Answerables

Answerables
Game Based Learning System

Monday, August 31, 2009

Snow Leopard

After installing Snow Leopard and messing around w/ it for a few days I decided to post my thoughts on Apple's least expensive/powerful upgrade.

There are many sites online that offer great detailed reviews of 10.6 such as Mac World or Ars Technia review. They get into detail on all the changes, improved speed, Grand Central Dispatch, etc etc. However, I like to focus on a few things that jumped right out at me.

First, Quicktime X, is a new version of Quicktime which comes w/ Pro unlocked and offers screen capturing ability. This is very easy to do and users of iMovie 09 will feel right at home. Although, Quicktime 7 is still around for those that are not quite comfortable w/ the change (see Utility folder).



Second, Preview has some added changes such as an improved ability to annotate/highlight text. There is a new toolbar which allows you to edit the PDF which was very limited in other versions.



Finally, what really stood out for me was how apps were relocated or their names changed. For example, Directory Utility is no longer located in the Utilities folder but is now located in the System/Library/Core Services folder. While this might be confusing at first it does get easier the more you become familiar w/ Snow Leopard.

A great update from Apple for only $29.99!!!
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s4ve.as

File sharing made easy!!! Just upload your file, wait for a link to be generated and that's it. However, there is one small catch... your file will only be "live" for 24 hours.



Give S4ve.as a try by clicking here.

WebKruz

WebKruz is one of many new search engines (from Larry Ferlazzo highly recommended!!) that uses visualization and multi-media to query their search results. In their own words, " Webkruz is an new innovative visual search engine that is striving to change how people search for data on the internet. Instead of showing the results in a flat textual format, Webkruz shows the results in a way that gives the results more depth."

WK has one really cool feature which I have not seen before, and that is when you do a search on a term the results come in thumbnail pictures which then act like a slideshow. This is very handy when you want to see the home page of each of your results. However, if there is one draw back to the site I feel that it is a bit busy and w/ the advertising taking on such a prominent role it does district from the content of the page.

Search results on the term 21st century technology...



Give Webkruz a try by clicking here.




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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Diagrammr

Diagrammr is an excellent site for making a diagram/mind map by just typing text. It really is so simple, all you have to do is type in your text and watch how the diagram develops. Another feature which I really like is once your image is finished you can either change the layout or embed into your site.

This is a definite resource I can see being used in the classroom and I highly recommend giving it a look.

To give Diagrammr a try click here.





For another detailed review, check out Larry Ferlazzo's great blog.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Typedia

Typedia is a search engine for fonts. It actually is very cool once you get used to the interface. It is similar to most search engines, but it has a wiki-type feel to it as users can add their own fonts to make the "engine" flourish.



One complaint I have is you can only search once every 15 seconds, I'm not really sure what that's all about. Also, on trying a number of fonts, some of the more obscure ones don't show up (ex, Futura).

All in all I find this to be useful search engine and recommend checking it out.

Click here to give Typedia a try.
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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Worldbuilder

Worldbuilder is a ning network called, "A fourth world media educational community." It is a rather new social network and one I feel has a lot of promise. Why? They do a very good job of advertising and sticking to their core philosophy, "Look, Listen, and Learn!"

This is a collaboration of educators dedicated to the educational use of social media. It really is a nice intriguing site.

As w/ most social networks, especially those created w/ ning, it is very user friendly and has a nice graphic interface.



I highly recommend giving Worldbuilder a look by clicking here.
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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Blog Companion: Volume. IV

Due to the very warm response I decided to create another volume of "cliff notes" to my blog. I like to refer to them as "blog companions" that helps the reader focus on some of the more significant online tools. I hope that people will find this as a useful resource and feel free to use it in any format that works for them.

However, keep in mind that these tools while valuable should be used w/ regards to their district's online acceptable use policy and CIPA compliance.

This companion will focus on search engines that can be used as an educational tool.

One last thing I'd like to point out is that underneath the Blog Companion gadget on the right side of the screen, you'll notice a list of links called Blog Companions. This is where I will keep past volumes so others can view/download them at any time.

Again, thanks for reading and please feel free to comment as it helps me gauge how I can best meet people's needs.

Blog Companion V. III formats:

Digital Book
Direct Link

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Live Binders

Live Binders is a new (beta) site I first read about on Richard Byrne's blog. This is very similar to Toobla, in that it is designed to help organize your digital content. LB is ideal for education because it organizes the content in one easily visualized place, or straight from their site, "Teachers place livebinders on desktops so kids don’t have to type addresses or get lost searching on the web. And they don't have to add a bookmark to every computer everytime they have a new link to share - they can just update the livebinder."


I can see this being used by teachers/students to create one location to share their content: web pages, slide shows, links, etc. I like to think of it as the ultimate PDF because it is 100% interactive. For example, a page of links, would instead be a binder of web pages (where all the links are live), etc etc.

Give Live Binders a try by clicking here.

Toobla

Toobla is a new (beta) site for organizing your digital content. It has a really sleek look (GUI) to it and is very user friendly. Adding all content is done by creating folders and the arranging them in "channels".



Toobla offers a lot of options for the user such as the ability to upload data straight from the source, share information (web 2.0 style), and embed it into your site via a widget.



I highly recommend giving Tooble a try by clicking here.

For another detailed review check out Larry Ferlazzo's blog.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Ninja Words

Ninja Words is a new site that I just read about on Richard Byrne's excellent blog. NW is an online dictionary which is very easy to use and quite good.

What I like so much about NW is that it tracks a user's history so you can refer back to words. However, you do have the ability to empty the history if you don't want to keep a record of that. It reminds me a lot of Apple's built in dictionary w/out the ability to cross-reference.

Below is my example...



Give Ninja Words a try by clicking here.
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AudioPal

AudioPal is a new site that I learned about from Larry Ferlazzo's incredible blog. This is an online service which allows you to record audio then post it on your site/blog, very similar to Recordr.

What I like so much about AP is that no registration is required; all you have to do is record your audio and then put in an email address so you can get a link to your embed code. Also, you have the ability to upload your audio files and turn them into an embeddable "widget".

Below is my quick example of recording my audio...













Give AudioPal a try by clicking here.
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SignApp Now

SignApp Now is a great new site for creating free online sign-up sheets. This is ideal for any teacher who is doing a club or extra-curricular activity.

What makes SA so great is how easy it is to use. There is no registration required. All you do is title your sign-up sheet, determine if you want to hide your email, and set a date for when it must be completed.

Click here to view my example.



Give SignApp a try now by clicking here.

Bingle

Bingle is a mash-up of Bing and Google. This is very handy search engine to use if you can't decide which of the two "power houses" to use.




It's very easy to use and easily displays both search result pages on the same page. Give Bingle a try by clicking here.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Blog Companion: Volume III

Due to the very warm response I decided to create another volume of "cliff notes" to my blog. I like to refer to them as "blog companions" that helps the reader focus on some of the more significant online tools. I hope that people will find this as a useful resource and feel free to use it in any format that works for them.

However, keep in mind that these tools while valuable should be used w/ regards to their district's online acceptable use policy and CIPA compliance.

This companion will focus on multi-media technologies that include: audio, video, and presentation applications.

One last thing I'd like to point out is that underneath the Blog Companion gadget on the right side of the screen, you'll notice a list of links called Blog Companions. This is where I will keep past volumes so others can view/download them at any time.

Again, thanks for reading and please feel free to comment as it helps me gauge how I can best meet people's needs.

Blog Companion V. III formats:

Digital Book
Direct Link

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Lavva

Lavva is a new (beta) search engine that is influenced by their users to share/collaborate on information. It can almost be described as Wikipedia meets Google. Here is a quote in their own words, "Lavva hopes to turn search into an interactive platform where every user can contribute to the richness of the experience and have the ability to influence content."

After giving Lavva a try I must say I was pretty impressed. First, it is a visually nice looking search engine, browsing for images is very easy w/ interactive thumbnails. What this means is, a person can rate a link or image by clicking on a thumbs up or thumbs down. Users of Facebook will be familiar w/ that and those ratings determine which place the order in which those hits occur.

Give Lavva a try by clicking here.

Below is a pic of a search using the term, technology integration...




For another detailed review click on Larry Ferlazzo's blog.
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Zinepal

Zinepal is a site for making your own digital magazine or ebook. It is very easy to use and I can see the benefit for teachers creating these "ebooks" since they will be in digital format w/ active links.

To get started you have to register an account, upload a few RSS "feeds" and then click create zine. Once it is finished you can set it to private or leave it public so others can view this. I really see this as a way a teacher can subscribe to educational blogs for their students. This site creates a "mash-up" or zine, so students can then see a combination of resources. This could be ideal for those who write more then one blog and want to share it w/ others via one URL.

Below is my "ebook" combining my blog w/ Larry Ferlazzo's.



Click here for the full version.

Give Zinepal a try by clicking here.

Recordr

Recordr is a super easy to use nice site for recording audio/video and then uploading it to the web. Once you record your media, you can then either directly link it to Twitter/Tumblr, or get an embed code to put on your site/blog. No registration is necessary which makes this a very easy application to use w/ students.

Below is my example...

Tech Test recorded by guest



Give Recordr a try by clicking here.

For another in depth review, check out Larry Ferlazzo's blog.
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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Vuvox

Vuvox is a new (beta) site I just heard about from Free Technology 4 Teachers. There are lots of sites that let you create a slide show/presentation, but Vuvox may be one of the nicest.

First off, Vuvox has a really nice/sleek look to it. You can build some really nice presentations that includes video, photos, and audio. Also, you have the ability to create a collage or an "express" video which is fast and easy. Finally, Vuvox has some really nice video tutorials on their site which help the user learn how to use their program.

I did look at their acceptable use policy, and it is pretty standard. Any obscene/inappropriate material the user will be removed and can face subsequent punishment. However, I don't believe they have any filtering/moderating policies so it might not be ideal for student use.

Give Vuvox a look by clicking here.




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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

FlauntR

FlauntR is a site by Foto Desk and is a free online image editor. After giving it a try it reminded me a lot of Aviary but not as user friendly. That is a bit disappointing because there is a lot to like on this site.

The first thing that I noticed to even give this site a try you have to be a registered user. After that you have to either upload your own photos or use their sample images. While this is ok, once you upload the image it takes some getting used to before you know how to simply import the photo into the effects editor. For example, it took me 5 minutes to realize I had to drag/drop my logo in a window that is covered up by another window (this was confusing to me). Also, I found no easy way to undo/delete an effect. I had to literally start over from scratch by dragging my photo again on to the edit window.

Nice feature ordering your pictures!!

However, FlauntR has a very nice look to their website and there are a lot of fun effects that you can add. Give FR a try by clicking here.

Below is my example using the Paper Cut3 & Magazine cover effect...



For another in depth review check out Richard Byrne's amazing blog.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Text 2 Mind Map

Text 2 Mind Map is a site I learned about from a trusted online resource, Skip Zalenraitis. After taking a look and testing it, I'm super glad that he found this, because it is a great great site.

T2MM is a site where users can type in their text and convert it to a mind map. It kind of resembles Inspirations built in diagram feature from a outline. Actually, that's exactly how I made the mind map below. I just typed in outline format and clicked generate, it's that easy.

One thing to keep in mind this site is still very new and being worked on, but it does seem to be an invaluable tool teaching students how to brainstorm and use mind maps.

Click here for more info.



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ChartGo

ChartGo is a site I learned about from Larry Ferlazzo and is one of many for creating online graphs. There are many sites that do the same thing, but if you want something simple w/out all the "bells & whistles" then ChartGo is the place for you.

To get started is simple just click on chart info and enter the data of your graph. After that you can click create graph or go back to the main screen to determine the type of graph you want (by default it is pie). Once the graph is created you have the option to print, save, or link.

What I wish CG did better was allow users to import data such as Excel (or xls). Also, to really make an impact I would've added some subtle flash effects" that other sites such as Widgenie or Rich Chart Live.



Give ChartGo a try by clicking here.


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Saturday, August 8, 2009

Blog Companion: Volume II

Due to the very warm response I decided to create another volume of "cliff notes" to my blog. I like to refer to them as "blog companions" that helps the reader focus on some of the more significant online tools. I hope that people will find this as a useful resource and feel free to use it in any format that works for them.

However, keep in mind that these tools while valuable should be used w/ regards to their district's online acceptable use policy and CIPA compliance.

I hope to continue to bring you these companions that will focus on specific genres such as: multi-media, art, and technical assets.

One last thing I'd like to point out is that underneath the Blog Companion gadget on the right side of the screen, you'll notice a list of links called Blog Companions. This is where I will keep past volumes so others can view/download them at any time.

Again, thanks for reading and please feel free to comment as it helps me gauge how I can best meet people's needs.

Blog Companion V. II formats:

Friday, August 7, 2009

BookRix

BookRix is a new site that allows a user to create a "digital" book. I can potentially see this being used by students, but educators must be aware that there is no filtering going on (even though there is a strict guideline policy).

I must say that I'm really impressed w/ what you can do on BR. Not only can you upload your book, you can create one from scratch right on their site. Also, there is a nice feature that allows you to create a cover w/ their stock photos or upload your own.



Finally, as any "web 2.0" application you have the ability to post your book online for others to read and provide comments. This is the one area that I feel can be fine tuned. I'd like to see the ability to monitor comments before they get posted. Here, you can only to them on or off. Also, I'd like this site to a bit faster if possible, but I think there is a lot of flash involved which does hinder the load times.

Give BookRix a try by clicking here or read my Blog Companion (now in book format) on there by clicking here.



For another detailed review check out Larry Ferlazzo's excellent blog.


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ImageEnlarger

ImageEnlarger is a free app for enlarging pictures but w/out that pixelated look. Have you ever imported a picture into an app (word/web), only to have it get real "grainy" as you enlarged it? If so, then this the application for you.

IE is is simple to use. Download it, launch and import your photo. There will be two windows the one on the left shows the pixlated verison, and the one on the right shows the preview on how your image will look. You can also tweak some settings and crop the picture to zoom in exactly to a specific part.



Download ImageEnlarger by clicking here.
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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Sound Bible

Sound Bible is an excellent site for getting royalty free sound effects. I first heard about this site from Free Technology 4 Teachers, and was surprised at how easy it is to use. All you have to do is browse their extensive library of effects or type in which sound you are looking for.

Another nice feature is ability to request a sound. This is ideal if a student/teacher need to use something that is not posted. My only concern is if there are any inappropriate sounds. I did find some that would fall in the category of vulgar so I'm sure this is something that educators should be aware of.

Once you have found the effect you are looking for you can download it either in .wav or .mp3 format.



Give Sound Bible a try by clicking here.
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Monday, August 3, 2009

25 Apps

I'm going to attempt something new and that is post something (verbatim) from a "guest" user, Karen Schweitzer. Karen is a very nice person who has a passion for writing & education. While some of these sites I have seen (Edmodo, ProPofs, Thinkfinity, etc.) and possibly reviewed (Writewith), I highly recommend checking them out because there is a lot of a valuable information to be found.

Enjoy....

25 Free Quizzing, Grading, and Teaching Resources

The Internet is rich with free resources designed to save teachers time and money. From grade books and web apps to lesson plans and quiz makers, there are online resources to fit nearly every teacher's needs. Here is a list of 25 sites worth exploring:

Quiz Makers

ProProfs - ProProfs Quiz School offers tools for teachers who want to create, share, and grade quizzes online. The free quiz generator is perfect for creating professional quizzes, tests, exams, and trivia.

ClassMarker - This online testing tool can be used to create multiple choice tests, essay exams, and other types of quizzes. Once quizzes are taken, ClassMarker corrects them automatically and emails answers to the appropriate party.

EasyTestMaker - EasyTestMaker provides tools to generate a wide assortment of tests. The site gives you the ability to divide tests into sections and insert instructions.

Charles Kelly's Online Quiz Generator - This online quiz generator is an extremely simple way to create multiple choice quizzes. Simply input your data, choose your format, and this program quickly creates your quizzes.

Javascript QuizMaker - The Javascript QuizMaker creates quizzes and generates code for online classes.

Online Grade Books and Tools

Engrade - Engrade is a suite of online classroom management tools that allows teachers to connect with students and parents 24/7. Tools include an assignment calendar, secure messaging, a grade book, attendance book, and progress reports.

GradeConnect - More than 100,000 teachers use GradeConnect to manage their classroom online. The site features messaging, online grade books, attendance reports, and more.

SnapGrades - SnapGrades offers a free online grade book for entire districts or single classes. This site also features a low-cost paid premium version with more options.

HotChalk - This online class management tool saves teachers 5 to 45 minutes a day by automating daily functions. HotChalk can be used to manage lesson plans, assignments, notes, and grade books.

Chalksite - Chalksite expands your classroom to the web with an online grade book, assignment tracker, messenger, and discussion forum.

Lesson Plans

Teachers.net - Teachers.net features over 4,000 lesson plans for all grades and subjects. The site houses lesson plans created for teachers by teachers and even offers original ideas.

TeAchnology - With over 30,000 free lesson plans online, TeAchnology is a great place to find lesson materials. This expansive teaching site covers all grades and subjects as well as holidays, current events, and interdisciplinary topics.

Thinkfinity - Thinkfinity, an educator's site created by the Verizon Foundation, offers teachers lesson plans, interactives, and more.

FREE - Federal Resources for Educational Excellence (FREE) provides several free lesson plans and resources for teachers, including free animations, primary documents, photos, and videos.

Educational World - This educator's website provides original lesson plans and articles by educational experts.

Classroom Activities

PBS Teachers - PBS Teachers offers several resources and activities for teachers, including activity packs that cover a wide variety of subjects.

Xpeditions - This National Geographic site features an array of activities for students at all levels. Activities include online and offline missions, maps, and interactive features.

Discovery Education - This educational site from the Discovery Channel offers a variety of free online activities for the classroom in addition to worksheets, brain boosters, and lesson plans.

Scholastic
- Scholastic provides activities for all grades and subjects. This site also features a rating system for specific activities other teachers enjoyed.

BBC Learning - This learning site features worksheets, activities, and games for K-12 students. BBC Learning is a great place for teachers to find a wide assortment of activities for all subjects.

Web Apps

Edmodo - Edmodo is a private micro blogging site for students and teachers. It can be used to communicate assignments, lists, and reminders out of the classroom.

LectureTools - This teaching aid makes lectures interactive. Students can synchronize notes with slides, pose questions electronically, and interact with the lecturer in other ways

FlashCardExchange - FlashCardExchange is a free flash card creation web app that allows you to create and share flashcards online or for print.

WriteWith - Teachers can use this free web app to oversee a group writing project. WriteWith allows teachers to upload documents, assign tasks, and track everyone's progress.

Empressor - Empressor is a multimedia tool that can be used to create media rich presentations. Completed presentations can be kept private or shared with others.

Guest post from education writer Karen Schweitzer. Karen is the About.com Guide to Business School. She also writes about online colleges and universities for OnlineColleges.net.

Differentiator

Differentiator is a site that is really gaining in popularity over the eduverse/online world. While it is a simple site to use, it really is neat in how it uses Bloom's Taxonomy to generate "meaningful" sentences.

I think there is some potential here which can help users learn how to structure a "proper" sentence. For example, each sentence starts out w/ the words "Students will ....", the user then clicks on a word in each of the following categories: Thinking Skill, Content, Resources, Product, and Groups.



Below is my final sentence...

Students will define the change over time of video using websites to create a timeline in groups of two.


Give Differentiator a try by clicking here.

For another detailed review check out Larry Ferlazzo's blog.

Loogix

Loogix is a site I first heard about from one of my friends on Plurk (just wish I could remember who to give the proper credit 8-) that is designed to create animated avatars. It is very easy, just upload a picture, select the size and effect you want, and click generate. That's it. From there you can get an embed code, or post directly to site/blog or other social networking platforms.

Below is my radial blur example....

Loogix.com. Animated avatars. RadialBlur

Give Loogix a try by clicking here.


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Sunday, August 2, 2009

Blog Companion

I decided to create what I call a "blog companion" to help assist the readers experience in using this blog. This companion-piece focuses strictly on educational "2.0" tools that can be used in a classroom setting. Of course when using any online/cloud computing tool it is necessary to review your district policy and always keep CIPA/COPPA compliance in mind.



In looking at the "companion" I tried to make it available in every format, such as a download, PDF (printing), and even a direct link by clicking here. I feel that the "companion" is very user friendly and self explanatory. The only item I'd like to point out is the "media tags" are referring to what kind of media is on my blog; not exactly what the actual online application is about.

That being said, I'd like to thank all my readers and especially Larry Ferlazzo who helped spread the word and tighten up some loose ends!!!

BTW, while not being a Twitter user myself you can follow along by clicking here...