Wednesday, June 12, 2013

StoryToolz - Writing Prompts and More

StoryToolz is a nice assembly of useful tools for writers. Writers who are struggling to come up with ideas for fiction stories will like the story starters featured on StoryToolz. StoryToolz has three tools that you can use to get story ideas; Random Conflicts, Half Title Generator, and Story Idea Generator. To use any of these three tools just select the tool from the main menu then look at the randomly generated idea. If you don't like the options, run the tool again until you get options that you like. 

In addition to the writing prompts tools StoryToolz offers a few tools to help you edit your work. The Cliché Buster analyzes your work to find clichés that you have used in your writing. The Readability tool analyzes your text to estimate a reading level on several scales.

Applications for Education
StoryToolz offers tools that are useful to almost every student. Students in creative writing courses could benefit from the story idea generators. Likewise, teachers can use the tools to find prompts to give to students. The writing analysis tools could be used by students to help them edit their writing before giving it to you or a peer for editing.

Landlocked Nations and Borders Explained - Video

When you look at the border between Canada and the United States the stretch west of the Great Lakes out to the Pacific Ocean looks like a straight line across the 49th parallel. It turns out that that border isn't as straight as it looks. C.G.P. Grey explains why in the video below.

The introduction to the video above is this video which provides an overview of some landlocked countries.

Coffee Time Edu - Good Ed Tech Tutorial Videos

Tim Childers is a middle school teacher in Tennessee that took a course with me and Angela Maiers last year. Since then Tim has been steadily creating ed tech tutorial videos. The videos are available on Tim's YouTube channel Coffee Time Edu. Tim has an easy-going style about his videos that I think a lot of people will like. Take a look at his video about Feedly embedded below.

Collaboratively Create an iPad or Android Magazine

Last month Flipboard made it possible for anyone to create digital magazines about their favorite topics. You can do this with the Flipboard iPad app, the Android app, or in your web browser. Yesterday, Flipboard made this service even better by allowing you to invite other Flipboard users to collaborate on magazine creation with you. Learn how to co-create Flipboard magazines in the video below.

Applications for Education
Co-creating Flipboard magazines could be a great activity for students studying current events. Your students could share the articles that they're reading and put them into one magazine for the whole class to read.

As a professional development activity co-creating Flipboard magazines could be a great way for teachers to share articles with each other.