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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

My 12 Favorite Resources of 2008 - Part II

7. Animoto - Animoto's tagline is "the end of slide shows" and while Animoto has not stopped the creation of boring slide shows, it certainly has provided a great alternative to slide shows. Animoto allows students to create great looking videos without the need for any editing skills. The process of using Animoto is simple, select images, select music, click go, and Animoto does the rest. You can read my initial review of Animoto here and two additional ideas for using Animoto in the classroom here and here. Make sure you check out Animoto for education and register as a teacher because that will allow you to create videos longer than 30 seconds for free as opposed to paying the fee Animoto charges customers.


8. Viddler - Viddler is a user-generated video website that I would like to see more teachers be able to use in 2009. Viddler is an excellent alternative to YouTube for a number of reasons, not the least of which being they seem to strictly enforce their rules against posting innappropriate and copyrighted material. There are some technical reasons that I think Viddler has great potential in education. First you can record and post videos directly to your Viddler channel using a web cam. Second, the commenting system on Viddler allows users to comment on videos directly within video. For example, while I was watching this video of Chris Lehman I was able to post a comment in response to something he said, exactly where he said it in the video. Using Viddler's easy recording service and commenting system could help teachers and students create an online video discussions to supplement classroom discussions.

9. Snag Films - The collection of free high-quality documentary films on Snag Films continues to grow every month. The total is now up to 510 films. Since Snag Films launched in the (Northern Hemisphere) summer of 2008 I have been able to watch dozens of NOVA and National Geographic films that I otherwise would have had to buy or rent. As I wrote in my initial review of Snag Films, Snag Films can solve two problems for me. The first problem is overcoming a limited budget. The second problem is providing a way for a student that is absent from class to watch the film I showed in class without having to lend out a dvd. My personal favorite film on Snag Films is this movie about Reinhold Messner.

10. The Kids Know It Network - The Kids Know It Network makes my list of favorite resources because of the variety of educational videos and educational games it provides for elementary school students. Teachers and parents can find games and videos for mathematics, history, science, and language arts.

11. Real World Math and Math Dictionary for Kids - When I talk with my colleagues that teach mathematics about technology integration, they always mention how difficult it is to incorporate technology and real-world problems into instruction. Real World Math, created by Thomas Petra, incorporates Google Earth into mathematics problem solving. You can read more about some Real World Math projects here. Math Dictionary for Kids makes my list because of clear and concise visual and text explanations of mathematics terminology.

12. Twitter and Education Bloggers - The twelfth resource on this list really should have been the first because as I was looking back over the year I realized just how much I learned from my network of connections on Twitter and in the edu-blog-o-sphere. Without Twitter and without all of the great teachers writing blogs, I wouldn't have learned nearly as much as I have this year. I'm looking forward to learning more from all of you in 2009. Happy Holidays and best wishes for a great New Year.

Turn PDF's and Images Into Interactive Documents

Adam, which has the clever url adamsapp, is a service that makes it possible to turn static documents and images into active documents. Through the use of Adam you can insert videos, music, and links. To use Adam simply upload a document or image and select a portion of the document into which you would like to insert a video, music clip, or link. Once you've made your selection simply past in the html code (like an embed code from YouTube) and save your work. You can now link to your active document on your blog or share your new document via email.

Applications for Education
Adam could be used in a couple of different ways in education. My first thought was that Adam could be used by teachers that posted lecture outlines to make those outlines active documents.
The better way to use Adam in the classroom is to organize a reading activity around a document loaded into Adam. Put a news article, a story, or a scholarly article into Adam and have students insert videos or links to match the content of what they've read.

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