Monday, February 1, 2016

Limnu - Create Collaborative Online Whiteboards

Limnu is a service that enables you to quickly create collaborative online whiteboards. On your Limnu boards you can draw, type, insert images, and chat with collaborators. Every whiteboard that you create on Limnu can be saved as an image to review later.

Limnu's free service allows you to edit your whiteboards for up to seven days. In the free version of Limnu you can have three active boards at one time. The free version doesn't limit the number of collaborators that you can invite to work with you. Inviting other users can be done in two ways. You can invite other users by email or you can invite other users by sharing a link to your Limnu board. You can disable sharing at any time.

Applications for Education
Limnu lets you create sticky notes on your whiteboards. Students who are brainstorming together could apply sticky notes to their Limnu board then sort the notes as a group. The drawing tool in Limnu could be used by students to show connections between ideas in their sticky notes.

My Three Favorite Classroom Timer Tools

One of the challenges of teaching in a high school or middle school that uses block scheduling is many students struggle to focus for 80 minute, 90 minute, or longer blocks of time. I always try to break up blocks like this into shorter segments with breaks. To prevent breaks from running too long, I always use a timer. I also use timers to time break-out activities. Whenever it is possible to do so, I like to display the timer countdown on a projector or whiteboard so that all of the students can see it. These are the three timer tools that recommend more than any others.

Task Timer is a free Chrome app that you can use to time multiple tasks or events at the same time. The app works online and or offline in the Chrome web browser. After installing the app you can create a set of tasks that you want to time. You can run multiple timers at once or run them individually. The timer functions on a countdown basis. A chime sounds when time has expired on each timer.

Russel Tarr's Classtools Countdown Timer has two slick features. You can create and set multiple timers on the same page. This means that if you had students sharing in rapid succession you wouldn't have to reset the timer for each student, you simply move onto using the next timer on the page. The second feature of note in the Classtools Countdown Timer is the option to add music to your timers. You can have your countdown timers set to music. Mission Impossible, The Apprentice, and Countdown are the standard music options. You can add other music by using the YouTube search tool built into the timer.

A third timer option is to simply type into Google search "set timer" followed by an amount of time and a countdown timer is displayed. An alarm beeps when time is up. You can make the timer appear full screen without advertisements by clicking a little box icon to the right of the timer. You can see this feature in action in the video below.

3 Free Map Creators

This is a guest post from Jennifer Carey (@TeacherJenCarey) of EdTechTeacher, an advertiser on this site.

Maps are a great way for students to navigate their understanding of different topics. While it is useful for geography (of course), students can also use mapping to increase their understanding of a story in English, a lesson in History, studies in Ecology, and more. Here are three FREE tools that allow students and teachers to create interactive maps, and they don’t require a login!

Zee Maps

Zee Maps allows users to create interactive maps online for free (or an added fee for additional features). At the free level, it does not require a login. Users can import data from an existing spreadsheet or manually input information as they build their map. Users can add multimedia (images, video, or audio) in their markers and color code specific regions (zip codes, states, countries, etc). Another cool feature is that users can crowd-source information from their followers.

NatGeo Mapmaker Interactive

NatGeo has introduced a really cool, interactive map maker to the market. In addition to the traditional mapping tools of markers and shapes/colors, users can use a variety of base maps (political, street lines, topographical, and more) and then overlay various layers such as the distribution of endangered animals, climate, energy production, etc. This is a great way to bring mapping into broader realms of study. It is important to note that while users can create and print maps without sharing any personal information, if they want to share a map or save it to edit later, they will need an email address.


Scribble Maps

Scribble maps works both on the web and on mobile devices. Just as the name implies, the interface allows you to create maps by drawing. You can import map data from a variety of sources, including Google Maps, Open Street, and Night Sky; yep, you can even have your students map the heavens! You can insert color shapes or markers, text, and scribble on your map to create various lines and shapes. Users do not need to create an account to save their work or embed it online. In fact, you can even protect a map with a password.

These are only three resources for creating online maps. They allow students to delve more deeply into the world around them or, in the case of Scribble Maps, the skies.

Looking for more ideas for your English, history, or social studies curriculum? EdTechTeacher will be offering over 18 different workshop topics this summer in cities across the country. Learn more at

Sunday, January 31, 2016

The Month in Review - January's Most Popular Posts on Free Technology for Teachers

Good evening from Woodstock, Maine where we had a beautiful sunset on the last day of January, 2016. As I do at the end of every month, I've assembled a list of the most popular posts. The list is based on views and shares of posts throughout the previous 30 days.

Here are the most popular posts of the month:
1. Click to Spin - A Fun and Free Random Name Picker
2. 4 Helpful Gmail Settings for Teachers & Students
3. 10 Good Video Sources for Social Studies Teachers and Students
4. Google Books for Teachers and Students - A Guide
5. 16 Ways to Use TinyTap in Your Classroom
6. Ten Good Video Sources for Science Teachers and Students
7. 5 Great Things You Can Do With Google Sheets
8. Choosito - A Search Engine With Reading Level Index
9. 82 Google Tools Tutorial Videos
10. ClassDojo's Big Ideas Teaches Kids About Growth Mindset

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Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
BoomWriter provides a fantastic tool for creating writing lessons. 
SlideModel offers great PowerPoint templates for teachers. 
Storyboard That is my go-to tool for creating storyboards and cartoon stories.
Discovery Education & Wilkes University offer online courses for earning Master's degrees in Instructional Media.
PrepFactory offers a great place for students to prepare for SAT and ACT tests.
The University of Maryland Baltimore County offers graduate programs for teachers.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.
EdTechTeacher is hosting host workshops in six cities in the U.S. in the summer.
KidzType provides a fun way to teach and learn typing skills.

Create a Single Dashboard for All of Your Cloud Storage Accounts

If you're like me, you might have utilize more than one cloud storage service. I use Google Drive most often, but I also use Dropbox and Box too. MultCloud is a service that allows me to tie them all together in one place. MultCloud does more than just provide a single log-in for all of the cloud services that I use. It also allows me to move files between services with a simple drag-and-drop.

By connecting your cloud storage services through MultCloud you create a single dashboard page on which you can view and access the files within all of your cloud storage accounts. To move a file between the services you just select a file from one service and drag it to the other.

Applications for Education
If your school hasn't adopted a standard cloud storage platform for all teachers and students, MultCloud could be a great tool for organizing files strewn across multiple cloud storage services.