Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Trailmeme - Create and Trace Trails of Links

Trailmeme is an interesting new service that could be described as social bookmarking meets social mind mapping. The basic idea behind Trailmeme is that we all have our own way of connecting the things we find on the Internet when we research a topic. Trailmeme provides a way to record those connections and publish them as a mind map or flowchart that Trailmeme refers to as a "trail." When you publish your trail publicly other visitors to Trailmeme can "walk" the trail you created. Walking a trail means that you follow the map of labeled links created by another person. Watch the video below to learn more about Trailmeme.

Read Write Web has a good article about Trailmeme which is where I first learned about the service.

Applications for Education
At first the utility of Trailmeme didn't jump-out at me. After some exploration of the service, walking the history of coffee trail, walking the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Trail, and making my own short trail I started to see its potential in the classroom. Trailmeme could be useful for students to create a visual trail of their research. For the visual thinkers in your classroom the process of creating a "trail" could help those students think about how they are going to put a research paper together.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
18 Formats for Visual Thinking in the Classroom
Seven Tools for Organizing Web Research
Nine Tools for Collaboratively Creating Mind Maps

This Source of Free Sounds is a Real Jewel

Last month I posted a list of 7 Sources of Free Sounds for Multimedia Projects. Today, through Vicki Davis I learned about another good source of free sounds and music for multimedia projects. Jewel Beat hosts hundreds of sounds and music that you can download, reuse, and remix for free. Below is a sample from Jewel Beat.

BTW, that blog post title might win the prize for cheesiest of the year, but I just had to mix it up.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
11 Techy Things for Teachers to Try This Year
47 Alternatives to Using YouTube in the Classroom
How to Use YouTube's Video Editor

A Cautionary Note About Using Facebook to Connect With Students & Parents

Twice last week (here and here) I shared information about using Facebook fan pages and community pages to communicate course information to students and their parents. One thing that I forgot to mention to those who decide to try creating a fan page is that you do need to monitor your page for spam comments. If you log into your Facebook fan page as an administrator, by default you will only see the items you posted. It's important that you look at the "just others" tab to see if students, parents, or spammers have posted anything. If someone has spammed your page, you can remove the comment and or ban that person from posting anything on your page in the future. Below I've included a screen capture of the Facebook fan page for my courses.

5 Tools to Create and Administer Quizzes Online

Other than attending staff meetings, writing and grading quizzes might be the least enjoyable part of teaching. Fortunately, there are some tools that can make the process a little bit easier. Here are five tools teachers can use to create and administer quizzes online. There are many other quiz and survey tools on the web, but not all of them provide the option to see quiz takers' results. These five were chosen because teachers can see their students' results.

I use Google Forms for giving short multiple choice quizzes. I create the quizzes in Google Forms, post them on my classroom blog, students take the quiz on my blog, and their answers appear in an easy-to-grade spreadsheet. Below I've embedded a slideshow with directions for creating and embedding quizzes using Google Forms, but here are a few points that should be emphasized.

1. Make sure the first question is "student name." Otherwise you won't know who submitted which answers.
2. You can mix question types (multiple choice, short answer, paragraph) but if you have too many types and too many students, the spreadsheet can become difficult to navigate.
3. When embedding the form into a blog, make sure you edit the width to fit within your blog's main column. You can use the same principles of editing the size of a YouTube video for editing the width of a spreadsheet.

Zoho Challenge is a part of the Zoho suite of document, presentation, and office productivity tools. Zoho Challenge is a tool that allows you to create and administer quizzes online. Zoho Challenge tests can be written with multiple choice or open-ended questions or a combination of both. Tests created with Zoho Challenge can have a time limit imposed or be given without a time limit. Each test can be individually assigned to test takers. Finally, when a test is created with Zoho Challenge the test creator can decide whether or not the test taker can see the results. In June of this year Zoho Challenge introduced an option for including comprehensive questions that you can use to write questions based upon a paragraph statement, an image, or a combination of both.

Last spring ProProfs launched ProProfs Quiz School. The ProProfs Quiz School gives quiz creators a digital report card that is tracked and stored online. The digital report card tracks information about the number of times a quiz is attempted and tracks the results of the quizzes. The Quiz School also allows quiz creators to control which users can access a quiz and place a limit on how many times a quiz can be taken. Finally, quizzes created through the ProProfs Quiz School allow quiz takers to get instant feedback on their answers.

MyStudiyo is an easy way to make a multimedia quiz for your website or blog. With MyStudiyo you can include video, audio, and image file in your quiz. Each question in your quiz can have a different media format. There are two options for answer format, multiple choice or open-ended response. Quizzes are easy to create and easy to embed into a website or blog. If your students register for a MyStudiyo account before they take your quiz, you can monitor their quiz results.

That Quiz is an online quiz tool that has been around for a long time (in Internet terms), but is still widely used by educators. On you can write quizzes and find quizzes that your students can use. is kind of like a wiki of quizzes because teachers can share with others the quizzes that they have written. does more than just provide quizzes for teachers. Students can take the quizzes online and get instant feedback. Teachers can use to track the results of quizzes their students take. started out as a resource just for math quizzes, but is now expanded to include vocabulary and geography quizzes.

President Obama Speaks to Students - Video & Transcript

Yesterday, President Obama gave his second annual back-to-school speech. Last year he gave his speech at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia. This year he gave his speech at the Julia Masterman School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. If you missed the President's speech yesterday, you can find the transcript here and watch the video below.

Click here if you cannot see the video above.