Sunday, March 10, 2013

Coggle - A Simple Mind-Mapping Tool

Last week I shared a presentation about mind maps, timelines, and collaborative brainstorming. Shortly after sharing that presentation I learned about Coggle. Coggle is a new, collaborative mind-mapping service that is very easy to use.

To create a Coggle mind map just sign-in with your Google account and click the "+" icon to start your mind map. After entering the main idea of your mind map you can add branches by clicking the "+" icons that appear next to everything you type. To re-arrange elements just click on them and drag them around your screen.

Coggle is a collaborative tool. You can invite others to view and edit your mind maps. You can also just invite others to view by sending them an email through Coggle. All Coggle mind maps can be downloaded as PDFs or PNG image files.

Applications for Education
The problem with some mind-mapping tools is that while robust in features they don't have intuitive interfaces which in turn causes students to struggle with the process and lose the flow of the brainstorming process. In contrast to that Coggle doesn't have a robust set of features, but it does have a very intuitive user interface so that your students can focus on recording your ideas and not struggle with the formatting of their mind maps.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Week in Review - The Saturday Evening Post

Good evening from Maine. This week's week-in-review post is being written late because it was so nice outside today that I just had to spend the day outside with my dogs. It felt like spring outside and since my dogs were at the kennel (a great facility, but not the same as home) most of the week as I presented at the NCTIES and MSLA conferences, I felt like I owed it to them to get them outside as much as possible. If you're reading this on Saturday night, don't forget to change your clocks before going to bed.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. Five Ways to Create Word Clouds
2. Four Good Alternatives to Clicker Systems
3. Awesome Android Apps for Students and Teachers
4. 5 Apps and Sites for Creating Animations
5. WWF Together - A Beautiful iPad App About Endangered Animals
6. StatWorld - Interactive Maps of Development Data
7. How to Use Pixabay to Find Free Images

Would you like to have me to visit your school this year? 
Click here for information about my professional development services.

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
Fresno Pacific University offers online courses for teachers.
ThingLink is a great tool for collaboratively creating interactive images.
Discovery Education & Wilkes University offer online courses for earning Master's degrees in Instructional Media.
Vocabulary Spelling City offers spelling practice activities that you can customize.
MasteryConnect provides a network for teachers to share and discover Common Core assessments. is a provider of free educational games for K-5.
Lesley University offers quality online graduate programs for teachers.
The University of Maryland Baltimore County offers graduate programs for teachers.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology. is hosting iPad Summit USA in Atlanta this spring.

How to Subscribe to Free Technology for Teachers
Join more than 55,000 others who subscribe via these links.
Subscribe via RSSSubscribe via Email.
Like Free Technology for Teachers on  Facebook.
Find me on Twitter, on Google+, or on Pinterest.

Short Video Lessons About Daylight Saving Time

I'll be going to bed soon, but before my head hits my pillow I will be moving my clock ahead one hour. Many of you will be doing the same because daylight saving time starts tomorrow. Here are four videos explaining the history of daylight saving time and why not everyone uses it.

And though it's not about daylight saving time, this TED-Ed lesson about the standardization of timezones is good.

Screenhero Makes Almost Any Application Collaborative

Screenhero is a new screen sharing service that offers something that I don't recall seeing in any of the other screen sharing services I've tried over the years. Screenhero offers the option for both parties (the sharer and the sharee) to use their mice to control an application. For example, I can share my screen with you and allow you to move things on my screen. Likewise, I can move things around on your screen. By sharing our screens through Screenhero any desktop application becomes a collaborative application. Watch the one minute video below to see how Screenhero works.

Applications for Education
The free version of Screenhero allows you to share your screen with one other person at a time. My first thought when looking at Screenhero is that it could be great for providing tech help remotely. I also think that Screenhero could be a good tool for students to use when they're using an application like Garage Band that is not collaborative for a collaborative project. By sharing their screens through Screenhero both students will be able to access and work on the same files.

H/T to Lifehacker

Create a Text Message Exchange Between Fictional Characters

The ever clever Russel Tarr has developed a new neat tool for creating fictional text message exchanges between fictional and or historical characters. The Classtools SMS Generator is free to use and does not require students to log-in. To use the SMS Generator just click the left speech bubble icon and enter a message. Then to create a reply just click the right speech bubble icon and enter a new message. You can make the exchange as long as you like. To share the conversation click the sprocket icon and grab the embed code, direct link, or QR code for the exchange.

Applications for Education
You could have students use the Classtools SMS Generator to create simple conversations between historical characters as way to get them to think about those peoples' lives and the conversations that they might have had.