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Monday, March 24, 2014

Analyzing Shakespeare With Storyboards

Creating a storyboard can be a good way to organize a story and plan a video project. As Rebecca Ray shares in the slides below, creating storyboards can also be a good way to deconstruct and analyze a story.


Share my-lesson-webinar-on-shakespeare from Richard Byrne

The recording of Rebecca Ray's presentation is embedded below.



Disclosure: Storyboard That is an advertiser on Free Technology for Teachers. 

Three Mind Mapping Tools That Save to Google Drive

One of my favorite aspects of Google Drive is the option to create content with third party services and save that content in your Google Drive account. The option to sign into a service with a Google Account makes it convenient create content without the need to keep track of a separate user name and password. Creating mind maps is one of my favorite ways to organize ideas and information. I've often had my students create mind maps as an exercise in making visual connections between important concepts, events, and people in a unit of study. The following three mind mapping tools allow students to save their mind maps in their Google Drive accounts.

MindMup is a free mind mapping tool that can be used online, with Google Drive, and on your desktop. MindMup works like most mind mapping tools in that you can create a central idea and add child and sibling nodes all over a blank canvas. MindMup nodes can contain text and links. When you're ready to save your MindMup mind map you can save it to Google Drive, save it to your desktop, or publish it online. If you publish it online, you can grab an embed code for it to post it in a blog post or webpage.

Lucidchart offers a simple drag and drop interface for creating flow charts, organizational charts, mind maps, and other types of diagrams. To create with Lucidchart just select elements from the menus and drag them to the canvas. You can re-size any element and type text within elements on your chart. Arrows and connecting lines can be re-sized, repositioned, and labeled to bring clarity to your diagrams. Google Chrome users can use Lucidchart offline through the Lucidchart Chrome app. Lucid Chart offers the option to include interactive tables and notations to your charts. You can right-click on any shape in your mind map to write and add a note about it. Lucidchart now offers a Google Documents Add-on too.

Mindmeister is a colorful mind mapping tool that offers a Google Drive app and a new Google Documents Add-on. The Google Drive app is an intuitive tool through which you can click and drag nodes on your mind map. The Google Documents Add-on creates a mind map from a list in your document.

ArkGIS - Explore Maps of the Changing Arctic Landscape

ArkGIS is a customizable map developed by the World Wildlife Fund for the purpose of visualizing historical data about sea ice, marine life, and oil and gas exploration in the Arctic. To create custom visualizations of data layers on the ArkGIS map simply select a data category then select data layers to display. For example, I chose the "marine mammals" category then selected the "beluga whales" and "walrus" to view their distributions.

Applications for Education
ArkGIS could be good tool for students to use to compare the range of animals in the Arctic. Students could also use the map to combine and compare information from multiple categories. For example, they could combine data layers about animal ranges and icepack cover.

World Science U - Short Online Science Courses

World Science U is a new site featuring hundreds of short videos explaining dozens of topics in physics. The site also includes free short online courses for high school and college students. Visitors to World Science U can browse for videos by theme and topic. Select a theme to open a menu of topics within that theme. Learn more about World Science U in the video below.


The courses available through World Science U are completely free. The courses include discussion forums and assessments by which you can measure your progress.

Seven Registration-Free Drawing Tools for Students

Earlier today Shannon Miller Tweeted about a free drawing tool called Sketch Toy. Students do not have to register to use Sketch Toy and they can download all of their drawings to use in other projects.  After trying Sketch Toy I decided to revisit some other drawing tools that do not require students to register in order to create and download drawings. 

Aww App is a super simple browser-based application for creating drawings. To get started just go to AwwApp.com and click on "start drawing."  To invite people to collaborate on your drawing just send them the link assigned to your drawing board and they can join in the drawing fun. If you would like to use Aww App on your classroom or school website and you have familiarity with editing the code behind your site, you can install Aww App for free.

ABCya Animate is a fun tool from ABCya (disclosure, an advertiser here). ABCya Animate allows students to create animated GIFs containing up to 100 frames. On ABCya Animate students build their animation creations by drawing, typing, and inserting images. Students can change the background of each frame, include new pictures in each frame, and change the text in each frame of their animations. The feature that I like best about ABCya Animate is that students can see the previous frames of their animations while working on a current frame. This helps students know where to position items in each frame in order to make their animations as smooth as possible. Students do not need to register on ABCya Animate in order to use the tool or to save their animations. When students click "save" on ABCya Animate their creations are downloaded as GIFs.

Sketchpad is a free, feature-rich, online drawing tablet that I recently came across in my stumbling around the Internet. Sketchpad offers users the ability to quickly create drawings. Sketchpad doesn't require you to create an account in order to create and save your drawings. All of the drawing tools that you would expect to find like brushes, pencils, and a large range of colors are offered by Sketchpad. Additionally, Sketchpad offers some unique tools for creating patterns, swatches, and blends of colors.

Art Pad and Sketch Pad (different from the Sketch Pad above) are both blank slate drawing utilities. Art Pad and Sketch Pad allow users to select from a variety of drawing tools and painting tools. Art Pad has a neat playback feature that shows you the steps you took in creating your images. Both Art Pad and Sketch Pad allow you to share your drawings via email or in a public gallery.

Crayola's online drawing canvas provides students with a blank canvas on which they can draw using virtual markers, crayons, pencils, and paints. Drawings cannot be saved online, but they can be printed. Pre-K Teachers looking for coloring pages can create their own or have students create their own using Crayola's Create & Color tool. Create & Color provides templates for creating custom coloring pages. You can pick a background template and modify it by adding speech bubbles and pictures. Coloring pages cannot be saved online, but they can be printed.

Bomomo is an interesting drawing utility that creates images out of controlled chaos. Users select a drawing utility then the Bomomo program begins randomly drawing. Users can determine where the drawing starts with their computer's mouse. Users can also select general shapes and patterns to be drawn.

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