Week 4: Take a Break and Play!

We have covered a lot of ground over the last few weeks. This week is intended as a catch up week and to give you time to play with some of the tools you have been learning about.

By now you should be feeling comfortable with creating a post on your blog. Please take the time to look at some of your colleagues’ blogs and add comments. One of the best things about blogs is the ability to create community around topics and issues. Another fun thing to do is to create an online avatar which will be used on your blog and when you post on other’s blogs. You could also play with the look of your blog.

There are so many fun sites on the Web. Listed below are some fun things you can play with, if you have time.  The tools were selected, tested and compiled using two great sources of recommended Web 2.0 learning tools:

Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day

The American Library Association’s Top 25 Websites for Teaching and Learning

More tools to play with!

Zooburst for digital storytelling. Students create interactive pop-up books.

 Tagxedo – similar to Wordle, but with additional styling options.  Click the thumbnail to see a sample made in seconds, using the URL of this blog.


Educaplay – allows teachers to create multimedia teaching activities.

Photocollect – multiple users upload photos to a shared photo album.  Seems like a great way to gather all those different photos people take at an event!

Knovio – add video or audio to PowerPoint presentations and then share.

Remember, play is learning. We need to give ourselves permission to explore and try things. This is just one way to model being a lifelong learner to our students.


Week 3: Presentation Tools

When you’re looking for a great way to integrate web 2.0 technology into the learning experiences of teachers and students, these tools provide versatile, creative options to enhance presentations and to collaborate with a wide audience. This week, you can try out two excellent tools, VoiceThread and Jing. Choose 1 or try them both!

• VoiceThread

VoiceThread is a tool that allows people anywhere to join in an asynchronous, online multimedia conversation. It is an easy and fun way for teachers and students to create, collaborate, share, debate, and reflect on their learning.

The Basics:

Click on the picture below to see a quick overview of what a VoiceThread is and how it works and some examples of that people are doing with this great tool! 

 Click here for some great examples of using VoiceThread with students of all ages.

Your turn!  Get started on your tasks:

1. Sign up for a VoiceThread account
Once you register, you’ll be directed to the page shown below, where you will find simple steps for creating your first VoiceThread. Watch some of the videos or head straight to the Create tab to dive right in!


2. Create your first VoiceThread
3. Comment on it.
4. Share it with someone!
5. Blog about your experience

How are educators using VoiceThread?

Voicethread 4 Education is an extensive and informative source for examples of how teachers are using Voicethread.

Check out the Voicethread 4 Education’s Best Practices page for an excellent and thorough overview.

Teachers, particularly teachers of younger students, will appreciate this quick tutorial on how to make multiple identities, so that you can use one VoiceThread account for multiple users.  One class, one account.  Easy peasy.

Great tutorials:

Teacher training videos (another tutorial from Russell Stannard)

Extensive collection of video tutorials from beginner to advanced from tech integrationist and blogger, Jennifer Dorman.

Great tips and information from New Zealand educator Suzie Vesper

Even more information:

While VoiceThread is free tool, the people at VoiceThread also offer Ed.VoiceThread, a subscription based version designed specifically for K-12 educators.

Scholarly articles on the use of Voicethread in education

And now for…


What is it?
Jing is a free online screensharing tool; it allows you to record a video of up to 5-minutes of anything you want to share that is on your computer screen. You can also use Jing to take still images of your desktop and to highlight, add text and annotate those images.

The Basics:

Jing is super easy to use!  Here’s the 1 minute quick tour.

Jing in the classroom:

Educators are discovering fun and effective ways to use Jing in the classroom. Find out more here:


• Check out this video.  Educator Russell Stannard loves Jing for language learners.

Your turn!  Get started on your tasks:

1. Explore the interactive tutorial from Techsmith, the creators of Jing.
(You will need to have Adobe Flash Player downloaded on your computer to be able to use the interactive tutorials.

Interactive tutorials:

If you don’t have Adobe Flash Player, try the tutorials below:

  • TechSmith provides over 20 training videos for beginning and advanced users of Jing!

2. Download the free version of Jing http://www.techsmith.com/download/jing/default.asp
3. Capture a screen image. Annotate it. Save it. OR create a Jing video.
4. Share your annotated image or video on your blog by sharing the link or embedding it.

Have fun!

Week 5: Communication Tools


As adults we communicate in a variety of ways.  With the development of written language, human beings went from grunting and making hand gestures, the elaborate pictograms, writing, and a plethora of languages around the globe. Scribes wrote down the thoughts of kings and emperors, Alexander Graham Bell created the first working telephone, and now we participate in conference calls, email, voice chat, video chat, group chat.  And we still gesture and grunt.

Communication is key to our relationships with our co-workers, and also our students.  The better the communication, the better the experience, and the more effective we are as a teacher and colleague.

This week we will be exploring two tools.  Google Hangouts and Edmodo.  So get ready to explore, think, and blog your experiences.

Note: it is best to have a webcam and microphone for this week available.

Google+ Hangouts

Google Plus Hangouts logo

What is Google Hangouts?

According to WikiHow  “Google+ is the latest social media platform which has caught the imagination of professionals in all walks of life. And fortunately for educators, features like Circles, Sparks, and Hangouts are of immense value – for an educator teaching at institutions located in different places, a lot of time is lost in travelling from one location to other, not to mention the strain involved in alternatively travelling and teaching.” Read the full article here.

Google Hangouts is one aspect of the Google+ social media platform.  It enables 10 people to “hangout” or voice and video chat at the same time.  Watch this video by Google about it. Educators are utilizing this tool in a variety of different ways. Explore these ideas:

Get Started with Google+ Hangout

Tips and Resources
There is a lot of stuff to play with in Google+ and different settings.  G+ Insider’s Guide is the one stop “how to” for Google+.  Google+: The Complete Guide from Mashable.com is also a great resource. Have fun!


Edmodo logo

What is Edmodo?

Simply, Edmodo is a specialized social learning network for teachers, students, and parents.  Edmodo is geared specially for the classroom.  According to Teacher Challenge:

“Edmodo is a Web 2.0 tool that allows teachers to safely share ideas, files, assignments, videos, projects, etc.with students and with other teachers in real time. It is a safe and secure social learning site for classrooms. Edmodo does not require student email addresses and only the people who have the group code can see the students.

The teacher must first register (for free). Then they can create a group or groups for their class. Students will then register and use the teacher’s code to join that class.”   On the homepage for Edmodo there is a link at the bottom that says, “Learn More about Edmodo.” Click on it and watch the video (1.5 min).

To explore further read what the Wikipedia entry for Edmodo has to say about it.

Ways Teachers are Using Edmodo (from Teacher Challenge)

  • Pen Pals (go to the Community site to connect with other teachers)
  • Make up work for when students are absent
  • Video commentary – can post a video on line and have students write comments about the video
  • Peer editing
  • Book clubs
  • Daily feedback
  • Students can turn in assignments via Edmodo (documents, glogs, etc.)
  • Enter comments on assignments, give positive feedback to students, give grades to students
  • Writing vocabulary sentences and having conversations about them

Browse through the Edmodo in Action videos provided by Edmodo.  There are quite a few so choose a couple to explore that are particularly interesting to you.  Note the topical tabs, and the list of topics down the right hand side of the page.

Checkout these cool resources for Edmodo. Some are projects, some are blogs, some are stories.

Get Started with Edmodo
  • Register for (free) teacher user account at Edmodo
  • Create or join a group
  • Invite other colleagues to join your group and play with it

Tips and Resources (from Teacher Challenge)

The Edmodo blog posts up-to-date information. The blog includes quick tips, managing your account, how to embed glogs, videos, etc.  They also have different webinars every month. If you run into problems, check out the Edmodo Help Center. The support you receive from Edmodo is simply amazing! Edmodo Communities allows teachers to connect with other teachers and see how they are using Edmodo in the classroom.

Blog Assignment Week 5

Reflect about your experiences with Google Hangouts and Edmodo.  Blog about your thoughts.  If you need a jumping point, here are a few things to mull over:

What are some difference between the two?  Which would you use in the classroom or for collaboration with your co-workers?  How do you see yourself utilizing these tools in the classroom? Was there some aspect about either Google Hangouts or Edmodo that you found challenging?

Week 6: Infographic Tools


Teachers have known for decades that students will retain information better if they see it, hear it, and do something with it. In our classrooms we use and teach Venn diagrams, concept maps, charts, timelines, and graphs to help students focus and learn concepts in all areas of the curriculum. Infographics involves all these tools. Simply, infographics involves putting data or any type of information in a visual format to make the data easier to understand (see Rick Mans’ infographic about infographics).

This week, we will explore some great sites to find completed infographics and look at a few tools you can use to create infographics with your students or to add to your own toolkit. Two of the tools we will be trying are Many Eyes and Dipity.

Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano, an advocate of using infographics in education, explains in her post “Creating infographics with students” that there are several reasons to use infographics with students including the following :

  • help students make sense of vast amount of information
  • organize and group related information together
  • tell a story
  • connect information
  • make raw data more appealing to most learners who are visual
  • understand complex relationships between data over time
  • analyze and interpret information

The Basics

  • Please review the slideshare by Jessica Fries-Gaither and Terry Shiverdecker entitled Visual literacy  for an overview of using infographics in schools.

Examples of infographics

Infographics can be used in their simplest forms with elementary students or combined to create visual essays for secondary students. The following is a text cloud I use with my grade 9 students when introducing the information literacy program:

So, for week 5, please choose one of the following tools (Many Eyes and/or Dipity) and create an infographic. You may decide to simply create a graph or a chart or you may take some varied elements and create a larger infographic. Take time to explore the many sites of infographics; perhaps bookmark some of your favorites.  I used Many Eyes and Glogster for my example. Please remember to post a link to your infographic(s) and blog about the tool you tried and your experience with it.

Tool 1

 Dipity is a fun way of creating interactive timelines. Although it can be used in high school, it is a perfect fit for many elementary and junior high curriculums. Please be aware that there are advertisements in the free version. Dipity allows a user to add text, images, or video segments to the timeline.

  • Watch this video (2:19 mins.) for an overview of Dipity.
  • Watch this video (3:25 mins. )for a short tutorial of Dipity

Activity: Give it a try.

  1. You can search timelines without logging in. Take a look at some of the artifacts (pictures, videos) that have been included. We recently used one on All Quiet on the Western Front and another on the Great Depression.
  2. Create an account.
  3. Create a timeline. Please notice you can make it public or private. You may want to consider allowing anyone to contribute and invite someone else to collaborate with you.
  4. Blog about your experience. What topic did you choose? How can you see using this tool with students. Post a link to your timeline.

Tool 2

 Many Eyes is a site created as an experiment by IBM. Many Eyes allows the creation a variety of visualizations (infographics) based on data sets that are uploaded to the site. A user can choose to use data already uploaded onto the site to create visualizations or a user can upload new data to manipulate.

The thing I like about Many Eyes is that a student can experiment with different ways of visualizing the data with a click of the mouse; I can create bubble, bar, or pie charts with the same data. Students can also manipulate text data to word clouds (like Wordle) but also showing links and relationships between text.

It is probably too complicated for elementary students. It is, however, a very effective tool for middle and secondary students  who need work with primary documents such as statistics; particularly if they are creating a web-based project as many of the visualizations are interactive.

  • Watch a short video (1:13 mins) describing Many Eyes.
  • View this example of a visualization.

You will have to create an account if you decide to create a data set. You can create visualizations based on the data sets you find on the site without signing in.

Activity: Give it a try.

  1. Watch this video for a short tutorial for Many Eyes.
  2. View this page for an overview/tour of Many Eyes.
  3. Choose a data set and create a visualization.
  4. Create an account.
  5. Create your own data set and make some visualizations based on it. Optional: invite someone to collaborate with you.
  6. Blog about your experience. What data did you use? What visualization(s) did you create? How could you use this tool in your school? Post a link to your visualizations and data set.

Helpful hints when creating infographics:

  • locate and analyze relevant data – reference where the data come from
  • Consider the story you want to tell
  • Keep it simple – don’t try to do too much
  • Focus *** quickly convey the meaning
  • Reference your facts