Visual Search Engine: instaGrok

Over the course of the the last few days my students have begun to use instaGrok as a search engine in class. This site conducts searches in a very visual way that invokes students to explore and learn. Often times I see them digging deeper into a search due to the visual nature of the the search engine. The visual nature also seems to spark  the curiosity in students to explore and look deeper into a topic. Another great thing about this search engine is the layout which provides students immediately with key facts, videos, images and other resources. Saving students time in looking for these resources next which they often need to do for many assignments. I was very happy with how engaged my students were and how they seemed to really like to use this search engine.

Check it out for yourself at: http://www.instagrok.com/

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Free Survey Creator “Obsurvey”

This past week as our semester came to a close I began looking to create a survey to see what my students are thinking about the year so far. I have always found these types of surveys to be very reveling and enlightening and because of this have made them a regular part of my classroom routine.

The issue every year is what service to use? Survey Monkey is the most well known but like many other survey creators they require a monthly fee and since I am only creating 3-4 surveys a year a monthly fee of $20.00 is just not worth it. Many of the survey sites do offer a free version but only allow a certain amount of questions or responses which will not work for me either since I have almost 200 students. So I began the search to find a survey creator that is simple to use and unlimited in it application for free.

The best thing was I found one “Obsurvey”. Obsurvey is a great survey creator. It is very simple to use and has a wide variety of questions types to ask such as multiple choice, short answer, essay and others. It provides many different ways to present your audience with the survey by providing code to embed the survey, a link or in a java application. It has many other options like pass wording your survey and a print version as well. You can also print your results in an organized easy to read PDF document. So if you are a teacher on a budget and looking to create a survey for your students at no cost check out “Obsurvey”.

Click here to take a look at their site.

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What do your students think? It might surprise you!

At the end of every year I survey my students about their thoughts on my class.  It has been a very enlightening experience. It has also been very eye opening and a humbling experience as well.  Over all however the benefits are well worth the time and effort of setting up a survey. Every year these surveys allow me to restructure or tweak my class in certain ways that really do prove to be beneficial. I really recommend that all teachers have their students complete short end of year surveys to assess their class.  While the results can be humbling at times this feed back can really be valuable to teachers to look at areas of their teaching they may need to improve to better meet the needs of their students.

This year I used a website called Jotform to create my survey and it was very simple to use and seemed to work well for my students. Watch the video below for a quick overview of their service.  They do have a free version and two paid plans. I simply bought a plan for one month and conducted my survey it was quite simple and intuitive to use. Check them out at http://www.jotform.com/

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Three New Tools I Have Found Useful

Over the course of the past week there have been three web 2.0 tools that have come in quite handy for me so I thought that I would share these.

  1. The first is Markup.   http://markup.io/ This site has come in very useful with my Interactive Whiteboard.  As they state so well on their website, “Markup lets you draw on any webpage with a variety of tools to express your thoughts, make a point or just simply edit. Yes, no downloading needed.”  This is definitely one to check out and bookmark.
  2. The second is Ding It’s Up.  http://www.dingitsup.com/ This site will let you know when sites are up or down via email, text or tweet.  Very useful when you are waiting for your district to get you website back up or to let you know when sites you use frequently are up or don for maintenance.
  3. The third is Embedithttp://embedit.in/ This site is great for embedding PDF files and other webpages into your exiting website. Helping your students navigate to required information without getting sidetracked or lost on the web. you would like students to look at with out have them go out and get lost on the web.
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Looking for a Quick Online Quiz Generator? Well Here it is!

If you have been looking for a simple quiz creator for you class website this site might fit your need.  “Quibblo” is a simple to use quiz generator that allows you to create simple polls, quizzes, and surveys.  They are easy to create and embed into your website.  This site also offers games for students to play however not all of them are educational.  This site does link other quizzes to your quiz that students will be able to see that may or may not have any educational value.  But if you are looking for a quick online experience for your class this is an easy way to create some online activities for your students.

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Protect Your Identity Online With img4me

An important part of any online endeavor is protecting your personal information.  In creating your PLN or online learning community, you may need to display some personal information in order to receive feedback from others.  The problem with posting this information is that search engine crawlers often grab this information and place it in their databases for all to access.  To prevent these search engines from storing your personal information placed on your blog or website, you can convert this information from text on your site to an image.  Img4me does just that for you.  It will convert any text into an image that you can place on your site and have peace of mind that the many different searcgh engines will not grab that information and place it in their databases.  This is a simple to use site and produces good quality images that will work well on any site.  Check it out at the address below:

http://img4me.com/

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