to own, decode, deconstruct and then re-present information that they have learnt. 

    These tools include things like mind mapping tools, interactive timelines, digital bookshelves, comic creators, movie makers, online magazine cover makers and Podcast or Vodcast applications. "

    A Wiki is a mini website that allows users to add to, modify and enhance the site. It is a fluid, changing thing that is directed by the users, in our case - students. The best example of a wiki is wikipedia. Each entry has been made by users. People can correct, add more detail and include citation as the site grows. This is excellent in a classroom where students can collaborate and share notes, resources, explanations and ask each other questions."


    A widget is another term you might hear. Widgets are tools that can be added to a website or wiki. An example of a widget is a site counter, but it could also be a graphic or a map that shows all the people around the world accessing that site at a particular time. It might even be a dictionary.

    Pages - Worksheets

    One for Mac Users - The most underrated program on the Macs.

    Pages is a wordprocessing application that also allows you to use layout and colour to produce professional looking documents. For teachers the best thing about Pages is that we never have to hand out another boring photocopy to our students again.

    The easy thing about pages is the templates that come with the program. When you click on the Pages icon the template chooser  immediately opens. This gives you the opportunity to design how you would like your document to look. Use Pages as a wordprocessor or use it as a professional page layout tool.

    Once you have chosen one of the layouts your document will open. Each of the design aspects on the layout is there only as a placeholder. This means that you can simply drag a new image or cut and paste new text into the format on the document. 

    You can change the size of text box by dragging the arrows on the corners. 

    You can change the size of your pictures or even change the amount of the picture you use by playing with the slide bar on the Edit Mask.

    All of the colored shapes are added by clicking on the shapes icon in the toolbar. The colour of each shape can be changed by clicking on the small coloured box next to the Font Size box.

    Design hints are numerous, but there are some very simple rules you can follow when designing a worksheet or booklet. Like everything else these rules are meant to be broken. The more confident you get the more rules you should break.
    1. Three colours only per page. These three colours should come from any images you have used on the page.
    2. Repeat these colours throughout your design to help pull the design together.
    3. Balance your design. If you have a big heading, then a block of colour may be necessary elsewhere on the page.
    4. Include one (1) large image or if you want multiple images keep them the same size.
    5. Do not be afraid to include text of different sizes. Place different concepts in different coloured boxes.
    6. Stick to one font per document. There is nothing harder than trying to read different styles of fonts on the one page.
    7. Finally, in this age of digital information it is vitally important that our students see us doing the right thing. We should reference properly any material that we use that is not our own.
    8. Use your favourite magazine for design inspiration. Have FUN.