Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Batch Download Pictures for School Projects

We use digital pictures everyday in the classroom.  From teacher made instructional materials, to student projects, digital pictures are a must.  Most students and educators get their digital image fix from Google Images.  The problem with this method is copyright.  While you can take the extra step and complete an advanced Google image search  (see the last setting)  and have it only return images that are prelicenced for reuse,  few actually do this. Either way, you still can only download those images one at a time.  There has to be a better way.

What if a tool exised that let BATCH DOWNLOAD whole collections of copyright friendly images from the webs largest image repositories.  Go ahead and pinch yourself because a number of these tools exist and are fairly simple to use.

Here are two to get you started


1. Downloading from flickr using an new AdobeAir tool, Bulker is much simpler. Please see the video overview of the product below.

Google Picasa Web Albums

1.  Conduct a key word search from Google's Public web albums

*When the results return, modify them to display only Creative Commons licensed content.

2. Enter the user name and album name in the fields of the Picasa Album Downloader and download.  *Please note that usernames are not always the actual names you see by a picture.  At times the user name is actually a string of letters and numbers in the address bar when you click on a user, so be aware.

Please use your new knowledge for the powers of good.  Both of these tools allow you to restrict search results to only return Creative Commons licensed work.

I see these types of tools to used only by the teacher in preparation for digital project.   Releasing your students in to the wilds of the web to "find pictures" is not an effective use of class time.  I would personally download batches of pictures for them to pull from the day of the project.

photo credit: Malakh Kelevra via photo pin cc

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Test Prep Resources

Standardized End of Grade or End of Course prep can be a scary time of the year for teachers, parents, and students alike. I have compiled a list of online resources (with the colleague and former science teacher Anna Czekaj) that you might find useful in helping your students prepare for standardized state tests.

  • Elementary specific sites will be denoted with this icon.
  • Middle and High School specific resources will be denoted with this icon

  • General resources will have no marking.

Math - 5-15 minute long video screencasts on a WIDE variety of subjects (Math is thier big one though).  The Author has a unique way a explaining the concepts taught and the videos are accompanied by lesson specific questions.   This resource could be ideally used for targeted review. Math lessons and interactive games for all grade levels including Algebra.

Language Arts - Grammar and reading test prep resources.

Science (Science website that has interactive lessons and pictures/videos. This is the Jason Project website that has been created by National Geographic and SEA Research Foundation.) Created by the Jefferson Lab in Virginia. Is mostly for Middle School but could be used for High School Chemistry. Very good for review with Periodic Table, Science Vocabulary, and Balancing Equations.

Social Studies - Social Studies specific test prep resources from a number of states.

General The Verizon Foundation (the communications company non profit philanthrapy) has partnered with several well known content providors to supplement high quality teaching materials. While the entire site is great, you could specifically use the state standards search tool to find targeted activities for those hard to grasp standards. Practice makes perfect.   Until multiple choice tests are eliminated, it may be helpful, especially with younger students, to practice taking a test or two with a simulated bubble sheet.  While this will not auto grade your exam, it may help in building your students confidence come test day.  
 50 Study Tricks - Sometimes we need to look outside the education establishment for new ideas.  Here is a list of 50 random study tips from blogger Scott Young.  Some older students might find a few of these tricks useful.  Perhaps a classroom discussion where you use these as a base to get students thinking about study strategies. - internet4classrooms is a massive database of subject/topic specifi resources.  Some of it is awesome, some of it not so awesome.  This link is specifically for State Assessment prep. You will find resources from MANY state exams here. -Something interactive for everyone! This website includes games, tutorials, labs, projects, etc. that could be good for review.  *Much of the specific standardized testing information is geared toward the State of Tennessee.

Flashcard Sites
Dozens of flashcard sites exist on the web, some are better than others.  Below are three of the best in my option, plus a flashcard search engine to find content on the rest. Thanks to Richard Byrne for the intro to flashcardflash and  studystack. - This handy tool searches 27 seperate flashcard websites for flashcards related to a keyword.  A very handy tool for finding premade flashcard content.   Create online  flashcards or use flashcards created by others in this massive community.  Flashcards can be used in a variety of modes, so no students learning style will be left out. Use the flashcards on the computer or take them mobile using one of their free apps for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android, Windows Mobile, Nook, or Kindle Fire. Video intro to quizlet - Similar to Quizlet, you can create, share, or use flashcards made by others online, or on a variety of mobile applications.  What sets this site apart, is the variety of ways the end user can choose to study the material.  From traditional flipper type flashcards, to almost a dozen games, it definitely provides a variety to hold your student’s attention for more than a few minutes.

photo credit: COCOEN daily photos via photo pin cc

Monday, April 16, 2012

106 Digital Tools for the 21st Century Classroom


Updated 7/5/2012

Just what we need, another 101 list. This is the part where I attempt to convince you that this one is different. Friend and colleague Kyle Wood (@jkylewood and I wanted to make a different kind of list, a list not just of tools people mentioned on twitter or we saw on wikis, but a list of solid educational tools that we have personally tested in an actual educational setting!

The list was created as a component for a conference we are presenting at this summer. Below is the Google Presentation that we planned to use with the list. You are welcome to use it as you see fit. If you reuse/modify the list or presentation, please give attribution. 

 *Denotes a "best of" in each category in our opinion.

Ready to go .pdf handout for this presentation

Presentation Tools Still marred in PowerPoints?  Upload those PowerPoints to Slideshare so that they can live online. Afterwards, embed the slideshow on your website or share it via a link.
- An online PowerPoint type tool. Create slideshows with Flash animation and a snazzy Mac appearance. Once completed, presentations are also embeddable and provide you with a link to share.
- Upload existing PowerPoints and/or images; then using your webcam, narrate them. The resulting video can be linked, embedded, or shared on social media. In addition, you can create spaces in which you are able to organize videos of common theme.
- Upload existing PDF documents and narrate them by using text-speech. The finished document can be linked or embedded into a website. Currently, Helloslide only works with PDF’s but consider converting other files to PDF’s to perform its functions.
- A different take on the presentation replacing the idea of slides with an endless plane. Toss text, pictures, and even videos onto the plane. Then chart a path from one object to the next. You control the landscape. The viewer will zoom in quickly on smaller objects and spin in circles to make upside down look right side up. And you guessed it, they are embeddable and linked.

Digital Storytelling Tools
Slides Make really interesting new presentations/slideshows. Use your own images and text along with videos embedded from online sources. Uniquely, Projeqt lets you pull in live feeds from any rss, so blogs, tweets, etc... pull right in. Users can also add audio comments and other interactive components. It is like PowerPoint alive!
- All of the above requires a level of management, but not Voicethread. Voicethread turns your images into an embeddable slideshow. Once uploaded, you can easily narrate each image at the same time. Carry on a conversation over primary sources. Narrate a group presentation. Leave voice comments to critique your classmate’s presentation.
- Littlebirdtales makes slideshows while keeping students inside your school and classroom. It allows the user to create free accounts for their students. Once created, the teacher and student can create slideshows somewhat like Voicethreads. Each slide is comprised of an image, a text caption, and an audio recording.
- Photosnack is probably the easiest of the slideshows we selected. Uploads pictures from any number of resources you curate and create a slideshow with music in a few minutes. The slideshow can be embedded or linked to for free. The best part may be that Photosnack is part of a free suite of online apps including Bannersnack, Podsnack, Quizsnack and so on... each easy to use sites for their particular function.
- Make simple slideshows like a number of other sites. However, Photopeach can integrate questions over pictures; collect answers to them along with being embeddable and linked.

Paper Alternatives (Flipbooks, Posters, Comic Strips) Combine pictures and text into Flash scrapbooks. Users can change the layout of each page, insert their own pictures or add themed images, and the result is an online book...that’s linked and embeddable. If you want to order an identical physical book, you can.
My Storymaker ( - A storybook creator particularly for K-5 students that provides a small set of characters and prompts students through creating a story. Stories cannot be edited later or embedded, but are created quickly and can be printed to PDF.
- Kerpoof offers 6 applications in the vein of digital storytelling to create a movie, a card, a drawing, a picture, a story and to “spell a picture.” Each app is well-crafted and easy to use. Kerpoof also allows an account to be upgraded to a teacher account for free. Once it is that account can make students accounts without email addresses. Each account can use any application and earns points to use in the Kerpoof store to purchase additional prompts to use in the applications.
- There are a number of comic strip sites. Make Belief Comix is known for its ease of use. It provides several panels with a host of characters (in different action poses) and props. Students can create simple comics entering their text and email them to teachers. Students do need email accounts and the strips cannot be embedded.
- Think digital posters. Making a poster online adds the benefit of animation, hyperlinks and a library of images, both theirs and your own. Teachers can comment on others’ posters and you guessed it...linked and embeddable.
- Students create an online interactive flipbook using their words and the pictures from an artist’s collection.  Free teacher accounts are available that come with 30 free student logins (no email required).  *This is not just for elementary age students.  I have seen this used very successfully in a high school history class using analogies to retell historical events. 
* - This incredible site/tool allows you or your students to edit the content of ANY website and then share the changes. The educational applications are endless. No sign in required so it is quick and easy. The only drawback, no edits, so the project would need to be finished in one setting.

Video Creation If you have slept on Animoto after looking at it a year or two ago, go back. Now Animoto can use video clips AND has themes to give you a little control over the look of the video. Animoto still does all the heavy lifting by taking pictures, a tiny amount of text and turning it into a trendy video for the user. Educators can apply for a free, temporary full access account for unlimited video length and number, but free accounts get a very serviceable 30-second video. The resulting video can be embedded and linked.
- This site offers a number of services (some with a payment). The Studio works like Movie Maker, but TV will allow you to assemble a webcast of videos of your creation and watch those of others.
- Flixtime’s editor strikes a good balance between Animoto and Stupeflix. You assemble a timeline of text, photos, and music and Flixtime renders a movie with video effects automatically. Completed videos can be remixed, can have narration added, and can have transitions edited. The resulting video can be embedded and linked. 60 second movies are free and longer length and downloads can be purchased.
- A simple and free online video editor that works similar to the rest. Upload video and utilize the sites music, transitions and graphics to add pizazz. A free account only provides 1 GB of storage and 15 minutes of exports per month, but music is licensed to wevideo and the finished product can be sent to Youtube, Vimeo, or Twitter. Highly recommended for simple editing.

Collaborative Tools
* EASY! Kidblog will take an import of names from NCWise, generate users and then generate a blog for each of those peers. All student users are tied to a class blog of your creation. If you want to post questions, prompts, or assignments, students can comment to your post/article OR create their own post on their own page. No matter what, you have veto power over shady blog posts and comments and all of the recent activity shows up on the class blog.
- Blogger grants you access via your Google account. It is a longstanding, easy to use platform. While it is not the best to use with students, it has great customization, quick editing, and an easy to follow interface that is difficult to pass up.
- Edublogs uses the Wordpress platform as well, but features almost all of the robust options while maintaining an educational focus. Its free account offers an anemic 20mb in storage, but pro accounts start at less than $4 a month. With a paid account, this is the most highly functioning option for educators and incorporates student accounts, optional wikis, discussion threads, hosts of themes and widgets.

Synchronous Editing
*Google Docs ( With a Google Account (or Gmail account), you have access to a litany of productivity tools that are each the best in their genre. With one account, you receive the best online calendar, online word processing, spreadsheet, forms, a wiki, etc… The best part is that all of them are truly collaborative. Students could save documents in an online directory, share them to group members and you, type on them at the same time. All FREE and all GREAT!

Communities/ Learning Management Systems
* Edmodo mixes social networking and learning management system aspects into an awesome product. It appears much like Facebook to students and teachers, but it allows teachers to direct comments, quizzes, assignments, and attachments to specific groups of students’ timelines. Students can be added easily using a passcode without requiring an email address. Edmodo features a built-in gradebook, assignment calendar, a document library and recently added Google Docs integration. For teachers, Edmodo offers communities to participate
- Schoology operates much like Edmodo except that it leans more toward an LMS offering pages for courses and coursework. Its analytical tools are also more significant per user activity. Schoology is capable of creating quizzes, integrated into Google Docs and provides a great organization for course material.
- ePals provides many programs and projects in which students can collaborate with other classrooms around the world. It is a great site to pair your students with others based on their interests, the project in place and so forth.

Mindmapping I digital corkboard for sharing idea on digital sticky notes.  In addition to sticky notes, allows for documents, pictures, and even, video to be embedded in the digital corkboard.
- Stixy maintains the idea of sticky notes on a bulletin board, but gives the author a good deal more control over formatting, uploading documents, creating “to-do lists” stickys and so forth. The author also has a lot more control over the level of privacy for the bulletin board.
- Cacoo is another online brainstorming/mindmapping tool. It allows real-time collaboration much like Google Docs and allows sign in with your Google Docs account.
- Online brainstorming/mind mapping tool like Cacoo, but you also have the ability to add maps, pictures and documents to a mind map. Spiderscribe has a very simple interface and helpful tutorials.
- Online brainstorming/mind mapping tool like Cacoo, but it is definitely the easiest of the bunch.  Public links to your created Popplets and the ability to upload files, make it a possible tool for creating online assignments.

* A very simple online timeline creation tool.  Add any combination of text, pictures, and links.  Timelines are embeddable or can be shared with a link.  This would make an ideal student project tool.

Word Clouds - Creates word clouds from a website, entered text or bookmarked accounts. The higher the frequency the word, the larger it will be represented in the graphic. Wordle allows simple editing of colors, font, and layout.
- Tagxedo takes word clouds to another level in that it fits those words into the shape of an image. In this way the word cloud can be a very effective visual element to a unit or a discussion.

Research & Resources
Content A different search engine utilizing only sites that have been evaluated by research experts for validity and for the safety of students.
- Keyword search any number of subjects and Qwiki automatically creates an interactive, multimedia presentations on the subject.  Qwiki also automatically reads the text portion of the presentation that it pulls from  from various websites.
- An “Answer Engine” that answers search queries from its own database, rather than returning a list of web pages, like a “Search Engine.”  A great starting point for a basic research project.
- Bibme is a free citation tool that allows the user to enter the data from their source into a form and provides the correctly formatter citation for them.

Video Content - Streaming educational documentaries.  Content providers include independent filmmakers, PBS, National Geographic and more.  Content arranged by grade level, and subject.  Many videos are accompanied by questions for to promote classroom discussion.
- Youtube worked with a group of expert teachers to create playlists of videos by subject area that align with common core standards.  
- A nonprofit organization that harnesses an army of teachers that scour the web for educational videos.   Videos are then submitted for review to the site and organized by subject area.  A must see resource.  
*Khan Academy
( - A treasure trove of thousand of 10-20 minute screencast videos on a wide variety of subjects.  Ideally used as part of a flipped classroom instructional model or as review.
- Video tutorials on a wide variety of hardware, software, and web based applications.  A great tool to stay one step ahead of the students, or to learn how to use a new program of tech toy.
- Show a youtube video totally embed on a page by its self.  No worries about comments or inappropriate related videos.

Audio Raw Materials Creative Commons wants to bridge the gap in copyright law as it pertains to social media, online images, text, videos and sound. It encourages us to attach a CC icon to our documents that very specifically declares what another user is allowed to do without content. It also provides some extensive search engines that look solely for copyright-friendly, creative commons material.
- Offers royalty-free and creative commons music. Download and use entire albums or individual songs.
- Offers royalty-free music. Most of Free Play is instrumental and meant for broadcasting background music making it perfect for audio and video files in class. Browse by genre, by album, or by feeling. No tracks are known, but each tells you the tempo, feeling and genre of the song. Freeplay also allows you to download portions of tracks usually ranging from 10 seconds to the full track.
- Collects public domain music free to download and use. Many of the links on the site take you to additional sites and only to a handful of songs, so digging for tune is not very fast, but the variety of types of music are impressive.
- Search and download from a massive online database of sound effects.  All royalty free.  
- One of the largest online databases of sound effects on the web.  Registration is required to download.  If you cannot find the sound effect on this site, it probably does not exist.  All content on the site is copyright friendly.
- A search tool for ccMixer, a community site for remixing digital music.  All music on the site is copyright friendly thanks to prelicensing from the Creative Commons.

Image Raw Materials
* - Keyword searches Flickr for Creative Commons licensed photos.  If you use the embed code they provide, it will also add the appropriate attribution to your website or blog.
- A massive stock photo search engine.
- Search tool for free stock photos.  Not as comprehensive as Everystockphoto, but still a very useful tool.
- A copyright-friendly searchable image database specifically made for teachers and students.  

Editing & Publishing
Image Editing
* - Upload, Edit pictures online.   Organize, store, share photos and videos in online galleries.
- Use your Google account to login, upload, and share your digital pictures.  Partners perfectly with Google’s desktop photo editing software Picasa.

Audio Editing
*Audacity ( - Open source, cross platform audio editing software.  Paired with a desktop microphone, it can literally give your students a new voice. A must have.  
Aviary’s Myna
( )- Think Audacity in the cloud.  It uses a flash applet to record audio from the desktop microphone.  It is not as simplistic as audacity, but the ability to create, edit and export and audio recording online is priceless.
- Choose an avatar from the site.  Record or type a message to your students and Voki will return an embeddable player where it appears your message is coming from the avatar.
- Podcastmachine is a great audio hosting site for podcasts because it awards 1 GB of free storage and free monthly bandwidth. The other benefit for education is that it does not have an option to browse other podcasts and stumble across questionable channels. Audio clips or episodes are uploaded to a channel. Once your channel has a few episodes, you can also elect to embed it in a website, all for free.
- Record your voice in directly on their website.  Vocaroo will process and store the recording and return a link and/or embed code to your recording.

* (download) - An all-in-one program that provides a full-featured screen capture tool, an intuitive image editor, a color picker, a color palette, a pixel-ruler, a protractor, a crosshair and even a whiteboard.”  I personally use it to make a screen captures for handouts.  I set the screen region capture to a hotkey and it is ready to use whenever I need it.
- Upload a PowerPoint or PDF presentation and grab your webcam. records you presenting your presentation.  On one side of the screen your audience will see the presentation and on the other you.  Great for the flipped or blended classroom or student project.  
( (download) - Classic screencasting tool.  Select a screen region and jing will record your voice and everything that occurs on your screen for up to five minutes.   Jing will automatically upload and store your recording on for free.  
- Very similar to Jing, but the application is browser based (no need to download software).  While also limited to 5 minutes of recording time, the site does store your recordings at no cost.  Sign in is easy using your Google or Yahoo account, Facebook, Twitter.

Converting File Types (please abide by all copyright laws)
*Format Factory ( (download) - Software solution for converting one media format to another. Convert video, audio, and image formats to another format in seconds.
- Upload a piece of media to this website in one format and download it in another.
- Download youtube videos in number of file formats. 
Freemake Video Converter ( (download) - A simply amazing video download, reforming, editing, publishing tool. Download videos from any website (be sure you are within your Fair Use rights) and then convert it to any format you need. This tool also allows you to trim and combine multiple video files; even burn them to DVD!

Publishing Content Quickly - Upload a .pdf and turn it into and online magazine.  Pages flip like a real book.   
- Same concept as Issue.  Upload a .pdf file and Youblisher turns it into an interactive magazine.
- Create an embeddable booklet with a wide variety of digital content.   Sign in with your Google account.  The one flaw with this tool is the $20 yearly fee to upload text documents (Word, .pdf, etc), ironically most everything else is free. Instantly creates a one trick pony website to display text, pictures, or a video. You can also create a poll or even sell something with the paypal integration.  
- Instant website.  What ever to add to the wysiwig or html editor will magically transform into a web page.  A fantastic tool for create a directions page for an online assignment or displaying student work.  

Web Curation
URL Shorteners/Bundling - Give a list of urls and it will bundle them together into one neat package.  Give your students one shortened url created by and they will have seamless access to your list of websites.  A small bar across the top of the browser allows them to navigate back and forth between the sites. (Lists cannot be edited)
- All-in-one Url shortener and QR Code creator with a few extra bells and whistles.
- converts long URL’s into shorter, more easily remembered ones. With registration, it can also bundles multiple URL’s and provide a level of statistics for the clicks to your link.
 - Similar in concept to but allows you to add a narrative (directions) to the top of each page in the bundle. (Lists cannot be edited).
- A cross between and  Give Bundlenut a list of URL’s and a few narratives and it will create an editable web bundle, complete with directions for your students.
- Create digital binders out of a combination of websites, pdf files, pictures, text, powerpoints, videos and more.  All content loads within the “binder” for project fidelity.
- Login with your facebook or twitter account.  Create online newspaper from article clippings around the web.  You can also mix in your own content.  Share your collection via a link.
- Storify allows you to assemble “stories” by collecting information from the web, a simple Google search, Instagram, Youtube, Twitter and more. The idea is that you curate resources on a topic to pass along to students (like a newspaper of social media) or to develop for yourself as you research.

Social Bookmarking
* - Social bookmarking, web annotations, and PLN all rolled into one.  While offering a wide variety of services (all free), the essence of Diigo is firmly rooted in their online bookmarking roots.  Bookmark and tag websites online for seamless access.  Search other user’s bookmarks by keywords.  Collaborate with other educators in the Diggo Communities.
- Pearltrees is a new and different way to experience social bookmarking. Rather than using tags or lists of links, each bookmark is a ball hung from your tree. The result is a bubble map where each bookmark is hung on a “branch” based upon its content. While you can stop there, you might also elect to explore others pearltrees which it locates for you based on the topic of your trees. As you explore, you can elect to gather others’ bookmarks to your tree and even begin to collaborate in gathering resources about common topics.
- Create and share a page of bookmarks for your students.  Bookmarks are arranged on the page in tiles that you can borrow or create. The end result looks like an iPhone’s home screen jam packed with resources.

Poll/Quiz - Quickly create a poll, survey or quiz that can be shared or embedded.
- Create an online poll/survey where the audience text messages in the response. - A script plug-in for Google forms that allows a multiple choice quiz created in google docs to be auto graded.  A 3 minute video tutorial explaining the simple process is on the Flubaroo website.
- “Ridiculously simple polling.”  Add a one question and a few possible answers and Kwiqpoll will give you a link to your poll.  All poll results are public and viewable by those taking the poll.  

Online Storage
* - Online storage drive that synchronized files stored on your computer with the files that are stored online.  Mobile apps are available for Android and iOS.
-The perfect teacher companion for Dropbox.  Pair with your dropbox and your students can upload files directly to a folder in your Dropbox account.  They only need a password that you generate and they do not have access to any of the other files in the Dropbox account.
- Create online notebooks that work across all platforms (computer, phone, and tablet) that allow you to organize documents, pictures, and lists.  Optical character recognition allows you to keyword search not only documents, but pictures that contain text.   Notebooks can also be shared.
- Free, simple online file storage and sharing.  Go to, upload a file, and get a link to share.  That simple.  Sign up for a free account and get 2GB for free or upload instantly with 75mb limit.  

Social Media Linkedin is a massive and popular social network aimed at professionals. Your profile more closely resembles a resume to assist you and others in locating coworkers past and present in order to collaborate or find new work. Linkedin features many job-alike discussion groups, messaging and status updates as well making it operate much like a professional facebook.
- Twitter is the single most powerful tool you have to learn more about your profession. Yeah, I know. On Twitter, 500 million users post content fitting inside 140 characters. If you elect to follow other educators, authors, consultants, and curriculum experts, you will receive links to articles, ideas, methods, web tools all day long. Just check in whenever you can and read as much as you can (not all of it) and you are guaranteed to find something you can use.
- is simple networking. It allows users to make a splash pages, one-page profiles with a quick bio and links to all of your other profiles online. Think of it as a professional online billboard.
- An RSS feed aggregator. Choose from content areas, or add feeds from any website to create your own personal online magazine.   It also pulls in feeds from your Google Reader account if you have one.

Miscellaneous - Scheduling a common meeting time just got a whole lot easier.  Enter potential meeting dates and times and then share a link via email.  Participants choose times that work for them and a “best” meeting time will emerge.
- Upload any set of data in order to create interactive charts. These charts refresh as data is changed and can be embedded into a website.
- Keep track of student behavior on this site or its mobile app. Enter your students’ names and click on their avatar to award positive or negative points for specific and custom behaviors. After each class or at the end of every month, generate a comprehensive report of their overall behavior as well as the exact actions that led to that determination.
- If this, then that.  This amazing tool allows you to set triggers for your social media tools.  For example, if it is going to rain tomorrow send me an email.  If I change my Facebook profile picture, change my Twitter profile picture.  The possibilities are endless.

photo credit: Stitch via photopin cc


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...