Tag: web2.0 (page 1 of 3)

Social Bookmarks: 5 Tools to Try

I once had these unnamed, quite brilliant colleagues (They’ll probably nail me for talking about them behind their backs. ūüėģ ) who were and are wonderful friends, phenomenal educators and true technology innovators. They provided me with countless ideas and resources. However, they usually insisted on sharing by sending me an email. While I did appreciate the sharing, I spent literally years advocating for them to ¬†jump on board with the idea of sharing with one another via online, social bookmarking tools. “You see,” I would explain, “I get SO many emails, and I have to then open each one, click on the link inside, then add it to my bookmarks. I have to repeat the process at home to put it on my home computer. It’s just exhausting!” (Okay, I’ve always been a bit of a hyperbole fan.) I offered that simply adding it to a bookmark list in a Diigo group would be much more efficient, accessible, organized, etc. They could click a simple button added to their browser, add a little description, some tags, then share them with everyone that was a part of their group. We would all learn of these great, shared resources in one tidy, weekly email. Ahhh….a dream come true!

Alas, my efforts at persuasion met with very limited success, for unknown reasons. The emails kept coming (replaced occasionally by a tweet). A normal person would have felt beaten. Not I, however. If, by continuing to share the virtues of online bookmarks, I can save just ONE inbox, my efforts will be worth the high costs. To that end, here are 5 email server sparing online bookmark tools you might think about using:

  • Diigo for Chrome

    Diigo’s Chrome extension

    Diigo –Diigo is a very useful tool that has been around for several years. Users can bookmark sites using a simple browser plugin, which also allows bookmarks to be categorized by tags (also the best way to search through collections), added to lists, annotated with virtual sticky notes, or shared with groups. The groups feature is a great way to discover new resources or share with a specific audience. Members can opt to receive notifications of shared resources daily, weekly, etc.

  • Adding collaborators in Pinterest.

    Adding collaborators in Pinterest.

    Pinterest –A huge hit among casual users, Pinterest also has a loyal following amont educators. Users can use bookmarklets or browser extensions to quickly add Pins to specific boards, where they are shared in Pinterest’s appealing, visual style. Don’t forget that Pinterest can be very collaborative, too. Just visit the user dashboard, click on the Edit button at the bottom of any board, then add contributors using their email addresses.

  • Symbaloo webmix

    Symbaloo webmix

    SymbalooEDU –Symbaloo EDU is another tool that has grown a huge following in education circles, in particular. Users create very slick, graphical “webmixes”, collections of bookmarked sites. One shortcoming is that webmixes can be shared, but are not truly collaborative just yet. Still, its attractive style, user-friendly results, and ample pre-existing collections make it worth a look.

  • A flipped classroom pearltree.

    A flipped classroom pearltree.

    Pearltrees –Pearltrees is a tool unlike any of the others. It is very visual in nature, and folks who like graphic organizers are likely to love Pearltrees. Bookmarks, called “pearls”, are added via browser extension and organized into “trees”, which are clusters of pearls. Pearltree users can share trees and pearls, follow others’ collections, and collaboratively build collections. Probably not for everyone, but for those who like its style, Pearltrees is a powerful resource.

  • A ScoopIt collection.

    A ScoopIt collection.

    ScoopIt –ScoopIt takes yet another approach to saving bookmarks, assembling groups of them into pages resembling online newspapers or magazines. A browser bookmarklet can expedite the adding of resources to topic lists. Users choose the destination lists and add descriptions. Users can follow one another and “suggest” new resources to be added, a list of which can be browsed (“curated”, in ScoopIt lingo), evaluated, and either added or rejected. ScoopIt will also make recommendations from the web based on user-defined terms. A drawback is the inability to filter items on a specific collection, but I keep coming back to the tool after several years.

Certainly, there are countless other bookmarking tools being used by educators to collaboratively cultivate classroom collections. What are others that should be in any such list? How are you using them with your students or teams?

Presentation Notes: What’s New in Web 2.0?

At the risk of having the entire group focus on their food and ignore me (ahem) the following are some useful resources I’ll be sharing with Highland Park ISD teachers during lunch on Thursday.

  • Learni.st¬†–create & share online “boards” around any topic or area of expertise.¬†
  • Gooru¬†–powerful new search tool for education that returns results that can be filtered by type (e.g. notes, handouts, quizzes, interactives, etc.). Can also create collections, virtual playlists for students to use.
  • Aurasma¬†—partly a Web 2.0 tool, Aurasma’s key component is an app that uses a phone’s camera to access images, videos, etc. that have been linked to an image of a particular object.
  • Tynker¬†–online tool that lets students learn the basics of programming and lets teachers manage students, create programming assignments, assess, etc.
  • Videonot.es¬†–watch videos and take notes as you go. Notes are saved to Google Drive account.
  • Checkthis¬†–great, free tool for quickly creating sharp-looking websites, including text and many types of embeddable tools (maps, videos, web apps, etc.).
  • TubeChop¬†–very practical tool that allows users to select and share specific snippets of YouTube videos.
  • Knovio¬†–share your PowerPoint presentations online PLUS add video clips of yourself providing narration.
  • Comicmaster¬†—really cool tool for creating graphic novels online using click-and-drag interface. Products can be saved and printed.
  • Marqueed¬†–collaboratively share and discuss images, website screen captures, more. Includes a useful history tool to keep track of conversations and works nicely with Google Drive.
  • Thinglink¬†–create and share interactive images, maps, etc. Add an image, add a trigger, and link it to content (video, podcast, website, Wikipedia, etc.).
  • GroupMap¬†–create and share very collaborative mindmaps. Simple interface, let’s users have easy control over privacy.
  • Infogr.am¬†–free, collaborative tool for creating infographics. Uses handy click-and-drag format and includes numerous templates and graphics to get you started.
  • Easel.ly¬†–another tool for creating infographics online, Easel.ly also has an easy interface, great graphics, and ability to create collaboratively.
  • Phrase.it¬†–simple tool lets users add speech bubbles to upload images and save or share in a variety of ways.
  • BiblioNasium¬†–create a safe social network for students that is centered on reading. Teacher can create recommended book lists and monitor student progress, students can engage in book discussions, parents can monitor children, much, much more.
  • Portfoliogen¬†–create sharp, professional-looking online portfolios.
  • DoSketch¬†–very simple, free drawing tool. Unlike many similar sites, drawings can be downloaded and saved!
  • GeoGuessr/GeoSettr¬†–fun and engaging geography guessing game using Google Street View. GeoSettr lets users create and share their own games.
  • Remind101¬†–create text-message class contact lists without ever seeing student numbers.
  • Presenter¬†–online presentation tool still in beta. Good tool selection and interface, but has been a little buggy (That’s why it’s in beta.). Still, it has a lot of potential, the development team is very responsive to questions or suggestions, AND it creates presentations that are mobile-device friendly!

2-Minute Tech Challenge #4: Slideshare.net

After an inexcusably long delay, I am back with another, fresh 2-Minute Tech Challenge. Before I am called out publicly, I openly acknowledge that this “2-Minute Tech Challenge” is, in fact, 2:43 seconds. I apologize for the false advertising. I do hope it is worth the extra investment, though. This Challenge focuses on an “old” tool that I’ve been using for several years: Slideshare.net. Slideshare is a great tool for hosting and sharing your PowerPoints. It makes them available to kids, parents, anyone in the world 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can share links to your individual shows or profile page, shows can be embedded in places like your existing class page, discussions can be held through the comments feature, and more. Watch the Challenge, then post your response in the comments below to get your credit. Enjoy!

2-Minute Tech Challenge #1: ifaketext.com

The select few who have read this blog for a few years now might remember the old, 12-Second Tech Challenges from my previous life. These were (EXTREMELY) short video intros to some tech resources, followed by a challenge to find a way to integrate it into the curriculum. Well, 12seconds.tv doesn’t exist anymore, which is good and bad news, probably. On the negative side, 12seconds was a really cool site and community. On the positive side, I won’t be limited to just 12 seconds (No, that is not the negative side..ahem!). Still, in order to respect the time of the reader, I’ve vowed to myself to keep each video under 2 minutes.

Here is how this 2-Minute Tech Challenge thing works.

  1. Watch the video
  2. Use the resource.
  3. Share your result as a comment.
  4. Seguin faculty who participate will be entered to win some cool stuff! 1 entry per challenge + 1 bonus entry if you or your kids use the resource in the curriculum–be sure to specify.

That’s it. Sometime in the spring, I’ll tally up all of the entries and give away some useful, technology-related prizes. Just remember, it only takes a few minutes, but you have to do a little work to win. This first one will get you off to a VERY easy start!

Now, create your own. Think of how this might be used as a conversation between historical or literary characters, scientific things such as atoms, cells, etc. When finished, share the link to your fake text conversation by posting a comment to this blog post. That’s it! I look forward to seeing your creative responses!


The Classroom Tech Food Chain

This is a Prezi I created for a presentation on classroom technology use and levels of rigor. It incorporates ideas from Dr. Bernajean Porter’s Technology and Learning Spectrum and the revised Bloom’s Taxonomy, and I’ve listed technology resources that could be used at the various levels. It is vital to understand that the key component is not the technology tool being used, but the manner in which it is applied. Many of the tools listed could be used at multiple levels of complexity, depending upon their application in instruction.


TidbITS Newsletter: Web 2.0 News

TCEA 2011 Presentation Notes

Links from my workshop at TCEA: Unleashing Creativity: Web 2.0 Tools for Creativity and Innovation

Group Discussion: http://todaysmeet.com/randy


  • Okay Go music video utilizes a Rube Goldberg machine in an incredible way!
  • Eric Whitacre creates an amazing music video through online collaboration.
  • PS22 shows one of their beautiful demonstrations of the power of music in education.


  • Wallwisher –set up a wall for brainstorming, collaborating online.
  • Twiddla –create free, collaborative whiteboard spaces online.
  • Solvr –easy site lets users post a problem, then participants propose solutions.
  • Mindmeister –easy collaborative brainstorming, graphic organizer tool.
  • Thinklinkr –create/share collaborative outlines.
  • Mindomo –online mind-mapping/brainstorming.
  • Diagrammr –create simple diagrams for ideas by just writing sentences.
  • CoSketch –collaborate through drawing; includes ability to incorporate Google Maps.
  • DecideAlready –share a question/problem, propose a solution, and let participants vote on best ideas.
  • Bubbl.us –collaborative mind map creation tool; easy, Flash-based interface.
  • Creately –create collaborative diagrams, mind maps, flow charts, etc. with drag-and-drop interface; free version allows up to 3 collaborators and 5 diagrams.

Visual Arts

  • ArtPad –easy-to-use tool for creating art online.
  • Scribbler –turns simple online sketches into cool works of sketch art.
  • Pixlr –great online photo editing tool, similar to Photoshop.
  • Citrify –another Pixlr-like photo editor.
  • BuildaMosaic –create photo mosaics using images from your computer or Facebook account.
  • Photoshop –online, scaled-down version of Adobe’s powerful image editing tool.
  • Queeky –create online paintings, then play back as video.
  • Picassohead –create Picasso-style portraits online.
  • Mugtug –really nice, easy-to-use online drawing/painting tool.
  • GoAnimate4Schools –education version of a wonderful animation creation tool.
  • Aviary Phoenix –photo editing site with some really nice, innovative tools. (One attendee mentioned this is part of Google Apps for education, as well!)
  • Splashup –another good, free Photoshop-style photo editor.
  • Fashionplaytes –site lets girls design and even order their own clothing.
  • Garmz –users can contribute their own fashion designs, which, if liked by viewers, will be produced, sold, and profits shared with the creators.
  • YourStudio –nice online drawing/painting tool with a variety of brushes, textures, etc.
  • Pixenate –easy to use web-based photo editor; images can be saved or uploaded directly to Flickr.
  • Myoats –Unique online drawing tool with a variety of features, including a mirroring effect that produces wonderful geometric designs.


  • Soundation –create and share music with a click-and-drag interface.
  • Noteflight –write music, hear it played, and share it online.
  • JamStudio –create and share music online using a variety of instruments. (One attendee shared that they were, at one time, offering free education accounts–haven’t verified, but worth checking out!)
  • Kisstunes –online piano keyboard lets users create/share music; site is undergoing re-design, but worth keeping an eye on.
  • Buttonbeats –online keyboard plus quite a few other music creation tools. Site is cluttered, but worth a look.
  • Aviary Music Creator –create, share, and download music using click-and-drag interface.
  • LoopLabs –online tool lets users mix music using a variety of tracks/effects.
  • MusicFont –interesting site turns text into music.
  • Ujam ¬†–social music creation and sharing site; includes song templates that can be modified into new compositions.


  • Floorplanner –create 2D and 3D floor plans online. Free version gives 1 design per account.
  • Classroom Architect –design the ultimate classroom with a click-and-drag interface.
  • Golem Game –lets users create animated physics simulations and designs.
  • Google Sketchup –Google’s free 3D design tool (download); be sure to contact TCEA for free pro account code!
  • Architect Studio 3D –site lets users design a house online; great twist is that it requires them to take into account the needs/preferences of the future resident.
  • Homestyler –really easy tool for designing floor plans using a click-and-drag interface with lots of options.

Invention/Innovation Contests

Additional Sites Recommended by Attendees

  • Picnik –really nice photo editor with some great effects; integrated into Flickr, too.
  • Xtranormal –one of my favorite animation tools. Attendee shared that teachers can email the site for free user points–cool!
  • Phixr –simple photo editing tool with plenty of options for most users without being overwhelming.
  • PhotoFunia –choose from a variety of special effects to add to photos.

Edit note: I apologize for broken/incorrect links. They should be fixed now.

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