Saturday, 24 April 2010

PictureTeller - similar to PhotoStory

This web tool has some really good features and is really easy to use. First you'll be asked to upload the pictures you wish to use to create your story. (Tip: if you want blank pages for just text save a coloured background on "Paint" as an image) On each image you can add a title, subtitle and sound. There is then the "Zoom and pan" option.

By altering and adding new points you can control how the camera will pan across your picture - at the bottom of the screen you can alter the speed at which the camera moves. Also, you can "Choose Label"; this option allows you to add speech bubbles to your picture.

Finally, there are options to download as a movie file or embed into your website/learning platform.

Build your wild self - a bit of fun!

A bit of fun this week! I've had a number of headaches with facebook in school this week so trying to find things to encourage kids to use thier ePortfolios instead. (Or give them things they can upload to facebook instead of thier own photographs!)

It's pretty self explanatory really: choose your body, facial features, clothing... Then add some "WILD" features. The bit you really need to know is how to save your picture. Click "I'm Done" and then a number of options will appear select "Get a WILD desktop", a new window will open where you can right click and save the picture.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

PinDax - online noticeboard (alternative to Wallwisher)

Very similar to Wallwisher. Great for class discussions and sharing ideas. Could be used just like a forum but I like to layout where you can see all posts at once and read the most relevant first. Double click on the posts to enlage. Have a go on the noticeboard below.

I found it a little trickier to get the hang of but it does so much more. Instead of just text you can post pictures, files, hyperlinks. You can even add a poll as a post giving readers multiple choice options (try voting on mine below!) I think my Year 6's would get the hang of it pretty quick but for lower KS2/KS1 Wallwisher is probabily easier. To upload files or pictures you need to be logged in but setting up a class account gets round this.

What's really useful is the "How to..." guides on YouTube - really useful for getting started. It's really easy to embed into your website/learning platform, either as a small widget board as I've done here or as a full page board.

NOTE: There are "chat" and "who's online" options but these are easy to disable when you set up the wall under "Tools".

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Dabbleboard - Online whiteboard

Fantastic collaboration tool. You can create a flipchart just as you would on your interactive whiteboard, including pictures, text darwings, but once embedded into your website/learning platform children can collaborate on work together.

The tools are easy to use and although you can create an account to save what you have done, you don't have to which means children could create pages for others to collaborate on. I think there are so many great uses for this tool.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Tagxedo - word cloud generator

Very similar to Wordle but in many ways I think a lot better for use in school.

First, and I think most importantly, you can save your cloud as an image file. There are more options for personalising your cloud, choosing the shapes, colours, fonts, etc. Just like Wordle, you can upload a document or use a url to generate your cloud. If you haven't used a program like this before what it does it generate your cloud based on the words in your document/webpage, the more frequently words appear the larger they will be.

I like to use this to when children have done a piece of writing. After typing it up they can upload it to the site and see which words they have used most frequently. It's a really good way for them to spot words they have overused and think more carefully about word choices. Also they make really effective artwork for displays!

(Cloud made from using the url of this blog.)

WallWisher - online noticeboard

Anything you might do with a post it note you can do here: brainstorming about a new topic; sharing ideas; discussing what we did over the holidays... The children love it. It can be used like in informal discussion forum

You will need to register an account to build a wall, but as long as you choose the setting for "Everyone" to post on the wall children do not need passwords (have a go below!) The best thing is it's so easy to use. All you need to do is select a background, give it a title and brief description and if you like add a picture - done. The best thing to do with it is to embed it into a page on your website/learning platform for easy access.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Picnik - Online photo editing

This is great and it fulfulls two important criteria: free and no need to register. We don't have a photo editing package in school so this is brilliant as we have been using the DigiBlue software which is no where near as good as this for photo editing.

They have demo photos you can use to have a play with the tools or you can upload your own. The photo can then be saved to your computer, rather than on the site (however this is an option if you register). It also has option to create "scrapbook" style pages - which look great - and slideshows (although Photostory is much better for this).

It does all the things you would expect from a photo editing package, as well as having lots fun features like adding writing or pictures on top and adding borders and frames. There are also "premium" features which you would have to pay for but I don't think for school purposes that would be necessary - there is more than enough there for free.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

TimeToast - Create timelines

Really useful, easy to use resource for creating timelines. You will need to set up an account to create and edit the timelines. The way I got round this is by setting a generic school account and gave children password and to access it so they can all add further events. The downside of this is that you can't see who added what but just ask children to add their name to the end of thier entry. Also, you need to make your timeline public in order to embed it in your website/learning platform.

Very easy to set up, you can add pictures for each event as well as a picture to go with the title. Once you have made the timeline public you have the object to embed it.

Ways to use:
  • Historical timelines, obviously
  • Year 6 Biographies/Autobiographies - children could create timelines for chosen subject of biography or create a personal one when writing thier own autobiographies (be careful with privacy issues here if children using thier own photographs - perhaps keep these as draft rather than publishing.
(had problem with embedding here but worked fine on my site)

Voki - Create speaking Characters
This website is so much fun and really easy to use. What I really like is that creating an account is optional so no email address is needed (something that really frustrates me about a lot of sites out there).

It allows you to create your own characters, which can be a little limiting as you can only choose from thier stock of faces and clothes but still plenty of choice (Creating a Victorian street child was interesting to say the least but I got there in the end).

There is then the option to add a voice, there are three main ways to do this:
1. Type your text and choose a computer voice to read it - ideal if like me you can't stand the sound of your own voice!
2. Record what you want your character to say
3. Upload a pre-recorded sound file.

You can also change the background that appears behind the character you've just created or upload your own. The publish button allows you to save your character so it can be embedded in your webpage/learning platform. Once embedded others can add comments about your character and what they have said, giving plenty of scope for peer assessment. The only downside I can see is the advert for "I can't believe it's not Butter" underneath your character but it's a small price to pay for a freebie!

Ways to use it:

  • Creating characters to use in writing - what might they be thinking in different situations (a way of using hot seating for shy children)

  • Re-creating characters from stories who can then be questioned or as above children write what they might be thinking in different situations.

  • Please share any further ideas..

Get a Voki now!