Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Clipix - Create Portfolios of Files and Bookmarks

When we look for tools to create collections of files and bookmarks there is certainly not a shortage of options. Clipix is one such tool that I recently tried. Clipix will remind you of Pinterest or eduClipper in that you can "clip" images, videos, and links to save on digital clipboards. Clipix also supports uploading files from your computer to your Clipix clipboards. Each of the clipboards that you create in your Clipix account can be kept private or made public. There is also a privately shared option that can be used for collaborating on clipboard creation. Learn more about Clipix in the video below.


Clipix's basic functions are very similar to other services in the same market. The user interface on Clipix feels less cluttered to me than that of some of its competitors. The option to customize your clipboard background is a nice touch too.

Clipix offers Android and iOS apps that will synchronize with your online Clipix account.

Applications for Education
Clipix could be a good option for high school and college students who are looking for a tool to help them organize their research by course. Students could create a different clipboard for each course that they are taking. Each clipboard could be used to save bookmarks while doing research in each course or the clipboards could be used to simply organize projects that they have completed in each course.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

5 Tools That Help Students Organize Research and Create Bibliographies

Organizing and writing a bibliography can feel like the most tedious part of writing a research paper. The following five tools can help students organize and create their bibliographies.

One of the most useful new Add-ons for Google Documents is the EasyBib Bibliography Creator. The EasyBib Bibliography Creator makes it easy to properly cite resources and format a bibliography in APA, MLA, or Chicago style. Click here for directions for the process of using this add-on.

Scrible is a free service that offers a nice set of tools for highlighting, annotating, and bookmarking webpages. Scrible offers browser bookmarklets for Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Internet Explorer. With the Scrible bookmarklet installed, anytime you're on a page just click the bookmarklet to launch a menu of bookmarking tools. The Scrible tool set includes highlighters, sticky notes, and font change tools. When you annotate and bookmark a page in Scrible it is saved as it appeared to you when you were done altering it. And as you would expect from a web-based bookmarking tool, you can share your bookmarked pages with others. Students can get a free Scrible account that has double the storage capacity of the standard free account. Scrible recently added an options for formatting bibliographies as you bookmark. Scrible also has a new feature that allows you to compile your article clippings into one package.

Cite This For Me is a tool designed to help students correctly format reference lists or citation pages. To create a reference list using Cite This For Me students simply need to fill in the required information in each box, sort them alphabetically, and download the formatted reference page. Cite This For Me provides formatting not only printed materials and websites, but also for things like podcasts, online videos, and even email correspondence.

refDot is a Google Chrome extension that could be very helpful for keeping track of and formatting references for use in bibliographies. Whenever you're viewing a website, an online book, an online journal, or a news article just click the refDot icon in your browser to open a window into which you enter all of information you need for a bibliography. For example if you were viewing a blog post on Free Technology for Teachers that you wanted to reference in a bibliography, click on refDot and the pop-up box will prompt you to enter the date of access, url, title, and year.

Citelighter is a helpful tool for anyone trying to organize their online and or offline research findings. At its core Citelighter is a browser extension (available for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari) that enables you to select sections of webpages and save them along with the important information needed to create an APA, MLA, or Chicago style bibliography. If you have pieces of text from books and journals that you want to include in your list of citations, you can add those in Citelighter too. Citelighter also has a community aspect that allows you to share your citations and search those of others. The citations in the public gallery are called "Knowledge Cards." Knowledge Cards are the pieces of quoted text that others have saved and tagged with a subject area. The Knowledge Cards you find in the public gallery can be added to the project lists in your personal Citelighter account.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Most Popular Posts of the Week on Free Technology for Teachers

Good morning from the Free Technology for Teachers World Headquarters in Woodstock, Maine. At this time last week I was excited about sunshine and the arrival of spring weather. This morning I am excited about the prospect of the weather being nice enough to barbecue for the first time since last fall. Wherever you are this weekend, I hope that you have something fun that you are looking forward to doing too.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. 5 Ways for Students to Showcase Their Best Work
2. Science Games and an Interactive Periodic Table
3. Three Good Resources for Helping Students Learn About and Write Poetry
4. Two Free Google Apps that Bring Out the Best In an iPad
5. Lesson Plans for Teaching Computational Thinking
6. How to Use Little Bird Tales for Digital Storytelling in Elementary School
7. Word Sense - See the Connections Between Words

Would you like to come learn with me this summer?
Click here to learn more about the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp.

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
IXL offers a huge assortment of mathematics lesson activities.
Class Charts provides a great way to record and analyze student behavior information.
Typing Club offers free typing lessons for students.
Discovery Education & Wilkes University offer online courses for earning Master's degrees in Instructional Media.
MasteryConnect provides a network for teachers to share and discover Common Core assessments.
ABCya.com is a provider of free educational games for K-5.
The University of Maryland Baltimore County offers graduate programs for teachers.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.
EdTechTeacher is offers professional development workshops in Boston and Chicago.
StoryBoard That is a great tool for creating comics and more.
Fresno Pacific University offers a wide variety of technology courses for teachers.

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Friday, April 11, 2014

Two Browser-based Noise Meters That Show Students How Loudly They Speak

Earlier this week on iPadApps4School.com I featured an app called Too Noisy that shows students how loudly they are speaking. The app measures the volume of the noise in a room and displays a meter indicating whether or not the the room is too noisy. If you don't have an iPad, you can find the same basic features in the following browser-based tools.

Bouncy Balls shows students the volume of the noise in your classroom by displaying a set of colorful bouncing balls. The higher the decibel level goes, the higher and more frequently the balls on the screen bounce. To use Bouncy Balls simply go to the website, click "begin bouncing," and then click the microphone icon to allow the site to access your computer's microphone.

Calmness Counter is similar to Bouncy Balls. The difference is that Calmness Counter displays a dial meter to display the decibel level in your classroom. You can adjust the microphone input sensitivity directly on the Calmness Counter screen.

Applications for Education
Projecting either of these meters for all of your students to see could be a good way to help them understand the appropriate volume for conversations while working on group activities in your classroom.

By Request - Ten Good Tools for Editing Images Online

Earlier today I received a request, via the Free Technology for Teachers Facebook page, for suggestions for online image editing tools. My first recommendation was Pixlr from Autodesk. In the list below uou can read more about Pixlr and nine other good options for enhancing, cropping, and creating images online.

Pixlr is a great set of image creation and editing tools. Pixlr offers web-based image editing tools as well as image editing tools to use on Android phones and on iPhones. Pixlr also has Firefox and Chrome browser extensions for creating screen captures.Pixlr Editor is Pixlr's most full-featured image creation and editing tool. You can create drawings from scratch using the pencil and coloring tools that they provide. Pixlr Editor also has options for uploading images or importing images from other places on the web. The selection of creation and editing tools is huge. There are options for making multiple layer images, dozens of filter settings, and of course tools for cropping and resizing images. Your images can be saved to your computer or you can send them to Flickr, Picassa, Facebook, or you can save them in a Pixlr account.

Quick Picture Tools is a free service that offers twelve tools for editing and enhancing your pictures. Some of the things that you can do with Quick Picture Tools include cropping images, combining images, adding text to images, and creating calendar wall paper for your computer. Each of the tools provides the option to resize images and adjust the overall quality of your original image before you use it for a collage, calendar, or mini poster.

Picadilo is a free image editing service that offers a lot of useful tools. To use Picadilo you do not have to create an account on the service. To get started just upload a picture and start editing. After your image is uploaded you can re-size it, crop it, add filters, touch-it up, add text, and put digital frames around your pictures. When you're happy with your edited image you can download it and or share it on Facebook.

Picfull is a free online photo editing service. To use the service just upload a picture and select an effect to add to it.  Picfull offers eighteen basic sets of effects. After you select an effect you can customize it to your liking. When you're finished altering your photo you can download or share it via Twitter, Facebook, or email.

Cropp.me is a beautifully simple web tool for quickly cropping your images. Cropp.me is a little different than a lot of the other services in this market. What makes Cropp.me different is its smart auto-crop option. If you choose this option, Cropp.me will auto-detect the focal point of your images and crop accordingly. Cropp.me allows you to upload and crop up to five images at the same time. You can crop your images to one of nine predefined sizes or you can specify a custom size.

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.

Imageoid is a free, simple service for adding a variety of effects to your images. To use Imageoid you just upload an image from your computer then choose the effect(s) you want to apply to it. You can combine effects if you like. If you don't like the way your image looks with a chosen effect, just click "reset" to start again. Imageoid can also be used to resize your image. Imageoid offers twenty-two effects that you can apply to your image.

Picozu is a free online image editing tool. Using Picozu you can touch-up existing images or you can create new images from scratch. In the Picozu editor you will find tools for adjusting color saturation and clarity. The editor also includes tools for creating images containing multiple layers. And if you want to include text in  your image Picozu has options for that too. Picozu offers the option to register and join their community or you can use the editing tools without creating an account. If you do choose to create an account you can save your images on Picozu and add them to the community albums. If choose not to create a Picozu you can save your images to your computer, send them to your Facebook account, or send them to your Dropbox account.

Google recently added image editing options to Google Slides. You've always been able to re-size images in your slides, but now when you add an image to a slide you can crop it, apply borders to it, and apply masks to it. To do any of these things simply select the image then select an editing option from the new image editing menu. See the screenshot below for the location of the new image editing menu. Click here for Google's post with directions on using the image editing tools.

PicMonkey is one of my favorite online image editing tools. To get started using PicMonkey you can upload an image by simply dragging it from your desktop to the PicMonkey editor. From there you can change things like saturation, contrast, size, and sharpness. You can then add custom frames and special effects like "Polaroid style" to your images. Want to add text to your images? PicMonkey provides a slew of font styles for your use. And if you have just one tiny part of an image that you want to enhance or obscure, PicMonkey gives you tools for that too. Click here for a post about using PicMonkey photo collages as writing prompts.