Monday, March 10, 2008

Free Technology For Teachers: Twiddla - Collaborative Whiteboard

Twiddla is the second collaborative whiteboard application that I tried today. Twiddla received a lot of press this weekend at the SXSW (South by Southwest) Conference. Twiddla has some very good features that are potentially useful for educators and students. Twiddla allows users to collaborate on the creation of and editing of images.

Twiddla's most interesting feature is the ability to mark-up websites in real time. Typically if you want to point out something on a webpage to another person you have to take a screen capture, mark the screen capture, and then email the screen capture. Twiddla lets users share and mark a website in real time because the webpage operates inside Twiddla's browser.

Applications for Educators
Twiddla's real-time web page marking feature is useful for teachers that are trying to help a group of students navigate a web page. A teacher can quickly set up a conference on Twiddla (simply email invitations to students) and walk students through the web page. The teacher can draw or highlight on a web page the links or features the students need to use.
Twiddla is useful for students to use on their own. Using Twiddla students can collaborate on the creation of visual aids for presentations. Students working collaboratively on research assignments may want to use Twiddla to show their classmates information they are considering using.

Here is a screen shot of an image I made using Twiddla.

Free Technology For Teachers: Scriblink- Your Online Whiteboard

Scriblink is a new online collaboration tool. Scriblink is essentially a whiteboard with an integrated instant messaging system. Scriblink users can draw, type, or edit images on a whiteboard. Users have the option of sharing their whiteboard with others and allowing other users to collaborate on the whiteboard. Scriblink does not require you to set up an account or register in order to use the whiteboard. Simply enter the email address of the person you want to collaborate with and then they can join in on the fun. Every whiteboard created on Scriblink is assigned a url which you can use to share your whiteboard.

Applications for Educators
Scriblink is an easy way to share notes, outlines, and drawings with students. Invite students to collaborate on an online whiteboard to work through difficult math problems or brainstorm on the completion of a graphic organizer.

Free Technology For Teachers: UNdata

UN Data is a resource useful for anyone needing data regarding almost any department of the United Nations. UN Data is simply a data base of statistics regarding education, the environment, health and human development, trade, and more. The database is easy to search and is linked to a glossary of terms.

Applications for Educators
UN data is a great resource for teachers and students needing reliable development statistics. In the past I've had my high school students gather and decipher the meaning of development statistics.

Students of the World

Students of the is a useful resource for social studies teachers at all grade levels. Students of the World provides all of the typical statistical data and general background information about countries that you would expect from an almanac.

A great feature of Students of the World is that the website provide students and teachers the opportunity to be penpals with classes around the world. Students of the hosts discussion forums and blogs through which students can connect with other students around the world.

Students of the has great educational games for designed for younger students.

Applications for Educators
Students of the has something for every student or teacher of global studies. The penpal portal would be a great way to have your students discuss current world news with students from another country thereby giving your students a more global perspective on the world. Have your class look at a class blog from a school in another country to see what schools around the world are teaching and learning. Overall, Students of the is a great way to open the eyes of your students to global perspectives.