Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Realtime Board - Collaborative Online Brainstorming

Realtime Board is a new online tool for hosting online, collaborative brainstorming sessions. Realtime Board provides a blank grid on which you can type, draw, and post pictures. You can connect elements on your boards through a simple linking tool. The boards that you create on Realtime Board can be shared publicly or privately. To help you communicate with your collaborators Realtime Board has a chat function built into every board.

RealtimeBoard (Eng) from RealtimeBoard on Vimeo.

You can use Realtime Board by creating an account on the site. You can also use Realtime Board by signing in with your Google or Facebook account. 

Applications for Education
Realtime Board could be a great tool for students to use to work together to generate mind maps or to plan a project.

Common Curriculum Helps You Create Common Core Lesson Plans

Common Curriculum is a new online lesson planning resource that aims to help you align your lessons to Common Core standards. In Common Curriculum you can enter your courses and write your lesson plans. After you enter a lesson plan into your Common Curriculum planner you can click "search for standard" to have Common Curriculum search for Common Core standards that might match your lesson plan. The more text that you include in your lesson plan the more likely Common Curriculum is to find Common Core standards that match your lesson plans.

Beyond the standards search, Common Curriculum has a couple of helpful tools for you. If your lessons tend to follow a particular pattern you can create a lesson plan template that you reuse across your schedule. If you don't have a blog or aren't consistently using a blog to publish information about your courses, Common Curriculum has you covered. Each lesson plan that you write in Common Curriculum can be published to a blog with just one click.

Applications for Education
I learned about Common Curriculum from David Berger who is going to write a guest post about he and teachers in his school are using it. I look forward to learning more David. In the meantime, I think that anyone who has to align his or her lesson plans to Common Core standards will find Common Curriculum to be a handy lesson planning resource.

Quickly Share Large Files Through Just Beam It

Just Beam It is a free service for quickly sharing files up to 2GB in size. To transfer a file to someone else just drag a file from your desktop to Just Beam It in your browser. After dragging and dropping your file Just Beam It will generate a link to it that you can share with anyone.

I tried Just Beam It last fall. Since then the service has received some useful updates. The two most important updates are support for all modern browsers and support for multiple file uploads. If you upload multiple files, Just Beam It will zip them together on the fly for your convenience.

Applications for Education
If the email service in use at your school can't handle large attachments, Just Beam It could be one way for students to share files with each other and with you. Just Beam It offers a Chrome Web App that you might find useful too.

Word Talk - A Free Text to Speech Plugin for Microsoft Wor

Ever since I got satellite radio last fall the number of podcasts that I listen to has steadily declined. Before satellite radio I often listened to podcasts while driving. One podcast that I still consider a must-listen is Tom Grissom's Tech Talk 4 Teachers. During the most recent episode Tom shared Word Talk.

Word Talk is a free text to speech plugin for Microsoft Word. Word Talk highlights text as it is narrated for you. An audio dictionary is also included in Word Talk.

Applications for Education
For students that need to hear a word pronounced or need sentences read to them for clarification, Word Talk could be a handy plugin to have installed in Microsoft Word.

Monday, October 15, 2012

One Click Yields More Room to Work in Google Docs

If you're like me and you frequently work on a laptop or netbook there are probably some moments when you wish for more screen space. Beginning today if you're using Google Documents and want a little more room to view your pages, you can make that space appear with just one click. In the upper, right corner of your screen you will now see an option for "compact mode" in each of your Google Documents. Click the compact mode arrows to collapse the formatting menu and receive about an inch of more space to work in your documents. Below you will see some screenshots showing you where to find the compact mode arrows.

Click to view full size.

Click to view full size.