Top 10 Web Tools

1. Webspiration

Webspiration is a Web 2 tool that allows you to create online mind maps. These mind maps are easy to use in groups and the tool also has a chat function that allows students to remotely discuss aspects of the mind map before committing themselves online.

The other really interesting function is the Outline View. Once you have developed your mind map you can create an outline for a piece of writing with the simple click of a button. This is what puts this tool a level above many other online mind mapping tools.

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.


SpeakingImage allows you to create interactive images on online and then share them with others. You can also create groups, add wikis and set different permissions to manage collaborative work. You can set markers on the work or add lines and polygons to highlight a point or fact. This is a great tool for highlighting details in a complicated image to your students, It could be used in art, science and technology classes really easily but I can see uses for this in most subject areas.
Each of the annotation has its own wiki connected to it so your class or group can continue to add articles or further information connected to the images.

4. lets you instantly create Animated GIF online, free, right now! Just upload pictures or grab them from your Flickr. Create funny flashy slideshows with you and your friends, cartoons, previews, banners, etc. Post them anywhere you can post pictures: MySpace, Bebo, HI5 etc. No need for flash. Show them to people in our Gallery. Here one from one of my students, Morgan - nice work!

I had always sort of dismissed Blabberize because I teach high school - it seemed a bit childish. How silly do I feel? I think I was just looking at it the wrong way.

What if you used it to give a voice to a local politician, a historical character, or even a famous artist. Your students could present their work in a whole new way and from a totally new perspective - the first person. Imagine that you are Pablo Picasso.............

I had another little play with Blabberize and I think I could also use it as a topic specific talking avatar that gives students hints or explanations of different parts of a task or an assignment. This is a tool that could be even be used to give instructions for homework - give your students access to your explanations 24/7.

What if your art students completed a self portrait and then blabberized it to do a reflection on the process or to discuss the motivation behind their work or just to inform their audience of what they were attempting to communicate. This is a great tools to get your students to reflect on their own learning in any subject. Now I feel like I had a great resource at my disposal and hadn't been using it. Time to rectify that.

6. Block Posters

Make a huge poster out of any image you like. It is as simple as selecting your image, uploading to the Web 2 tool, deciding how it gets split and then downloading it again. The tool slices the image into the correct number of individual pages so you just hit print and each one is printed ready to be lined up on the wall.  Presto - huge poster.

This would be great for stimulus materials for new units of work, printing scenes for role plays or small theatre productions, you could also scan and then print out artworks at their original size so the students get an idea of the impact of the original. So many great uses for this tool.

7. DragON Tape

DragONtape is a Web 2 tool that enables you to create mixtapes of your favorite online or YouTube videos, so you can watch them as one continuous video. 

The remix tapes can then be accessed through a single URL. This makes it easy to show a series of videos to a class or a group of students without waiting for them to type in multiple web addresses.  The source clips remain in their original locations, Dragontape simply remembers where to find them and presents them as a single video.

8. Scribblescreen
Since we introduced ScribbleMaps it is only fair that we have a look at ScribbleScreen for Macs.

ScribbleScreen is a presentation tool allowing you to write directly onto the screen, drawing the attention of the audience to items which can be in windows from completely separate applications, high-light items as you speak about them, sketch a quick diagram or type some text.

ScribbleScreen works by capturing an image of the screen at the moment it is launched; thereafter drawing occurs on top of this screen image as a background. This background can take over the whole screen (the other applications still running, but hidden) or can be in a smaller side window so you can see the other applications.

This is a great tool for teachers and students when presenting computer skills or a set of instructions on the screen that the class has to follow carefully. I love this, it is so simple!

ScribbleScreen is a freeware application for Mac OS X 10.3.x/10.4.

9. Wix - Drag and Drop Website
Design and build your own Flash website. This is a free Web 2.0 tool with lots of features. Wix allows you to browse 100s of site templates and find one that is similar to the one you want. You then customise the template, adding your own media, fonts and colours. Change the page headings or add ones that your template doesn't have. This is a quick to build but very professional finished product. I especially love the cover flow picture gallery. Buy a $10 domain name and you are in business.

For absolute freedom teach yourself to start from scratch. I have seen some professional websites built with this tool.

10. Issuu - Online Publishing

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. The example of digital textbooks on this blog have all been embedded as stand alone documents. Give some thought to the tags that you attach to your new magazine so that plenty of people can find it in the online library. If you do not want everyone to see it tick this in the box when you are setting it up and only give the address to the people who you want to see your foray into the publishing world. This would be great for storybooks, illustrated stories or making picture books.