Friday, August 2, 2013

Hi - Narrative Mapping of the World

Hi is a simple name for an interested map service. Hi is one part mapping service and one part social network. The idea is that Hi users will upload and geo-locate pictures on the service. When users upload their pictures they can include a short caption which Hi calls "sketches" or a longer post about the location which Hi refers to as "moments." Hi moments are essentially geo-located blog posts that other Hi users can comment on.

Applications for Education
Hi could provide an interesting way for geography students to discover what other people find interesting about various cities and landmarks around the world. If you wanted to create smaller Hi-like collection of stories you could have your students create stories in placemarks on Google Maps.

H/T to The Next Web.

Try Storyboard That for Creating Stories and Planning Video Projects

Disclosure: Storyboard That is an advertiser on Free Technology for Teachers.

Storyboard That is a nice tool for planning and creating stories online. Storyboard That provides templates in which you can create your stories in a comic strip style. To help you create your story Storyboard That provides dozens of scenes, characters, and text bubbles to fill your storyboard's frames. Each element that you drag into your storyboard's frames can be re-sized, rotated, and re-positioned.

Applications for Education
Storyboard That could be a good tool for students to use to create simple cartoon stories. Students can also use Storyboard That to create outlines for longer creative writing projects or to script videos they're producing.

The free version of Storyboard That limits your stories to six frames. A premium plan allows for more frames, uploading of your own images instead of just using clipart, and the premium plan offers a "teacher view" for monitoring your students' work. 

Three Good Options for Creating Digital Portfolios

This morning I received an email from someone looking for suggestions for digital portfolio creation tools. The type of materials required for a digital portfolio varies quite a bit from school to school and sometimes it varies from teacher to teacher. Therefore, I look for flexibility in a digital portfolio platform. Here are three services that I recommend.

Silk is a free service for creating webpages organized around a theme or topic. Silk is intended to be a place where you can share collections of materials as well as write text directly into your webpages. Your Silk dashboard provides a place to organize your materials into collections and subcollections. Your collections can include documents, videos, images, charts and graphs, and links to other sites. Take a look at a sample Silk site here. You can create multiple sites within your free Silk account. Your Silk sites can be public or  private. Creating collections on your Silk site can become a collaborative activity by inviting others to be editors or administrators on a site.

Dropr is a free service for creating portfolios of your images, videos, and audio files. Within your Dropr account you can have multiple portfolio pages. If you wanted to have a page for images that you took in the fall and a page for images that you took in the spring, you can do that in Dropr. To create a Dropr portfolio start by signing up with a social media profile or with your email address. Then start your first project by uploading a cover image. Once you have started a project you can drag and drop media from your desktop to the Dropr website. Each project can include text in addition to the media that you upload to it. Each of your projects will have a different URL. You can work on your projects in private until you are ready to share them with the world. Your Dropr projects can be embedded into a blog as a slideshow.  

While it's not specifically designed for creating digital portfolios, Weebly could be a great digital portfolio platform for your students. Weebly makes it easy to create websites that look great and are easy to navigate. Weebly users can select from a superb collection of site templates and themes. The Weebly mobile apps allow users to edit and add content on the go. Weebly for Education Weebly for Education includes all of the intuitive website-building and blogging tools found on Weebly plus features built specifically for education. Weebly for Education offers bulk creation of student accounts which teachers can manage and moderate. Students can create their own websites and blogs using the accounts that you create for them.

Why I Care That Socrative Just Got $750k and You Should Too

I don't make it a secret that I think Socrative is a fantastic tool that teachers should try. A quick search of my archives reveals that I've mentioned Socrative in no less than twenty-seven posts since it launched a couple of years ago. Yesterday, TechCrunch carried the news that Socrative received $750,000 in venture capital investment. This is great news for all of us that enjoy using Socrative.  First, this news means that the service will continue to work. Second, new features are coming to Socrative thanks to this investment.

According to TechCrunch Socrative will be adding new features for back channel-style discussions, Common Core assessment tags, and new quiz question formats. These are in addition to the new features that were added back in April.

If you haven't tried Socrative, it's a free service that replaces the need for expensive "clicker" feedback systems. Socrative works on any device that has an Internet connection. Students sign into a virtual classroom in which you can post questions and they can reply either anonymously or with their names depending upon how you want to use the service. You can more about Socrative in the video below.

Socrative introduction video (new) from Socrative Inc. on Vimeo.

Read Write Think Makes It Easy to Create Crossword Puzzles

I've never been a big fan of crossword puzzles, but my grandmother who taught Language Arts for decades loved them. I know that many other teachers still like to use them in one way or another too. If you would like to create your own crossword puzzles for your students or you want them to create crossword puzzles, take a look at Read Write Think's Crossword Puzzle Tool.

Read Write Think's Crossword Puzzle Generator makes it easy to create your own crossword puzzles. To create your puzzle simply enter a list of words, a set of clues for your words, and then let the generator make a puzzle for you. You can test the puzzle before printing it. You can print blank puzzles and answer sheets from the puzzle generator.