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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Five Ways to Digitally Celebrate Your Students' Year

The end of the school year is here or soon to be here which means it's a great time to reflect on what your students have done this year. Here are five ways that you can create some digital celebrations of the year.

Make a video. Animoto makes it very easy to cobble together a set of pictures and add some music in the background to show off what your students have created throughout the year. Try to use pictures from the fall, winter, and spring to show how much your students have changed. If Animoto is too basic for you try WeVideo or Pixorial to create longer videos that include your voice-over commentary.

Create collages about the year. Pic Collage is a free service for quickly creating picture collages on your iPad or Android tablet. The app does not require you to register or connect a social network profile in order to create a collage. If you do connect a social network profile to Pic Collage you can pull in pictures from those accounts. Otherwise you can upload pictures that are stored on your device or take new pictures using the Pic Collage app. The Pic Collage user interface is easy to use. Just tap the blank canvas to import pictures from your device, from a social network profile, or by taking a new picture. To arrange the images in your collage just touch and drag them. You can expand or contract the images by pinching on them.

Collaboratively create a slideshow about the year. If you're working in a school that uses Google Apps for Education create a Google Drive slideshow and have each of your students share one favorite memory of the year on one slide.

Collaboratively create a classroom portfolio. Silk is a free service for creating webpages organized around a theme or topic. Silk is intended to be a place where you can share collections of materials as well as write text directly into your webpages. Your Silk dashboard provides a place to organize your materials into collections and sub-collections. Your collections can include documents, videos, images, charts and graphs, and links to other sites. Take a look at a sample Silk site here. You can create multiple sites within your free Silk account. Your Silk sites can be public or  private. Creating collections on your Silk site can become a collaborative activity by inviting others to be editors or administrators on a site.

Invite distant relatives to virtually celebrate with you. As an uncle who lives far away from my nieces I know that I would be thrilled if I was able to virtually attend my niece's preschool "graduation." Skype and Google+ make this possible. 

The Dictionary of Numbers - Putting Numbers in Human Terms

Dictionary of Numbers is a neat Chrome extension that "translates" large numbers into terms that are easy to visualize. When you have the extension installed any time that you encounter a large number on the web you can highlight it and get a simple explanation of just how big that number is. For example, if you came across the number 238,900 you would quickly find out that that is the average distance in miles to the moon. The one minute video below shows you everything you need to know about the Dictionary of Numbers.


Get Creative Commons Savvy With These Activities

Yesterday, I shared the EFF's lesson plans for teaching copyright. After using those plans you may want to move your students on to understanding Creative Commons. Peer 2 Peer University hosts a four module unit called Get CC Savvy. Each module contains a short video about the topic followed by a suggested activity to complete to help students understand Creative Commons in practice.

Applications for Education
Get CC Savvy from P2PU could be an excellent resource for any high school or college student to use on his or her own to gain an understanding of what Creative Commons licensing means in practice. Don't overlook the discussions that accompany the activities as the comments there add value to the exercises suggested by Get CC Savvy.

How to Use eduClipper

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a long review of the visual bookmarking service, eduClipper. eduClipper is a great place for teachers and students to collaborate on the creation of visual bookmark boards. It's kind of like Diigo with a very visual element. If you haven't tried it yet, I recommend giving it a go after taking a look at the short how-to videos below.



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