Monday, February 16, 2009


With extreme gratitude to Mr. Byrne and Free Tech 4 Teachers, the playground has moved for one day. Over the weekend, we loaded up the Mayflower moving truck, used the dolley, and hauled all of the equipment from Wisconsin to Maine...digitally! It's time for RecessDuty to be a guest blogger!

Description: A zooming digital presentation editor. It’s Powerpoint on steroids! What did he say? STEROIDS! There'll be mandatory testing in the future. Type text, embed pictures, and insert video are all features that Prezi puts forth to creators. Unlike Powerpoint, Prezi is free and extremely portable. Because it's web based, Prezi can be created and shown on any computer with web access. If there is no web access available during your presentation, a downloadable version can be obtained to show offline anywhere. No other software needed, not even flash! Prezi also performs quite well in creating a visual organizer. As they claim on their site, "With the help of Prezi you can create maps of texts, images, videos, PDFs, drawings and present in a nonlinear way." As Prezi is in beta, when you apply, you'll be asked to explain how you will be using their site. I explained that I was a seventh grade math and social studies educator and could use it to inform students of social studies information. I was approved in less than a day!

My implementations are below, but this presentation is an incredible overview of how Prezi works. It's flat out awesome, or as the students on the playground say, "It's Wicked!"

Implementation: I have created multiple presentations for a seventh grade classroom on the History of Canada, History of United States, a chapter review, and the all important presentation to professional educators in our school district on a project that included the National Digital Vault, Animoto, and Edmodo.

As the RecessDuty supervisor always says...goPlay!

View Live Site Prezi

RecessDuty is about getting other educators the resources that are successful in my classroom and any educational setting. Technology is implemented, not for technology sake, but as Daniel Pink so vividly states, "to prepare kids for their future, not our past." I hope that my efforts in finding, describing, implementing, and distributing tech information that is successfully implemented into an educational setting to other educators will enable the students we teach to be the best in the world! Revisit your youth by entering the playground now for more great resources!

Digital Storytelling with Mixbook

Mixbook, possibly my favorite online digital storytelling application, just announced the release of their education version. If you are unfamiliar with Mixbook, it is a web2.0 tool that easily allows the creation of an online books. Simply start by selecting a theme or create your own. Upload images from your computer or from the web. Then arrange page layouts and add text. Another option is to invite other classrooms to collaborate as co-authors. Printed copies are available for purchase. Or, simply copy and paste the embed code into your web page or blog.

Silvia Tolisano, author of the Langwitches blog offers a nice step by step tutorial on how to create your first Mixbook.

Possible Classroom Uses:
-Diaries or Journals
-Comic Book
-Book Reports/Book Analysis
-Science Lab reports
-Retell History
-Yearbooks or student portfolios
-Field Trip Summaries
-Class notes
-Sequencing, character analysis, Text Features

Here is an example Mixbook that my primary students recently completed.

| View Sample Photo Books | Create your own Photo Book

When preparing to write this post, I emailed the Mixbook team for updates on their educational version. I received a coupon code to pass along to the readers of freetech4teachers. If you want to purchase a book use the following code, TECHT4MIX, to get 10% off your order.

Looking for a classroom or school to collaborate with?
Try one of the following websites.
Skype in Schools
Global School House

Post written by Becky Herl, Technology Integration Specialist and Elementary Computer Teacher for USD #369 in Kansas. Becky is sharing ways to integrate technology into elementary classrooms on her blog, Small Town Tech. She is looking to expand her blog by inviting other elementary educators to share what they are doing to integrate technology in their classrooms.