At ISTE 2011, I attended two sessions aimed at showing off as many web tools as possible in 60 minutes. Tammy Worcester showed her Top 20 Favorite Web Tools, giving herself an average of 3 minutes per tool. Brandon Lutz kicked it up a notch, and showed off 60 in 60. He gave us one per minute, for an hour. In the previous three posts on these sessions, I looked at the tools that I thought would be useful to math teachers or consultants. In this last post, I will look at the tools that I just thought were interesting. Some I use, or will use personally. Some might be of use to teachers of subjects other than math. I just thought these ones were cool.
Tools That Interest Me Personally
Pearltrees – This site seems like a really nice way to collect, organize, archive, and share links. I haven’t tried it yet, but I will. There’s a video on their site explaining what it does.
Puppet Pals is a free iPad or iPhone app that allows children to create, narrate, and animate videos using puppets. I installed this while at ISTE, and my 6-year-old daughter absolutely loves it. The in-app purchases are extra scenes and characters to use. I bought the director’s pass, which gave me access to them all. I could see older students using this in English or Social Studies class to create stories, and with some video editing, they could piece short ones together into a longer movie.
Game Salad is a game creator for iOS devices. No coding is required. According to Brandon, Angry Birds was created using this program. I’m going to play around with it. If I can stumble upon the next Angry Birds, I’ll be able to retire early and in grand style.
Tools That Might Be Useful to Teachers of Other Subjects.
Free Rice – This organization is a twist on the online rote practice and rewards system. Kids can create accounts, and answer practice questions. For every correct answer that a student gives, rice is donated to hungry nations. The questions seem geared more to elementary students, but I like the idea of this.
Aviary Education is a free online editor for images and audio. I tried the photo editor, and had some trouble getting it to do what I wanted, so it is a bit limited (or else I am).
I don’t use these kinds of things in my sessions or classroom, but many teachers and consultants do. To create back channel chats for classrooms and workshops, two free sites are COVERITLIVE and TodaysMeet.
I’ve tried journaling in the past, and I have never managed to continue beyond a few entries. Oh Life is made for people like me. If you want to journal, but never follow through, then this site is for you. It will send you an email asking about your day. You reply to the email, and your replies are saved for you as a journal. I have no idea who reads your emails, though, so I’d stick to professional journaling.
Storybird allows students to create, collaborate on and share stories. Students start with art, and write a story around it. I can see using this with my daughter.
Google Body – I’m not sure whether or not this is useful to biology teachers, but it sure it cool.
PHET has lots of online science simulations.
SideVibe allows teachers to support students with their webquesting by providing a sidebar companion with questions and directions superimposed on a website. It would help students remember what to look for.