Monday, February 28, 2011

SymbalooEDU - Customizable and Visual Personal Learning Environment. A great way to share your Web 2.0 Resources.

SymbalooEDU is the educational version of Symbaloo.  SymbalooEDU allows you to create a wall of "tiles" or visual bookmarks to share with your collegues or students.  It is free to sign up and share your wall with anyone.  You can even publish your wall where other teachers can copy it and edit it to create their own walls.

SymballooEDU does offer a premium version to allow your wall to have its own URL and log at the top of the page.  This allows you to share an entire webmix you create instead of only a specific page from your webmix.

You can even create different walls with your webmix to better organize your tiles/links.  So you could have a page for Math Resources, L.A. Resources, WEB 2.0 Resources, Health, etc.  You can see and example of my webmix and the different pages in the image to the right.

Check out SymbalooEDU today and start sharing your links and resources in a very visually appealing and customizable webmix.

http://edu.symbaloo.com/

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Conceptu Math - Fraction Tools: Standards Aligned Interactives & Manipulatives to Help Understand Fractions

Conceptua Math Fraction Tools are great Interactives for helping your students understand Fractions.  The site has tools to help understand fractions on a number line, add & subtract fractions, identifying fractions, estimating, equivalents, finding common denominators & more.  Not only do they have interactive tools for visualizing each concept, they also have a video for how to use each tool, common core aligned standards for the tool, lesson plans and classroom activities (with a premium membership).

We use this site in Pride Class (Homeroom) as we practice our mathematics skills for our upcomming statewide standardized test.

The site and fraction tools are free to use, but you do have to sign up for a free account to use the tools.  You can sign up for a premium account if you would like detailed lesson plans as well as student individual logins.  

I would recommend this site as a tool to use with your students as a whole class instructive tool and not as a site you have them work on individually.  Again, you would have to pay for those features and I am trying to stress on this blog tools that will not cost you any money.  Go check out Conceptua Math and their Fraction Tools and see how you can use them in your classroom curriculum.

http://www.conceptuamath.com/fractions.html

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Yebol - A visual, organized, cluster filled search engine, in a good way!

Yebol is an alternative search engine that organizes your search results into small clusters in an attempt to find the information you are looking for.  Yebol will display your search results in small clusters of video of your search query, photos of your search query, the top websites that contain your search query, tweets about your subject, related searches,  and much more.
An Example of results from a basic Yebol Search



Here is an example of a search I did just for the name of former Italian Fascist Dictator Benito Mussolini.  I didn't ask for anything specific, but you can see how my results are clustered by Images, Search Results, News, & Videos.  You have the Top Sites on the top left of the page, Related Searches just below that, and the tweets are below the Related Searches (not in the picture).

The search results also make it very clear where the information is coming from by listing the name of the website in bold print next to the Search Results under the Search Results Heading.

Yebol clearly lables the websites' name next to your results!
I am not exactly ready to use Yebol as my go to alternative to other search engines I use in class, however, the site does a good job of organizing your search results in an attempt to narrow your search results.  I would recommend Yebol to be used in your classroom for students who are overwhelmed with the information they get from a Google Search.  Yebol is also a great search engine for your visual learners since it does a nice job of dividing up your search results visually.  Finally, I have found Yebol to do a great job as a Multimedia search engine since it will clearly define images and videos within your search results.

Check out the Yebol Search Engine in your classroom and be sure to share any impressions!
http://yebol.com/

Friday, February 18, 2011

Game for Science - A virtual gaming world built around Science!

Game for Science is a virtual world where students can create an avatar and explore various virtual islands with activities based in "health, aeronautics, genomics, environment, engineering and more."  Students can visit the Virtual World as a tourist, or sign up to edit their avatar, chat with other players, and save their progress.  Signing up is free, however, students will need an email to sign up and confirm their email. Visiting as a tourist, students do not need an email or to sign up.

I am a fan of open world online gaming cause they can teach our students many of the unwritten social rules about communicating effectively, respectfully, and efficiently online.  Plus, my students love simply seeing other students in the virtual world they can interact with.

I would only recommend Games for Science as a fun extension to your classroom Science curriculum, and at home activity your students interested in Science could interact with, or as an activity students can experience when they are finished with a classroom project (as I am using in class).

Here is a video to show you more about Game for Science



As my students finish up and prepare for their Historical Figure Presentations, I am allowing them to check out Game for Science as an alternate activity when their work is complete.

Check it out at   http://www.gameforscience.ca/

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

UJAM - Collaborative Online Music Collaboration & Creation

UJam is an awesome online, web based music creator.  Your music can be shared between students and they can make their own edits to make each jam even better.  This is a great site for creating your own music for podcasts, presentations, classroom rap songs, news shows, classroom videos, and more!

One of the coolest features of UJAM is the option to have a student sing freely into the microphone, and UJAM converts their voice into an instrument and creates a song.  Meaning, UJAM recognizes the notes you sing, then converts your voice into an instrument hitting those notes.  If you want to create an original song, you do not need to know how to read sheet music.  All you have to do is sing or hum the way you want the song to sound, then you can tweak it in UJAM!

You can also sing freely into the microphone or to the beat of a metronome, and have UJAM create music to match your song.  This is just like SongSmith by Microsoft or the Songmaker APP on iPhone.  You sing, then the program creates music to match and go with your own words.  It is pretty awesome.  Your students will LOVE creating their own songs from scratch.

The site has some very easy to follow tutorials that can help get students started.  You can check out the tutorials here.  Students can even record their own vocals in their "jam" or create their own songs.  I wouldn't put UJAM ahead of Audacity for classroom recordings.  However, for browser based music creation and audio recording, you may be hard pressed to find a better alternative.

Students will have to create an account in UJAM so they will need an email address.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Corkboard.me - An alternative to WallWisher. Your own digital corkboard where you and your students can share quick notes, links, & pictures.

I thought of posting this after a conversation we had over on Classroom20.com.  A teacher was looking for an alternative to WallWisher, a popular Web2.0 tool where you can post a question or comment, and have students add "notes" with their own comments.  WallWisher still has many technical issues and sometimes is blocked by school Internet filters.  I personally love WallWisher, however, I do have issues where it will not load properly or comments do not appear.  You can check out WallWisher for yourself at http://www.wallwisher.com/

Corkboard.me is a nice alternative to WallWisher.  It is totally free, you dont have to sign up to use it, and you create your corkboard just by opening the site.  When you visit Corkboard.me, simply copy the URL in your web browser and share it with your friends.   They can then add their own notes, links, and images.  Corkboards have a near limitless size so they should fit nearly any classroom need. 

This is a great resource for checking for understanding in your class, a quick 60 bell ringer to have students voice opinions on a prompt or topic, allowing students to ask questions about a lesson, and much more!


Check it out!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Braineos - Free & Easy Flashcard and Quiz Creator

Braineos is a free site that allows you to create flash cards AND quizzes from those flash cards to help you study for important subject matter.  We are currently using Braineos in my class with our Historical Figures Presentations.  Students must create a Presentation about a Historical Figure from their Social Studies Book (I give them a list to choose from).  The presentation includes biographical information, a Fakebook Wall Page (www.myfakewall.com), and a quiz to check the class for understanding (after the presentation).

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Biography Search Resources - Where to find the best information about people!

In my 6th Grade Computer Class, we are starting our Historical Figure Presentations.  These are presentations about the Historical Figures in our Social Studies Text Book.

When you are researching information about famous or historical figures, it can be hard for some students to find factual and easy to read information.

Below are the sites I have shared with my students to help them in their searches for Historical Figures.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Gwigle Game: Google Searching Tips Made Fun!

Gwigle is a Google Search Game that asks you to guess what the search query was based on the search results.  Gwigle is a fun and interactive way to learn google searching tips and practice your search skills.  Gwigle is a great extension to any Internet Searching Discussions or lessons you may have in class.  Share it with your students and see if they are aware of how search results and the search keyword are related. 

Gwigle shows you the results, and you must guess what the search was for!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Audacity Setup, Recording, & Editing Tips!

Audacity is a free audio recording and editing software.  The fact that it is FREE makes Audacity one of the number one choices for recording and editing Podcasts and other audio recordings in your classroom.

Many different teachers will quickly recommend Audacity, however, setting it up for recording and editing what you have already recorded can sometimes be confusing.  I am sharing a PDF File I put together to help out with setting up Audacity for creating audio recordings in your classroom and tips for editing your recordings.  This will help you set up Audacity for Podcasts and Classroom Recordings, remove background noise, remove pops, save as an MP3 and more!


You can get the Audacity Setup, Recording, & Editing Tips PDF RIGHT HERE!

Please email me any suggestions or tips you may when using Audacity!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Qwiki - Multimedia Web Searches

Qwiki is a site I have beta tested for several months and has just recently advanced to Alpha Release for all to use.  Although I was not overly impressed in my initial searches, the site is very engaging and improving everyday.  Qwiki is a multimedia search engine that creates small presentations from pictures, text, links and more based on your search.  It even uses text recognition to read the information to you.


The site would be a great Ice Breaker on a subject to kick start investigation.  You could also use it with your ESL students for extended learning within your curriculum.  You can even look up your home town and see how your town is recognized via Internet Search.

We are using Qwiki for initial searches on our Overcoming Adversity Presentations to research our awesome people and various disabilities. 

My cities Qwiki presentation made a huge point about our Shopping Mall.  Although there is still plenty of work left in updating Qwikis, there is an option to improve each presentation by suggesting photos, suggesting YouTube Videos, and making suggestions on the voice pronunciations and speed.  Qwiki is going to improve as users continue to suggest improvements to current presentations/searches. 

Here is a Qwiki Search Presentation I found on the WWW.




http://www.qwiki.com/q/#!/World_Wide_Web

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