Friday, December 16, 2011

Wrapping Up the Challenge


First off, we want to thank everyone who participated in the challenge. When we developed this idea, we hoped that we would be able to share some great tools, but also build a community of practice from which all of us could learn. To say that our hopes were fulfilled would be an understatement.

Not only did we have an opportunity to share and discuss 30 great tools, we learned about even more tools and creative ways to implement them from the lively discussion on the blog. We also heard many stories about how the participants were sharing the learning with others in the corporation. As of this posting we have 127 members of the blog. 76 people posted to the blog. 26 people finished the challenge and were entered to win the iPad 2.

Beyond that, we know that the impact of the challenge extended far outside of the EVSC. As of today, we've had over 11,600 hits on the blog from 32 different countries from 6 continents. Also, developers from some of the web tools we've featured have made contact and expressed thanks for the ideas we've shared for using their tools in the classroom. Also, other bloggers have linked to the blog and have shared the challenge with their audiences.

We're thrilled that this challenge has had such an impact on our members and on the profession as a whole. What's even better is that the ideas you've shared will live beyond the initial 30 days and will serve as an ongoing resource for others who are trying to imagine how to enhance learning with new tools. The posts alone are a good introduction, but the real value is the thoughtful commentary of a committed professional learning community. How cool is that?


On Tuesday, December 13th many of the participants gathered to meet in person, share ideas and to, of course, witness the drawing for the iPad 2. 

The winner was Melissa Mayer, a 4th-grade teacher at 
Vogel Elementary School! Congratulations!

Those who were able to attend the drawing were also given the opportunity to win other prizes, so that no one left without a new tool to use in their classroom. We hope that this event, like the challenge itself will continue to fuel our collective imaginations and help us to design engaging lessons for our students.

So what's next? We don't want this to be the end of our collaboration. The ICATS have plans to continue to use this site for future 30-Day Challenges, but even before that, we encourage you to share when you have new ideas for using these tools, by commenting to the appropriate post. We also encourage you to share the challenge with your colleagues, so that they can bring these great tools to their classrooms as well.

Our next 30-Day Challenge will begin in the spring. It will have a different focus, but will rely on the same need for professional collaboration. You can begin preparing for the next challenge by creating a Twitter account if don't already have one. Don't worry if you aren't familiar with Twitter, we will have special sessions during After the Bell where you can get hands on training. In the meantime, if you are looking for someone to follow in Twitter, you can begin with us: @twilhelmus, @mrg_3, @jjgleim. You can also search for #evscnetwork and follow the resources that get shared there.

If you have a Twitter account already, feel free to share it here as well. 

We wish everyone a happy holiday season and a well-deserved rest. 

With gratitude,


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Day 30-

While strictly-speaking this site is not very Web 2.0 in terms of its interactivity, TED Talks is certainly a highly useful site for educators. Based on the mission of curating "ideas worth spreading," the creators of the TED universe have provided a deep well of content-learning and inspiration from leaders across the world.

Exploration of this world begins with, but you can also find TED videos on YouTube, via the TED app, and through the TED podcasts. Also, a quick Google search will show that educators have curated lists of great TED videos in nearly every subject area (see below for some examples).

If you are looking for new ideas to spark your imagination or challenge your beliefs, TED is a great place to visit, and since there are new videos being added every day (thanks to annual conferences and TEDx events), there are always new ideas to explore.

The interactivity comes from responding to the videos through the TED community, by sharing the videos with colleagues and students, embedding the videos (which are not blocked by our firewalls) in your own blogs and websites, and ultimately attending, participating in, or even hosting a TEDx event (dare we dream?).

For now, we'll start small and stick to exploring the resource. Here are just a few of my favorite TED Talks:

Here are some other links that might guide your exploration as well:

8 Great TED Talks about the Future of Education and Teaching
Teaching With TED
TED ED Brain Trust
My Love Affair with TED
15 TED Talks for Teachers to Watch
Why Schools Need to Use TED Talks
Top 10 TED Talks for Music Education
25 Awe-Inspiring Science Talks on TED
15 Best TED Talks for History Buffs
20 Incredible TED Talks for Math Geeks

Your Assignment:

As your final assignment for the first-ever EVSC 30-Day Web 2.0 Challenge, we would like you to explore, identify a video that you could use in your classroom or in your professional practice, and describe how you would use that video to drive learning. Please share the title and speaker in your response so that the rest of us can find the video to which you refer in your response. 

Thank you to everyone who participated in the challenge this semester. Whether you completed every part or not, we hope that you will join us next Tuesday, December 13th at 3:00 at the TIC for a celebration for those who participated, and for the drawing of the winner of the iPad 2! If you want to make sure that all of your submissions have been accounted for, here is the link:

30-Day Challenge Tally Sheet

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Day 29 - Soapbox

Imagine if each of your students came with a confusion barometer during class instruction.  It's possible. This is just one feature that comes in your tool kit with Soapbox, a backchannel tool (more on that in a minute).

When your students are on a SoapBox that you create, they have a status at all times of either "I am getting it" or "I am confused". If at any point during class they become confused, or need you to slow down, they can indicate so by switching their status to "I am confused". You will see a graph with the number of confused students in real time. The individual student's status is completely anonymous to you and the other students.  As the teacher, you can see how many students are confused, just not which exact students.

Wondering what a backchannel is? Backchannels are conversations that take place concurrently with a lecture or presentation, and there are many tools that allow you to create one.  SoapBox's "About" explains it best:

[Backchannels] improve interaction between a speaker and an audience. Soapbox provides a platform for audience member input, while letting speakers facilitate discussion, organize feedback, and gauge audience sentiment -- all in real time. With SoapBox, speakers are able to transform traditional lectures into lasting conversations by integrating audience thoughts and opinions, without any interruption.

The confusion barometer is just one of the features of SoapBox and it could be shut-off if you prefer. Other features include polls, discussion boards, and socially ranked question and answer. You are encouraged to watch this quick 2 minute video overview for details.

Highlighted in the video:
  • web-based, so no downloads
  • no student log-ins; students remain anonymous (note there is a profanity filter)
  • lists four core features and how each works

    Let's say you decide to try out this tool with your students. Here are the basics to post once you have a SoapBox to share:
    1. I have created a SoapBox as a way for you to participate in class today. Even after class it will remain open, so if I don't get a question answered or if you think of something later, you can always go back and check to see if it's been answered or add something new.
    2. Please go to 
    3. In the "Join a SoapBox" text box, type in the title (you provide) and click "Join." 
    4. Once you're in, you'll see any polls or discussion for class and a "How to use Soapbox" button that will take you to a Quick Start Guide.
    5. Do a brief, here's how we will use this demo (You'll get the feel for it once you take the next step.)
    So, pretend YOU are the student. We have created a SoapBox for today!  Please join "30 Day Challenge" and explore the student side of things.  Keep in mind your responses will be anonymous. In the classroom, you can ask students to include their names if you are using this tool as a means for crediting student participation or if they want you to follow up with them individually.

    How do you get started? It's simple. Since this tool is in beta, you have to "Take a tour and sign up..." which consists of clicking a button, scrolling down the page and entering your email address. Once you hit Request Access, a screen pops up announcing they will get back to you with more instructions. Within minutes you get an email and it's all straightforward from there.

    Your assignment:

    Where in your instruction do you need to facilitate constructive interaction?  Here's the tool to do that. How might you use it?  Keep in mind, Soapbox is a tool as are the earlier 28 highlighted in this challenge. Any tool is only to be as effective as the individual who is using it. As an alternative post to how or when you might see using this tool in your classroom, you can share some tips you think would be important to maximize the effectiveness of introducing a backchannel to your students.

      Monday, December 5, 2011

      Day 28 - Class Dojo

      Class Dojo will not apply to every participant in the 30 Day Challenge as it is specifically designed for the classroom teacher, but I encourage you to be open-minded about the possible applications for this classroom management tool, which was introduced in beta early this fall, caught the attention of  educators from the UK to the US, and garnered top prize in NBC News' Education Nation Innovation Challenge. Later in this post, I will share an invitation for you to start your own class(es) with Class Dojo. 

      On the most rudimentary level, Class Dojo is a real-time, digital star chart for student behavior. Yet with some thought and planning, leaders can use it for much more. Based on game mechanics like leveling up, badges, unlocking achievements, avatars and leaderboards, Class Dojo's notifications, when projected on a whiteboard, can keep students aware of their achievement, recognize the correct choices they made, and reinforce their understanding of the behaviors, skills or activities necessary to succeed in class. Take a look at the main features:

      1. Personalization  You can tailor the rewards to promote the learning environment you want, rewarding things like excellent questions, great insight, creativity and collaboration. Add and remove any number of positive or negative behaviors you want to track. You can also build out both groups but display your choice of both or just one when working with the class. All you have to do is adjust your class settings. There are optional award sounds too-- positive behaviors are associated with a bell and negative have a little buzz.

      Don't like the little monsters? You can have students create their own avatar image or use photographs which they share with you so that you can upload them. There is a cost associated with personalizing, but you can get that waived by inviting a friend to register (even if they don’t accept, you get the bonus feature).

      2. Mobility
      You can be anywhere in your classroom and enter data using a netbook, iPhone, or iPad (will you be the lucky winner?).  No need to be tied down to your desk or to precord points on paper that will have to deciphered, entered and analyzed at the end of the day.

      3. Analytics The site analyzes class or individual progress overall (such as earning more positive than negative) as well as each type of behavior (24% of positive points awarded for correctly answering questions) helping teachers and administrators understand what is actually happening inside their classrooms in a data-driven way.

      Under “Report Cards” you have the option to add notes (not seen by students) at any point in time, which is particularly helpful when wanting to follow-up to a particular event. You can even opt to keep the note private or share the note with parents or other teachers.

      4. Parent Communication
      Circumstances often make it difficult for teachers to provide parents with as much feedback as we would like. With Class Dojo you can email each parent how their child did in class that day or at the end of a time period. You also have the option to print out the reports.

      5. Rewards is one of the upcoming features, but in the meantime, many teachers have built in their own system. One simple idea is to start off the entire class with the same avatar monster image and then allow students to personalize or choose their favorite monster avatar once they've met a goal.

      Here is your personal invitation to join Class Dojo.  If you want to learn more about this tool check out these blogs:

      So, what if you decide it's worth your time to create an account?  Once you're logged in there are tutorials to walk you through setting up your classes. The developers include a demo class where you can try your hand at awarding points and even go in and change settings.

      On the lower right corner of the screen there is a Help & feedback button. Not only can you get quick answers, but these guys listen to user suggestions! This is the cool thing about tools in beta, several changes have been made to Class Dojo in response to user feedback:
      • You can award the whole class or a small group an award in one step using the new Give Awards option. 
      • You can resize the avatars so that your students are all visible on one screen without scrolling up and down. 
      • You can control notification sounds and which notifications are visible 
      • You can enter student names in any order and the site will alphabetize them for you.  You can sort by either first or last name.
      Your assignment: Think outside of the box. Clearly you could use this tool as a classroom management tool, but imagine a specific use for this gamified leaderboard to be used with learners/attendees. No credit for using it in the obvious ways spelled out in today's post; although, you can build on ideas shared in the linked blogs.

      Friday, December 2, 2011

      Day 27- LinoIt!

      Today's challenge is LinoIt, a fantastic collaborative, organizational, and brainstorming tool. What I like about this tool is that it is simple, versatile and interactive. LinoIts can be embedded in blogs and websites or shared via URL. Also, LinoIt does not require a student login to participate. Finally, LinoIt can also be used on the iPad using the LinoIt App.

      The basic idea is that each LinoIt canvas you create can be populated with customizable virtual sticky notes  upon which users include written content. Additionally, users can post pictures, video and other files to the canvas.

      Here is a short video that gives a basic tour:

      If you decide that you need a deeper tour, here is a link to a series of screencasts that can step you through all of the ins and outs.

      Here are a couple of other links with ideas for using LinoIt in the classroom:

      Free Tech 4 Teachers- LinoIt
      Using LinoIt for Class Discussions
      Student Collaboration with LinoIt
      Practical LinoIt in the Classroom
      Online Gallery Walk Using LinoIt

      Today, rather than posting to the blog in the traditional sense, your task is to share how you think LinoIt could be used in your professional practice and/or classroom by adding your thoughts to the LinoIt below. NOTE: It is important that you include your name on your contribution so that we can give you credit for today's challenge:


      Here is the link to the Full Board so you can see what you are doing! Sorry!

      Thursday, December 1, 2011

      Day 26 - WordSift

      WordSift is a useful tool that allows users to easily sift through text and quickly identify key words. Simply cut and paste any text (65 K limit) into the WordSift textbox. Within seconds, WordSift will create a word cloud based on the fifty most frequent words that appear in the text. The word cloud displayed is not static. WordSift allows users to sort the words in the cloud via common to rare, rare to common, A to Z, and Z to A.

      Select any word in the cloud, and WordSift will display a visual thesaurus and provide a Google search for images and videos.

      Here's a video tutorial to get you started.

      No need to sign up or register. Just go to to get started. Your word cloud is just copy and paste clicks away.

      Your assignment: Take a tour. Experiment by creating your own word cloud. How do you think this site would impact student engagement?

      Wednesday, November 30, 2011

      Day 25 - Wordle

      Wordle is a simple word cloud generator that can turn any text into a word cloud. Word cloud generators use the words from any text and sort them from most commonly used terms to the least commonly used terms. Then the words are mixed up with the most common words appearing larger that the rest. The result is a word cloud such as the one below, which is a Wordle of the NETS for Teachers.

      Wordle of the NETS for Students:

      Here is a blog that lists other word cloud generators such as Tagxedo, ABCya, and Tagul. Take a look at the following screencast on how to make a simple wordle to use in your classroom.

      Note: Wordle uses a Java Applet to run. Wordle creator Jonathan Feinberg recommends using Mozilla or Google Chrome instead of Internet Explorer as your browser when utilizing Wordle.

      Your Assignment:
      The usefulness of word clouds are, like any tool, based on how you use them. Please share how you might use this tool in your classroom.

      Tuesday, November 29, 2011

      Day 24 - ToonDoo

      Visiting the "About us" page for today's tool, I learned that, "ToonDoo was the happy result of a brainstorming session that was aimed at creating a new way of expression for those who do not have the talent to draw." Okay, that may be a bit harsh, but in reality there are those of us who benefit from having galleries of clipart at our disposal--especially when we've been asked to create a comic strip! With ToonDoo, the user just clicks and characters, scenary, even props can be dragged into frames and brought to life with written words.Yes, it's that easy!

      ToonDoo offers two services when you go to sign up, and while one is promoted for educators, I suggest you select the FREE public individual user account. Once you have registered (there are fields requesting the standard username, password and email), you will arrive at a busy window as seen below.
      There are two options for creating a ToonDoo, which are noted on the screencast. It doesn't really matter which route you go. "Create" will open a new browser window, while using the "Toons" drop-down menu and selecting "Create Toon" will keep you working in the same window.

      You will need to select your template for the cartoon.  There are 15 options ranging from 1-4 frames in vertical or horizontal layouts. (I will note that if you intend to use comics in a book later that you will want to stick with the horizontal layout.) Depending on your selection, the next window may vary slightly, but essentially you are taken to your editing menu. Allow a minute or two for it to load this first time; subsequent visits won't take as long. The video below walks you through the basics and introduces you to the TraitR tool that allows you to create your own characters for the comic.

      A bit of cautionary advise: depending on traffic and the complexity of your creation, it may take several minutes to process your ToonDoo when it comes time to save. As long as you complete all the steps, it's okay to close the browser. Once the processing is complete, you will get an email from the ToonDude letting you know that the new toon is in your library.  Toons can be shared in multiple ways. On a most basic level, you can download your creations as a png.

      The ToonDoo site has a WordPress Blog with resources for teachers. You can access it here. There is also a wiki full of resources although you have to be selective. Another school district put together a comprehensive SlideShare of the editing tools which you can see here. Keep in mind that there are social aspects to ToonDoo as well. Commenting and sharing are possible and open a whole new realm of possible applications.

      Using this tool you can also create books. The Book Maker allows you to combine the individual comics you have created into one strip. Below is a basic example. If you notice I used the ICATS logo in one comic. I uploaded that using the ImagineR tool. Check out the book, which is where you'll find today's assignment:

      It is important to note that while the site claims to be for students of any age, their Privacy policy clearly states that it is not intended for users under 13 years old without "verified parental consent."  You may want to investigate similar free tools on your own: Pixton, Make Beliefs Comics, and Read Write Think's Comic Creator.

      Monday, November 28, 2011

      Day 23 - Xtranormal

      Watch the video below for information about Xtranormal.

      Register for an Xtranormal account.
      Click the Sign Up link located in the upper right corner of the site.
      Fill in the account information and complete the caption box as accurately as possible. Finish with selecting the button that says Create Account. Next, you will be greeted by a screen that indicates that your registration was successful. To create a video, continue by clicking the link CONTINUE TO MOVIE MAKER.

      Creating a movie is simple. Select a character and a background for your movie. Select the Story tab to open the menu to begin your character's dialog. Type the text for your movie and drag and drop icons (red bracket area) onto the text to change camera angels, create character movements, gestures, pauses, etc.

      The website allows you to preview and save your project prior to publishing your movie. Once you select publish, the website will provide you with a share link address and also an embed code.

      Your assignment for today: Create an Xtranormal account. Post two specific ways you could use Xtranormal in your classroom.

      Note* The Xtranormal site is restricted for users 13 and older.

      Wednesday, November 23, 2011

      We have a guest blogger today

      Today's tool is being introduced by a middle school student who participates in her school's student tech team. I met her last month and we chatted about what got her involved in the group.  She shared her general interest in learning new things and specifically creating music with family. I suggested she check out Ujam. A couple of  weeks later I heard how she and her brother took a spelling list and turned it into a song. Of course she was proud that her brother aced his test as a result. Naturally, we think your students will get something of value out of today's tool.

      Day 22 - Ujam

      I am honored to be able to blog as part of the 30 Day Challenge. Ujam is a phenomenal tool that is easy to use. The website allows teachers or students to make their own music and not have to worry about copyright issues. You could use the music you make to put in a presentation or to just have fun and create "study-songs". I will show you how.

      1) Once you create a profile, you will see a button that says "Go Jam". Click the button.
      2) When the "Go Jam" button is pressed this is what your screen will look like.
      If you want vocals, click "record vocals or instrument". To upload a file from your computer click, "upload audio file". To do just instruments click "rejam song template".
      3) Once you have clicked your choice and have started making your song or adding instruments, you can change the chords used for that certain tune. To learn more about how Ujam works, you can watch the video.

      Your Assignment: In what ways can see yourself or your students using Ujam?

      Tuesday, November 22, 2011

      Day 21 - Fotobabble is a tool that adds a voice tag to individual photographs. With fotobabble you can choose a picture from your photo library , your Facebook account or directly from the web using the images direct URL. Adding your voice is as easy as pressing the record button. In just a few seconds you get a narrated fotobabble to share with the world or a smaller audience if that is what you choose. Let's take a look at how it works.

      In order to create "babbles" you need to create an online account. If you have a facebook account, you can easily set fotobabble up to use your facebook login so that you do not need to remember another login. Take a look at this screencast to see how to create a babble.

      Below is the babble that was created in the tutorial. I used the embed code given to me and pasted it into the blog.

      • up to 60 second recordings
      • JPG, PNG, and GIF image support
      • mp3, flv, and wav audio format support
      • images larger than 2MB are resized by server fotobabble before upload
      • one-click share to facebook and twitter
      • iPhone app
      Coming soon...
      • slideshow feature
      • multiple voice recordings on the same picture
      • text comments
      • ratings
      • Blackberry, Android and other mobile device support
      Here are a couple of Q & A's from the site that may be helpful:

      • Q. What is that message box that pops up that says "Allow", "Deny"?
      • A. Fotobabble uses Adobe Flash to perform the recording of your voice from your microphone. Flash has a built in security feature that asks for your permission before accessing your microphone. To record your voice click "Allow".
      • Q. Can I stop that "Allow", "Deny" box from always coming up when I want to record?
      • A. You can stop this message box from coming up every time by right-clicking (or ctrl-click on Mac), selecting "Settings". On the screen that says "Allow to access your camera and microphone" check "Allow" and "Remember". Then click Close.

      Your Assignment:
      Comment on how you could use this to enhance the learning of your students. Do you see this as a presentation tool? Would it be most useful as a teacher creation tool or a student creation tool? Please give examples of possible uses.

      Monday, November 21, 2011

      Day 20- Voki

      Here is a special treat for Day 20.  Click on the play button below:

      You can create your own Voki account at

      There are lots of different Voki avatars to choose from. Each Voki can be customized in terms of appearance, background, player theme, and voice. You can record your own voice or choose from several different digitized voices that can speak in different languages and accents.

      Once you generate your Voki, you can embed it in any digital environment by copying and pasting the HTML code. Even better, there are buttons that allow you to automatically embed your Voki in many of the most popular digital worlds, including blogs, websites, and social media sites.

      Here's a tutorial to help you get started:

      I also recommend that you spend some time exploring the Learn Tab inside of

      Voki has also recently created a pay service that allows teachers to manage student Vokis online with lots of additional functionality:

      Even better, though, Voki has a free lesson plan database that you can search for ideas related to Voki in the classroom. This database is available to anyone without the pay service, so I encourage you to explore and share your ideas as well.

      Your Assignment: Create a Voki, explore the Voki resources, and report back with your ideas about how you could use Voki in your classroom or professional practice.

      Friday, November 18, 2011

      Day 19- Issuu

      Today's challenge is issuu.

      Would you like an EASY way to turn a document into a beautiful online flip style book?

      If so, issuu is the free service for you. The process is hassle-free; just select any document on your computer and upload it to issuu.

      Get started by opening an account with issuu.
      Select create account located in the upper right corner of the website. Enter all of your information. You must select the box at the bottom of the form to accept the terms of service.

      Upload a document to issuu by selecting Upload in the upper right corner. Select the blue Browse button to locate the document on your computer. Note: Document size is limited to 500 pages and 100mb per publication. Issuu supports PDF, DOC, PPT, ODT, WPD, SXW, RTF, ODP, and SXI file formats. Documents must be single-page layouts.

      Fill out the General info portion of the page and select the blue Upload file.

      Once converted, your book will appear on a shelf in My Library. To find your library, select the blue triangle icon next to your username in the upper right corner of the website. Select My Library from the drop down menu. Sharing your publication is as simple as selecting the share button and typing recipients' email addresses into the box (red arrows). Issuu provides you with an embed code if you would like to post your publication to any website, blog, or wiki and a direct link address to your publication. The direct link is located at the bottom of the share screen (blue arrow).

      Issuu would be a great application to publish class newsletters, newspapers, or student work in a stylish format.

      Your assignment: On the blog share your thoughts about how issuu can be used in your classroom.

      Happy publishing!

      Thursday, November 17, 2011

      Day 18 - Capzles

      a storytelling tool (similar to Photo Story 3 and the like) disguised as a timeline (not unlike Xtimeline and TimeToast) with a built in blog.  And if that weren't enough, Capzles' storylines have the potential to be collaborative in that viewers can comment on "Moments" in the "Capzle" or on the storyline as a whole.

      Before we proceed, let's cover some Capzles specific terminology:
      Capzles the container that holds the storyline. You can title it, tag and categorize it, add a description, fill it with content, and personalize its design.
      Moments the content in the Capzle: documents, photos, videos, blog entries or audio files that are uploaded to the Capzle. You can also add titles, descriptions, tags, date/time, privacy settings and location to each item. Moments appear as a thumbnail image on the timeline.
      Stack a collection of moments that are "stacked" by event or theme. The first item in a stack is the thumbnail image on the timeline. Each item can have specific information attached to it just as you do for moments.  By clicking on a stack in the storyline you open the set for individual viewing.  This provides potential for using Capzle as a digital portfolio for multiple projects.

      There are a number of ways you can share
      a finished Capzle with others. The most
      basic being using a link. When you are finished,
      the share icon highlights the compatible social media
      options as well as indicates that you can embed
      a storyline like the one at the top of this post
      or send an email to recipients.
      The Create tab is where the magic happens--once you open this tab you notice an intuitive menu on the left side of the screen.

      Files formats that can be uploaded into a Capzle:
      Word, Excel, PowerPoint and PDFs for documents
      JPG, GIF, PNG, BIT files for images (make sure these are oriented correctly before uploading)

      MP3 files for background music or audio
      MP4, AVI, MOV files for videos

      Note: There is a button the claims you can
      "Watch a video tutorial" but it doesn't work
      so I've included a video later in this post.

      Once you join the site you can build your profile. This is where your current projects and recent activity are listed. Here you can also store favorite Capzles and Moments, keep a list of friends and communicate with said friends.  All of this is located under the My Stuff tab. Imagine you create a Capzle as a digital textbook for a unit.  You can always go back to it and edit at anytime. The same is true if you are using the tool for a digital portfolio. When you have new content, just go to My Stuff, select My Capzles and you're ready to edit.  Flip roles, and as a teacher who has assigned his students Capzles for portfolios, you can favorite each student's Capzle so that when you go to My Stuff you can see all their work on a convenient list.

      Some standout details:
      The built in blog ranks high on my list of impressive features.
      You know we only include free tools in this challenge so that's a given, but Capzles also offers unlimited timelines

      Students could share their work on their favorite social media tools.  Does your school have a FaceBook page yet? If so, what a great opportunity for publicly displaying student work!

      There's an app for that!

      Trying to imagine what's possible with this tool?
      Kelly Tenkely, "iLearn Technology" blogger and educator, shares how she integrated Capzles into a science unit.
      Amy Oelschlager, blogger of "Confessions of a Nerdy Teacher", used Tenkely's screencast tutorial to get started with the tool and shares two of her favorite Capzles found in the site's archive. You might check out the Explore tab yourself and look at the existing categories. 

      Your assignment: Share how you could use Capzles in your work. Try to be specific as I've shared general ideas in this post.

      Wednesday, November 16, 2011

      Day 17- SlideRocket

      Today's challenge is an amazing online presentation tool called SlideRocket:

      There are a lot of reasons why we like SlideRocket. First, it is collaborative, so multiple people can work on the presentation. Second, it includes lots of interactive features that create a more engaging presentation experience. Third it is hosted online, so your presentation can be shared in all kinds of ways. Finally, SlideRocket is a powerful tool that is completely free to you and your students via Google Apps for Education.

      So, you and your students can access this free education version of the software, using your EVSC Google IDs.

      To access SlideRocket, choose the drop-down menu titled "More" on your Google Docs home page.

      Then, click on the link titled "SlideRocket." This will open the SlideRocket interface.

      Once you open SlideRocket, you will be invited to explore an interactive demo and video. I encourage you to "take the tour."

      Here are some links related to using SlideRocket in the classroom:

      Enriching Learning in Any Subject with SlideRocket
      Making a Video with SlideRocket and Jing
      SlideRocket YouTube Channel
      SlideRocket Slide Design Guide

      Also, SlideRocket has created a Player App for the iPad so you can show your amazing SlideRocket presentations directly from the iPad that you may win by participating in this challenge.

      Your assignment: Explore the SlideRocket program. Take the tour. Try creating a SlideRocket for your next bellringer or mini-lesson. Then, share your experiences. What did you like about the tool? What is missing? How does SlideRocket compare to other presentation tools you've found? If you've used SlideRocket before, share a link to a SlideRocket you've created. Most importantly, how do you imagine this might impact your professional practice?

      Tuesday, November 15, 2011

      Day 16 - Little Bird Tales

      Your Assignment: Go through the Prezi above to learn about today's tool. Little Bird Tales is just one of many digital storytelling tools. Consider the different skills you are teaching within your content.  How could you integrate a resource like Little Bird Tales?

      Additional resources for setting up a FREE teacher account are included in the following PDF.  

      Monday, November 14, 2011

      15 days down, 15 days to go.

      Congratulations to those of you who have put forth the determination to live up to the challenge and made the halfway point! With 6,000 pageviews from more than a dozen countries, we feel that this has been a very worthwhile experiment. Kudos to our blog posters who have put some amazing new tools in our hands, and many thanks to our readers who have made some great contributions as well. In imagining this project, we really felt that the posted comments about classroom application would be a powerful component for teachers who visit long after the challenge is over. 

      Today is also a landmark because the coveted prize has arrived on my desk. In a few short weeks, one of our EVSC teachers will win the iPad 2 that I hold in my hands! Because there is much at stake and because your comments are valuable to us, I want to take this opportunity to clarify what we are looking for.

      The answer is ‘practical application.’ From this point forward, new comments will be judged strictly on whether or not they provide an idea for how you might use the tool with your students. If they don’t, they don’t get you in the drawing. And notice that I said ‘might.’ We certainly don’t expect that you would put each of these tools into practice in a few weeks and report on their use. All we ask is that you think about how you might use it, and share those ideas with us. Learn on!t! s into practice in a few weeks and report on their use. All we ask is that you think about how you might use it, and share those ideas with us. Learn on!

      Day 15 - Prezi

      Congratulations and way to go! Welcome to Day 15!

      "Prezi is a cloud-based presentation software that opens up a new world between whiteboards and slides. The zoomable canvas makes it fun to explore ideas and the connections between them. The result: visually captivating presentations that lead your audience down a path of discovery."

      At there are a few quick tutorials to get you started. The Prezi people pride themselves on making the software intuitive and easy to use with simple, yet powerful tools.

      There is even a feature that will help you convert any Powerpoint or Keynote presentation into a editable Prezi.

      Click here for a Sample Prezi.

      Opt for the Free "Edu Enjoy" subscription!
      Prezi, like many other web 2.0 tools, offers its software as a free "Public" version in addition to its two tiered subscriptions ("Enjoy" and "Pro") that are paid annually. For first time users, you may subscribe directly to the Edu Enjoy subscription for free. For those of you that have already created a Public account, you can upgrade for free to the Edu Enjoy subscription! Edu Enjoy gives you 400mb of additional storage over the Public account in addition to premium support. With Edu Enjoy you can also make your Prezi's private and share them only with whom you choose.

      iPad Friendly!
      As an added bonus, Prezi also has a free "Prezi Viewer" app in the iTunes Store made for the iPad.

      Your Assignment:
      1. On create an account if you don't already have one and make a Prezi.
      2. On the Blog...share your thoughts about how Prezi can be used in the classroom.

      Optional: Share a link to your Prezi for others to see/use.

      Thursday, November 10, 2011

      Day 14 - LiveBinders

      scheme for binders
      By prallin
      When I was in the classroom, I kept binders for every unit I taught.  Bulging, tattered remnants of those resources fill cardboard boxes in my garage. Fortunately there is no need for reality TV intervention.  I've started weeding out things and eventually will free up space so we can use the exercise equipment they currently surround.  Best of all, with today's tool the need to buy 4" binders in bulk no longer exists. LiveBinders, a free web 2.0 tool, provides a way to organize your collection of resources (websites, PDFs, videos, etc.), tag what you've created, store and present on "the cloud." And the neat thing, your teaching neighbor can borrow a binder and you never have to worry about not getting it back!

      In an effort to hit as many features as possible, I decided to bullet what I've found useful the last two years as a LiveBinder user:
      • The site is full of screencasts and video tutorials to get you started on curating content.
      • You can rearrange materials easily in a logical order using tabs and subtabs.  
      • It is easy to update your existing binders.
      • You can personalize the appearance of your binders.
      • Using the Edit Menu you can insert text.  I find this really useful and you can see it at work in this binder. (You just have to accept my nerdiness when you see the binder.)
      • You can comment and rate other users' binders (on a side note, this is a practice we need to be more deliberate about in our 2.0 world).
      • Your binders can be private or public.  It's one of the decisions you make when you first create a binder, but you can always go back and change the setting.
      • You can search by public binders, by author, or by the Education category.  Use the search box on the upper right corner of the page. If you want to test out searching by author, I recommend entering "steven.anderson".  His "shelf" will come up.  I learned about QR Codes using one of his resources. 
      • After you search binders and find one you L*O*V*E, you can copy it to your bookshelf and edit it to fit your needs provided the author made it copyable (I always do).  So those of you who wanted more resources on Skype such as how to find partner classrooms, check out this binder.  Even if you decide not to copy it, you can add it to your shelf (see the bottom left hand corner of the screen for options).
      • When you are ready to share your LiveBinder, you have options.  Send a link by email, tweet it out, like it on Facebook, or present it using the Presentation button which opens a nice clean browser.  Remember those QR codes I learned about using a LiveBinder? I created some this summer for the LiveBinders I used at the eLearning conference. It was an easy, paperless way to share the resources.
      • Another option for sharing is to embed your bookshelf or a selected binder into your website or blog. The exception to this feature is WordPress blogs, but it works great with Blogger, Google Sites and Weebly.  The embedded LiveBinder below was created by the LiveBinder Team for new and returning users who want to learn how to maximize the potential of this tool.

        LiveBinders Tips and Tricks

      • LiveBinders can serve as a bookmarking tool if you add a LiveBinder It toolbar to your browser (I tried this but went back to Diigo for my primary bookmarking).  I found this most useful when I was researching for a unit that I knew I would be sharing out. 
      • You can collaborate with others on a binder, but there are some limitations to this feature.
      • The LiveBinders support team actually answers your help requests (and in a timely manner).
      • One feature that I should point out is that you can automatically fill a binder using a Google search. Personally I have not found that useful; however, I could see some teachable moments being generated.
      • One of the newest features is that users can build multiple shelves.  Imagine having a shelf where you and your colleagues can share materials, a shelf just for your students and one for their families....

      You're sure to find more ideas sifting through the Cybrary Man's cyber catalog of Educational Web Sites.  He offers a page devoted to LiveBinders.  I found what students have curated using the tool very inspiring.

      It seems I'm always recommending blogs, and today is not any different.  Tuesdays with Karen recently shared her excitement about LiveBinders by connecting it to TrapperKeepers of days gone by.

      For those of you who use Twitter, the LiveBinder ladies Tina and Barbara are very responsive. They love to learn how educators are using the tool and will promote your binder.  You can also go to to follow the conversation.

      Get Started with LiveBinders:
      1. Click the Sign Up link to get this window.

      2. Create a username and password
      3. Enter your email address (you can opt out of getting mail but they need this in case you forget your username and/or password--hey, it happens!)
      4. Check out the User Agreements and then click the Sign Up button.

      Your Assignment:
      Once you have opened an account and explored the featured binders, take a look at your classroom or office shelves, file cabinet or perhaps your digital bookmarks and envision how you could reorganize the material using a LiveBinder.  Share how you could use this tool or better yet, create a LiveBinder and share it.