Friday, April 19, 2013

Fotor - Edit Images and Create Image Collages on Almost Any Device

Fotor is a free image editing tool available in your web browser, as a desktop application for Mac and Windows, as iPad app, as an Android app, and as a Windows 8 application. Fotor can be used without creating an account. With Fotor you can crop images, apply filters, add picture frames, insert clip art, and add text to your images. You can also create image collages on Fotor. All of your work can be saved on your computer or mobile device. See Fotor in action in the Tekzilla video below.

Applications for Education
If your students need a free and easy-to-use tool to edit their images before putting them into presentations, give Fotor a try. Have students use the collage option to create collages about highlights of the school year, things they've learned, or to create a "poster" of their favorite library books.

Video - How to Add Political Boundaries in Google Map Maker

No one knows a town or neighborhood like the people that live there. Google knows that and has made Map Maker a crowd-sourcing project to create the most detailed public maps possible. Google suggests adding information about recreational areas in your town, cultural landmarks, schools, and businesses. Yesterday, thanks to Rich Kiker, I learned that Google Map Maker now allows you to add political boundaries to maps. Watch the video below to learn how to do this.

Applications for Education
Teachers looking to create a project with "real world" implications should consider having students research their communities and contribute to making the map better on Google Map Maker.

Learn more about Map Maker in the video below.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Browse the Digital Public Library of America

The Digital Public Library of America is a huge collection of digitized artifacts and exhibits from museums and libraries across the United States. Through the DPLA you can find documents, books, images, audio recordings, and video clips. The DPLA is a new resource and only some of the artifacts are arranged into exhibits at this point. You can look for artifacts by location, time, or keyword search. Clicking on an artifact will open information about where it is housed and when it was created.

Applications for Education
DPLA could a good place to find primary source artifacts to use in U.S. History lesson plans. Exhibits like this one about prohibition are arranged thematically. After viewing one of the DPLA exhibits as a model, have your students create their own digital exhibits of thematically connected artifacts.

My Spring and Summer PD Schedule

As the school year winds down a lot of teachers, teacher-librarians, and school administrators turn their attention to summer professional development opportunities. I've been fortunate to have been invited to quite a few schools and conferences for the spring and summer. And since I'm often asked where I'll be I thought this would be a good time to share my spring and summer schedule as it stands right now. If you're interested in having me speak at your school or conference please click here or email me at richardbyrne (at) freetech4teachers (dot) com

In addition to the events listed below I plan to offer a couple of webinars in July. One webinar will be about blogging and one will be about Google Drive. I'll be announcing the schedules for those webinars next week.

April 23 - TIE South Dakota
April 25 - Texas Library Association
May 15 - Bridgton Academy, Maine
June 5,6 - Carondelet High School, California
June 12 - East Noble, Indiana
June 13,14 - Wellman, Iowa
June 17,18,19 - Storm Lake, Iowa
June 20 - Kettering, Ohio
June 23, 24, 25 - Fort Kent, ME
June 26 - AAFCS Conference, Houston
July 16,17 - Discovery DEN Conference
July 22, 23 - Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp
July 30 - Bullitt County, Kentucky
August 1, 2 - Tilton, NH Google Apps Academy
August 8 - Gaston County, NC
August 26 - Yavneh Academy, NJ
August 28,29 - Grand Prairie, Alberta

Check Out The Great New Features in Socrative

People who have attended one of my presentations this spring may have seen these tools already as I was an early tester of them, but now everyone can use some great new features in Socrative. As they announced today, Socrative now allows you to add images to your questions and have short answer quizzes graded for you. Additionally, the short answer activity now allows you to display your question on your audience's devices.

Socrative still allows you to collect responses anonymously or with the requirement that students enter their names. Students don't have to create an account to participate in any of your activities. To participate they simply need to enter your Socrative room number when they visit on their laptops, iPads, Android tablets, or any other device that has a web browser.

Applications for Education
Socrative's new image option could be great for asking mathematics questions that are diagram based. The image option could also be great for world languages teachers to post a picture of an object that students have to identify in the language that they're learning. And the new automatic grading option could save you a ton of time that you can then invest in something else.