Sunday, July 24, 2011


This is a great Idiom Dictionary. Type in your word or phrase and the dictionary will give you all the options it has for those words. If you can not remember the exactly phrase you can also search alphabetically.

This is a fantastic tool for your students to explore the weird and wonderful idioms that existing within the English language. This could even be used as the basis for a 4 quiz to see which of your students has the best handle on the use of idioms in everyday language.

I like the way that you not only get a definition it also gives you an example of the idiom's use within a context.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Online Publishing: Create Your Own Content

Issuu is a Web 2 tools that allows you to publish PDFs. You can produce the documents in any program that you like - I prefer PAGES on the Mac. Once you have created a stunning document to impress the world, simply log on to Issuu and upload your PDF. The whole process takes about 2 minutes and you now have a digital magazine style document. This can be embedded into a blog or onto your website.

FlipSnack is an online flipping book software that allows you to convert PDF documents into Flash page flip digital publications. It's the ideal solution for those who wish to embed a book, magazine, catalog, newspaper, portfolio or any other kind of document into a website or blog.

Once created, you can embed your flipping book collection, download them or share them on social networking websites such as Facebook.

P.S. With FlipSnack you can upload several documents at once, allowing you to embed not only one, but multiple page flip publications in the same Flash widget.

Wobook is an online solution for people who want to publish on the web through an interactive, 3D book. Any document can be turned into a wobook and made available to read online instantly. Wobooks can also be formatted and printed on-the-fly in a PDF format. A digital magazine powered by wobook is attractive, interactive and all sorts of rich media can be embedded in it! There, they can create or effortlessly turn their publications into a web oriented ebook or wobook. Develop your web communication! Create and publish all types of syndication: newspapers, digital magazines, brochures, e-catalogs, or e-books.

Surfboard: Websites turned into E-zine
Surfboard is a very cool service (similar to Flipboard on the iPad) that displays any website in a flippable newspaper-like display. All your different blog entries or pages are displayed and all the links stay alive. This makes the web reading experience a much more enjoyable one. This is a great Web 2 tool for everyone!
To use Surfboard all you have to do is enter the url of your favorite website and click "get surfing." That site will then be displayed in a manner that allows you to flip through the site's content without seeing the sidebar widgets and or advertisements.

For proper flippable display Surfboard requires the use of the latest versions of Chrome or Safari.

And if you have access to an iPad you could even try OnSwipe. Onswipe lets you provide a beautiful app like experience for your website on tablet and phone browsers. Onswipe is not an app and works in the browser with your existing content. You simply link the site and away you go. This is a quick and easy way to get your blog or website accessible by a iPad.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Prezi Update - Add Diagrams

I have been a fan of Prezi for some time now.  I like the way that it enables the author to pull out to look at the big picture and then to zoom in to investigate detail. We do need to be careful not to abuse it like we did with powerpoint. I have a discussion with my students that it should only be used when looking at both the big picture and detail is necessary for the presentation, otherwise just use a linear presentation tool.

Anyway Prezi recently released an upgrade that allows users up to insert up to 12 different diagrams.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

50 Ways to Integrate Technology in your Classroom Tomorrow

This site is via Jeff Thomas over at Tech the Plunge.

Using Free Websites as Learning & Teaching Tools
 1.  Have students use Spelling City to learn their spelling words, vocabulary words, or site words through games, practice, and quizzes.  Spelling City is a free resource for teachers.

2.   Use Brain POP to show short, animated videos as a lesson opener.  Brain POP is available in its original version (appropriatefor grades 3-8), Brain POP Jr. (appropriate for grades K-3), Brain POP EspaƱol, and Brain POP ESL.  There is a 30-day free trialavailable.

3.   Use Dove Whisper as a computer center in your classroom.  This site contains Internet games for all subjects.

4.   Create flashcards for math facts, science vocabulary words, and more.  Plus, you are able to find flashcards created by others.

5.    Create a game show for your students to participate in as a review for an upcoming assessment.  This site offers free templates.

6.     Students can track visitors to their blog, wiki, or website through Clustrmap.  This tool can be used for an ongoing geography lesson.

7.     Have students create a daily or weekly live broadcast on Ustream about school news, new concepts or original ideas.

8.     Enhance your predictions and inferencing lessons by having students create sequels/prequels to movies and books on Fanfiction.  This may be more appropriate for secondary students.

9.     Let students add free, copyright-free music to their presentations and movies through ccMixter.

10.   Create custom game boards, customized dice, and many other printables to use in a variety of lessons.

11.   Create videos that bring your lessons to life! Share your ideas for integration on Animoto.

12.  Have students create a comic strip using Make Beliefs Comix.  Students can use this tool to show main idea, sequencing, predictions, and more!

13.  Introduce a new unit in reading with a vocabulary word cloud.  Have the students guess what the unit/story will be about. Set a purpose for learning.

14.  Find out what your students know before a unit or how much they've learned after a unit through an online survey. Surveys give students a way to give feedback quickly.

15.  Have students create a time line to have a visual representation.

16.  User KerPoof to allow your students to illustrate their writing, create a movie, and more! 

17.  Use Class Tools to randomly generate names, to show a countdown timer, to find graphic organizers, to create timelines, play puzzles and access other neat tools.

18.  Have students create their "Wild Self".  Use their creations for an intro into animal adaptations and habitats in science, or use them as a creative writing prompt.

19. Have an advanced student who is always done early?  Let him or her get on Free Rice and practice challenging vocabulary! 

20. Students can create animated videos at Flux Time Studio.  They are able to save their videos and share them with others!

Read the full article:

Thursday, July 14, 2011 the Infographic Creator: Create beautiful data is open to the public in beta. You no longer need expensive software, extensive design skills, or number crunching ability. Visualizations are powerful, but they’ve required time and hard work to create -- until now. has built a tool that will allow everyone to quickly and easily create professional quality designs with their own data.

They also have an extensive library of Infographics from magazines and publications from around the world. So if you are just exploring data visualisation or want somewhere to show off your new creation is perfect. This will be a big hit for both teachers and students. I cant wait to show this to my classes.

Here is one I create this morning in 1 minute. Not a great deal of info but I think you get the picture. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Power of Education: A Young Girl in Poverty

This video was shown to me by one of my Yr 12 students. He was impressed with the message and the simple example of how one action or decision can have a ripple effect around the world.

He was also aware that is an organisation funded by Nike and therefore questioned the reasons why they might be funding this sort of action. It made for an interesting discussion around corporate morality and the benefits of charity for large corporations both financially and from a public relations point of view.

It was an exceptional but unplanned learning moment for the group of students present.

I also love the nature of this video. It is a video infographic. Very clever animation indeed.

Digital Storytelling: JellyCam - A Super Simple Stop-Motion Animator

This is a great Stop-Motion App called Jelly Cam. I know I posted an animation tool yesterday as well but this is really good. JellyCam is the creation of English programmer Chris Dennett. Chris was interested in playing around with stop motion video but not so interested in the tedious mucking around that came with some of the applications he tried out. Watch the video to see how easy this would be for your students to use. 

This is via a great website called How to Geek. The information on this site tends to be very technical but they also have excellent how-to posts on a variety of tools that can be used in the classroom. Check it out when you have a problem that you just can not fix. It has a pretty comprehensive list of tech issues with solutions.

If you’re looking for a super simple way to create stop motion video Adobe Air-based JellyCam is a free and easy to use solution.

With JellyCam you can easily take pictures using a web cam (or import pictures from your digital camera), adjust frame duration, drag and drop frames to adjust them, set a timer for capturing frames at a set interval, and more. One of the most interesting features is the ability to ghost the previous frame so you can line up your subject more accurately and create a more fluid sense of movement. Watch the video above to see this particular feature in action.

JellyCam is a free application and requires Adobe Air.

Original Article:
Jellycam is a Super Simple Stop Motion Animator

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Automatoon - Create Animation for the Web

Automatoon is a Web Animation Tool that Richard Byrne has blogged about on his site Free Tech 4 Teachers. Make the time to visit this mega-resource site. It is an amazing website where Richard posts insightful reviews of Web 2 tools. I think one of the really helpful things that Richard does is he places the tool within an educational context.

Sometimes it is easy to see how much fun a Web tool might be in the classroom but not as easy to recognise the educational benefits. Richard tends to write up how he would use it in the classroom. This is great because it allows us to see HOW it can be used and then we can contextualise this into our own situations. Enjoy!!!

Automatoon is a free service for creating simple to complex animations that you can reuse anywhere on the web. There are three basic steps to using Automatoon. First, you draw and color your images. Second, you break apart each element of your drawing. And third, you specify the animation action for each part of your drawing. For example, when I made a simple animation of a face I started by drawing the face then separating the elements and finally specified the sequence in which I wanted the face to be reassembled as an animation.

You can add as many parts to your Automatoon animations as you like. There are three basic animation actions that you can specify; bend, change, and move. Each part of your drawing can have one, two, or all three of those actions. The tricky part is putting together the correct sequence of actions.

To read the full article:

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Dumpr - Students Having Fun with their Photos

Here is another site similar to Big Huge Labs. These two sites are great to get kids manipulating their photographs or photographs of their works. They are sites that allow you to make different items or effects on images. They are lots of fun and can be used as an end of unit activity or even as a fun activity in between research tasks. I have used them as a reward task for those students who go above and beyond.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Google Tools to Support Bloom's revised Taxonomy

This is a fantastic tool put together by Kathy Schrock. Kathy has numerous websites and blogs including a fabulous site on the use of Infographics in education. She has made a major contribution to the idea of sharing on the net and we thank her for her continued commitment and dedication to enhancing the learning of students. Make sure you take the time to visit her sites for up to date Web tools and fantastic resources to improving the learning of your students.

This graphic is a link that takes you to her clickable image map.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Photoshop Elements: From Line Drawing to Coloured Artwork

This is a Starter Sheet that we use with our Year 8 art students. The students are to complete a Printmaking Body of Work based on the theme 'Just for Fun'. Our students are really motivated about this unit because they get to combine their love of theme parks with art.

Photoshop Elements Starter Sheet

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Tumblr Dashboard and Archive in the Classroom

I have posted before about how we use Tumblr in the senior classroom. Tumblr updated their dashboard last month and this microblogging tool has also been getting a bit of coverage on different twitter PLN's lately so I thought it might be worthwhile to revisit this tool. The new dashboard makes it easy to manage multiple blogs and to post quickly and easily. The best feature is the ability the upload a multitude of file types. Here is how we have used it previously;
Previously Post: 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.
My students showed me another feature today that I was really impressed with. It is the archive function in some of the themes. It allows you to visually scan all posts and then to select the ones that you wish to investigate further.

Because we use them as Visual Arts Process Diaries in Art this feature makes it very easy for teachers to scan posts quickly to ensure that all students are posting and reflecting on their processes to the level of detail that is required at a senior level.

Our Visual Arts Process Dairies need to document all aspects of the creative process from idea formation, to media experiments, including details of the finished artworks right through to actual construction of mounts and frames. This is an easy process if the students photographically record each step on a regular basis. Many just use their laptop camera to do this each lesson.

Here is an example of the Archive feature. I hope this illustrates my point. This student reflected comprehensively and although you do not get to read the whole entry it quickly becomes apparent when he has failed to post. This facility also gives you an impression of how extensive his Visual Diary will be when we are ready to use Blog Booker to print out his blog in book format.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

29 Ways to Stay Creative

I like this video because it reminds us of all the things we are trying to do, and many of the things we should be doing. I don't know how many times I have had the conversation with both new teachers and colleagues alike that it is important to have a balance in our lives. If we have nothing outside of school what is it that we bring to the classroom. What is it that we offer our students?

I know I want my students to be passionate, to embrace new situations and relish the idea of being a life long learning.

This video is not just about staying creative, it is also a check list for being a good teacher. How can we expect our students to be creative, innovative, experimental and open to new experiences if we ourselves do not model this exact behaviour.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

AASL: Top 25 Websites for Teaching and Learning 2011

The America Association of School Librarians have put together the Top 25 Websites for Teaching and Learning 2011 - a series of sites that they have chosen for both their educational value and the use of sound pedagogy. The Web tools have been categoried into task based subsets linked to Standards for the 21st Century; Another document produced by the AASL that is a must read. Well worth the look, as is the site itself which is full of resources.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Tildee: Online Tutorial Tool

Tildee is a Web 2 tool that easily allows you to create online tutorials. The best thing about this tool is the way that you can present the screen images or any image with the instructions. This is exactly how you would set out a worksheet for your students. I just like the way this is designed - simple yet effective.

Not only will I find this tool really handy for Staff Professinal Development but I can't wait to make some of these for my Art classes. This is especially true for PhotoShop and Pixlr Tutorials but also with a series about Self-Portraits coupled with some photos documenting the process for the students. The beauty of this is that the students can re-visit the tutorial whenever they need to without feeling as if they are asking the same questions over and over. They can re-read the instructions at their own pace. They have access to the tutorials 24/7.

I also want to get my students to use this as a way of instructing their peers. What better way of illustrating their own understanding of a task or procedure than to get them to teach it to others. This would be a great task to conclude a unit of work with or even to extend your more motivated students. The possibilities are endless.

I know you could do this in Word or Pages and get the students to download the document but I like the fact that we can share these resources. I like the fact that other people can comment on the tutorials made by your students. Whenever we have uploaded our publications to Issuu or Scribd the students get a real kick out of the positive comments that other people always leave.

Lets me show you what I mean. This is a sample tutorial created by matterandrew. See what you think!
How could you use this in your classroom?

And it continues.......see full tutorial at

or visit the Website at

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Great New Google Tool: What Do You Love

This is not a complicated tool. It is a simple format that locates resources from a number of google sites and put them all in one place. It is however beautifully simple and beautifully simple to use.

It is this simplicity that makes it so usable from the students point of view. This will be a great tool for research assignments or even projects. You type in the term or name you would like to search and the WDYL tool locates information about the search term in the following categories;

It then present the information in a series of links on the page. This is not the only tool that your students will need to complete a research task but it is a good start to model the type of information you might looks for and the variety of tools one might use. Have a look I thought it was a nice little idea to use as a starter when introducing a new topic.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

40 Ways to use Google Apps in the Classrooom

Google has been working hard to continually update their suite of tools recently. Different tools have been released on a regular basis over the last couple of months.

Google Apps is actually a suite of Google applications that brings together a series of services to help an organisation like a school. It is a service that lets schools, and institutions use a variety of Google products -- including Email, Google Docs, Google Calendar, and Google Talk -- on a unique domain name (e.g.,

For instance, if you own the domain and you sign up for Google Apps services, everyone at your organization will get:
  • A custom email address (
  • Tools for word processing
  • Spreadsheets and presentations
  • A shared calendaring system
  • Tools for creating web pages and sites for your business
  • Access to a flexible intranet system
  • And much, much more!
To give you a idea of how useful this service could be in your school the following GoogleDoc was put together. It is a GoogleDoc on "40 ways to use Google Apps in your classroom". Enjoy!!!