EdTech Practices for 2012 – Tools for Unique Learning Products

25 Sep

In order to kick off your use of technology in the classroom this year, consider incorporating one of these educational best practices into your classroom!

This series of posts expands upon the list of resources collected for Mr. Chase’s AIMS presentation: “Easy Innovations: Web Tech Tools in the Classroom” from last year:

Previous Post:

  1. EdTech Practices for 2012 – Tools for the Process of Learning
'the view from the upstairs room' photo (c) 2010, waferboard - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Tools to create unique learning Products

These online resources are ideal for students and teachers to create unique digital products.

Presentation Tools:

  • Online presentation tools– Break out of the PowerPoint mold and consider using alternative presentation tools in the classroom. Either implement them yourself as part of your instruction, or have students create presentations online.
    • Prezi – This unique presentation tool allows you to zoom in and out around a large canvas, creating meaning through spatial relation.
    • Projeqt (new) – This presentation tool pulls from various social media streams to create unique presentations with strong visual impact.
    • ThingLink (new) – Create rich images with music, video, sound, text and more. Share and discover deeper stories through images updated with your content and metadata.
  • Online PPT Hosting– Share your PowerPoints online to gain a wider audience and encourage collaboration. Instead of forcing users to download files, online services allow you to upload PowerPoint files and add other features.
    • Present.me – With this service you can upload your PowerPoint and then record a video presentation to accompany the slides. The service offers a new educational pricing plan.
    • Slideshare – After uploading PowerPoints onto Slideshare, you can embed them on your Learning Management Systems, just like you would with a Youtube video.
  • Website Tours– More than just a collection of links, create a guided tour of web content to provide greater contexts for your students.
    • Jog the Web – Create a virtual tour of websites, walking users from one site to another with your notes.
    • Sqworl – Collect, annotate and organize your online resources in this clean, visual bookmarking site.
    • Weblist (new) – A simple repository of visual based links and resources.


  • Online Documents – Have students write online to easily work on assignments; no more worries about lost USB drives or problems emailing documents.  Also, with online documents, students can easily collaborate on the same project, or contribute to a large classroom assignment.
    • Titan Pad – This web-based word processor that allows for simultaneous collaboration including a section devoted to instant messaging with other users.
    • Quietwrite – Use this simple online writer for easily capturing text with minimal distractions through a browser.
    • Entri – Entri is a collaborative tool that lets you share articles before you post them on your blog. Invite others to collaborate, or just keep everything to yourself.
  • Making Websites – Let your students share their learning with a wider, authentic audience outside of school by creating a website. Many of these sites now let you easily create a website without extensive coding experience.
    • Jux.com (new) – Easily create websites, online slideshows, video, streetviews, all linked from a central account. These sites create a high impact emphasizing images and multimedia in pre-formatted templates.
    • Simplebooklet (new) – Use this website to create “slider”-based websites with a unique visual look. The program comes with a free account option, as well as other pricing options.
  • Blogs – Blogs are ideal for continually updating content for your audience, meaning they are great for keeping your students up to date with important dates and assignments.
    • Kidblog (new) – Kidblog is designed for K-12 teachers who want to provide each student with an individual blog. Students publish posts and participate in academic discussions within a secure classroom blogging community.
    • Edublogs – This community contains blogs written by educators. Create your own edublog for use in the classroom, or just search for interesting blogs to follow.
    • Instablogg – Create instant, one post only blogs without an account for quick projects.
  • Wikis – Wikis allow you to create websites and then invite students to add content to the pages. Wikis can have various levels of control, but the idea is that students can collaborate together on one document, available on the web for a wider, authentic audience.
    • Wikispaces – Create a wiki for your students to allow them to collaborate on research assignments.
    • Hackpad (new) – This service lets you easily create a wiki that looks virtually like a collaborative document.
  • Digital Publishing Services (new)– If you want your students to create unique digital text-based products, consider having them publish online with these resources.
    • Lulu (new) – Use this service to have your students create their own print and ebooks
    • Flipsnack (new) – Create an online “Flipbook” from a PDF.

Multimedia Presentation Tools and Resources:

  • Podcasting/Audio– Have students create podcasts or audio projects in order to easily work with audio. Audio projects are great for auditory learners.
    • Voicethread – Create an account to use this great collaborative tool that lets students upload pictures and PowerPoint slides, personal commentary to each slide, and invite others to comment through voice, text, or video chat.
    • Audioboo – This tool and mobile app allows you to record and share audio with an authentic audience online.
  • Image Editing(new) – Let your students express their creativity with these photo and image editing services.
    • GIMP (new) – This free downloadable software is ideal for “such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring.”
    • Be Funky (new) – Use this online editor to edit, add effects, frames and text to images.
    • Aviary (new) – This editing program lets you edit online, or through various downloadable apps.
  • Video and Animation– Students can create video or animation projects as unique final products. Video projects require students manage their time well, and be creative.
    • Goanimate – Create animation from animated templates, uploading your own voice or soundtrack.
    • Vialogues (new)- Private video-sharing service for discussions
    • My Storymaker from Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (new) – This interactive format allows younger students to create their own stories using animated characters and objects.
    • Zimmer Twins (new) – Create an animated movie using Saturday-Morning Cartoon-style animated templates.
  • Screen Capture (and sharing)– Screen sharing services are ideal for emphasizing key concepts and using specific technology applications. With these incredibly easy-to-use screen casting tools, you can record and upload video in minutes.
    • Screenflow $99 – This software, the favorite of many bloggers and podcasters, allows you to “record the contents of your entire monitor while also capturing your video camera, microphone and your computer audio.”
    • Jing free (limited)/$14.95 per year – TechSmith, the makers of Camtasia, created this lightweight, easy-to-use screen capture software with both free and paid accounts.
    • Screenr free (limited)/variety of paid options- This web-based video recording system allows you to make webcasts without downloading any software.
    • Screencast-O-Matic free – Create screencasts of your desktop and access them online.
    • iShowU $29.95 – This Mac-only screen-casting allows you to easily record your screen, as well as your video camera and microphone.
    • Camtasia $99 – One of the first screen-capturing tools, TechSmith’s Camtasia offers versions for both Mac and PC and is ideally suited for your screen-capturing and editing needs.
    • ScreenChomp (for iPads) – This app by TechSmith allows you to turn your iPad into a screen-capturing tool.
  • Finding Free Multimedia Resources– Use these resources to find copyright-free images, audio and video for use in multimedia projects and presentations.
    • Creative Commons Search – Search various sites for copyright-free material.
    • Find Sounds – Search for sounds throughout the web
    • FreeSound.org – Freesound is a collaborative database of Creative Commons Licensed sounds. Browse, download and share sounds.
    • MorgueFile – Public image archive for creative images taken by photographers.
    • Office.com Images – Free images available from Microsoft.

Visualizing Information:

  • Infographics– Infographics are modern equivalents of charts, graphs, and maps in which large data sets are visually represented. It is important for 21st Century students to interact with visual information
    • visual.ly (new) – With Visually’s free tools you can easily create beautiful infographics in minutes, and share them with others through the social interface.
    • Chartle – Easily create complex online visualizations with this website.
    • Wordle – Upload text to create word clouds that make it easy to see the most common words used.
  • Mind-Mapping– Mind-mapping tools allow you to easily create flow-charts, word maps and more. These collaborative resources have interesting features.
    • Popplet – Create online mind-maps by easily dragging and dropping. Invite others to create accounts and contribute to your map.
    • Bubbl.us – Use this free website to easily create mindmaps
    • Northwest Missouri State University Mindmap – This free website lets you create a mindmap, with the option to save or print your work.

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