Posts filed under ‘Uncategorized’

bubbl.us

Bubbl.us is a mind-mapping program that lets you brainstorm online for free. It allows you to plan and sort ideas through the use of linked text bubbles. PC magazine identified bubbl.us as one of the top ten new or under the radar sites in 2007. Smashing magazine named it Best web.site of the month in February, 2007. It was created by Krill Edleman from Russia and Levon Amelyan from Kazachstan.

With bubbl.us you can:

  • Create colorful mind maps online
  • Share and work with friends
  • Embed your mind map in your blog or website
  • Save your mind map as an image
  • Print your mind map
  • Understands Chinese and Japanese character sets

Infrastructure and technical requirements:

  • Powered by Flash
  • Works on Opera
  • Server Media Temple – A blog entry dated May 12, 2008, stated that do to server troubles they are considering using Google AppEngine for Bubbl.us2
  • Technology
    • Flash
    • Ajax
    • Prototype
    • Script.aculo.us

Educational Uses:

  • Brainstorming
  • Create flow charts
  • Create lists
  • Idea Maps
  • Create Graphic Organizers
  • Assign and track student responsibilities and task completion
  • Ideas can be displayed online or through email

Interface:

§ Create bubbles by clicking inside a bubble and pressing ENTER or TAB, by clicking on handy buttons that appear where you need them.

§ Undo buttons let you go back in time

§ Minimum number of buttons and unneeded options to maximize work space

§ Change bubble color

§ Automatically arranges bubbles as you type

§ Bubbles can be “unpinned” and positioned manually

§ Use mousewheel to zoom and click and drag in an empty space to pan around.

Limitations and cautions:

  • At current time bubbl.us does not have the ability for real-time collaboration but it is a long term goal.
  • Another long term goal is the ability to submit sheets to site-wide search to allow people to share ideas with anybody. Currently you need to email or enter you mind map as a blog in order for it to be shared.
  • Purpose is for prompt, on-the-spot organization
  • Unable to create a bulleted list.
  • Unable to resize bubbles to make them uniform in size.
  • Mind map can become too large to be able to print it in a readable form.
  • Unable to import visuals.
  • Is not as user friendly as Kidspiration/Inspiration which also have more options, i.e. importing of visuals.

Management Considerations:

  • Blocked by BCPS
  • An account is required to save mind maps on site but you can begin to create and save your own mind maps just by going to site bubbl.us.
  • For general questions, there is a FAQ and access to a mind-map which explains the features. If an answer is not found there, you need to email your question. No phone number is provided. However, a prompt response was received to questions.

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June 30, 2008 at 5:31 pm Leave a comment

Kid-cast.com

Kidcast is a podcasting tool that is intended for kids to use; for kids, by kids. It’s purpose is to allow kids a place to post their podcasts or vodcasts. The files are submitted and reviewed by an adult before being posted. The website has a rating system that the webmasters compare to the rating system for video games. Uploads need to be in a universal format, MP3, MP4, .MOV, or M4V files. All uploaded files must be original intellectual property and must be at least one min. in length. To use the service, you must make an account. I am not sure what kind of spam you would get after signing up for this service. I think this would be difficult to manage, if each child had an account, it would be impossible to manage. Because of that, I doubt that the County would ever unblock this particular site. Although this seems like a nice site, I am not sure that it would be easily used as an instructional tool.

PS: Thanks Dorothy for your help with finding the correct site 🙂

June 22, 2008 at 11:51 pm 2 comments

CreateAGraph

  • What is it? What does it do?

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), is part of the U.S. Department of Education. It has a “Kids Zone”, filled with a variety of free games, challenges, and math activities. One of these activities is called CreateAGraph, which allows kids to create different types of graphs. It is extremely user-friendly; it includes a tutorial, but it is possible to learn what you need to know to create a graph just by experimenting with it.

  • What are the infrastructure and technical requirements for this tool?

This can be accessed using Windows; the site uses Macromedia Flash Player

  • How can you use it effectively in instruction?

This is a great opportunity to move kids away from pencil and paper graphs to computer-generated graphs. This is especially exciting for kids who have difficulty drawing a straight line, even with a ruler. It takes the emphasis away from merely creating the graph without error to focusing on the parts of the graph and understanding what it shows.

  • What are other education applications for this tool?

Students can use this during the math unit that focuses on creating and interpreting graphs. They will also be able to use it when working on their required STEM Fair project—a graph is one component of the final project.

What are the limitations and cautions related to use of this tool?

Students need a color printer to take full advantage of this website’s product.

  • What are the management considerations for this tool?

Students need to save their work via an email to themselves or by bookmarking it.

June 22, 2008 at 11:49 pm 4 comments

Diigo

What is it? What does it do?

Diigo is a free, interactive, web-based method of highlighting and taking notes. It allows you to highlight passages within an on-line text, to post “sticky notes” to a page with your own comments, and to share your findings with your “friends” on Diigo. These notes and comments are saved for you on Diigo, so whenever you access that text, your notes and highlights return.

What are the infrastructure and technical requirements for this tool?

System requirements:

Windows XP/2000 SP4+, Red Hat Linux 9.0+, Mac OS X 10.2+

How can you use it effectively in instruction?

As my intermediate students complete the research project we assign, this will be a terrific way for them to match note-taking skills with technology skills. However, it will be vital that we first discuss “copying” versus “note-taking” so that they don’t learn to rely on highlighting as their primary method of taking notes for their paper.

What are other education applications for this tool?

We complete a research report with note-taking project in class so that students are prepared for the research report required in their STEM (Science) Fair project. Every one of our students has to complete this assignment, so they will be able to apply the on-line note-taking skills at home.

What are the limitations and cautions related to use of this tool?

It takes practice to learn how to read the information and then go back to highlight what is important. Each user also needs to set up an account on Diigo, which each student will need. Finally, it takes practice learning how to use Diigo, which will also take time.

What are the management considerations for this tool?

· time to set up accounts

· time to teach students how to use the website

· time to teach students how to take notes

· instruction on the difference between taking notes that are then put into your own words and highlighting / copying words that should not be just put into your text as if they were your own words (which is necessary regardless of the form of note-taking)

June 22, 2008 at 11:49 pm 1 comment

Furl

What is it? What does it do?

Furl is a social bookmarking tool. It allows you to store and access your favorite web sites from any computer. It also associates keywords from your search with each bookmark.

What are the infrastructure and technical requirements for this tool?

You only need a web browser to use furl. It is a free tool

How can you use it effectively in instruction?

Furl can be used to share websites with students for assignments.

What are the limitations and cautions related to use of this tool?

A caution for this tool is the possibility that it will not survive as an internet business and could disappear. It is hosted on another server so it is not secure. Furl is not filtered so it is not recommended for k-12 users.

What are other education applications for this tool?

Each bookmark can be tagged with keywords. The keywords are then available to be shared with those that share their bookmarks. The result is that you can share search results using the tagged keywords as well as the bookmarks. This will help people expand research they are doing.

What are the management considerations for this tool?

Sharing bookmarks may not be the way to go at the elementary level. So many sites are blocked by BCPS, creating this at home may be worthless at school, because of the sites being blocked.

My Opinion of Furl

I have set up a Furl account. While I like the idea of it I have not had an easy time figuring out how to use and access the saved bookmarks. For example, after spending literally hours trying to figure it all out, I save sites one evening and in the morning they were gone. I found my Firefox settings needed to be changed but found out after the fact. Also the fact that so much is blocked at school, I don’t see where it really would be worthwhile to bookmark sites on my home computer and not be able to get to them at school.

June 18, 2008 at 4:02 pm 2 comments

Web Resizer

http://www.webresizer.com/

  • What is it? What does it do?

Web Resizer is an easy to use, free online image resizer that helps you optimize photos for web or email. Web Resizer was made to convert and downscale common graphic format such as JPEG, PNG, WMF, TGA and so on… to standard web graphic formats i.e. JPEG and PNG for browsing friendly size. You can resize, add borders, add text, overlay images, crop, rotate, flip and convert photos to black and white. Web Resizer allows you to resize your digital images without the need to install any software on your computer. There is no registration and no fee.

  • What are the infrastructure and technical requirements for this tool?

Web Resizer recommends Firefox instead of Internet Explorer for faster surfing and better surfing experience. They have lots of extensions and plug-ins which can make your browsing a lot more productive.

  • How can you use it effectively in instruction?

Web Resizer is a tool that can be used to add photographs to projects( i.e., Science Fair Projects, Research projects, invitations to Back-to-School night, Invitations to American Education week, etc.). It can additionally be used to add photos to journal writing activities, produce picture/word vocabulary booklets, construct learning centers using photographs, craft a collage, generate Every-Pupil-Response cards, create visuals to support lesson content, etc.

  • What are the limitations and cautions related to use of this tool?

-When trying to save an image you get a .BMP file extension option. This is a small bug in Internet Explorer. It happens when your “Temporary Internet Folder” is full. Emptying it should fix the problem.

If cropping does not work, you will need a DHTML enabled browser to make it work.

-Linking the resized image from a server to a website is not possible. As soon as the resizing is done and the image is shown to you the image gets deleted.

-Web Resizer cannot resize more than one image at a time.

  • What are other education applications for this tool?

Web Resizer is a great tool for adding photographs to teacher created websites and resizing photographs to add to emails. It can additionally be used to crop photographs for school or class newsletters. Web Resizer would also be beneficial in creating activities that identify classmates, school staff members or as a picture schedule. At Summit Park we create a “Welcome to Summit Park” display for new students. Web Resizer could aid in making this display more appealing by cropping each student’s photograph and adding border to give it flair.

  • What are the management considerations for this tool?

Because the main venue for downloading your photographs will be from a digital camera, during a class lesson it may be time consuming and hectic to quickly download the photos to the appropriate computer for student use. However, having students save their photos on a thumb drive may be helpful with time management.

June 18, 2008 at 4:02 pm 3 comments

NetVibes

NetVibes is a page much like Page Flakes, which was the last Web 2.0 tool I researched.

NetVibes is a personlized homepage. It allows users to design the page to include many different key websites or email. The website information describes it as a way for users to “assemble their favorite widgets, websites, blogs, email accounts, search engines, instant messengers, photos, videos, podcasts, and everything else they enjoy on the web – in one place!” This truly sums up everything you can do on NetVibes. Users are able to organize their information using tabs, icons, and more. You are able to pick a theme and name your page. It’s truly your space! This application seems to offer a bit more variety than PageFlakes as far as the widgets that you can add to your page. For example, I was able to click news, then technology and find many links strictly pertaining to technology. I could really pick from a vast selection of information to include on my homepage.

It offers the social network aspect much like that of myspace or facebook by allowing you to set your page to private or public, allows you to connect with friends, and subscribe to other user pages.

Obviously the user would have sign up to design their own webpage and use this page. It would certainly make a great homepage with quick and easy access to the things we look at daily.

Again, just as with page flakes I am having a difficult time considering how you could use this in professional development. I think it would be a great place to get those who are hesistant involved with using Web 2.0 tools and features. It makes more sense to me that NetVibes and Page Flakes be used for teachers personal use rather than use in the classroom.

Teachers could potentially use this to design a class homepage that students could browse but it would take some time to find which tools and applications are allowed in school. I think it’s important that students view information from the web because it is where many adult rely upon for information. I rarely pick up a news paper but always check the headlines on the internet! Using this type of homepage could also help a teacher when designing their own page that can be viewed in school if this one is not available.

Does anyone else have any suggestions of how this could be used in professional development?

June 18, 2008 at 4:02 pm Leave a comment

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