Monday, April 30, 2012

Thing 14: Thing the Last

You're almost done!

The last thing was intended to be Xtranormal, and while I still love Xtranormal, it's no longer free beyond a very basic level, and I want to highlight free tools. So, change of plans. I'm going to link to a handful of image editing and infographics sites--some tools I've used, some tools I've only started to explore. Pick one, pick a few, explore. Or, recommend a tool you use that I haven't mentioned (this is the part where I steal your ideas). It could be a tool you use with students, or something that you use personally to organize yourself or learn about new resources.

Image editing
Comic Creators
Favorite recently-discovered tool:
To complete Thing 14:
  • Pick one of the tools above, or a tool/site you use on a regular basis. Write a post on your blog about what it is and why you like it.
  • Include in your post your final reflection on 14 Things to Tame--what did you like, what did you not like? What will it change about your teaching? What would you recommend to a colleague?
  • Give yourself a pat on the back, because YOU MADE IT!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Thing 13: Prezi

Prezi is an online presentation tool--think of it as an alternative to PowerPoint. It's hard to explain in text, but the video and examples below do a good job of explaining to possibilities.

Getting Started:

A Prezi about using Prezi as a teaching tool:

Here's another sample Prezi (which includes lots of other great resources):

Some other Prezi links:

To complete Thing 13:
  • Watch the video above, and explore the two Prezis on this blog (or others you find) 
  • Write a blog post with your thoughts about Prezi. What do you like? What do you not like? Could you see yourself using it? Would you use it with students?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Thing 12: VoiceThread

VoiceThread is a way to create interactive discussions around images, all in an online environment. A VoiceThread is an image or series of images that students can comment on by adding text, audio, or video notes. Below, I've embedded a VoiceThread that explains some of the ways to use VoiceThread.

And here is a VoiceThread I created for this project:

There are a lot of examples of VoiceThread being used by teachers and students at VoiceThread in Education and the VoiceThread wiki .

VoiceThread is also available as a free iPad app

To complete Thing 12:
  • Check out the sample VoiceThread above, and explore some of the VoiceThread in Education examples
  • Sign up for a VoiceThread account
  • Add at least two comments to the VoiceThread I created, one of which must be an audio or video comment.
  • Write a blog post about your experience using VoiceThread, and how you might use it with students.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Thing 11: Creative Commons

Ever use photos or images you find on the web--or instruct your students to use images in work they produce for you? Ever wonder about whether or not you (and your students) were following copyright law when you do so? Copyright law can be incredibly complicated, and seeking out permission to use copyright images and music can take a lot of time--if you're able to get permission at all.

But what if the creators didn't mind? What if they want to share their work--they just want to specify how, and be sure they're given credit? That's where Creative Commons licensing comes in. Creative Commons is different from traditional copyright--it allows artists to share their work, while giving guidelines for how to do so. If you look to the right of this blog post, you'll see I've applied to a CC license to this blog.

The two videos below do a good job of explaining what Creative Commons is--and why it matters.

A Creative Commons license can be applied to images, music, videos, writing, scientific research--anything that would normally be covered under a copyright license.

Want to use Creative Commons licensed images, but not sure how to find them? Check out FlickrCC Blue Mountains and Photo Pin. I use Jamendo for CC-licensed music.

To complete Thing 11:

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Thing 10: Glogster

Glogster is an online poster creation tool. Glogs are interactive posters, including pictures, links, and embedded videos. They can be very simple or very complex. While Glogster itself is very easy to use, it can take some time to create your first glog, so this week we'll just be learning about glogs rather than making our own.

This video gives an overview of how to make a Glog, and the different things you can do with them

This Glog for a project on weather, found in the collection of Education Glogs, really shows off the different ways Glogster can be used.

To complete Thing 10:
  • Explore Glogster, especially the Education Glogs
  • In your blog, write about what you discovered and how you think you might be able to use Glogster in your classes.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Thing 9: ThingLink

ThingLink is a very new tool (less than a year old). ThingLink allows you (or students) to embed videos and links to images. It's a great way to add contextual information to a still image.

Check out the example of a ThingLink created for a U.S. History class. Hover over the image and dots will appear; hover over a dot to see what it links to, or click on it to play the video or visit the website.

U.S. History ThingLink

Richard Byrne of Free Technology for Teachers created a great video explaining how to use ThingLink

And here's a quick ThingLink I created using an image of the U.S. Capitol:

If you want more ideas and resources, go to Education ThingLink to sign up for a free ThingLink Education Guide.

To complete Thing 9:
  • Go to ThingLink and sign up for an account
  • Go to the ThingLink I created here: 14 Things ThingLink and click on Edit Tags at the bottom. The ThingLink will open in a new window. Click to add a tag; add a link (to a website, a video, anything!) and a description OR If you are so inspired, create your own ThingLink.
  • Embed the ThingLink in a new blog post
  • Write about your experience using ThingLink. Do you have ideas for how you might use it with students?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Thing 8: Screencasting

Have you ever had to explain how to use a website or computer program to someone? And then to someone else? And then again? It can get frustrating, right? Especially if you can't be there in person to show them. That's where screencasting comes in handy. Screencasts are short videos where you record what's happening on your screen and narrate it using a microphone. I use screencasts to create quick website tutorials and guides--like this guide to the library website

I create my screencasts using Screenr; it works on Mac or PC, and there is nothing to download or install. Below is a quick screencast on how Screenr works.

Here's a screencast I made recently about how to save a Gale database article to Evernote:

To complete Thing 8:
  • Watch the screencasts posted above.
  • Go to and make a screencast of something. . . anything! It doesn't have to be long. You'll need to login to Screenr in order to publish your screencast; you can log in with your Google account
  • Once you've made a screencast, embed it on your blog (or post a link).
  • If you're so inspired, share some ideas for how you could use screencasting