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Posts tagged ‘Web 2.0’

Create an eBook from online content

The world of educational resources and materials is shifting away from print stuff towards digital stuff. One of the reasons for this shift is the ease of creating and sharing digital stuff.

ePUBS and tablets and apps like iBooks are merging into a mini-Perfect Storm event that supports and encourages the use of digital content. As social studies teachers, we need to take advantage of these sorts of tools.

And I just ran across an incredibly easy to use online tool called Readlists that lets you create an ePUB book from resources that you find on the web. Imagine being able to create a digital book that has a variety of articles, data, and multimedia.

Readlists is the latest project of the Arc90 people – the same people who created Readability.

The process is simple:

  • Go to Readlists
  • Paste URLs of articles or websites that you want to share with others
  • Give your list a description and a title
  • Send the book to the device of your choice (Kindle, iOS, Readmill, email, or download to desktop)
  • If desired, you can share your ePUb via social media like Twitter and Facebook or on websites.

You can also create an editable list that allows other users to add additional content to the list.

My example? An eBook of social studies and Common Core resources via an ePUB format or website. You could use Readlists to create course packets, collections of primary source documents, and reading assignments.

The beauty of all of this, of course, is that you can create content for your kids to use that becomes mobile – anywhere and anytime. Kids can access this on eReaders, cell phone browsers, or iBooks. But it’s not just you pushing content out to kids. It could be kids pushing content back to you as part their assignments, research, and projects.

Very cool stuff indeed!

Five great sites for finding web 2.0 tools

We all can sometimes get in a rut. Ruts can make us feel comfortable. We use the same book, the same video, the same lesson plan, the same activities, the same tools. I’m no different. I read the same sites, browse the same authors, use the same online tools. I’m a big fan of Flipboard and Zite. I spend time scanning the same RSS feeds every day.

And there’s not anything wrong with that . . . unless there is something better out there. It’s easy to get fat and happy with the way things are. And that’s not a good thing.

So today? Five great sites that you can use to spice up your technology tool library.

EdShelf
This one is new to me and I already love it. Created by a small group of educator/techie people, edshelf is designed to be an easy to use, easy to search directory of websites, mobile apps, and desktop software “rated and reviewed by educators, for educators.” It has a huge database of stuff that you can browse through or filter down by grade level, subject, platform, category, and price.

You can also save your favorite tools and create a “colleague” list of like-minded people to help you search and save more effectively. Plus the site looks good and is easy to use, so . . . what’s not to like?

EdSurge
EdSurge is a community resource for all things in edtech. Their goal is to help educators make informed decisions, and help developers make products that matter.

EdSurge is a user community and information resource for the emerging education technology ecosystem. Our goal is to help accelerate the adoption of innovation in education.

Sounds a bit pretentious but it’s really not. The basic idea is that you and others share ideas, resources, suggestions, new sites, new tools and together, everyone gets smarter and edtech products get better. You can also research and handy articles on EdSurge. If you’re looking for specific tools, click Products. You can filter your results in much the same way as edshelf. But your choices also include topics and organizations – all cross-referenced with one another. Pretty slick.

ClassroomWindow
A relatively new site, ClassroomWindow “is on a mission to make teachers the new power brokers in K-12 education.” 

Built by a group of friends passionate about education, ClassroomWindow wants to help teachers make sense of the “chaotic” world of education technology, textbooks, and tools. It claims to be the first education directory of its kind and features trusted reviews by and for teachers around the globe.

In some ways, ClassroomWindow is a lot like Yelp or TripAdvisor. All sorts of people can add resources, web sites, web 2.0 tools, mobile apps and then review them. A nice way to find and evaluate a huge variety of edtech stuff. You can search by keyword or browse through small categories such as American History or large categories like Web Tools. Lots of ways to filter results.

And it’s teacher driven. I like that.

101 Web 2.0 Teaching Tools Every Teacher Should Know About
This is a much simpler site the first three. It’s a slideshow.

Yup. Just a slideshow. But it’s a good slideshow. And because it’s just a slideshow, you can quickly scan through the slides and find exactly what you’re looking for. No filters. No colleagues. No ratings. It’s just a slideshow.

Go2Web20
The Go2Web20 directory has been around forever. And it’s been around forever because it lists hundreds of handy online tools while making it easy to find tools that you can actually use.

You can find quick descriptions, screenshots, and similar links.

So get out of your rut. Go find something new.

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1500 websites, apps, and web 2.0 tools just for teachers

Yes. It is a bit of overkill. Seriously. Who would ever need 1500 websites, apps, and web 2.0 tools? Or have time, for that matter.

But our SOE guy said numbers in blog titles increase site traffic so today . . . you get 1500 websites, apps, and web 2.0 tools. 1500. My site traffic will be through the roof today.

If nothing else, the lists below are testimony to the fact that there is always something out there, that we can always be learning more about how we can do our jobs better. But take this post in chunks. Bite off a little bit at a time. Come back to it next week. Share it with friends. Find a helpful tool once a week for . . . well, 1500 weeks. Enjoy!

1000 Education Apps Organized by Subject and Price
We’ll start with the biggie. You’ll find just a taste here with a link to a huge Google Doc. Huge.

The 100 Best Web 2.0 Classroom Tools Chosen by You
Narrowed down from 900 teacher submissions, these are the best tools used by actual teachers.

The 200 Best Special Ed Apps
Eric Sailers has been working on this list since before the iPad came out. I’m talking the iPad 1. So you know it’s got some stuff.

The 100 Top Tools of 2011
What is a “learning tool”? Any tool you use to create or deliver learning content/solutions for others or that you use for your own personal learning.

Top 100 Sites of 2011
Tech & Learning’s version of the best sites.

Psst . . . it’s not really 1500.

You’re gonna find a lot of overlap between the different lists. But trust me, you’ll still need to set aside some time here. And don’t be afraid to share your own favorites in the comments.

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Tip of the Week – Six Great Ways to Publish Student Work

We know that the world is moving online and that to prepare our kids for that world, we need to train them to use that world’s tools.

We know that publishing student work beyond the classroom encourages authentically engaged kids who create high-quality work.

We know that integration of writing and visuals increases cognitive activity.

Yeah. So?

So we need to be publishing more student work online. But where and how?

Publishing student projects online in visually stimulating formats is now easier than ever. There are tons of tools available that you and your kids can use to get stuff out there.

The following web 2.0 tools are some of my favorites for showcasing student projects. The list includes two different kinds of sites. The first type requires that kids create work using a desktop tool such as Word, Keynote or Pages and then the site converts that work into online content. The second lets kids doing the actual creating online.

Here ya go:

Flipsnack
A free site with Premium features, Flipsnack will quickly convert uploaded PDF documents into a cool virtual magazine with flipping pages and it’s easy enough for even adults to figure out. You can view and share the online version in a variety of ways including Facebook, Twitter and html embed codes.

Issuu
Issuu is another tool that kids can use to upload almost any document format and create a virtual flipping book. Like Flipsnack, you can share or embed whatever you upload.

Mixbook
Mixbook features some sophisticated editing tools perfect for middle or high school students. The site has handy templates and images to ensure a professional-looking book. Mixbook also offers accounts designed just for teachers.

Tikatok
I like Tikatok because it’s focused specifically at younger kids and that it’s designed for easy, online  story creation. Students can start with prompts or a completely blank book. Text, images and imagination are added and they end up with a digital book that can be viewed online or ordered in a traditional hard copy.

Epubbud
This site has it all. You can upload a document and convert it into an e-book or create the book right on the site. What makes this site different is that the final product is in ePUB file format. ePUBs are the universal ebook format that can be read by the Apple iOS iBooks app and other kinds of ebook readers.

Lulu
Combine Epubbud and Mixbook and you get Lulu. You can upload student work and convert to ePUB format like Epubbud or use the online book tools that are very similar to Mixbook. Kids just have to add images and text to tell their story.

Need a couple of bonus sites?

Miss Literati
This site is not really a place to publish work in the traditional sense. It’s a social network of student authors. Create and post your story, poem or non-fiction and let others read, rate and critique your work.

How to Self-Publish an E-Book
David Carnoy from CNET gives some great advice about writing and formatting digital books and provides more resources for how to get your work on Amazon and iBooks.

Have fun!

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100 top sites for teachers

I’m still recovering from the 2011 turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, deviled eggs, green bean casserole, pie and football four-day spectacular. Woozy. Just a little woozy.

So . . . while I recover, head over to Technology Tidbits for an awesome list of online tools and sites compiled by David Kapuler. One hundred sweet goodies just for teachers.

I can’t promise anything but check back tomorrow. Should be back to normal.

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URList makes sharing links a snap

Sometimes you just want to share a quick list of links. Maybe with your kids. Maybe with your parents. Maybe with other teachers. You don’t have time to send the list to your tech person to upload. You don’t want to edit your own site. You just want people to have access to a list of great sites and you want to make it happen now.

URList is designed to do that.

URList is not a site like Delicious or Diigo that bookmarks the sites you find. Instead, use URList to quickly and easily create lists of sites that you want to share with others. Each of your lists has a specific URL, making it great for sharing.

Use it with younger students who often have trouble typing long web addresses.Use it with parents to update them on student work or school/district sites or reading lists. Use it with older kids to let them know what they need to review as outside reading or for a list of primary sources documents.

To get an idea of how this works, view a sample URList highlighting Civil War Lesson Plan sites.

I like the fact that you can create lists with or without an account. But once you have your account set up and are logged in, you have access to the Dashboard. The Dashboard allows you to view old lists, use the handy bookmarklet tool and create shared lists.

This is the piece of URList that I think is really interesting – allowing others to add to your lists. This ability makes URList into a very useful tool for teams. Students could use it to create a collaborative live list of links for reference, research and discussion. Use it with other social studies teachers to create a shared list of helpful sites such as primary sources or history sites. You can add to and edit lists over time.

It’s free, fast and practical. What’s not to like?