Monday, May 30, 2011

Mind Mapping/Brainstorming Web Sites

Would you like to capture and connect ideas?
Would you like to share and collaborate ideas?
Would you like to have access to your files from anywhere?

There are numerous websites that focus on mind mapping/brainstorming.  These are diagrams that represent words, ideas, tasks or other items link to or arranged around a central idea.  Mind maps can be used to generate, visualize, structure and classify information.  They can help to study, organize, problem solve, decision make and write material.

Some of these websites require a free user account, but this would enable students and teachers to save work, collaborate and edit.  The mind mapping sites can allow the users to add text, pictures, geographical maps and documents to their work.
-sign up but free
-can make the mind map private or public
-allows for sharing and collaboration
-can add text, images, files, calendar events, geographic locations
-sign up but free
-can make the mind map private or public
-allows for sharing and collaboration
-text bubbles only
-save as .jpg (good size and quality for email and websites) and .png (transparent image)

LPSD iPods/iPads:  Mind Mapping Applications (free)
We have the following applications loaded on the 2 cases of ipods.  Some of these may not be on the iPad image.
iTunes Links:
ThinkTree Lite
Idea Sketch
Total Recall

Monday, May 16, 2011

Free Aviary Online Image/Audio Editor & Creator Suite

For those who are looking for an online alternative to Photoshop, Audacity, Garage Band, and Fruity Loops software there is now the Aviary Suite which offers the ability to create/edit images and audio files.

 Aviary Online Home

There are 7 main tools within the suite with excellent tutorials offered to your skill level.
Phoenix - Image Editor Home & Features Tutorial   
Peacock - Effects Editor Home & Features Tutorial
Toucan - Colour Editor Home & Features Tutorial
Raven - Vector Editor Home & Features Tutorial
Myna - Audio Editor Home & Features Tutorial
Roc - Music Creator Home & Features Tutorial
Falcon - Image Markup Home & Features Tutorial
There will also be a 3D image creator (Hummingbird) that has not been released yet

Aviary Educators Beta Home

Teachers can also request an Educator's Beta Account which will allow you to create and manage student accounts in a protected environment and be able to create shared projects. Much like GlogsterEdu, the teacher has full control of each student's account to monitor progress and assess their completed projects. As this new feature is a Beta you must first request this account. Please expect a 2-3 day waiting period before getting approval as there has been tremendous interest for these special accounts worldwide and they are quite overwhelmed with requests.

Google Art Project: A Museum of Museums

Google Art Project
This site houses virtual tours and artwork from some of the world's best museums.  Photos are of very high quality and the website allows you to zoom in to unprecedented magnification.  It comprises of approximately 17 gigapixel images and around 7000 megapixel images. This comprises of the 17 world famous museums with its inner street view. Google offers the internal galleries of the museum by the familiar street view tricycles application. An estimate of 1,061 artworks may be available on the newly launched web portal.
Virtual Tour

TED Talks:  Explanation of the Google Art Project and its development.
Amit Sood:  Building a museum of museums on the web (5 minute video)

What are QR Codes and Why Would I Use Them?

QR codes are starting to appear everywhere.  You may have seen them in stores or as part of print or T.V. media campaigns.  QR (Quick Response) codes are essentially bar codes.  As with their straight-lined cousins, these codes contain information.  Whereas bar codes are useful for storing information such as prices, QR codes can store different types of information such as internet website addresses or text.  

Why would I use a QR code?
QR codes provide a quick and efficient way to navigate to a web site address.  Using a webcam, smart phone or a camera enabled ipod touch (4th edition), and by scanning the code, you will be automatically directed to the desired web site.  WiFi must be enabled on your device for this to occur.  Within our schools, one could use the newest ipod touches to scan these codes.  It saves the user the hassle of going to the browser and typing in the URL. Students of all ages can make and use these codes!

Why would I use a QR code in school?
QR codes have many uses:

  • making or using a book with embedded codes (pre-made or  teacher/student made to supplement a story).  Around the World in 80 Days QR
  • recorded book review by students (placed on cover of book for others to watch). These QR codes could be added to library books or a class library.
  • answers to questions (remain hidden until student tries to solve on their own)
  • supplemental help via YouTube clips (how to solve a particular equation, explanation of a process)
  • make printed posters that contain multimedia information that would normally require a computer to access
  • add codes directly to your class notes that are given to students.  Please also include the written link so that students who do not have this technology are able to get to the same websites or video clips.
  • put "price tag" codes on products (like bar codes) and have students shop for the best value to put together a recipe for a meal or a family budget.  Link to further nutritional information or the Canada Food Guide.

What type of information can I link to via a QR code?
You can link directly to a YouTube video clip, a website, or a piece of text that contains up to 250 characters.

How do I make a QR code?
The easiest and most common site to construct these codes seems to be kaywa.  Simply copy the URL from the desired website and paste it into the URL location.  From there, you generate the code, copy and paste it into your document (Word, PowerPoint, Publisher, Notebook etc).

How do I read a QR code?
There are many apps out there.  Listed here are a few that can be downloaded from the app store (Apple):  ATTReader and NeoReader.  Both are free applications and work very well.  Simply start the app, hold the camera up to the code to centre, and the rest is done for you as it will take you directly to the website.

What else do I need to know?
You cannot make a direct link to any video you already have collected and are storing on your computer.  Instead, it must be uploaded into YouTube or onto a website.  To upload video content to YouTube, you will have to set up a free account.  Caution:  If this is student work, please make sure your students have signed their FOIP forms.  It is also strongly suggested that you make the YouTube videos Unlisted and turn off the features for comments, ratings etc. You can upload video directly from the ipod touch into a YouTube account (ie the teacher makes the account and students use this one).
Note: If using existing YouTube video clips, the comments below each clip are often inappropriate.  Please be aware of this and take steps to either avoid using these clips or moving the clips into your account.

How can I make this happen with my curriculum?
Contact your technology coach (S. Merth).  We will help you integrate this technology into science, social studies, history, language arts, food studies, or you name it!
Book the 4th edition ipod touches!  Contact your tech coach or administrator for the schedule of when these are available.

Please contact your technology coach for assistance with any of these items.

Solar System Scope: Online 3D Solar System!

The Solar System Scope is a flash based 3D website that highlights the planets of the solar system and the night sky.

The Model consists of 3 main Views (Heliocentric, Geocentric and Panaromatic), including:
Precise Positions of all Celestial Objects according to NASA Calculations
Schematic Distances and Sizes for better understanding of Planet Surfaces and Motions
• a unique feature to Drag Planets through their Orbits
• a lot of interesting Settings which allow you to Observe particular Motions and Events
Distance Calculator to measure distances between Planets even while in motion
Earth Observatory set-up with which you can watch Celestial Happenings on your own Night Sky

Monday, May 9, 2011

Saskatchewan Settlement Experience

Saskatchewan Settlement Experience Website

This website is produced by Saskatchewan Archives and the Saskatchewan Genealogical Society, and is an excellent place to find primary documents, photos, and other information.

The website is easily navigated by years:  before 1870, then 10 year spans after that ending with 1920-1930.  There are also tabs that highlight information on the following topics:

  • Saskatchewan Today
  • The Landscape
  • Aboriginal Peoples
  • Steps to a Homestead
  • Settlement Patterns
  • Life on the Prairies
  • Agriculture
  • Labour and Economic Growth
  • Transportation and Commerce
  • Women
  • Education
  • Religion 
Within the website, you can search by community, photos, documents, maps, video files, audio files, and drawings.  There is information on topics that are relevant to our general geographical location such as the Northwest Rebellion (found under the 1880 - 1890 tab) and the Barr Colonists (found under Settlement Patterns tab).

Friday, May 6, 2011


Storybird:  collaborative storytelling

  • Free class account: 
  • No student emails required (change student passwords if they forget theirs) 
  • Safe, secure, and private (set privacy levels) 
  • No chat feature
  • No personal profiles
  • Unlimited classes (manage from one dashboard if required)
  • generate thematic libraries that can be shared with parents or other schools
"Storybird reverses the process of visual storytelling by starting with the image and "unlocking" the story inside.  Choose an artist or a theme, get inspired, and start writing." 

There are many, many pictures from which to choose as noted on the sides of this graphic.  Students choose their image from a fantastic gallery as a starting point for a story. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Prezi: Take Presentations to a New Level

Prezi is a free, web-based program for students and teachers who are looking for a different way to present multimedia content.  While it is not likely that you would use this everytime, variety can be a welcome change to using Notebook, PowerPoint or Glogster.  Give your students many options to challenge their creativity.  Teachers and/or students (>13 years) can create accounts.  For younger grades, teachers may want to consider setting up an account that their students can use.  5 Reasons to Use Prezi

Prezi is also called the Zooming Presentation Editor.  It is a user-friendly web tool and requires a free account setup.  While the presentation is constructed on only one slide canvas, you can set the presentation pathway to showcase your points in a particular order.  You can add video, flash (flv/swf) animation, pictures and text. You can also import existing Powerpoint presentations into Prezi.   Instructional technology coaches can help you and your class become familiar with this tool.

On the website, there are many tutorial videos if you would like to learn this program on your own.  Learn Prezi