Thursday, May 27, 2010

Digital Storytelling 4 Everyone

I just wanted to share a quick/simple course I created for Digital Storytelling, based on the inspiration from Shelly Terrell, Naomi Harm, and the Merton School District. This is designed specifically for all sorts of grade levels and can be used as a nice way to introduce this concept.

Please, feel free to use anyway you can and if you'd like to contact me about something more in-depth or detailed let me know.

Click here to engage in this wonderful 21st Century tool!!
Tessellation Creator is a wonderful new site that I found out about from Karen Ogen's excellent blog. I've always been a fan of tessellations ever since I taught how to make them using Appleworks 5.0 back in the day. However, I always wanted to be able to do this online and w/ Tessellation Creator now I can.

Give TC a try by clicking here.


Topmarks is a educational search engine and one of the better ones around, that I found out about from the amazing blog by Jonathan Wylie's, Education Technology Blog!! Not only can you search for excellent resources, but there are great links for whiteboard sites and educational games as well.

I highly recommend giving Topmarks a try by clicking here!!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Fuzzwich is a crazy fun site for digital storytelling that I just stumbled across thanks to two special educators, Ozge Karaoglu and Shelly Terrell. This is a site where a person selects their backgrounds, characters (where you can add your own face), and actions and then develops a story. I like to think of it as a simplified version of Alice Storytelling.

I highly recommend checking out Fuzzwich by clicking here!!

Sepia Town

Sepia Town is a search engine that looks for old pictures while implementing Google Maps. Not only can you search for images but you can upload them too. It kind of reminded me of a more polished version of HistoGrafica.

I highly recommend checking out Sepia Town by clicking here.

Thanks to Zarco English for the tip!!!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

5 Card Flickr Draw

5 Card Flickr Draw is an interesting site that can be used for digital storytelling. The way this works is Flickr gives a person 5 pictures to choose from. Once the picture is chosen another 5 are shown until there are 5 pictures lined up. After that a person can share this story or start over.

I think this is a nice site for brainstorming and can really get those creative juices flowing to create a story that matches the pictures.

Give 5 Card Flickr Draw a try by clicking here.

I'd like to thank Kathleen McGeady and her excellent blog for the tip!!!

Sheppard Software

Usually I don't do reviews of gaming sites unless they are very good and Sheppard Software did is just that. This is a great site to use for educational games on any number of subjects. Also, it is nice for a wide variety of ages especially the youngsters at PreK-K.

Give Sheppard Software a try by clicking here.
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TopicBox is a search engine for educators that boasts some interesting numbers such as: over 2000 websites, 11 subjects, and 212 topics. It claims to have saved teachers an estimated 1,110,974 hours of searching (as the avg search takes 15 min).

Give TopicBox a try by clicking here. is a nice URL shortening site that. What makes such an attractive option is the ability to password protect this URL.

Click here to see an example...
pw - fluffybunny (thanks Joe!!)

Give a try by clicking here.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Top 10 Sites for Brainstorming/Mind Mapping

Brainstorming/mind mapping has been an educational technique that has been around since the beginning of cognitive thought. This is a tool that facilitates ideas and collaborative in nature. W/ the use of web 2.0 technology this concept has evolved into an ideal 21st Century Technology for education. "A mind map is a diagram used to represent words, ideas, tasks, or other items linked to and arranged around a central key word or idea. Mind maps are used to generate, visualize, structure, and classify ideas, and as an aid in study, organization, problem solving, decision making, and writing. (wikipedia)"

Top 10 Sites for Brainstorming/Mind Mapping
  1. Slick Plan - What's not to like? Easy to use, create beautiful flow charts, then embed to a site.
  2. Thinklinkr - Real-time collaborative site where users brain storm and create a mind map.
  3. Webspiration - The popular desktop application (Inspiration) is now the web... nuff said.
  4. Diagrammr - Quite simply the easiest mind mapping site to use, no registration is necessary, then share the URL w/ others.
  5. Imagination Cubed - Nice looking site that is ideal for the electronic whiteboards w/ the ability to draw your own mind maps.
  6. Edistorm - Real-Time mind mapping w/ sticky notes.
  7. Education Eye - A great way to brainstorm w/ this innovative search engine.
  8. Mind42 - Nice collaborative mind mapping site that is easy to use.
  9. Mindmeister - Beautiful looking mind mapping site w/ the ability to embed into a site.
  10. Mindomo - One of the most detailed mind mapping sites w/ lots of web 2.0 features, such as sharing, commenting, etc.
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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Education Eye

Education Eye is an interesting new (beta) site that I had the pleasure of exploring due to a tip from one of my readers (Rei). This is a very unique site that is a cross between a brainstorming app and search engine.

The interface is in a interactive "cloud" that is surrounded by a wheel. In the cloud are the search results that can be clicked on to read an article. The wheel can be clicked on to adjust the number of search results. Also, a person can use EE as a search engine by typing in a term and finding results on that. I recommend typing in your name to see what happens.

Finally, there is a color coded key which shows what type of result is what. I would love to find out if these articles can have multimedia content displayed such as audio/video.

Below is the result of a search on the term, web 2.0.

I highly recommend checking out Education Eye by clicking here!!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Top 10 Sites for Creating Slide Shows

Slide shows are one of the most popular ways to integrate technology into education. No longer is it necessary for a person to have a program such as iPhoto or Power Point to create such a thing. Now there are a number of free online sites that lets users create amazing looking slide shows.

Below is my list of some of my favorite sites for doing just that...

Top 10 Sites for Creating Slide Shows
  1. Kizoa - Creates beautiful looking slide shows, w/ a variety of music, effects, transitions to choose from.
  2. Shwup - Great site for creating private collaborative slide shows w/ a number of admin features, such as the ability to allow comments.
  3. Photo Peach - Very unique site that allows users to create quizzes in their slide show through multiple choice questions.
  4. Animoto - One of the most popular sites around w/ an educational instance - nuff said.
  5. Slideroll - A very nice site site that allows the user to make private or allow comments.
  6. Flixtime - Easy to use site where a user uploads photos and selects audio and transitions and then gets a code to embed into their site.
  7. One True Media - Great site to create animated slide shows w/ video.
  8. PhotoSnack - Very user friendly site w/ a drag & drop interface.
  9. - Create flash based slide shows and get an embed code to put it on a site.
  10. Vuvox - An excellent site for creating beautiful looking multimedia slide shows.


Edistorm is a new site for brainstorming similar to the way Wall Wisher or Pin Dax works. This is done in real-time by the use of stickies. As w/ any "web 2.0" site this incorporates collaboration as a number of users can brainstorm at the same time. Also, the stickies are color coordinated for organization.

I recommend giving Edistorm a try by clicking here.

For a much more detailed review, check out the excellent blog iLearn Technology!
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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tunisian ELT Forum

The Tunisian ELT Forum is one of the nicest looking online magazines that I had a pleasure to do an interview for. I'd like to thank Tarak Brahmi for the opportunity to be a part of such a wonderful platform, as well as his friendship.

To read the interview in it's entirety click here.


NachoFoto is a search engine that searches for images in real-time. Thanks to Richard Byrne for the tip.

Below is a pic of the search results on the term, iPad...

I highly recommend checking this out by clicking here.

Best of the Web V. III

Best of the Web V. III is now up online. This presentation can be used by anyone as they see fit. I hope people will find some good resources here. This volume focuses on excellent resources for presentations/slide shows.

Read the Words

Read the Words is a very interesting site that I just learned about from Free Technology 4 Teachers. This is a site where users upload their text and then have it converted into speech by one of fifteen different voices. A person can all save their reading, share it, or embed it into their site.

Give Read the Words a try by clicking here.

Pic Lab

The Pic Lab is another new site for editing photos online. While this site might not have all the bells and whistles as some other editors (effects); what's here is very easy to use and a person can: crop, add layers/filters, etc etc.

Give Pic Lab a try by clicking here.

Thanks to Larry Ferlazzo for the tip!!

Monday, May 17, 2010

It's Worth Taking a Look at this Blog!

I'd like to thank the following special educators who included me in their list of blogs worth taking a look: Shelly Terrell, Ozge Karaoglu, and Ana Maria Menezes. In following along w/ the rules of this process, I'd like to nominate the following blogs that I feel are worth taking a look at (excluding the ones who nominated me per rules)...
  1. Larry Ferlazzo - Quite simply one of the best resource sharing blogs around!
  2. Richard Byrne - Free Technology 4 Teachers - nuff said.
  3. Naomi Harm - A master at professional development and technology integration and a close personal friend!
  4. Alexandra Fransisco - Zarco English is quickly becoming a main stay in the technology scene.
  5. Kelley Tenkley - iLearn Technology any list would be incomplete w/out Kelly's excellent blog!
  6. Langwitches - Excellent blog and the creator of Around the World w/ 80 Schools.
  7. Kathleen McGeady - A nice site for integration tips and one of the best online newsletters around.
  8. David Andrade - One of the top bloggers around who also writes for T & L magazine.
  9. Buffy Hamilton - The Unquiet Librarian who has to be one of the most innovative librarians around!!
  10. Brian McKee - A well written/humorous blog that shares interesting ways to integrate technology into the classroom.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


HootCourse is a very ambitious project and that is to bring the most popular social networks into the classroom. This is done by creating a virtual space that is built around real-time tweets and status updates of those popular sites.

After giving it a look, I must say that I am very intrigued. I would love to see this used in a "real" teaching environment. This could be great for the higher grade levels. There are some nice teacher features too, such as the ability to embed.

I'd love to see a paid service that filters content for this site, that would be ideal for education.

I highly recommend checking out HootCourse by clicking here.

A big thank you to Free Technology 4 Teachers for his excellent review!!


Stixy is a site for creating online content and collaboration in the same vein as Wall Wisher or Spaaze. Think of the page as one giant sticky note that you can edit and add all types of media.

For me personally I find that these type of sites can get visually busy real quick w/ a lot of editors.

Give Stixy a try by clicking here.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Primary Pad

Primary Pad is a new site that is powered by Etherpad for collaborative word processing. There is nothing new here for those that are familiar w/ Ether Pad or Text Flow but it does offer some nice packages for education.

This is a free service only for the first three months. A paid subscription will allow anywhere from 8 to 96 sharing a pad collaboratively (depending on the package). Also the paid version will allow educators to create user accounts, manage pads, etc.

Give Primary Pad a try by clicking here.

Thanks to Richard Byrne's excellent blog, Free Technology 4 Teachers for the tip!!

Tech University

Tech University is an excellent new site for free tutorials/screen casts for Macs. This was 4 months in the works and worth the wait!!

There are a ton of things to like on this site due to the variety of tutorials available ie, iLife, iWorks, OS X, etc etc.

I highly recommend checking out Tech University by clicking here.

A screen shot of the tutorial, The Jelly Bean Trick...


Hunch is an interesting new search engine that gets "smarter" the more it is used. The way it works is a person asks a question on Hunch and it gives out some suggestions/results. The more a person asks it the more refined an answer gets as the database "learns".

I wonder what would happen if you type into Hunch, "Is using hunch worth my time?" ;-)

Give Hunch a try by clicking here.

Below is a search on the term, Web 2.0...

Thanks to Zarco English for the tip!!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Best of the Web V. II

This is the second volume of the "Best of the Web" series. This presentation will focus on great educational sites that can be used by teachers. Please feel free to use this anyway you see fit.

Monday, May 10, 2010


Smories is a fun site that I just learned about from Zarco English. This is a site where kids read stories for kids. My only gripe is that I wish it would've had pictures to go along w/ the story telling. This would be ideal for the younger kids.

Try Smories by clicking here.


Guzzle is a nice new site for creating your online newspaper that reminds me of the Mac app, Times. However, there is no filter w/ this site so I don't recommend using it w/ students. This would be a nice site to use if you want to customize how you search online and do it all in one place.

Give Guzzle a try by clicking here.

Thanks to Larry Ferlazzo for the tip.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Top 10 Tips for Professional Development

"Professional development refers to skills and knowledge attained for both personal development and career advancement. Professional development encompasses all types of facilitated learning opportunities, ranging from college degrees to formal coursework, conferences and informal learning opportunities situated in practice. It has been described as intensive and collaborative, ideally incorporating an evaluative stage [1] There are a variety of approaches to professional development, including consultation, coaching, communities of practice, lesson study, mentoring, reflective supervision and technical assistance. (wikipedia)"

PD is a huge part of any educator's life. We as teachers are always teaching/leading others and always learning ourselves. W/ that being said I decided to give my top ten tips that I use when doing Professional Development. As any list this is subjective and open for debate, I'd love to hear what tools that others use that they find successful.

Top Ten Tips for Professional Development
  1. Flexibility - Not only a great skill for PD but teaching as well. You always want a backup plan just in case something is not working, ie the internet.
  2. Knowledge - It's very important to have a vast knowledge of the topic you're teaching. You don't have to be a "jedi master" but at least be able to answer the majority of questions.
  3. Confidence - This goes along w/ knowledge, nothing is more uncomfortable for the audience then watching somebody who looks like they don't deserve/want to be there.
  4. Innovation - I find it very important to use a variety of tools and present information in a new way to keep your audience engaged.
  5. Organization - An organized presentation will make the presenter's life that much easier!
  6. Resources - One of the things I pride myself on is giving the audience something tangible that they can take back w/ them or download (ie, digital books, CD, etc.).
  7. Creativity - This goes hand and hand w/ innovation and helps keeps audience engaged and wanting more. The traditional Powerpoint presentation is no longer realistic for a 21st Century audience.
  8. Humility - There is nothing that bothers me more then watching a presentation/educator who thinks they are a "know-it-all". We can always learn more especially from each other. That is exactly what developing a Personal Learning Network is all about. It's vital for a presenter to be open to constructive criticism and be good at self reflection.
  9. Humor - It's always nice to be able to open up in front of a large crowd and there is nothing better then having a sense of humor. Remember not to change who you are when presenting but be your self and let your natural sense of humor shine through!!
  10. Availability - It is always nice to be available to your audience for networking/answering questions at any time. Make yourself available and approachable to help strengthen your skill set.
There are many masters of professional development but a few that come to mind right off the bat are: Naomi Harm, Kevin Honeycutt, and Shelly Terrell. I recommend familiarizing yourself w/ these excellent educators to learn from some of the industry's best!!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Best of the Web V. I

It's no surprise that a lot of educators who blog also share a love for professional development. The last presentation/course that I developed "50 Sites in 60 Min" did quite well online that I figure why not turn my digital books into slide shows. (BTW if anybody wants to email me about PD and has questions on how I do 50 Sites or any other topic please let me know.)

I'm in the process of creating 6 slide shows that can be used/edited in anyway that a user sees fit. Ideally, this is not designed for PD but can certainly be used in this manner or any other way. Each volume will focus on a different topic.


Kizoa is a wonderful site for creating excellent looking animated slide shows. It has a look and feel similar to Pulp Motion but is web based.

There is a lot for a person to like such as different themes, animations, sounds/songs. Anyone familiar w/ Photo Peach or Animoto should feel right at home using this site.

My only concern is that I was having a hard time getting Firefox to work correctly w/ this site. I couldn't get my photos to add to the slide show by drag/drop.

I highly recommend checking out Kioza by clicking here.

Below is my short example...

For other great sites and similar reviews check out Ozge Karaoglu's excellent blog!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


ReviewBasics is an excellent site for collaborating on a number of items such as video, photos, text, presentations etc. This is done w/ a very nice user interface and lets others provide feedback on all sorts of content.

I highly recommend checking out their brief 1 min demo by clicking here.

I'd like to thank the wonderful blog ZarcoEnglish for the tip!!

Top 10 Sites for Digital Storytelling

Digital Storytelling is the practice of telling stories w/ computer tools. Wikipedia explains teachers use digital storytelling for several reasons such as,"1) to incorporate multimedia into their curriculum and 2) Teachers can also introduce storytelling in combination with social networking in order to increase global participation, collaboration, and communication skills. Moreover, digital storytelling is a way to incorporate and teach the twenty-first century student the twenty-first century technology skills such as information literacy, visual literacy, global awareness, communication and technology literacy."

Top 10 sites for Digital Storytelling
  1. Digital Films - Quite simply one of the best digital storytelling sites around. This site is very user friendly w/ an iMovie HD feel and great for beginners!!
  2. Myths & Legends - Excellent site for storytelling, can add characters, backgrounds, objects, etc. and great for education w/ an educational instance/portal.
  3. Xtranormal - Very popular/fun site for digital storytelling. A very easy to use site where text is all that is needed to create an original story.
  4. My StoryMaker - Great site for young readers to create a cartoon looking story.
  5. Storybird - An excellent site for creating pictures books for storytelling.
  6. Primary Access - Is a wonderful site for creating digital stories using historical stock footage.
  7. Google Search Stories - A very easy site to use by selecting stock video/audio to create a digital story.
  8. Zimmer Twins - A fun site where users select cartoon footage to create their very own digital story.
  9. Zooburst - Is a brand new site for creating 3D/pop-up stories. A user can either upload their own image or use stock photos. Hopefully, audio/video integration will be coming soon!
  10. Stage'D - A very impressive visual site where users choose their characters, backgrounds, and items to create their very own computer generated story.


Zooburst has to be one of my favorite new (alpha) sites around for digital storytelling!! This is such a great site for creating 3D pop-up books!

What makes ZB such an excellent resource is how easy it is to use as well as the number of features it has. A user has the ability to edit their background, the degree to which items pop up from the book, as well as embed their book into their site.

There are still a lot more features to come such as audio/video integration being this is only an alpha release but I highly recommend checking out this fabulous site by clicking here!!

Below is my 1 page example...

I'd like to thanks Larry Ferlazzo for the tip! is a new (beta) site that I learned about from Larry Ferlazzo's amazing blog. This is a site that is designed to make it easy for anyone to post on microblog feeds such as Twitter or Plurk. A nice feature is that the user does not have to register, just type your post or upload a photo and a unique URL is generated for sharing.

Give a try by clicking here.
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Footnote is an excellent site for finding and sharing historical documents. What makes FN such a great site is the ability to search by either keyword or via timeline which is essential for any historical site.

I highly recommend checking out Footnote by clicking here!!

Monday, May 3, 2010


Mashpedia is a wonderful new site that I just found out about from Free Technology 4 Teachers. Mashepeida is a search engine that searches many different engines such as Digg, Twitter, Flickr, news, blogs, feeds, etc. It is a real-time encyclopedia.

I highly recommend checking out Mashpedia by clicking here.


FillAnyPdf is a great site that lets users upload a PDF, share it, and them make it so others can fill it online. No software is needed.

Give FillAnyPdf a try by clicking here.