Thursday, October 13, 2016

5 Ways Students Can Find Free Images

Google's recent introduction of the "Explore" tool in Google Slides retained the option for students to find images for their slides, but removed the option to filter the images according to usage rights. There are other ways to find free images to legally use in slides, videos, and other multimedia projects. In the following video I demonstrate five tools that students can use to find free images.

A Note for Email Subscribers

I publish new posts on Free Technology for Teachers nearly every day of the year. If you subscribe to this blog through email, you might have been missing some posts lately. My email service has recently had some issues with emails getting flagged as spam. If you've been wondering why you haven't seen emails from me lately, please check your spam folder. I'd also appreciate it if you could mark that email as "not spam" which should ensure that you don't miss any other updates from Free Technology for Teachers.

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Four Social Studies Lessons You Can Update With Comics

Through the course of a school year I field a lot of questions that go something like this, “I need to use technology in my classroom, but I’m not sure where to start. Can you help me?” Integrating online tools into your classroom doesn’t have to mean throwing out everything you’ve done in the past. In fact, one of the best ways to do it is to take one of your “old, reliable” lessons and update it a bit with some easy-to-use online tools. Pixton is a good choice for an online tool that you can use to infuse some technology into your lessons.

Pixton is an online tool that your students can use to create comics, graphic novels, and storyboards. Even folks like me who don’t have any talent for drawing can create great comic stories on Pixton. That is because Pixton provides users with huge galleries of artwork to drag, drop, and manipulate into comics, storyboards, and graphic novels. Learn how to use Pixton by watching the short video found here.

Here are four common social studies lessons that you can update with Pixton.

1. Create short biographies of historical figures. Have students select a key moment from a person’s life. Then ask your students to illustrate that moment. For example, students studying John F. Kennedy could use Pixton to illustrate a conversation between JFK and Bobby Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

2. Illustrate a timeline of an event or series of events. Pixton offers a free lesson plan designed around this concept. The lesson plan includes making timelines of the Lewis & Clark Expedition and of the War of 1812. Rather than simply writing summaries of key events, students create illustrations of the events. A suggested scoring rubric is included in the free lesson plan.

3. How might history have been different if the communication technology we have today was available 200, 300, or 500 years ago? Ask your students to think about that question then illustrate the outcome. Students can use some of the artwork available in Pixton to simulate text message and or email exchanges between historical characters like George Washington and Ben Franklin.

4. Diagram and explain branches of government. Pixton offers a free lesson plan in which students create storyboards about the powers and responsibilities of the President of the United States. Creating this storyboard is a good way for students to show what they know about all of the powers and responsibilities the President has.

You can find dozens of more lesson plans in Pixton’s lesson plan library. A tutorial on Pixton’s basic functions can be watched here.

Disclosure: Pixton is an advertiser on

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

GameOn World - A Fun Geography Game

GameOn World is a free geography game system developed by a teacher and his student here in Maine. GameOn World is played in a manner similar to Kahoot. The teacher projects the game questions on a screen and students reply from their phones, tablets, or laptops. One of the convenient features of GameOn World is that you don't have to create an account in order to start playing fun geography and history games with your students.

In the video embedded below I provide a demonstration of how GameOn World works. The video includes the teacher's perspective and the students' perspectives.

A Nice Way to Share Bundles of Links With Your Students

Sqworl is a free bookmarking tool for teachers and students. In Sqworl you can create groups or bundles of bookmarks to share with your students and or colleagues. It provides a convenient way for you or your students to share collections of resources created while researching or browsing the web. As is demonstrated in my video below, Sqworl has a nice feature that lets you add descriptive notes to each visual bookmark within your Sqworl bundles. Watch my video embedded below to learn more.

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