As I start to think towards my return to ‘School B’ and the start of my next placement, I’ve been thinking about the ‘armoury’ of Web based tools that I have to use in the website.
I thought I’d share my list of some of the websites/applications that I either have used or that I have in mind to prehaps use in some way over the next term. There is hopefully a mix of the ‘common’ which hopefully will be of use to people who are just starting to explore the possibilities of using web based tools in their general teaching and some ‘newer’ sites/services as well! There’s also variety of web 2.0 tools and more general websites/services.
I think it’s important to say from the outset that I only believe in using ICT/Web tools when they add some real value to the lesson (which is quite often in my, very limited, experience!) I’m not a believer in using tech for tech’s sake! Hopefully the sites I list below can add extra ‘value’ /provide a different approach in some circumstances.
I quickly realised when I was collating a list of what to include in this post that there are too many sites for one post- so I’m planning on writing a similar post in a couple of weeks with even more sites and things I’ve found!
I’ve only put a short description of each service/website but I’m planning on writing more in-depth posts on quite a few of these over the course of my next placement.
Jog the web – no not a running site, but it’s a great site/service which I recently found out about via @ianaddison and his blog about it can be found here. It basically allows you to collate numerous websites together into a ‘jog’ which is accessed by 1 link. It has lots of potential uses in sharing sites with children etc. Visit Ian’s blog to see an example jog!
Worlde and Kin- For those who don’t know Wordle lets you produce wordclouds which visually represent a piece of text and show you which words have been used most etc. This has lots of great uses in the classroom and it’s best summarised by the great ideas to inspire presentation dedicated to 46 ways to use Wordle. In some schools Wordle won’t work (due to a common firewall issue) but ABCya have another alternative and Tagexdo is a newer, more advanced version.
Wallwisher – This site has been used in some great ways by teachers and has (thankfully) just been unblocked by Norfolk LA (yay!)- Wallwisher is best described as an online ‘sticky note board’- people can visit a ‘wall’ you set up and leave notes which are instantly viewable by everyone else.
Piclits – This is a website I only discovered a few days ago and it links quite well into the thoughts I’ve been having regarding the power of images.. It’s worth visiting and having a play around with it, but basically you pick a image from their image bank (some great images) and then try to create a sentence/phrase to describe the image or convey a message etc- there are 2 options- one which provides lists of verbs, nouns, adjectives etc which have been chosen with that particular picture in mind for you to simply drag, drop and arrange and the other is ‘freestyle’ which allows you to enter any text you wish. Some of the examples in the gallery look great and I think this could have some really great uses in the classroom- especially when looking at description etc in English or as a slightly different approach to symbolism in RE/PSHCE etc..
Discoverybox – an interesting site I found recently. Allows you to create your own virtual ‘discovery box’ online- you can choose from images/items in the gallery or upload your own. It could be used to build up a picture of a person, event or time in history so it could be great for history projects, biography work etc (lots more uses are suggested in the teachers notes). Whilst we are with e2bn- their general website is also worth having a look at for lots of online tools.
Go Animate- a great site which allows you to create really impressive looking animations for free. It’s fairly simple to use and could have lots of possible uses including story telling and drama/script writing etc…i
Voki- Voki is great! It allows you to create speaking characters (avatars) which you can voice with either a voice recording or through a advanced text-speach engine which works in lots of languages which makes it an ideal tool to use in MFL lessons. I do warn you- creating Voki’s can be addictive- especially if you are like me and take great care (too much care!) in how my voki’s look ;-)
Memiary- this is a great little tool that allows you to enter ‘5 things we’ve learned today…’ and store them. It’s really simple to use and the new education version is even better! It’s really great to use as a review at the end of each day and children love doing it! I’m a big believer in re-viewing learning and this is a great way to do it!
Purplemash – this is a brand new website by the wonderful people at 2simple. It’s a great online suite of tools, including some of 2simples ‘best’ products- including 2design and make (which allows you to design your own 3d models via nets), 2 sequence (really fun audio sequencer) and 2Publish- there are also some great templates to use as ‘APPItivities’ (for instance at the moment,just as 2 examples, there is an election poster and news story about an animal escaping form a zoo). As it’s online it also means the 2simple team can update it etc! There is a ‘free range’ mash version which has lots of activities etc available for free and they also do a ”gorument mash’ version which costs £500 a year for a school which provides access to even more is available including online versions of lots of 2simple software. [Or of course, just come to TeachMeet East where everyone who attends will get 6months free access ;-) ] I’m really looking forward to using PurpleMash, as it means I can access some of the great 2simple tools in my next placement school which doesn’t currently have any 2simple software!
BrainpopUK- I have to admit it, I love Tim and Moby! For those of you who don’t know who I’m talking about(!) Tim and Moby are the 2 wonderful characters who explain lots of things in really clever,simple and entertaining short movies to children. They are, in my opinion, simply the best at explaining things and my placement classes LOVE them. They have films for practically every subject and are always adding more. Tim and Moby do a very good job at introducing themselves in this video and you can access the featured video each week for free. Subscription does cost money (but they aren’t too expensive for a school to buy) and they offer a 1 month free trial anyway! [Again- we’ll be giving away a free year long subscription to one lucky person at BrainPopUK at TeachMeet East as well as giving out some awesome BrainPop Goodies]
Scholastic Child Education Plus- online resources – It’s probably slightly ‘cheating’ to include this here(!)- Child Education Plus is a great magazine that’s published by Scholastic- but it’s more than a magazine as it also gives you access to a bank of wonderful professionally produced resources and activities online which all look really great. I There are some free things on the website but subscription to the magazine and site does cost (but not much- £19.95 i think- and there are some super student deals if you are a PGCE student.)
Primarypad- again one that lots of people will know about already- but for those who don’t it’s a great collaborative writing tool- it basically allows multiple users to edit one document at once, in real time and see what other people are typing as they type! I’ve used it before and have blogged in more depth about it here and about a different use of it here- but I think it’s great and a really valuable tool which has so many uses! Primarypad has now moved across to a 6month trial basis and then to continue using the pro features you need to purchase access for your school.
Primary Games arena- has lots of games , all classified, which could be great to use in class/on the IWB etc…
Learning Clip- this is a great website that is full to the brim with lots of great maths games which are suitable for use on the IWB. Each game is introduced by ‘triangle man’ and the games are really great. They have recently started charging for full access (but again it’s reasonable I think) but have quite a few learning clips available free of charge- so it’s definitely worth checking out- my classes love it!
Storybird – I can’t wait to use this website! Storybird is basically a collaborative storytelling/writing tool. Two (or more) people can create a Storybird in a round robin fashion by writing their own text and inserting pictures- there are some great illustrations provided for children to use and it’s a simple as dragging and dropping. The finished storybirds I’ve seen all look really impressive! As well as writing it collaboratively it can also be used to write individually and create individual storybirds. Finished work can be shared online (or kept private)- I think this could be a really great tool to use and it could provide a different motivation for creative writing etc…
Dipity – I’ve only recently found this so haven’t have chance to put it to use yet, but it basically allows you to create your own, interactive timeline. The results look quite impressive!
Animoto – this is perhaps one of my favourite online tools at the moment. Animoto makes really impressive videos from images (and shorts bursts of videos) you upload. It basically analyses the images and the audio you choose and automatically ‘professionally’ cuts a video. The results are stunning- it’s a slideshow without being a slideshow! I’ve used it to celebrate work and projects etc… The free education version is well worth signing up for!
Drop Box- not a site you’d probably find need to use with your children but one which can save you a lot of hassle! Dropbox is an online storage/synchronisation service. You can put items into your dropbox and they are automatically available on any other computer you choose to install the dropbox software on (which basically creates a virtual ‘drive’) or any computer you have access to (via the web). It could make it easier to transfer files between home and school etc! If you sign up via this link we’ll both get an extra 250MB of storage :-)
Notalnd - This is another site which I have only recently discovered and I think it has lots of potential uses in the classroom. It allows people to work collaboratively, together to create ‘notas’- which are basically a cross between a notebook and a mini-website. . You can insert images, maps, videos, audio etc really easily and you can also insert snippets from other websites as well of text and drawings. You can make them look really visually effective with some great layout tools and the interface is really simple. Some examples of use in education can be found on notaland’s education page.
It’d be great to hear your experiences of using these sites/tools and also what other web tools/sites/resources you use in your classroom!
Liked hearing about all these websites? Then why not come to a TeachMeet where you’ll hear lots of other great inspirational ideas. As well as TeachMeet East in June there are also quite a few other TeachMeets around the country in the next few months- check out the list here!