Friday, May 27, 2011

Prezi as a Collaboration Tool?

When educators think of collaboration tools, many think of Google Docs, which is leading the way in the world of collaboration in education. However, recently I was made aware of how Prezi could be used as a collaboration tool. Just like a Google Presentation, two students could work on the same Prezi at the same time.

What is Prezi?

If you have never used Prezi, you may want to check it out! It's been out for quite awhile! It is a web-based program that allows you to create visually stimulating presentations. Although very similar to PowerPoint, it creates more movement and offers more freedom through zooming in and out of text, pictures, etc. The best part is that it is free!



How do you Collaborate in Prezi?

Once you have created a Prezi, you can invite others to collaborate on it.




  1. Open up your Prezi and make sure that you are in the Edit view, where you can make edits to your presentation.


  2. In the top-middle portion of your screen, select Meeting button from the Prezi toolbar.


  3. Select Invite to Edit


  4. Copy the URL and email it to the person you want to edit.


Did You Know that You Can Make Online Presentations?



Prezi also allows you to create real-time online presentations for others to watch for free. According to Prezi, you can invite up to 10 people to collaborate and watch.








  • Follow steps 1 -2 from above and select Start Online Presentation.
Prezi and UDL

Prezi is an excellent alternative to PowerPoint, which may help students who do not have access to the Microsoft Office Suite at home. Although Microsoft has a free online version (just like Google docs), this provides students with an opportunity to key into the Strategic Networks of the brain, which impact the "How" of learning. There is more freedom for students to express their understanding of particular concepts, because information is not organized in a "one-size fits all" template, much like PowerPoint offers.


Let's face it. Our students enjoy customizing information and Prezi provides students with an opportunity to present material in a flexible format.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Read Write Think's Student Interactives


Organizing information and thoughts is one of the major challenges of getting students to write. One trend has been the development of graphic organizers, a very useful way of displaying information. But this one-sized-fits all approach may not benefit all students. It is a fact that our student's brains work differently, compared to our own. Often printed copies are fixed and permanent, limited the amount of customization a student may need. For example, the visually impaired student may need the zoom feature built into the software program or browser. The gifted student may need more opportunities to add information.

When our students can interact with content and have the ability to customize the display of information, students learn better! Read Write Think, a site developed by the International Reading Association (IRA) has developed a website to provide new ways of teaching literacy.

I was particularly impressed with the Student Interactives section, which helps students organize their thoughts or learn the language. From grades K - 12, your kids will be inspired and interact with content like no other time before! Here are just a few (from the site in it's own words):

Check this site out. It's well worth the time spent browsing!

The Zen of Note Taking through Zendo

Zen.do is a web-based program that turns notes into flashcards, creating another means of representing material. It's something that teachers and students alike, have been doing for a very long time. The only difference is that technology is involved, creating an efficient way of taking notes.

Taking notes in a Microsoft Office-like format is very easy in Zen.do. As you type your notes, flashcards will appear on the right-hand side of your screen, making it simple to organize and keep track of information. It's simple file structure, makes it easy to create and save notes from different classes.

Reviewing your flashcards is very simple. Simply press play and your review is underway! Check out this introduction video below!


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

SuperLame is Far From Lame!



The month of May is usually a time when we kill our students with PowerPoints or other projects. Recently I came across a unique site called SuperLame, which is a Comic Word Balloon site that may provide an alternative or enhancement to these end-of-the-year projects!



SuperLame is far from lame! It gives you the opportunity to upload pictures and add comic-style comment balloons. It's very user friendly and is set up to easily share and save these pictures.


SuperLame provides students with the opportunity to organize and express ideas in a unique way, tapping into the brain's Strategic Networks, which focuses on the "How" of learning. Imagine it's uses!


  • You could easily add SuperLame pictures to a presentation, offering an alternative to bulleted lists!

  • It could easily be used as a brainstorming tool. Have students brainstorm ideas with a visual in the background!


  • You could use it as a visual for any project. Imagine listening to a biography speech and seeing the person's picture with a comic-style comment balloon!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Shmoop

It's test time and you are scrambling for a resource that may help you students study for that final exam or analyze their latest book report. It's the end of the year and you are scrambling for new ideas! Or maybe you are just looking for ideas for next year. Shmoop may be a resource you would want to check out.

What is Shmoop?

Shmoop is divided into 3 sections:
  • Learning Guides, which are used to reinforce what students are learning in Literature, Poetry, Pre-Algebra, Economics, Civics, Music, and even contains Biographies! After choosing a topic, you are provided with tabs containing an overview, analysis, just the facts, games, and other resources.
  • Test Prep, which contains resources for AP Testing, SAT Prep, SAT Flashcards, and boatloads of other resources!
  • Teacher Resources, which contain Assignments, Activities, Quizzes, and other valuable resources.
How Does Shmoop Relate to UDL?

After sifting through the information on Shmoop, I was very impressed with the site's ability to provide multiple means of comprehension (Principle 1 - Multiple Means of Representation). According to the National Center on UDL , "The purpose of education is not to make information accessible, but rather to teach learners how to transform accessible information into useable knowledge." Shmoop helps support students in the process of learning and comprehending information. Brain research has shown us that comprehension and connecting to concepts is an active process and not passive.

The site provides visual representatives for students to understand concepts, themes, etc. It provides interactive quizzes and games for the hands on or tactile learner. It also provides an alternative resource for students, who may struggle with a traditional textbook. Check it out!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Prelinger Archives

Prelinger Archives is an Internet Archive, of "Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form," providing "free access to researchers, historians, scholars, and the general public." The Prelinger Archives were founded in New York City in 1983 and eventually was taken over by the Library of Congress in 2002. The site has thousands of movies, audio recordings, texts which include promotional, industrial, and instructional films, wartime propaganda reels, advertisements, and home movies. All are in the public domain and offer rich historical content. The site even has a 9-11 archive of news pieces and news coverage.
In the audio recordings section contains audio from live concerts, audiobooks, and radio programs. In fact, if you are a Grateful Dead fan, you may want to check this site out.
The text section contains thousands of free books and ebooks, which can be printed for your enjoyment.
This site literally connects you with thousands of historical documents, videos, and recordings. Sometimes YouTube and Google are limited on what you can find. Why not try this site out? What a great way to enhance instruction in your classroom!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Why not use Google Scribe in the classroom?



Google has introduced Google Scribe to the world and the possibilities are endless! Simply put, Google Scribe uses the autotext feature from complete a search and has used it in a word processing document template.

As you type, Google suggests popular words or phrases, which you can simply complete by pressing Enter on your keyboard. As soon as you type a letter, it gives you suggestions on what should come next.

In the world of education, it can provide many different opportunities, especially for those students who are struggling with writing or need help with brainstorming. You can use the show multiple suggestions icon for Google to give you a list of possible words that should come next.

Text Message Feature from Edmodo


Several weeks ago, one of my graduate students brought a cool feature in Edmodo to my attention. She is a high school Math teacher and noticed that a student was receiving a text message in class. She automatically thought that the student was receiving texts from a friend, family member, etc. Instead the girl replied, "I just received a reminder that your assignment is due from Edmodo."

If you are not familiar with this web-based program, it is very much like Facebook for students and teachers. This social network is private and allows teachers to post assignments, polls, announcements, etc. Little did this teacher and I know, it also sends out text message reminders!

It's easy for your students to set up!

1. Simply click on the Settings Tab
2. In the Notifications section, click on the Notification Type drop down menu
3. Select Text Message and fill in the appropriate information