Monday, 26 January 2015

A Reminder To Self: Useful Sites and Tools

Online Tools for Education

This post is about some of the online tools that I found useful last year...
I wanted to describe them all in one place (with links) so I could return at a later date if I was ever stuck for a way to make learning online more creative for my students.  
Most of these tools are easy to use, and could just as easily be used by students. They could create something for themselves, or something to share with their peers (or wider audience) based on what they have learned. 
I'm sure that I have missed a lot of great tools! It would be really helpful if anyone could post sites that I have missed in the comments section below to help build up an even bigger inventory of resources to share. 

VOCAROO - Uneditted voice recordings. Could be used to remind students about homework and school events etc. A quick and easy way to communicate with students at home. Gives you an embed code to put on your site or blog.
PADLET - A virtual post-it wall. Create a padlet, double-click to make a posting with instructions or an example. This can also give you an embed code to insert into your site, and students can interact with it without leaving your site.
INSTA-GROK – good for gathering information. Type in a question and it displays information as an interactive spiderweb. Hover mouse over it to see information expanded. You can adjust the slider at the top from “brand new” to “expert” to change the complexity of the information displayed. I personally find this confusing but other learners may enjoy the links and visual nature of the spiderweb.
THINGLINK – is extremely simple. Use any image from the web and add interactive links to it that will lead students off on an adventure of their choosing. Provides an embed code for your site as well.
LINOIT - similar to padlet but you have more control over the background colour. Doesn't appear to have any embed codes available.
WIKISPACES - you may have to fully commit to wikispaces as your organisational platform (like EDMODO) so students know to regularly return to it. Or just use it for a short time to run and monitor a discussion.
GO!ANIMATE – used to make little animated videos or moving comic strips. I would now only use this for a short home-learning summary task as it can be quite an involved and time-consuming process.
ABCYA ANIMATE - similar to the old Paint with brushes and pencils of varying size and colour. The tutorial is clear. It is easy to draw with and change. You can't change the speed of presentation of the animation and you can't embed it but you can export the final product as a gif and then upload it.
LEARNIST – this site was a little tricky to get into. You can create a 'board' and then add up to 5 articles, videos, or images, along with a heading and description for each. You need to add them one at a time, finish writing everything, and then the final step is to rearrange everything into the order you want students to meet the information. There is an embed code but it doesn't appear to work in my site; instead you could share it on Google+.
PINTEREST - create 'boards' for concepts and search for 'pins' to add to it. Easy to collate ideas in one place. Can't embed it but can share it in other ways. 
SCOOP IT – similar to learnist but looks more like a facebook feed. You can collect and collate videos and articles, and write a description for each one much the same as learnist. However I think it would be quite nice if students could intersperse these with posts of their reflections on each one, kind of like 'status updates' on Facebook.
EDUCREATIONS – started as a digital whiteboard but has since been upgraded. Register as a teacher, set up a class, get a code and start to create lessons. Insert a picture while annotating it and talking, and it saves it as a video.
EDMODO – learning community that looks like Facebook. Access to the class is code protected, and because it is like Facebook it is pretty quick and easy to use. It has folders to drop work into, powerpoints, and you can import from learnit and scoopit etc. Useful for handing in work and marking online, especially for setting deadlines with shutoffs. You can also run quizzes and polls through it.
PEERWISE – this site is run by the University of Auckland. Log in, create a class, and invite students to join by importing their emails from KAMAR or teacher dashboard. IT IS AWESOME! Students create multiple choice questions, answer their peers questions, and can also provide their peers feedback on the difficulty or accuracy of their questions. They earn badges by asking and answering more questions, or providing more feedback.
PREZI – like a cool, moving powerpoint online. Easy to use and many students have experience with it before. You can also easily embed these onto your sites.
DVOLVER MOVIEMAKER - the easiest site for animations, as it has turned the process into 6 multi-choice steps, e.g. choose the background, choose the character, type some text.. No ability to embed or share though, aside from email. Therefore may just be good as a home-learning task or exit ticket.

SOCRATIVE - log in as a teacher to create a quiz, ask a quick question, make an exit ticket or have a SPACE RACE! I like the space race because when students log into the room they are randomly assigned to a team with others in the class. Then students answer the questions you have created, and whenever they get them right they help their teams' space rocket to blast closer to the finish line!

ACTIVELY LEARN - a close reading tool. Log in, create a class and walk through some very clear tutorials. Then chose some readings, set a task or set an assignment. You can search through content (short articles, longer stories, etc) and when you find ones that you like you can send them to your 'workspace.' Sometimes articles that you select will have assignments attached to them that other teachers have created for it, and you can look through them and select one of them too if you'd like. Once it's in your workspace you can add questions (multi-choice or short answer) for students to answer as an assignment. You can also choose whether to attach multimedia to your assignment.

QUIZLET - online flashcards! And not only that, you can create classes, get students to log in and then keep track of the high scores for two games at the end of the quizlet. Students need to learn the words and definitions to get a really good score. The leaderboard is public within your class, so students can see what their friends are scoring. Can get quite competitive and many students have gone home to continue playing.

KAHOOT - click this link to be taken to the teacher login where you can create your own quiz (or select from existing ones). You will need to go to when you want your class to play. This is fantastic for revision and students appear to love it! I wonder if it also has something to do with the dramatic background music while they're playing, and the public scoreboards again at the end of each question.

INFOGR.AM - helps you to create infographics using templates. Only appears to give you 5 templates with identical layout, just different colours. You need to adjust the graphs using your own data. Good if you have 1 set of data or 1 graph you want students to present and explain. Probably better for maths or science than anything else.

PIKTOCHART - I love piktochart. It's very intuitive to use and has a whole lot of different templates (infographic, report, chart and presentation), and if you scroll down there are so many themes within them to chose from. After that, just double click to alter or delete any of the text or images, and drag and drop new ones. Great for student creations.

CANVA - similar to piktochart and just as intuitive. Canva has images that you need to pay to download though, although you can still add them to your poster or infographic (they will just have faint lines and the word Canva across them).

MOVENOTE - links really well with all of our Googly docs and presentations. Open movenote, select which docs or slides you want to talk about, then press record. It will film you talking (so students can see your face) as you click through the different things. It will also show where your mouse is so you can circle around what you're talking about. However it appears to only be shareable via Gmail, not embedded anywhere.

QR READER - downloaded onto phones.. it can be fun to send students on a mission to find and scan different QR codes. This app was being used a lot in Pt England school last year, with the 5 year old iPad class!

COOL TEXT - great for making buttons for your site and simple to use; select the font style that you want, type what you want on the button, and screenshot!

POWTOON - presentations or animation videos. Free signup. Not too bad to manipulate, much simpler than GoAnimate! and it provides an embed code for sites.

PICMONKEY - upload a photo or screenshot and then add text (great fonts) or little images such as blog critters or ladybugs.. I use this to make pretty buttons for my sites.