19 February 2010

Digital Storytelling e-Book

Digital Storytelling offers a wonderful way to engage students, improve their writing, show creativity, and have a voice.

Microsoft has a new e-book that offers both why Digital Storytelling is a wonderful curricular tool and how to incorporate Digital Storytelling. The how discusses the importance of story and collaboration and then goes onto discuss actual (Microsoft) tools to actually create a story.

Download the Microsoft Digital Storytelling e-Book

23 July 2009

Collaborative Visual Outlining (Comapping)

Mind mapping or concept mapping tools have been around for awhile and many have suggested that they can improve learning by up to 15% (over conventional note taking). Comapping is a tool that I have recently discovered and it was love at first site. This is a really easy tool for creating outlines. Rearrange nodes (items) in your outline is a simple as drag and drop. You can expand or collapse the children of a node. Part of the tool's cool factor is the ability to attach files (images, .doc, videos) to any node. You can also format nodes with traditional formatting tools (bold, italic, color) and turn a node into a link.

click to view screenshot

For a great resource for using tools like Comapping, check out the book
Visual Tools for Transforming Information into Knowledge

Visual Tools for Transforming Information Into Knowledge
by David Hyerle

Update ... I came across a post "50 Useful Mind-Mapping Tools for College Students" which shows that there are lots of choices in the Mind-Mapping/Visual Outlining space.

20 July 2009

Imagination Cubed

Imagination Cubed is a chance to explore your collaborative creativity or use sketches to further illustrate a point. I've used the site to both have fun with students in creating strange pictures and scenes and to show the steps in solving an equation during an online review session.

The sight allows you to combine text, predesigned shapes and stamps, and freestyle drawings, with multiple users (up to 3 at once) contributing to the finished project. Once you've completed your drawing, you can save the image online and send the link via email to yourself or others.

Have fun!

30 June 2009

Yack With Your Students

YackPack is "voice email" or an asynchronous conference call where all conversations are recorded for reviewing later. A demo is far better for getting to know YackPack.

YackPack has great potential for education. In fact, one of the founders has a day job as a research at Stanford who also teaches (occasionally) in the School of Education. You learn more about using YackPack in education.

This is my second look at YackPack. I was really excited back in 2007 when I learned of YackPack, but never incorporated it into my life. I think this is going change as I can already see multiple ways of using this technology. I will give you an update in six months from now.

PS - if you want to read more about YackPack check out this overview.

24 June 2009


Sometimes getting to the answer is half the fun. With jigzone.com, you have the choice of solving one of their wide variety of jigsaw puzzles or creating one with your own image. You can choose from a wide level of difficulty from 6 pieces all the way up to 247!

The puzzles can be solved on their website (click on the image below) or embedded on your own website or blog.

The images require a specific set of dimensions (400 x 300 pixels) and file size (less than 20K.

I've imagined using the idea as part of an internet quest - solve the puzzle to get a clue for the next location in the quest. Or alternatively, use the puzzle as a stand alone question: Identify the graph/equation(s) once the image is pieced together. Any other ideas?

07 June 2009

Wolfram Alpha

"All the world's knowledge made computable."

Wolfram Alpha is a project that is attempting to collect all of the data and make it available in for computations. For example, did you know there is an estimated 166758 girls alive today with the name "Ruby". The average age of those Rubys is 83 and 2979 Rubys are born each year.

We aim to collect and curate all objective data; implement every known model, method, and algorithm; and make it possible to compute whatever can be computed about anything. Our goal is to build on the achievements of science and other systematizations of knowledge to provide a single source that can be relied on by everyone for definitive answers to factual queries.

The site offers tons of examples in topics ranging from x to y. But check out their video introduction. It really gives you an idea how wonderful the site is and gets you excited for its potential.

Or, maybe you would like to give it a try right now. Just type a query into the box below. Try 456/23 or population of california or population of california vs canada

27 May 2009

Wikipedia Goes Multimedia

Yes - Wikipedia does generate a wonderful debate with regard to its use in education. But few would argue that it is a remarkable resource and at least a good starting point for research.

In this world of media-rich websites, is Wikipedia's primarily text-based content becoming "passé"? A new site - Navify - has taken Wikipedia and attached pictures, videos, and even user comments to selected articles.

BTW - Navify is in beta testing and I is offline today. It was written up in TechCrunch which might explain why it has gone offline - too many requests to handle.