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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Myths and Legends Story Builder

Myths and Legends Story Creator is a fun website that students can use to create their own cartoon myth story. The Myths and Legends story creator is a more than just your typical drag and drop cartoon builder. Myths and Legends allows students to create sound effects to insert into their stories.

Beyond the story creator, Myths and Legends has a gallery of animated myths and legends from history. The historical myths and legends are professionally built stories students can view. There is also a gallery of stories submitted by students.

Applications for Education
The Myths and Legends story creator could be a fun and engaging way to get students to write fiction stories. The galleries of Myths and Legends provide models that students could follow or draw inspiration from.

Thanks to Twitter user Georgygrrl for the link to Myths and Legends.

ZillaDog - Kid Friendly, Parent Monitored Email

ZillaDog is a provider of free, kid safe, email. Zilladog email prevents kids from receiving emails from anyone that is not on their parent approved buddy list. Parents control the contact list in their child's email account. ZillaDog also has an integrated profanity filter and parent message moderating options.

ZillaDog could be a good, safe, free email option for parents who want to teach their children safe online behavior while still maintaining a safety net.

Shmoop Study Guides for History and Literature

Shmoop is a neat website that has a lot of potential as a study resource for students of literature and US History. On the literature front, Shmoop provides condensed summaries of novels, short stories, and poetry. Included in the novel summaries that I read were artists' renderings of the main characters and in some cases maps of the story's setting.

The US History part of Shmoop is divided into themes and major events in US History. Everything appears chronologically in Shmoop's US History study guide. If a student is not sure which theme or event to look in for a particular term, they can use the Shmoop search box to find it.

Shmoop offers more than just summaries of information. If students create an account and log-in, they can use the integrated dictionary to find the meaning of any word in the content they're reading. Students can also create folders where they can store sticky notes of information they record while reading a Shmoop article. There is also a discussion feature although it was not working when I tried it earlier today.



Applications for Education
Shmoop could be a good reference to supplement the reading that students do for your courses. Shmoop's summaries are not nearly long enough to be a replacement for students to soly rely on instead of doing the assigned reading. As a frame of reference, Shmoop's summaries are far shorter than those found in Cliffs Notes or Spark Notes.

Drop.io Adds Live Collaboration

Today, Drop.io unveiled another great utility, live chat. Drop.io's live chat will allow users to host conversations about documents, slideshows, or any other media that has been uploaded to Drop.io. The other improvement that Drop.io has made lies in the stream or list of media that you upload. Newly uploaded media should now appear without the need refresh your page. Previously, you had to refresh your browser in order for the most recent uploads and edits to appear. The video embedded below gives a good overview of the latest Drop.io enhancements.

Drop.io is one of my favorite free web resources. Drop.io is where I host copies of documents and assignments for my students to access. And recently I began having my students use Drop.io to create digital portfolios. In the past I've also used Drop.io to create audio recordings. It is these utilities and more that justified including Drop.io in the list of my 12 favorite resources of 2008.

The video below gives a great overview of Drop.io's latest enhancements.
Discover Simple, Private Sharing at Drop.io


Applications for Education
The live chat option on Drop.io could be very useful for those times when your students are at home looking at an assignment you've posted and need clarification. You could chat with them about the assignment or they could chat with one of their classmates about the assignment.

Star Child - Learning for Young Astronomers

Star Child, produced by NASA, is an online learning center for young astronomers and their teachers. Star Child offers content designed on two levels for younger and older elementary school students. Star Child has activities that students can do independently online and offline activities that students and teachers can do together. One of the great things about Star Child is that each student information page contains an audio recording (in Quicktime) explaining the content to students. These audio recordings make Star Child accessible to students regardless of reading ability. For ESL/ EFL students, Star Child is available in German, Italian, Portuguese, and is soon to be available in Spanish.

Teachers at the middle school and high school levels looking for Astronomy lesson ideas should visit NASA's Imagine the Universe website. In addition to lesson plans, you can also locate podcasts and participate in the Ask an Astrophysicist program.

Applications for Education
Star Child provides a nice mix of online and offline activities that is ideal for elementary school classrooms that have limited access to the Internet.

Here are a couple of related resources that might be of interest to you:
NASA Quests and Challenges
Nine Planets - Tour of the Solar System

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