Saturday, November 23, 2013

MasteryConnect Adds Support for Google Drive and Dropbox Import

One of the many tools that MasteryConnect offers to teachers is a curriculum mapping tool that allows you to easily connect your current lessons and curriculum to Common Core and or state standards. Previously, you had to upload your assignments from your computer. You can now import assignments from your Google Drive and or Dropbox account. You can see the MasteryConnect curriculum mapping tool in the video found here.

The primary service that MasteryConnect offers to teachers is an assessment tracking tool to keep track of students' progress toward mastery of Common Core standards. MasteryConnect also offers a community in which teachers can share assessments.

Disclosure: MasteryConnect has been an advertiser on Free Technology for Teachers since 2011.

Two Free Webinars on Video Creation

Wideo is a service that allows anyone to create animated videos and Common Craft-style videos online. On December 3rd Wideo is hosting two free webinars on how to create animated videos using the Wideo video editor. There is a beginner session and an advanced session. You can register for the beginner session here and register for the advanced session here.

You can create an animated videos on Wideo by dragging and dropping elements into place in the Wideo editor then setting the sequence of animations. Each element can be re-used as many times as you like and the timing of the animation of each image can individually adjusted. Wideo's stock elements include text, cartoons, and drawings. You can also upload your own images to use in your videos.

Haiku Deck on the Web Might Make You Forget About All Other Slideshow Tools

This week the popular iPad app, Haiku Deck, became available as a web app too. The new web version of Haiku Deck brings all of the awesome features of the iPad app to your web browser. With the web version of Haiku Deck you can create beautiful slideshows and share them on the web.

Haiku Deck offers a variety of themes and templates to use in your presentations. The best aspects of Haiku Deck are the integrated image search and the automatically resizing text. On each of your slides you can add images of your own or search through Haiku Deck's library of images. As you type text on each slide, the text automatically shrinks to fit in the space allotted. The shrinking text feature is great for encouraging students to minimize the use of text in their slide designs.

All Haiku Deck presentations created on the web can be shared through Facebook, Twitter, and email. All presentations can be exported as PPT files. And all of your presentations can be embedded into blog posts and web pages. Check out my presentation below.

To access the web version of Haiku Deck you may have to wait for a beta invite, but it seems that Haiku Deck is sending those out very quickly. 

Applications for Education
The thing that I've loved about Haiku Deck from day one is that its design tools help to focus students on telling a story with pictures and really knowing their material instead of relying on large chunks of text on slides. The integrated image search includes Creative Commons licensed images to help students find pictures that match their stories.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Smithsonian X 3D - Explore and Print 3D Models of Smithsonian Artifacts

Smithsonian X 3D offers a neat way for students to learn about artifacts from the Smithsonian museums. The site is the result of a collaboration between Autodesk and the Smithsonian Institution. 20 artifacts are currently featured on Smithsonian X 3D. The artifacts can be viewed as 3D models that you can virtually manipulate. Each artifact has an accompanying tour through which you can learn about its history and significance. A screenshot of the tour connected to the Wright Flyer is posted below.
Click image to view full size.

If you have access to a 3D printer you can print models of the artifacts features on Smithsonian X 3D.

Applications for Education
The Smithsonian video embedded below provides an overview of how the Smithsonian envisions teachers using Smithsonian X 3D with students.

Azendoo - Organize Group Projects Through Documents and Skype Chats

Azendoo is a nice service designed to help teams divide and track project responsibilities. When I tried the service a few months ago the only options for organizing group projects were to invite people to join a workspace in which all of you can create tasks, assign task due dates, and send written messages to each other. This week Azendoo added the option to incorporate Skype calling and chatting.

Using Skype in Azendoo - Tutorial from Azendoo on Vimeo.

Azendoo allows teachers and students to have as many workspaces as they need. Each workspace provides 10GB of storage. Azendoo works with Evernote, Google Drive, Dropbox, and Box so that your team can share materials from those accounts.

Applications for Education
Azendoo could be a good tool for high school and college students to use to organize long-term group projects. After they plan and assign tasks students can use Azendoo to send reminder messages to each other.