Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Toonti - Create Your Own Social Network

Toonti is a new free service for creating your own small social network. Using Toonti you can create a private or public social network. If you choose to make your network private, only the people you invite and approve can join and interact with the members of your network. A public group is open to anyone who stumbles upon it. In your Toonti network users can create profiles, interact with each other through message boards, share media, or create an online study group.

Creating your own social network with Toonti takes only a few minutes. Watch the video below to learn more about Toonti.

Toonti is still in beta so there are some quirks. Toonti works best in Firefox or Internet Explorer.

Applications for Education
Toonti and similar services can be used by teachers to create a small network in which their students can have online study/ homework help groups. Similarly, build your own social network tools can be used by school administrators to create networks in which they can interact with parents and parents can interact with each other around school-related issues. 

Snag Films Plans to Increase Library to 10,000 Films

I don't often write about the investment and business developments of tech companies, but an article I recently read about Snag Films is worth passing along. Kara Swisher at All Things Digital recently reported that Snag Films received a $10 million investment which they plan to use to increase the size of their library to 10,000 titles from its current 2,000 titles. This is good news for teachers who have come to enjoy using Snag Films and its sister site Snag Learning for including free high quality documentary films in their courses.

Here's a nice short documentary that I recently found on Snag Learning. A Nomad's Life features a Tibetan family wondering if their nomadic traditions can survive in an increasingly modern world.
Watch more free documentaries

Nine Ways to Find Teachers on Twitter - Updated

Yesterday, I published a post featuring a video on how to use Twitter's advanced search features to find personalized results. In that post I linked to an old (2009) slide presentation about how to find people to add to your PLN on Twitter. Thanks to a comment by Craig Nansen on that post I realized that the presentation needed some updating. So here is the updated version: Nine Ways to Find Teachers on Twitter.

iPhones, Google Forms, and Walkthroughs

Adam Truitt (aka @moutainteacher) recently contacted me with an epublication that I think will be handy for school administrators. 21st Century Walkthrough is a ten page guide to using Google Docs Forms and an iPhone or iPod Touch to record and analyze school or classroom walkthrough data. The guide provides directions with screen images for setting up a form, setting up your iPhone, and analyzing the data collected.

Edmodo Webinars for Parents & Teachers

Last week Edmodo, a service I've reviewed a few times since its launch,  introduced accounts for parents. This new option allows teachers to add parents to their Edmodo network in which the parents will be able to see what teachers post. It will also enable parents and teachers to exchange messages. You should note that parents will only be able to interact with the teacher and their children. Click here to read Edmodo's directions for creating parent accounts.

To help parents and teachers learn how to utilize the new parent accounts feature, Edmodo is hosting a series of instructional webinars beginning this Thursday, January 20th at 6pm.  From the Edmodo announcement here are the topics for the first webinar:

  • Create an account using the unique parent code provided by the teacher

  • Send a note to the teacher or their child

  • View Assignments and Due Dates

  • Share Content

  • Filter calendar views for multiple teachers and/or children in the family

  • Access Edmodo through the free mobile app

  • Applications for Education
    Edmodo is a great platform for communications between teachers and students, students and students, and now between teachers and parents. Edmodo allows you to post messages, files, and calendar dates important for your students' success in your courses.