Looking to update, revamp, and bring Web 2.0 into your presentations and those of the students?

Here are some COOL TOOLS: (but you can visit http://www.go2web20.net/ for thousands more!) For interesting videos on these tools and overcoming technophobia go to http://cdwg.discoveryeducation.com/web2.0/video.cfm

Prezi.com : This will give a makeover to any slide-based traditional presentation. It really acts as a giant poster that you can manipulate easily with a Smartboard or computer mouse. Zoom in an out and all around to emphasize points. At the end of your presentation, show the "big picture" view so your audience can see how it all connects. The format takes some getting used to (plan to play around for at least an hour), but the web site offers tutorials and directs you to downloadable, reusable presentations which you can edit instead of starting from scratch. You may insert a variety of multimedia to enhance your prezi. Moreover, the web site has a gallery you may search - you never know when you'll find a useful presentation!
Important note: There are several "plans" available, but the best offer is the free educators account. See http://prezi.com/profile/signup/edu/

Picsviewr.com : This is really for showing your photographs in a creative, "visually stimulating" way (often with captions), but apparently you can create jpegs of old PowerPoint slides, throw them onto Flickr , and have this tool showcase them with more modern slideshow templates. A good use for this might be for FLASHCARDS with vocabulary (foreign language, science, history, etc.), since on some of the templates you can flip the photo over to reveal information. The only caveat is you need to have a Flickr account (it draws from there). It's free, but the webmaster encourages you to "buy him coffee"!

Wordle.net : This is a wonderful application with endless uses for the classroom. It's easy to use, but just remember the final product doesn't "save as" a word document, so you will either need to click "print" and "save as a pdf", print it immediately, OR take a screen shot (on a Mac that's a simple shift>control>4; on a PC, that's Function>Print screen>Paint>Paste). Basically, Wordle takes text and creates an artistic word cloud. You can alter font, color scheme, and direction as many times as you like until you're satisfied. The most INTERESTING function is that words that appear multiple times in the text (it omits common words like "the") actually appear LARGER in proportion to other words. That way you can visually gauge what terms or ideas were most important to the author.
Some ideas:
  • Health class students create a diary of food intake and pool their results for a class Wordle (what do they eat most often?)
  • Social Studies students compare the speeches of U.S. presidents or other famous individuals (or you can analyze 1 speech).
  • English students may use Wordle for poetry, or comparing characters' dialogue.
  • One teacher invented a GAME in which Wordle displayed related adjectives and students had to guess the theme (this would be a great hook for any class)
  • I personally have used Wordle to create clouds describing important historical figures or ideas, comparing newspaper articles from different nations, and having students list events and trends of the past decade they thought were significant.
  • wordle.png
This is a Wordle of the text of the Bill of Rights.
Above: A Wordle a 9th grader created based on her list of important political and cultural events/items of the first decade of the 21st century.

Picnik.com : This is what I like to call "Photoshop for dummies", and it is indeed my favorite online application. Basically, it's a no-fail, no experience necessary photo editing program with lots of artistic effects. Most harken back to vintage cameras and processing, like lomography, cross-processing, "orton", and "holga". The ability to add clip art and test is a plus for classroom use. Besides using this program to edit every single photo I shoot, I have had my students use it in the following ways:
  • create an inspirational quote poster using original photos or ones found on taggalaxy (Flickr's archive with many Creative Commons images)
  • create cartoon panels with photos or paintings and voice bubbles/text to present research of a historical event
  • generate propaganda posters
  • Renaissance painting parody
  • Renaissance painting reproduction
Math students could use this to illustrate math principles, such as geometry found in the environment. Any project involving imagery and/or photography could be enhanced with this tool.
Picnik is a "Freemium" app, which means that it's free after you sign up for an account BUT some features won't be available unless you pay the premium fee of a mere $24 a year.
Oh- and the premium easily removes wrinkles and pimples!
Picture_5.pngReproduction of Caravaggio's "Portrait of a Courtesan" using Holga-ish
Picture_6.png Renaissance art parody
Camille_Poster_2.jpg Inspirational Quote Poster (student's own photo)
advisory_Derekanger_quote.jpg Inspirational Quote Poster with photo appropriated from taggalaxy ...student edited in Picnik and added text.
If you like Picnik and PhotoShop, you might also be interested in SumoPaint at http://www.sumopaint.com/home/

bighugelabs.com : Looking to use your photos in interesting, easy to use graphic design projects? This site offers a variety of tools to help you create professional-looking motivational posters, press passes, trading cards, jigsaw puzzles, Hockney-esque polaroid art,
magazine covers, movie posters, mosaics, pop-art posters, cd covers, calendars, and even 3-dimensional templates for cubes!
The possibilities are endless!
  • create trading cards for animals, historical figures, or book characters
  • make a cd cover for your own "album" (music class)
  • press passes/ badges for journalism students or for skits
  • 3-d cubes to display math principles
  • movie posters for books or historical events
  • magazinec4f3a9558cf87b8a27bf9ed2e40aebbbbcd41adb.jpg

Storybird at http://storybird.com/ : "Colloborative storytelling for families and friends". This is a simple tool to use to build a short, mostly visual story (like a children's book or poetry book), however, you can invite friends to COLLABORATE on your story if you like. Once you sign up for this free site, you can also search for themes or just explore and read other people's story creations - you can even collect them in your own virtual "library". Storybird uses art from international artists in a myriad of styles, and you can either get inspired by an artist to create a story OR search art by theme for a story you have already planned. As of now the books are saved in a digital format only (which can be shared), but eventually Storybird plans to offer printing. Once published, people can blog a reaction to your story. The site offers parent/teacher FAQs at http://storybird.com/parents/ since their target audience is age 3-13.
storybircover.png storybird_pages.png
This is the cover of a featured book with the overview of pages to the side. When you read the books, the pages turn virtually like a real book!

Storyjumper at http://www.storyjumper.com/ is similar tool...you can even upload original art and dress photos up in costumes! Watch the tutorial at http://www.storyjumper.com/book/docreate/594
Explore samples at http://www.storyjumper.com/book/browse and listen for the "real" sound of a page turn! See the incredible story-building teacher lesson plan at http://www.storyjumper.com/main/starter#teacher

Blabberize at http://blabberize.com / : What would the Mona Lisa say if she could talk? What was Washington thinking when he crossed the Delaware? What is the point of view of the fish in "The Cat in the Hat"? Students can use this tool to animate the mouths of people, animals, or objects (?) in images and then record their voice in a 30 second audio file. The cut out mouth moves with the voice inflections! Sure it looks silly, but that's what makes it fun! This is a great way to present something short (30 seconds or less), like a brief biography, point of view or even an excerpt from a speech or novel. To record your voice, you can use your computer's mic, an external mic, or your cell phone! A teacher could use this as a hook, for sure. This would be fabulous in a foreign language class.
Listen to a cool Tsar Nicholas at http://blabberize.com/view/id/160418
Be careful when you cut out the "mouthie"
Voki at http://www.voki.com/ : Would you like your students to use a more sophisticated animated avatar- perhaps with an accent? Voki is a free service that allows you to create such an avatar. You can record your voice or use text to make the avatar speak. You can choose the background for your character or upload your own! Why the strange name? It's a combination of "vox" (Latin for "voice") and "Loki", the Norse god of mischief. For an excellent resource wiki on HOW to use Voki and the advantages/disadvantages go to

Vuvox Express and Vuvox Collage at http://www.vuvox.com /: The site describes itself as "Photojournalism and Storytelling: create a media wall of photos, video, text, and music". Basically you create an interactive, multimedia panorama which would be GREAT for timeline projects because of its linear platform. You stitch together photographs (it comes with a built-in cut-out-background tool for special emphasis), then add "hotspots" that link to external sites, video, etc. The output is rendered as a FLASH movie, but you don't have to be a Flash master to do this! I plan to use this as an interactive timeline project for research on a revolution in history.
Here's a sample from the site:

Glogster at http://edu.glogster.com/ : Glogster allows one to build a multi-media "poster" with hip-looking graphics. Since a user has an account, they can create numerous "glogs" for a variety of reasons and archive them on the site. The best thing for an educator is to sign up for a glogster account and add your class members (be sure to go the "edu" division of the site). Students can view their classmate's glogs and blog about them, or you can leave notes during the construction process.
Check out the Glogster page on this Wiki here.
A sample Glog from the site- a report on radioactivity complete with YouTube video.

Animoto at http://animoto.com/education/: Do you want to make a music video style movie or short, poignant documentary using images, text, and a soundtrack? Check out the Animoto page on this Wiki by clicking here . Be sure to use your school email address and sign up for the educator's special version. You and your class can take advantage of this tool for 6 months, then you simply reapply!