Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Search It - Omnipresent Search Bar

Search It, is a tool very similar to Quicksilver/Spotlight, where you can pull up a search bar on your computer and type what you are looking for. The big difference is where Quicksilver/Spotlight are designed to find/open things on your computer, Search It is a short cut to the internet.

That's right by holding down the option+esc (after download) it brings up the search bar which by default searches Google. You can also do command+return to search Wikipedia or shift+return to search via URL. Basically, you can search the internet w/out having to bring up the browser (a nice little time saver).

However, if you don't like the default settings of Search It you can customize it by clicking on the (S! button) which brings up the preference pane.

For more info click here.

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Monday, March 30, 2009


EyePlorer is a great new site (still in beta) that can be summed up as a visual search engine for WikiPedia. I just learned of this site on one of my favorite blogs, Free Technology 4 Teachers. This is one of the better online search engines to come around in a long time and deserves a look.

What I love about EyePlorer is how unique and easy to use it is. At first glance it looks like a giant color wheel. All you have to do is type in your search in the "search bar" and watch what happens (ignore the german, the site runs in English).

Surrounding the search bar are your hits. The more you specify your search terms, the less cluttered your "wheel" becomes. This is a great way to show students the importance of "surfing effectively".

Also, another great feature is when you click on a "hit", you can drag and drop it to the EyePlorer notebook which is located to the right of the "wheel". This is a great way for students to organize their results.

For more info click here.
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Story Top

I first heard of Story Top on Larry Ferlazzo's amazing blog. This is another online comic creator/storytelling site which incorporates a lot of Web 2.0 tools.

What separates this a part from other similar sites is it's ease in use and the vast amounts of options you can do once you create your comic/story.

You'll notice from the pic above that there are tabs at the top of the story (My Account, My Stories, My Groups, Share) This is where you can save/delete your story, create/join a group, upload/share your story etc.

I have an email into them regarding their filtering policy as I don't think there is a built in one. However, I believe they have a strict monitoring policy and will only let acceptable comic/stories appear online.

For more info click here.
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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

New Google?

Upon reading every techies favorite blog, Lifehacker (ok, there may be one person out there who feels different, umm, maybe two ;-) I discovered that Google has some new tricks up their sleeves. I almost find myself daily asking, "is there anything that Google doesn't get involved in?" and usually there isn't.

Google now has a prototype running on their search engine which you all can be a part of by just pasting in this information in the address bar (not search bar) after going to Google.
javascript:void(document.cookie="PREF=ID=4a609673baf685b5:TB=2:LD=en:CR=2:TM=1227543998:LM=1233568652:DV=AA:GM=1:IG=3:S=yFGqYec2D7L0wgxW;path=/; domain=.google.com");

This will put a "cookie" in your browser to let you try out the new features of Google, just delete the "cookie" to go back to normal.

After you install that you'll notice a button above your search called "show options" click on that.

Once you have done that you'll see three new views on the left side of the screen which are new to Google and that you can click on.....

Below is an example of the Wonder Wheel which is also interactive.

Another nice feature is the Timeline view. This puts your search in a timeline w/ text underneath, showing what events happened when, w/ links to their corresponding sites (think United Streaming timeline).
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Shahi is a visual dictionary which combines photos from Flicker and information from Wikipedia to create a Wiktionary. I learned about this interesting site from Kelly Tenkely's wonderful blog iLearn Technology (which I added to my Best Blogs Post).

This is a great resource if you want to gather a visual representation of a word. Since this is getting photos from Flickr I'm sure there is no filtering going on, so use w/ caution if you are going to use w/ students.

For more info click here.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Rich Chart Live

RCL is a great new site where you can create animated/flash based charts. What separates this online tool from others is its simple user interface and it's unique interactive design.

I just created a graph on here and it took me less then 5 minutes. Plus, it has a feature to import existing data, so if you have an excel spreadsheet you can easily upload it too. Another great feature is the ability to either export to Flash/PP or your blog/website. To top it all off this site is totally free (special cases may require a subscription).

For more info click here.

RCL example (I love the links you can create)...

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Myths and Legends

Myths & Legends or ML as I call them is such a great resource for teachers/students. It is ideal for English/history. Basically, ML is a place where students can create their own myth or Legend and then post it online. Creating the Myth is very easy and not only can you upload your own pictures (or choose from their stock footage), you can record your own voice to narrate your story.

What makes ML so great is the "submissions" of stories before they get posted online. All stories have to be approved by a moderator/teacher before they can be posted. This totally eliminates anything inappropriate from occurring on their site. Actually, if you are doing this in Windows you can download your story and share it that way.

The only "gray" area I have is about their comment feature. I'm not sure if there is a built in filter or if comments have to be approved before they get posted. I have an email into them regarding this aspect.

For more info click here.

Below is an example of a Myth & Legend I created...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Ooooh Snap, this is a fun little site!! You can create speech/think bubbles to add them to a picture and either share them (online) or post to your site/blog.

I can see teacher's using this to create something a bit more "interactive" then say Comic Life (you can do speech bubbles there too). However, one thing to keep in mind, this is not a filtered site at all. So, I would not recommend letting students use this unsupervised.

For more info click here.

My soon to be 4 yr old a few years ago...

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

AR Sights

AR Sights is a company that deals w/ virtual and augmented reality. AR is the implementation of digital technology into the "real" world. I first learned of this site from iLearning's blog, and have been completely blown away ever since.

Basically, what you can do from this site is browse Google Earth online, no download necessary. Just wait.... it gets better. Not only can you browse Google Earth online, but you can open up any Google Earth "landmark" on your desktop and I'm not referring to your computer. It is kind of like a cross between a hologram and VR, think R2D2 when he is displaying Obi One Kenobi via Princess Leia's message and you would not be to far off.

A downside is this is only available for Windows right now, but the educational possibilities are endless (virtual tours, Google Sketch-Up incorporation, etc.)

For more info click here.

Below is an AR example of the Statue of Liberty...

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Monday, March 16, 2009


I learned about this comic creator site from the well-heralded Free Technology 4 Teachers blog. This site is one of many where you can create comics online and then share them (Toon Doo, etc.) However, what sets this site apart from others is the educational section to it.

There are a ton of features that is designed specifically w/ schools in mind such as: private rooms/URL's, teacher to student messaging, a "lesson bank" to share/upload lesson plans, etc etc. Another nice feature is that it will easily interact w/ any CMS. For example, you can set your page to private so nobody can get in w/out a password or you can set individual permissions for students to make sure that nothing inappropriate gets posted up online.

I would think w/ these features in place it would abide by most CIPA/COPPA compliance rules. For more info click here.

Below is a Time-Lapse video of Pixton in Action

Coming soon... Pixton comics now animated... I'll post my example soon after... click here.
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Thursday, March 12, 2009


Doink (not the wrestling clown) is a fun little site where you can create art and then animate it. However, there is a lot more here then just creating custom animations. There is a whole Web 2.0/collaboration aspect.

When you sign up you can then comment on others people art, share projects, and even use the forum. They do have a strict policy to abide by so no swearing/bullying occurs, but I don't think there is a built in filter (they will remove anything inappropriate and ban the user).

Click here for more info.

Below is an example of my poor attempt at drawing/animating a Mac Mini. (sorry apple ;-)


DocJax is a new site (beta) for searching for documents/eBooks (PDF's, XLS, etc) Once you find the document you can either preview it in the web, rate it, or download it.

What makes this search engine so great is the Web 2.0 features. You can create an account then rate documents, post comments, chat, etc. So far, this has been the best way to search digital content that I can find.

For more info click here.

Below is a pic of a search result, notice how you can preview, rate, or download.

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Cyber Smart

Cyber Smart is a site for 21st Century Skills for education. It's probably been about a year since I last visited this site, but came across it again and found that it has changed quite a bit. Basically, Cyber Smart is a collection of great resources for teachers/educators.

There are so many things that you can find on this site: from online workshops (paid) to free lesson plans (search by grade level/subject) to one of the best toolbars (browser) around. I highly recommend downloading the toolbar (IE or FF) and explore all that it has to offer (Web 2.0, K-12 Curriculum, Library Resources, etc).

For more info click here.

Below is a screen shot of the incredible new tool bar!!

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Drop.io is an online solution for sharing/collaborating (real time)/streaming all sorts of documents and media. Think of it as Google Doc's w/ a lot more options.

The first thing that you'll notice about Drop.io is the vast amounts of options that you can do. First, it is real-time collaborating (such as Ether Pad), any comments, files you upload, or documents you share are uploaded in real time online, no emailing is required. Second, there are features that are unique to Drop.io that seperates it from other online resources. One of the nicest features is the ability to record/upload an audio file to any "drop box". This will help explain to your user what you want them to do. Another nice feature is a Chat feature similar to Google Doc's and even the ability to change the way you view your content.

However, while Drop.io does has some more robust features then Google Doc's it does lack in one key category and that is the ability to "house" itself inside of Gaggle which then filters all email inside of Google. This feature and this feature alone is one reason why Google is the way to go when using w/ a school. Another reason to go w/ Google is the huge amounts of resources online already available.

For more info click here.

If you're looking for just an easy way to do filesharing/document creation online, Shutterborg is a nice solution too.
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Shmoop is a very interesting site to say the least. Just by glancing at the name you can tell it is a little different, then when you start reading some of the content on Shmoop you can tell that these "guys" have a fun/good sense of humor.

What Shmoop is, is a site compiled of study guides for Literature/History/Poems. Also, it is a great resource for teachers/students to find: study tips/questions/links, etc. What I love most about Shmoop is the very user friendly layout which is easy to follow and it boasts some nice graphic design as well.

I do have an email into them regardding what their filtering policy might be, but I think it may not apply as users can't upload the content, only Shmoop themselves can.

For more info click here.


Tikatok is a place where students can create stories/books then either share them online or purchased them in hardcover for $20.00. When I first started browsing around on this site, I kept asking myself, other then the Web 2.0/collaboration tools what can you do here that you can't already do in iPhoto... then I stumbled upon the "Story Spark System".

The SSS actually helps students brainstorm ideas and create their own stories to get those creative juices flowing!!! Plus, w/ the collaboration aspect and publishing online students will take more pride and care in what they publish.

Finally, a nice little feature that Apple won't do is, if you have a picture and want to include it in your story but don't have a scanner, you can send it in to Tikatok and they will add/upload it for you. Plus, w/ the educational aspect you can register students w/out them having to have an email account. You just genereate a class, un & pw.

While this all sounds great I was concerned about sticking to CIPA/COPPA compliance so I sent them an email and found out what their policy is on filitering. There is no "built-in" filter, they want students to be able to express themselves. However, any time a comment or a story gets published a parent/teacher receives an email notification (similar to Wikipedia). A student can not sign up w/out parent approval. If anything is found inappropriate Tikatok will remove the content and suspend the user.

For more info click here.
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Monday, March 9, 2009

Digital Vaults

Digital Vaults is a new site put together by the National Archives (a great history resource). After exploring this site it has to be one of the most unique, engaging, online experiences I've ever had. It truly is a site to behold.

What DV is a place where historical records, photos, and documents are kept. At this site a user can either create a Digital Poster, Movie (my favorite) or a Pathway Challenge. A Pathway Challenge is a great way to lean history and see how historical items are "linked" together.

For more info click here or for another more in-depth review click on Kelly Tenkley's wonderful blog, iLearning.

Below is an example of a Digital Vault movie.

TIP: One thing to keep in mind this site is very flash intensive so you will need the latest plugins to view how it should be (this does make the site run slow/boggy on some networks/older machines)
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Sunday, March 8, 2009

Technology Projects

I created this repository of Technology Projects for teachers so they can generate ideas on how they can incorporate it in their teachings. Keep in mind this is for a WI Middle School so they standards you see listed is for that. However, these projects can be applied for K-12 as the "skill sets" are the same. You'll notice that these projects include anything from: Keynotes, to Stop Motion Animations, to Storybooks made in iPhoto.

I hope you'll find this page to resourceful to you!!!

For more info click here.
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Thursday, March 5, 2009


PDFVue is a new online resource which is quite handy when dealing w/ those "stubborn" PDF's. PDFVue is free and lets you upload any PDF and then edit it in any number of ways. For example, you can add text, annotate, add sticky notes, draw, etc etc. Once you are finished you can download your PDF or share a URL.

Click here for more info.
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Wednesday, March 4, 2009


This has to be one of my favorite Web 2.0 resources to come along in a while. Not since Animoto or Diigo have I been so impressed w/ an online resource.

Fliggo is a place where people can create their own video sharing site. What makes this so attractive for education is, is that you can create your own "YouTube-type" site and customize everything.

Also, Fliggo is very user friendly. Think of a combination of Blogger and Wikipedia and you got an idea of what you're in store for. You can set your page to private so only people w/ a password/members can get in. You can turn on/off comments and set those to be approved, and you can even have a rating for each video. Nothing can be posted on your site w/out administrator approval.

I'm just waiting for feedback from Fliggo itself to determine what kind of filtering policy they have. While you can make your own site safe, I'm not sure how that pertains towards other users.

For more info click here.
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Monday, March 2, 2009

Art Pad

I just came across this new site (beta) that lets you create art w/ brush strokes and records the whole event as a movie. Then w/ a click of a button you can email it to your friends and even "frame" it to display in their online gallery.

I feel this would be a fun resource for art teachers to use w/ their students to help introduce proper techniques. Also, it has a well defined "tip" section w/ a huge gallery of online art to explore. For more info click here.

Check out my computer example (it's great that you can control the settings to create a time-lapse effect)

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