Wednesday, October 12, 2011

10 Sites and Services I'm Using This Semester

Every year in the course of writing this blog I look at and try out hundreds of new services that educators can use. So it's not surprising that usually after I give a "best of the web" presentation at a school or conference people ask me which services I'm actually using in my classroom. The answer changes from semester to semester, but here are the ones my students and I are currently using. This list is in no particular order other than how I thought of them as I wrote out the list.

1. Posterous. My students are required to write a weekly reflective blog post in which they share what they learned and what they have questions about. We're using Posterous because it is very easy for students to contribute to the blog by sending an email.

2. Blogger. I've been using Blogger for years to run a blog for all of my students. is where I post outlines, slides, assignments, videos, and other materials for all my students to access.

3. Google Voice. I use Google Voice for students and parents to text me with questions.

4. XTimeline. A good service for creating multimedia timelines.

5. Google Maps. In one of my classes students are using Google Maps to create maps of the westward expansion of the United States.

6. Apture. Apture is a browser plug-in that allows students to highlight words on webpages and instantly access information about those words.

7. We Video. One of my classes has just started using We Video to create videos about the US Government's treatment of Native Americans.

8. Drop It To Me. I use this service to collect assignments online.Students can send files directly to my account.

9. Todays Meet. This is still my favorite back-channel service because of it's simplicity and ease of use.

10. Aviary. Aviary offers a great online service for creating audio tracks that my students can use in their video projects.

There are other services and sites that my students and I will use this fall but the ten above are the ones that we will use most often.

The Fall - Animated

Here's another super video that I found via the Open Culture blog. In the video below you will see a five minute animated adaptation of Camus' The Fall. The video does not use any words, just pictures and movements to tell the story.

Applications for Education
If you have students reading The Fall this video could be used as an exercise in which you ask students to reflect on what they've read and seen. You could ask students to think about why the video creator created the scenes the way he did and which parts of the story he was referring to in those scenes.