The Battle of the Timelines “Timetoast vs. Xtimeline”

timeline

This past week I had my students use one of the following timeline creators,(Timetoast, Xtimeline) to discuss the major events leading up to the Declaration of Independence. Since both of these tools are free and simple to use I thought that they would be a great fit for my class.

Both tools required no instruction to use and my students found them easy to navigate. They do require the latest flash player and an updated web browser. As my students progressed with these tools I did notice that not having a spell checker was an issue. Since nothing was underlined red they assumed everything was spelled correctly, which was not the case. But as far as use and functionality they both seemed to work well for my students.

From a teachers perspective I found that timetoast was a bit friendlier to use. Timetoast has a text view option that allows you to see all of the content for each date so that you do not need to click on each event to read the student material. This was really helpful and saved time in the grading process.

Check both of these tools at the following addresses:

Here is a link to a previous post on “14 Ways For Students To Create Timeline

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Video Project:Free Sound Effects and Music Tracks

As the year progresses and my students begin to look for new ideas for projects they begin to see the value of not only sound effects but sound tracks. Music is a powerful element in a movie. Which leads them to begin using music in

Iconic microphone image based on the design of...

Iconic microphone image based on the design of the RCA Type 77-A microphone (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

their videos. This ends up causing some copyright issues. But finding sites and collections of audio files that are safe for school projects and without violating copyright laws can be a bit difficult. Below is a list of sites that me and my students have compiled over the years that provides students with almost all types of audio files that they would need to create most types of video projects or podcasts. All of these sites do provide free audio files however there are files that are for sale as well so students should be aware of this before they randomly start looking and downloading files.

  1. soundzabound – Royalty Free Music for SchoolsThey state the following on their website “the ONLY royalty free music library which meets all the licensing and technology requirements needed for education!” You do need to create an account. There are a great selection of sound tracks with many different genres.
  2. freeSFX.co.uk – Download Free Sound Effects List of many different mp3 sound effects from nature and man made. Worth a look for sound effects for movies.
  3. Royalty Free Sound Effects (FX) Library for Download  Great collection of sounds and simple to search
  4. Free Music Archive  Great collection of music that can be used for school projects and podcasts safely and FREE.
  5. Free Sound Clips | SoundBible.com  Another great collection of sounds and music that is royalty free and safe for podcasts and school projects.
  6. Free Stock Music for Educational Use  The name says it all great for sound tracks for movies.
  7. Free and legal music downloads – Jamendo
  8. freesound :: home page  One of the biggest collections of sound effects and music on the web. Great site to start with to find sound effects.
  9. Freeplay Music, Broadcast Production Music Library, Free and Mp3 Music Downloads, See Usage Terms. Good site for sound track music for videos.
  10. Mp3Skip.com – Free MP3 Downloads  Another good site for video music.
  11. film music | mobygratis.com  Really good music for films.
  12. Danosongs.com Free music site for videos.

Here are some past posts on Audio resources that might also be helpful.

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myHistro: A Great Teaching Timeline Tool

Tallinn, view

Tallinn, view (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the great things that I have enjoyed about blogging is communicating with people all over the world. Recently, I had a message from a reader  Valeria from Tallinn, Estonia who brought to my attention a great website called myHistro. This is a great site that combines maps, timelines, images, video and puts it all together in a presentation format. This is a great tool to teach students about a sequence of events like battles and other historical events.  Click the link below for an example of a basic myHistro presentation on the battles of the Civil War.

Click here to see a good basic example of a myHistro presentation.

This is a great tool to be used in the classroom. Check it out at www.myHistro.com and thanks again to Valeria for bringing it to my attention.

Click here to read about other great timeline tools.

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Spark Student Interest with Time Search

Spark Student Interest with Time Search

Time Search is a great resource that I came across near the end of this past school year. It is a great research tool to assist students looking for information about many different topics in a history course. The timeline approach is one students always seem to appreciate and often captivates their attention. The way that the information is displayed and linked together seemed to really interest students. I found my students often discovered topics that intrigued them and really seemed to captivate their attention. Many of the students who used this began asking me questions about a variety of history topics that we were not covering in class. This lead to a few of my students research and studying different events in history in addition to the topics covered in class. Anytime I find a resource that has this effect on students it is one I bookmark and use in future classes. If you teach history you need to have a look at this site along with their parent site History World. Check them out with the links below.

Click here to check out Time Search.

Click her to check out History World.

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Best Place to Find Technology For The Classroom

picture of an e-learning classroom

picture of an e-learning classroom (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As my regular readers know I am always looking for new technologies to try out in my classroom. But the task of finding new technologies can at times be overwhelming. The amount of apps and programs out there is daunting at best. Often times it takes hours to find something that I think will work and feel is worth giving a try in my classroom. This past weekend however, I was catching up on some of my educational blogs that I read and I came across a post by Audrey Watters who might have found a great starting point.

Audrey Watters writes a blog called “Hack Education” and she wrote about a site called “EdShelf“. This is a site that lists hundreds of educational tools to use in the classroom. The best description is the one they use on their website that describes their website as,

“… a directory of websites, mobile apps, and desktop software that are rated & reviewed by educators, for educators. We decrease the friction of using and procuring effective technology into the classroom.”

As I reviewed the site I found it to exactly that. This is a great starting point for anyone looking to add some technology to their classroom. The reviews and ideas that can be found on this site are quite valuable and will significantly reduce the amount of time teachers spend searching for new tools and ideas. I highly recommend this site to educators looking to add something new to their class.

Check it out here.

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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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Scholastic: Interactive Whiteboard Activities

Like every teacher I am always excited to find good resources. Over the past week I came across a great resource site for interactive whiteboards. This site contains many resources for Language Arts, Social Studies, Science, Math, and others. The activities and media shared on this site are high quality and cover many different areas of study within each subject area. Many of these activities would be a great supplement to any teachers curriculum.

Check out this great resource at: http://teacher.scholastic.com/whiteboards/languagearts.htm

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