It seems as if each day brings new ed tech discoveries. Thanks to the suggestions of classmates, I've learned about Search-Cube, LiveBinders, Voki, and other applications. Others are sites I've blundered into. Several are now daily workhorses by making various areas of my life easier to manage.
- DogPile (dogpile.com) DogPile is a legacy metasearch engine that searches prominent search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, Bing, Ask, About, and others, and includes audio and video content. It's educationally useful in that it enables users to locate material using only one search rather than multiple searches and so reduce duplicate returns.
- Search-Cube (search-cube.com) Search-Cube is a visual search engine powered by Google. This free tool enables users to search for information about specific topics. The graphical interface looks like a Rubic's Cube; hovering over a tile shows a site graphic, URL, a brief description of the source, and other information. Clicking on a tile opens the page. This site is educationally valuable because it locates relatively unknown sources in addition to standard results.
- LiveBinders (livebinders.com) LiveBinders is an online 3-ring binder. A free resource, it enables users to create and share virtual binders containing videos, graphics, PDFs, and other materials. Teachers no longer need to create and house 3-ring binders full of expensive plastic paper protectors.
- WordPress (wordpress.com) Wordpress offers free web-based web and wiki pages and hosting. Thousands of free and subscription themes are available to customize appearance. This popular site has inspired several books that explain its many features. Educational uses include student wikis, teacher/class pages, and group publication.
- Comapping (comapping.com) Compaping is a real-time, web-based collaboration tool. A primary educational use is for teachers to collaborate with students, perhaps in a remedial or enrichment environment.
- Curriki (curriki.com) Curriki is a free online repository of K-12 lesson plans, instructional resources, and idea generators specifically for educators. Indexed by grade and subject, resources have been uploaded by members for sharing with other teachers.
- Diigo (diigo.com) Diigo is a free online tool enabling users to manipulate selected web pages. A social bookmarking site, members can tag pages via virtual sticky notes and "highlight" content to share with others. Educational uses include collaboration, group work, and instruction.
- VoiceThread (voicethread.com) VoiceThread is billed as a collaborative space in which users "converse" about uploaded images, docs, voice, and so on. Using this free web-based app, users can create and share collections of docs, presentations, images, videos, music, and other media. Its educational uses include group work and collaboration.
- Vuvox (vuvox.com) Vovox is a free online suite that enables users to create interactive slide shows and presentations using photos, video, music, and other digital sources. The collage feature produces panoramas with hot-spots so visitors can be hyperlinked to supplementary materials. Educational uses include presentations with RSS feeds to assure timely content.
- Blabberize (blabberize.com) Blabberize is a silly free online tool that enables users to cause parts of graphics to "move" such as was done in the old Monty Python skits. These talking pictures "speak" whatever the user records. Educational uses include recording poems or songs and having a photo "speak" or sing the information, demonstrating foreign language skills, etc.
- Voki (voki.com) Voki is a free online tool for creating customized avatars that can speak. Its text-to-speech feature, available in more than 25 languages, enables users to create interesting characters for inclusion in blogs, websites, and other electronic sources. Educational uses include creativity exercises, language practice, and attention-getters.
- Lynda (lynda.com) Lynda offers free and subscription online tutorials that teach various aspects of popular software applications in brief (2-10 minute) segments. Watching these videos enable users to quickly learn complicated programs or learn how to do a specific task.
- W3schools (w3schools.com) W3schools offers free online tutorials on popular website creation apps such as HTML5, SQL, XML, and Java. These tutorials are educationally valuable because printed or online documentation can be difficult to understand, and viewing how-to videos can make learning new programs much easier.
- BrainHoney (brainhoney.com) BrainHoney is a cloud-based LMS intended for blended course development, delivery, and planning. Three levels, one free, enable users to create curriculum, map course standards, create lesson plans, use online gradebooks, and interact with parents/students. This all-in-one interface is valuable for educators because it's free (or low-cost), flexible, and cloud-based.
- ClassMarker (classmarker.com) ClassMarker is a free web-based application enabling users to create and administer quizzes and tests. Format options include multiple choice, true/false, short answer, fill-in-the-blank, or essay. Results are instantly available to users and results are emailed to instructors. Educational uses include informal and formal quizzes and tests, practice tests, study group materials, pre-assessments, and so on.
- Wordle (wordle.com) Wordle is a free online app that creates "word clouds" based on text uploaded by users. The size of a word depends on how frequently it is used in text. Users can choose from among fonts and color palettes to customize the text art. Its educational uses are varied and can range from graphic design standards to learning how frequently one uses/overuses specific words in speeches, papers, etc.
- Jing (jing.com) Jing enables users to capture, narrate, and share whatever is seen on the host's computer screen. "Still" captures show a specific screen and can be annotated with arrows, highlights, etc. Five-minute videos can also be created. Educational uses are endless.
- Glogster (glogster.com) Glogster is a cloud-based interactive poster creator. It's a storytelling tool that bridges the gap between whiteboards and slides. Original media can be uploaded and digital sources embedded into a glog, opening with a mouse click. Educational uses are boundless.
- BookGlutton (bookglutton.com) This site offers an online social reading experience based on digital books. Users can create virtual reading groups based on digital books, "chat" by attaching comments to paragraphs, and privately share uploads with group members. It's great for readers and English teachers who can create and participate in virtual book clubs.
- StripGenerator (stripgenerator.com) StripGenerator, a Flash-based site, enables users to create original comics using a simple drag-and-drop interface. Educational uses include demonstration of foreign language acquisition skills, math process demonstrations, and so on.
- YouTube (youtube.com) YouTube is a video sharing site on which users can upload, download, and view digital media ranging from brief clips to full movies. The site isn't monitored, so some content is illegal or adult-oriented. Classroom uses abound: showing historical segments, famous people and events, classroom projects, home movies, and so on.