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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

5 Timeline Creation Tools Compared - Chart

Over the last couple of weeks I have published a chart comparing mind mapping tools and a chart comparing student response systems. Both of those charts have been well received so I decided to create another chart about one of my favorite categories of tools, timeline creation tools. In the chart embedded below you will see a comparison of five free timeline creation tools that can be used online. The chart was created in Google Documents and you can get a copy of it here.

Turn Stories Into Holiday Cards on Storyboard That

Disclosure: Storyboard That is an advertiser on FreeTech4Teachers.com

Last month Storyboard That offered a tool for creating Thanksgiving cards. This month they're offering a tool for creating holiday cards (Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year, Kwanza, and generic "season's greetings"). To create one of these cards simply select "make a folding" card after creating and saving a storyboard. A video of the process can be found here.

Applications for Education
Creating holiday cards on Storyboard That could be a good way for students to practice writing short stories. Students can use Storyboard That to write about their personal highlights of the year then turn that story into a card that they can fold and mail to family members.

Common Craft Explains Net Neutrality

Lee and Sachi LeFever at Common Craft usually don't create videos about events in the news, but they've made an exception for net neutrality. In their new video Net Neutrality Explained by Common Craft they do a nice job of explaining the concept of net neutrality and what changes to net neutrality could mean for consumers and producers of online content. The video is embedded below. You can also find the video on CommonCraft.com and on YouTube.


Applications for Education
If you or your students have been wondering what net neutrality is, this video is for you. The end of the video provides some good prompts for further discussion with students. Consider using these questions to prompt discussion with your students, "who should control access to websites?" "What are the implications of slowing access to some websites?"

Three Google Drive Updates to Note This Week

Google Drive users, a few new features have been rolled-out this week that you might find to be helpful to you. First, you can now edit images within Google Documents. This is feature is similar to the one that has been available in Google Slides for the last few months. To edit an image, right-click on it then select the image editing options that you want to use. Alternatively, you can click the image once and choose image editing tools in the toolbar at the top of your document.

The second update to note is the addition of slide numbering in Google Slides. You can have numbers automatically added to all slides or you can skip numbering on title slides. The slide numbering option can be found in the "insert" menu in Google Slides.

The third Google Drive update to note this week is expanded support for file conversion. When you upload a file to Google Drive you can choose to convert it to Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides formatting. Click here for a list of the file types supported.

Student Loan Repayment Calculator

The Undergraduate Student Loan Calculator is a free offering from the Hamilton Project (a project sponsored by the Brookings Institute). The calculator provides rough estimates of how long it will take to repay student loans. The calculator can be adjusted for academic major, earnings range (to account for location and other variables in earnings across a field), initial debt, interest rates, and loan length. You can use the Undergraduate Student Loan Calculator compare debt repayment plans across academic majors. For example, the repayment plan of a teacher is quite different from that of an engineer.

Applications for Education
Choosing an academic major shouldn't be based entirely on finances, but students should be aware of the potential long-term implications of their choices. The Undergraduate Student Loan Calculator could be a good tool for high school guidance counselors to share with students as they evaluate their college and career choices.

H/T to Lifehacker

4 Ways to Dive Deeper with Canva's Public Profile

This guest post is from Lisa Johnson (@TechChef4U) and EdTechTeacher - an advertiser on this site. 

By now, many of you may know about Canva - the wildly popular design tool. Canva has truly transformed itself to be a leader in image and graphic design with its easy drag and drop platform and robust array of templates. How could Canva get any better, you ask? Well, Canva just launched public profiles so I decided to nab my profile and begin customizing. Users can select designs that they would like to make public and tag each design to be optimally searched.

Image Credit: Lisa Johnson
Image Credit: Lisa Johnson

Applications for Education:

  • Browsing User Created Templates for Inspiration: As you becomes familiar with Canva’s elements and designs, you begin to spot images all over the web created with their signature tool. Those students and educators that may be design challenged, or just in need of inspiration, can now browse public profiles and even search by tags.
  • ePortfolios: As more and more students and teachers jump on the Canva bandwagon and begin creating collages, infographics, and presentations with this tool, the public profile serves as a fluid way to share creations in a visually stunning manner.
  • App Smashing and Commenting: With the idea of app-smashing seeping into classrooms around the world, and the launch of the FREE Canva app, more and more students and educators are using Canva as a canvas for app-smashing with other web tools and apps such as Thinglink, Listly, Bulb, and Tackk. To share this app-smashing process with others, users can add a link to a creation based on their image within the comments section of each creation. Each one of the 25+ designs above was app-smashed with a tool and linked to the final creation for additional inspiration.
  • Class Collage Reporting: As Canva has an option to create collages and infographics, teachers could create a class Canva account and then have a different student serve as the visual scribe for the day by creating a collage or visual report and posting it to the class profile for parents to see. 
Here is the link to my personal profile of 25+ designs and app-smashed final projects: canva.com/techchef4u. 

Lisa Johnson is the author of the TechChef4u blog. To learn more from her, check out her latest webinar on “Connected Curriculum: Promoting Interest-Powered Learning” and follow her on a variety of social networks.