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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Draw Island - Online Drawings and Animations

Draw Island is a new free online tool for creating drawings and simple GIF animations. Draw Island offers you your choice of four canvas sizes on which you can draw. Draw Island offers two canvas sizes for creating simple GIF animations. To use Draw Island just head to the site and select a drawing tool. You can draw free hand (or should I say free mouse?) or select pre-defined shapes to use in your images. When you're done drawing just click the save button to download your drawing or animation.

Applications for Education
Draw Island could be a good tool for students to create images for all kinds of digital presentations. Students could create a series of drawings to create a cartoon story. Students could use Draw Island to create sketches to demonstrate or outline a concept.

Pen.io - A Very Simple Blogging Platform

Pen.io is a simple blogging service that you can start using in a minute or less. To use Pen.io just head to the site, name your page, and select a password for editing. Once you've done those things you can start blogging. To edit your page just click on any of the predefined text and start typing. To add more pages just type the the ":page" tag, to insert videos just type the ":video" tag. One short-coming that Pen.io has is that it doesn't support images yet.

Applications for Education
If you're looking for a quick and easy way to get students blogging, Pen.io might just be what you need. Pen.io lacks fancy templates and layouts, but that could be a good thing as it will prevent students from worrying about aesthetics and turn their focus to writing.

Student Discussion Prompt - Texas Law Targets Sexting

Part of our responsibilities as educators today is to educate students about responsible cyber behavior. One of the more dangerous cyber behaviors that teenagers engage in is sexting. In the hopes of deterring people from that behavior, the state of Texas is considering making sexting by teenagers a misdemeanor crime. Today's episode of CNN Student News has the story.


Applications for Education
The potential consequences of sexting are things that every teenager with a cell phone should be aware of. At my school we meet with our homeroom (we actually call it Common Block) students once a week. This video is something that we'll be discussing with my students next week.

38 Free Printable Graphic Organizers

Graphic organizers have been a staple of teachers' tool kits for at least as long as I've been a student or teacher. I remember using them for all kinds of assignments beginning as early as elementary school and continuing all the way through high school. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's Education Place offers thirty-eight free printable graphic organizers for your classroom use. Included in the roster of graphic organizers are templates for word webs, KWL charts, flow charts, story maps, and idea wheels.

Applications for Education 
While I'd prefer to see students using online graphic organizer tools like WiseMapping to chart, outline, and edit their ideas, I also realize that not every classroom is equipped to do that. In those cases printable graphic organizers from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's Education Place can be useful for recording ideas and information in an organized manner.

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