Monday, June 4, 2012

Widbook - Collaborative Creation of Multimedia Books

Widbook is a new service that is part multimedia book authoring tool and part social network. On Widbook you can create a digital book that contains text, images, and videos. Widbook is collaborative because you can invite others to make contributions to your books. To use Widbook you have to create a profile on the service. The books that you create become a part of your profile. If you allow it, other Widbook users can add content and or comments to your books. Likewise, you can search for others' books and make contributions to their books.

Widbook allows you to create a virtual bookshelf of books that you create and or find on Widbook.

One drawback to Widbook in its beta current version is that your books can only be viewed on Widbook right now. Hopefully, in the future they will allow embeds on other sites.
The beginning of my first Widbook

Applications for Education
Widbook has the potential to be a good web-based platform for students to use to construct multimedia research papers. Widbook could also be a good platform for teachers to use to create their own multimedia textbooks to use in their classrooms.

Thanks to Wes Fryer for sharing Widbook on Twitter yesterday. 

The Last 18 Years of News In a Flocabulary Rap

As they have for the last couple of years, Flocabulary has released a rap video highlighting the last eighteen years of news headlines. The video is titled 18 Years in Rap. The choice of eighteen years is based on average age of students graduating from high school this year. The video can be found on YouTube or you can watch it and read the transcript here.

Applications for Education
Most of Flocabulary's products are not free. 18 Years in Rap is one resource that is available for free. Playing the video then having students research some of the headlines in the video could be a good little modern history research project.

Video - Is Pluto a Planet?

Thanks to Brain Pickings this morning I learned that C.G.P. Grey is back with another good visual explanation. This time he tackles Pluto and its status as a planet or not a planet. But there's more than that to the video as it addresses a bit of history of astronomy and the scale of objects in the universe. You can read the transcript of the video and see a couple of minor corrections to the video on the C.G.P. Grey blog.

StoryCove - A World of Stories

Occasionally, I revisit some of my old posts to check up on resources that I reviewed and see what has happened with those resources since I wrote my review. One example of this is Story Cove which I reviewed two years ago and revisited this morning.

Story Cove is a service that hosts audio and video stories based on the folktales from a variety of places and cultures. The stories are divided by their continent of origin. Each story is intended to convey a lesson on culture and society. The stories can be watched as videos or listened to as audio-only recordings.

Applications for Education
Story Cove provides a nice selection of lesson plans to accompany each of the stories in its collection. The lesson plans are in PDF form and include handouts for students. The lesson plans are categorized by story and by grade level, pre-K through grade 3. Story Cove also provides printable activities like mazes and word searches to accompany each story.

Free Speech - Augmentative & Alternative Communication App

The Give Speech Foundation recently launched  a free iPad app designed to assist students who have Autism and other speech and communication impairments. The Free Speech app provides a set of images and icons representing common household objects and activities.When a student clicks on an icon the word or phrase is read aloud.

The default categories of icons on the Free Speech app are activities, self-care, grocery store, clothing, descriptors, emotions, and body. You can add more categories and icons to the app by taking pictures with your iPad and labeling them. You can also add more categories and icons to the app by uploading them from albums on your iPad. The video below provides a short overview of the Free Speech app.

Applications for Education
The Free Speech app could be an excellent app to use with students who need assistance communicating their wants, needs, and emotions.

While trying out the Free Speech app I was reminded of this 60 Minutes Story about using iPad apps with students who have Autism.

Thanks to Adam Bellow for sharing this app on Twitter this morning. Adam is working on a new project called EduClipper that looks promising. Click here to sign-up for news about EduClipper. 

Symbaloo Launches an iPhone and Android App

The popular visual bookmarking and homepage service Symbaloo now offers a free Android app and a free iPhone/ iPad app. Symbaloo allows you to bookmark your favorite websites and arrange them into tile boards that you can share or keep private. Symbaloo calls the tile boards webmixes. You can create multiple webmixes arranged according to topics of your choosing. Now those webmixes can be created, accessed, and remixed on your favorite tablet or phone.

Here's an overview of Symbaloo.

Here's an overview of Symbaloo for Android.

Here's an overview of Symbaloo for iPhone.

Applications for Education
Symbaloo does offer an education version, but the education version is not free except for individual use which doesn't make it different than signing up for a regular Symbaloo account. Symbaloo can be good for organizing a set of resources to share with your students or colleagues. You could also have students create their own Symbaloo accounts and create webmixes around topics that they are researching.

H/T to Paula Naugle for sharing this on Twitter over the weekend. 

Any.DO - Collaborative Task Management for Everyone

Any.DO is a slick collaborative task management tool that launched on Android last fall. It's probably the slickest task management tool that I've tried on Android. This weekend Any.DO launched iOS and Chrome apps.

Any.DO is designed for creating to-do lists and sharing them with your friends and colleagues. On Any.DO you can type out a list of tasks or enter tasks by speaking into your phone. Once you've entered your task you can assign it to a day and time for completion. After assigning a completion deadline you can share that task with anyone in your contacts list even that person doesn't have the Any.DO app installed on his or her phone.

Any.DO also gives you the option to attach notes to your tasks, set reminders for your tasks, and put notes into folders that you've created. For example, if I have notes of a personal nature like my grocery shopping list I can put that list into my "personal" folder instead of my "work" folder.

Applications for Education
Any.DO could be a great app for students to use to keep track of assignments and due dates. I like the option for adding notes through voice messages instead of typing them out. One of the impediments to some students' successful use of task management tools is taking the time to write down the tasks they need to do. By using the voice recorder that impediment is removed.