I’ve been a Skype guest for a couple sessions lately and found myself returning to some useful (and free) tools to show to these groups. I thought I would feature the links in a new post. Most of these are web-based resources, but some are free PDF downloads, or free apps to install and use. Some are well-suited to address the literacy achievement gap – Bubbl.us, Freeology. Others help motivate students and extend learning time beyond the classroom – Animoto, Cool Math Games, Slideshare, Jing, Elluminate. While others assist with collaboration and new media literacy skills – Picnik, Create A Graph, Go2Web20, Google Docs.
Enjoy, explore, and let me know how you are using these tools for learning!
Picnik – a nice photo editor if you don’t have Photoshop access at your school. Easy to prepare images that will appear on the web, in presentations, or in print. Edit from your online collections, or upload from your local machine. (I did a more in-depth look at Picnik in a previous post, but the site continues to be a reliable resource for web-based photo editing). http://www.picnik.com/app
Jing – one of my favorite screencast tools – and it’s free. You will find all kinds of ways to support learning with this tool. Works to capture screens in still images, or to grab video while you present/explain (screencasting). Includes a free account to make your screencasts available online. http://www.jingproject.com/
Bubbl.us – can be slow when using with a large group (one editor at a time only) but this free tool allows users to collaborate on a mind map document. I like the use of non-linguistic representation, and this site is an easy way to work and share files. http://bubbl.us/
Elluminate – has been widely used for webinars. They provide a “3 for free” option with their vRoom offer. You can offer online office hours to support learning beyond the classroom. It’s a good environment for online presentation, two-way discussion, chat, or screen sharing – and it’s free. http://www.elluminate.com/
Animoto – create instant video clips to introduce, reinforce, or celebrate your curricular content/skills. The free account allows 30-second clips, but educators can upgrade for free too. Personally I view the time limit as a positive and suggest the site works best when short, focused clips are used sparingly. Your students will think you’re a video editing expert! http://animoto.com/
Go2Web20 – find web 2.0 tools by category. A nice, central location for many web 2.o tools. Some will be a good match for your students, and others will be best-suited for personal or business use. Take some time to explore. http://www.go2web20.net/
Slideshare – an easy solution for posting your presentations (PowerPoint or Keynote), MS Word documents, or PDF files online. I appreciate the inclusion of Keynote files! Here’s the link to the education category http://www.slideshare.net/category/education
Create A Graph – this site is part of the National Center for Educational Statistics at the federal Department of Education. Their KidZone offers lots of tools, but I like the higher order thinking that can be gained from working with graphs. This is a great, free resource for students who don’t have access to Excel, Numbers, or other spreadsheet software. http://nces.ed.gov/nceskids/createagraph/default.aspx
Wordle – this is a great resource for presentations, professional development, or student work. I even used Wordle while writing my dissertation. You can paste in text (large blocks of text, I don’t know the character limit) and Wordle produces a result similar to a tag cloud from your input. This is a very visual tool that can help to “analyze” text. The resulting images can be edited at the site. I usually save them as screen shots and include the results in a presentation, or printout. An excellent cross-curricular tool. http://www.wordle.net/
FYI – you can find a PDF copy of a Google Presentation doc I use for these topics (title - Applications For Learning) on my Slideshare page at http://www.slideshare.net/dramage NOTE: several items have been added to this post after the slideshare document was posted and therefore do not appear in the slides.