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Friday, May 11, 2012

Easily Create Infographics with Easel.ly

Infographics are all over the web right now because they can be great for displaying and sharing information. If you have wanted to try making infographics or try having your students make them, but were worried that you needed to possess some talent for design, you need to try Easel.ly.

Easel.ly is a great tool for creating infographics that I learned about from Larry Ferlazzo. Easel.ly provides a canvas on which you can build your own infographic by dragging and dropping pre-made design elements. You can use a blank canvas or build upon one of Easel.ly's themes. If Easel.ly doesn't have enough pre-made elements for you, you can upload your own graphics to include in your infographic. Your completed infographic can be exported and saved as PNG, JPG, PDG, and SVG files. Watch the video below for an overview of Easel.ly.



Applications for Education
If you have had students try to make infographics on paper in the past, give Easel.ly a look. By creating their infographics on Easel.ly students can easily experiment with lots of designs. When your students have finished creating their infographics, drop them into Zoom.it to easily embed their work into blog posts and webpages.

My Simple Surface - A Simple Whiteboarding Service

My Simple Service is a free online whiteboard service. True to its "simple" name, My Simple Service is very simple to use.

To get started just click on "go directly to my surface," double click on the surface and start typing. My Simple Surface provides very clear directions on how to use the service. To create a thought box double click anywhere on your board. To make sibling and child thought boxes use the enter and tab keys. You can edit the color and size of fonts. Your boxes can be linked to URLs too. My Simple Surface works on iPads too. The only short-coming of My Simple Surface is that sharing of your surfaces is limited to three email addresses.

Applications for Education
My Simple Surface could be a great tool for students to use to create webs and mind maps to plan creative stories that they are going to write. I would also have students use it to plan video projects.

An Interesting Infographic on Prohibition

Whenever I teach a unit about the 1920's in U.S. History, students are interested in prohibition and its impact on crime and culture. This morning I found an interesting infographic titled Prohibition did What?! about the history of legislation related to alcohol in the U.S. The focus of the infographic is on the Volstead Act, but it includes some other information too. The subtitle of the infographic (a beer-googled look) and one of the headings (sloshed by the man) makes it a little questionable for classroom so use your judgement as to whether or not you'll use it. I would probably print it and blot-out those headings.

Magnifying the Universe - An Interactive Visualization

In March I shared The Scale of the Universe 2 which is a fantastic interactive visualization of the scale of objects in the universe. This morning I found another great interactive visualization of the size of the universe in the form of Magnifying the Universe. Magnifying the Universe allows you to see the size of atoms, animals, buildings, mountains, planets, stars, and galaxies in relation to other objects in the universe. Try it out as embedded below.


Copyright 2012. Magnifying the Universe by Number Sleuth.

Applications for Education
Magnifying the Universe could be a great visualization to embed in a class blog for elementary school students to play with and get a sense of how big the universe is.

Car Talk Puzzlers as Math Challenges

In the winter one of my weekend rituals is to listen to Car Talk while running errands in town. One of Car Talk's weekly features is the Car Talk Puzzler. The Puzzler is usually a math puzzler although some are language-based riddles too. As I was listening last week it hit me that the Car Talk Puzzlers could make great little classroom activities to get students thinking about math and language in a format that is a little different than standard textbook examples. Click here to access sixteen years of Puzzlers and their answers.

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