School Resources Part Four: Online Presentation Programs

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Over the past couple of years students have found a variety of ways to present information to the class.  Many of their presentations were very creative and unique below is a list of some of the programs that they have used in the past and I will be link on my website for the kids this year.  Again if you know of any others or have anything to add about the sites link please drop me a line.

Presentation Programs

1. AuthorStream
2. Empressr
3. Eyespot
4. PhotoStory 3
5. Prezi
6. SlideShare
7. ThinkFree Show
8. Thumbstacks
9. Toufee
10.Zoho Show

11.280 Slides

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Interested In Augmenting Your Classrooms Reality?

AR Game

Over the past year I have begun exploring different Augmented Reality learning environments for my students.  I had the good fortune of receiving 30 GPS enabled cell phones for my class that I could experiment  with the last three months of last year.  In that time I was able to piece together some Augmented Reality games for kids to play on our football field.  The results were astounding, the level of engagement and the conversations among students were highly educational and inspired me to look into this type of learning environment more. As I surfed the web I came across games such as:

I began to wonder why could we not use this type of technology in our classrooms.  Getting the students into the real world and interact with virtual items or people to solve real world problems.  While the games I employed were simple and crude do to the time frame that I was under last year I did find that the learning and engagement of the concepts I was trying to teach increased in all students.  Also the post game discussions about the topic were much more productive since all of the students had a stake in the conversation due to the experience they just had playing the game. So this summer I have been looking at creating different types of Augmented Reality learning environments to use in my classes next year.  If you are looking to create these same types of learning environments or know someone who is please contact me.  I would like to know what you are looking at creating.

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Want Gauge Your Students Quickly? Try Urtak

Often times we as teachers are want to receive input from students to assess their learning.  There are many different ways to accomplish this task, tests, quizzes, projects and presentations to name just a few.  However, sometimes I just want to know the opinion of my students on a particular topic or just to a quick comprehension check and do not want to have to create a test or quiz to gauge the classes progress.  There are many quiz makers and assessment tools that can be found on the web but one that I found to be simple to use in many different applications was “Urtak“.  This site allows you to create quickly and easily simple yes or no questions.  It then provides you some simple code that you can cut and paste on any website.  I have found that these can be very helpful in assessing student progress and engagement.  It can also provide teachers with some simple data to make future decisions for their classes.  Since the quizzes are only yes or no questions students are not as intimidated to answer them.  These types of questions allows for a good assessment of how the students felt about a topic or lesson at that particular moment.  You can find this resource at

Click the link below to see an example poll.

Would you use this?

Here are a couple of other links to great polling and survey websites and services.

  1. PollDaddy
  2. Survey Monkey
  3. Zoomerang
  4. Survey Gizmo
  5. Survey Pro
  6. Mr. Poll
  7. Poll Code
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Reducing Frustration in Secondary Students with Technology

I have found that you can often reduce frustration in secondary students by using technology in a secondary nature. For instance, I may have the students create a PowerPoint presentation on a Native American tribe. They will research the first few days in the library looking for information. Then they will get a day or two in the computer lab to do research. When they are in the lab though, I have already found the websites for them to use and bookmarked them on their computers. Or I may have created a webpage and placed them on the webpage as a hyperlink. When they get to creating their PowerPoint presentation I have already created a template for their presentation in which they only tweak a few things and add the information that they have gathered.

Using technology in this nature does take more time for the teacher to develop but dramatically reduces the frustration level of the students. The focus also stays on the subject rather on how to use the technology. Students still get to spend time using and interact with technology and can build their knowledge over time.

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Looking for Student Input Use Wallwisher

Over the past year I have incorporated more student advice in the development of course work. One of the ways that I have done this is to ask for ideas and thoughts from students. I have used forums, blogs and wiki’s to attain information from students in the past about upcoming topics and assignments. Lately, I have found a simple and effective way to get student comments that students seem to enjoy called “Wallwisher”. Wallwisher is a simple virtual post it board where students can easily leave their idea or thought on a bulletin board for others to see and read. It is simple fast and my students seem to really enjoy this web tool. I have used this to get help from students in creating assignments and creating grading rubrics. The level and quality of students response has been very interesting. The rubrics and assignments that they help to create are often more complex and involved than the ones I had created previously. “Wallwisher” is a great tool to get this type of information from students quickly and is fun for them in the process.

Check it out at

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Why should I care? “Shmoop”!

Over the past week or so I linked Shmoop on my class site for students to use.  During that time there were a couple of things that I noticed kids really enjoyed about this site.  The first, was the link to contemporary culture and pop culture.  That link fostered connectivity with the students and helped keep them engaged.  The second, was the section found under each topic called, “Why Should I Care”.  This was very powerful for many of my students who are always wondering, “Why do we need to learn this stuff anyway?”  While I use it primarily as a resource tool for the students it has seemed to capture their attention and is now one of the first sites they go to to find information for projects and assignments.  This is definitely a resource I will continue to use.

This site contains lots of great information on U.S. History, Civics, Literature, Poetry and others. Check it out if you have not already at

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Wordle and Glogster Lesson Plan (A Real Eye Opener!)

Over the past couple of days there was a lot of concern about the web cloud site Wordle.  The buzz was that they were in legal trouble and had to close down their site.  Well, since that time it seems that they have worked out their issue and are back up and running in all of their glory.  With all of the discussion about Wordle it got me thinking about lessons I have done with word clouds and decided to post one of my lesson ideas.

At the beginning of the year teachers always want to ge to know their students.  Many of us want to start incorporating technology as soon as possible to are students as well.  Well, this lesson idea fits both bills and is a great way to begin a new semester or year.  First students write a brief biography about themselves.  Once they have written this biography they paste it into Wordle or other web cloud generator and create a word cloud.  Then they take this word cloud and put it into Edu.Glogster and create a Glog about the top five words in their biography.  Their Glog will have the word cloud centered on the Glog.  Then students will take the top five words in their word cloud and explain why they are the most important with images or text.  Once they have created the Glog we then share them in class.  This is a great way to know your students and for the students it can be an eye opening experience.  Resources for this lesson idea are below.

Word Cloud site Resources:

Link to Glogster

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