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.