Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wordle: Creating Word Clouds

     Wordle is a word cloud web tool which creates graphic representations of frequently used words.  Users can easily individualize their word clouds as there are many formatting options including color, font, layout and choice of language.  Once the Wordle has been completed, it can be embedded in a website or blog. It can also be printed as a poster, t-shirt, brochure or business card.

How to Get Started:
See the video tutorial below:

Sample Classroom Activities:

1.  Word Association - Students can brainstorm possible definitions, synonyms, homonyms, antonyms, part of speech, etc associated with any new vocabulary.

2.  Character Sketch or Biography - Students can share their knowledge of a literary character or historical figure.

3.  Compare/Contrast Literary Themes - Students can create word clouds for two or more literary works and then compare/contrast the similarities and differences among them.

4.  Reflection of Learning - Students can summarize the content of a lesson or unit of study.

5.  Classroom Expectations - Together, students can brainstorm classroom expectations and have the end product posted in a word cloud.

6.  Book/Binder Cover - To liven up a textbook or binder, students can cover them with a word cloud describing the content of the subject area.

Wordle is a great web tool for students to demonstrate and present their knowledge on a variety of topics.  Check it out here!

This post originally appeared on The De-tech-tive 4 Teachers.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Wiffiti - the Interactive Message Board

Wiffiti is an interactive real-time message board
Wiffiti is a dynamic and interactive message board that displays real-time messages from various social media sources. 

Wiffiti is an excellent tool for teachers who want the ability to get immediate feedback from students. As educators know, checking for student understanding is a key component of the learning cycle. The feedback allows teachers the opportunity to direct future lessons to areas students are having difficulty with.

Another educational advantage of Wiffiti is students, especially reluctant learners, are more willing to participate in class activities as the risk to do so is minimized and the opportunities to contribute are more readily available. No matter what type of student you may have, Wiffiti encourages student engagement and a motivation to learn.

How to Get Started:
1. Sign up for an account here.
2. Create a new board by filling in the fields.
3. You are now ready to receive messages! Messages can be received 3 ways:
            - text message
            - Twitter

Tip: Before students start using Wiffiti, it is a good idea to discuss and set the expectations for shared content ahead of time as the messages can be anonymous.  

In recent months, Wiffiti has undergone significant changes as the tool has garnered a high level of interest from educators. To take advantage of this new market, the company that developed Wiffiti, LocaModa, has redesigned it for more educational applications. Currently, this beta-platform tool is undergoing testing and as a result, full access to Wiffiti is restricted to users who have signed up with specific educational email accounts.  For instance, services such as the G-rated filter and "zap" unwelcome comments feature may not be available.

Sample Classroom Activities:

1. "Ticket-out-the-Door" - before students leave class, have them respond to specific questions about the material covered or summarize the day's lesson.

2. Brainstorming - generating ideas as a class on any topic is quickly and easily achieved using Wiffiti. I really like that students who are having difficulty generating ideas can "steal" suggestions from others in a risk-free environment.

3.  Back Channel Chat - students can pose questions as a lesson is delivered.  The teacher can address those questions as a part of the ongoing lesson.

4.  Socratic Circles - to encourage participation of the outer group, students can forward comments or questions to the inner group via Wiffiti.

A final suggestion is the use of Wiffiti as a Professional Development tool.  Any of the above-mentioned activities can easily be transferred. 

Wiffiti is an excellent web tool that engages and motivates students to learn.  Click here to get started!

This blog is originally appeared on The De-tech-tive 4 Teachers.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Flubaroo: A Google Drive Online Marking System

Flubaroo in conjunction with Google Drive makes marking easier!

At this time of year, teachers are usually buried under piles of final exams that need to be graded quickly for the preparation of year end report cards.  Would it not be nice if in a couple of mouse clicks, all the multiple choice and/or fill-in-the-blank sections of the exam were marked for you?  Flubaroo does that and more!

Additional benefits of Flubaroo:

- results and an answer key (optional) can be emailed to parents and students.
- a complete report and analysis of student performance which includes -

      • average score for both the entire assignment and each individual question, 
      • flagging of low-scoring questions, 
      • and a grade distribution graph

You too can reap the benefits of Flubaroo in 5 easy steps:

     1.  Create an assignment in Google Drive using the "form" option.  Click here for a quick tutorial.
     2.  Create an answer key.
     3.  Administer the assignment.
     4.  Grade the assignment using Flubaroo.
     5.  Review the results using reports generated by Flubaroo.

For a more detailed video tutorial, see below:

Minimizing time spent on marking in an effort to increase time spent on lesson preparation is just one reason why I strongly recommend you give Flubaroo a try!  Click here to get started!

photo credit: "Flubaroo Overview." Welcome to Flubaroo., n.d. Web. 17 June 2012. <

" Flubaroo - Grading Made Easy - YouTube ." YouTube - Broadcast Yourself. . Version 1. N.p., 29 Mar. 2011. Web. 17 June 2012. <

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Creating Electronic Posters with GlogsterEDU

GlogsterEDU is the one Web 2.0 tool I have used consistently over the past several years.  I really like the idea that students can demonstrate their knowledge on any topic using images, video, and audio all in an easy to use electronic poster format.  Student engagement is usually quite high with GlogsterEDU in that it allows for the creation of a fun and interactive poster that students enjoy sharing with others.  To get a better sense of the potential of GlogsterEDU, there are links below of an "I AM" poem my students wrote and presented to their peers using GlogsterEDU this past school year.

I have saved the best part of GlogsterEDU for last, however.  The time-saving, organizational features of GlogsterEDU are extremely useful for educators.  For instance, the educator account not only generates student accounts that teachers have full access to but also allows for the daily tracking of student progress.  I find this particularly useful as students who are struggling can be quickly and easily identified with a few clicks of the mouse.  To learn more about the GlogsterEDU features specific for teacher-use, please view my screencast below.

HINT: Assigning student account information can be problematic.  The strategy I use is to copy and paste the account information into a word processing document and then assign student names to each account.  Distribute the information as you see fit, but I do recommend having students record their nickname and password (cell phones are great to use for this) somewhere safe as the account information will be difficult to remember.  Be sure to keep a master copy!  You can manually change each individual account with more user-friendly information but that would take time.

Creating e-portfolios using Weebly for Education

Creating a website has never been so easy!

Weebly for Education is a fantastic resource for educators who want to create a class website or for students who want to display their course work on-line.

The easy-to-use drag and drop interface allows users to create professional looking websites with the many available features.  These include:

- stable, reliable website hosting
- dozens of designer templates to choose from
- easy to use blogging option
- lots of available multimedia such as video, audio, images, maps, etc
- an HTML option that allows for even more features to be added or customized

The best feature of Weebly for Education however, is the teacher-controlled working environment for students.  Not only can teachers bulk create up to 40 free accounts, but public access to these accounts can be directly managed by the teacher.  In addition, teachers, parents and students can be confident that all on-line activity is safely monitored on a regular basis.  

Sample Classroom Activity:

Creating a website is a great way for students to display their work to a larger audience.  The ease of on-line access to student work offers many advantages.  For instance, parents can be more involved in the learning process as they can view their child's work on a more regular basis.  

This year, my students used Weebly for Education to create an e-portfolio of their English course work.  To view some examples of my students work as well as my class website, click on the hyperlinks below.    

Sample websites:

I highly recommend Weebly for Education as a web tool for classroom use.  Check it out here!

This post originally appeared on The De-tech-tive 4 Teachers.

photo credit: Đ…olo via photo pin cc