Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Animation Tool

"Pencil is an animation/drawing software for Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux. It lets you create traditional hand-drawn animation (cartoon) using both bitmap and vector graphics. Pencil is FREE and open source." It's a simple program, complete with a user's manual that does traditional 2-D animation. Take a look at the gallery to see some examples.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Copyright Friendly Clip Art

While the GVC contest encourages original art and photos, there are some cases where you just NEED to find a piece of clip art. Here are some sources:
  • Pics4Learning - A library of images donated by students, teachers, photographers... anyone with a picture to share. Permission to use AND citation information right under the picture!
  • WPClipart - All images are public domain. While originally created for Word Processing and printing, they work well as web images.
  • Wikimedia Commons - Many thousands of images. Scroll down under full sized image to see the particular licensing for this particular image. Almost all require attribution; some, but only a few do not allow derivative works (which means you can't edit the picture.)
  • Ookaboo - Creative commons site for finding great (free) images for class work.
  • Find IconsNice site for free icons.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Not just a slide show!

You've seen it; the teacher who wants to put together a slide show of students for parents' night or open house. Out comes Power Point and perhaps even an embeded sound or two....

How about uploading those photos to Animato, grabbing some of the royalty free music, hit the MAKE VIDEO button and wait for the completed video!

Better yet, create a class account and let the kids do it themselves.

Thirty second videos are FREE; year's subscription for unlimited length videos is currently $30/year.

See a sample mix of last year's participants.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

TuxPaint {Windows, Macintosh, Linux]

TuxPaint - [Open Source] "is a free, award-winning drawing program for children ages 3 to 12 (for example, preschool and K-6). It combines an easy-to-use interface, fun sound effects, and an encouraging cartoon mascot who guides children as they use the program."

It opens with a blank canvas with tools along the edges. Besides the expected brush, line, color, text tools there is also a rubber stamp. More fonts and stamps can be added, even making your own! Tons of "magic" effects.

Enjoy their Gallery of pictures drawn by children (and Adults) around the world!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Screen Capture

Screen capture is useful in MANY ways while collaborating. Two great programs for Macintosh are Skitch and SnapNDrag. Word of caution here. Just because you CAN capture anything that is on the screen, does not give you any right to re-publish copyrighted material! As a teacher, screen capture is great for creating illustrated tutorials. As a collaborator, let your partners see exactly what you mean.

I know there are some good (free) programs out there for Windows also, so if you have used a screen capture program and think it is a good one, recommend it here through the comments. Be sure to include information for where to find it!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

No YouTube?

YouTube has many really good, educationally solid videos, yet is banned in many schools, either because of Administrative rulings or band width problems. Tooble to the rescue. At home download the free Tooble application [Windows or Mac OS X]. Search from within Tooble for the desired video, download. Tooble seamlessly converts the video to .mp4 format. Put the video on a CD or Flash drive and use it. (Will play using iTunes or QuickTime). There is also a Tooble Pro version available for very little money.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


Worlde is a word cloud generating tool. The one here was created by using the text on the opening page of the GVC site. Words that are larger in the "cloud", are those which appear more frequently in the text. If you click the small image, it will take you to the full screen version.
Wordle: GVC

Saturday, October 24, 2009


FREE and easy to use, FotoFlexer lets you crop, resize, and do lots of editing tasks. Registration is not required. Here is one of their sample photos, cropped, resized, with a frame added and a butterfly sticker (just because). Log in and see what you can do! Great for schools that don't have any other photo editing capability. Finished images can be saved to your local computer.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Free Flash World Clock

World Clock Link
Especially while in the planning stages of work with another country, it helps for all to be aware of time differences. Is it morning, afternnoon? Are my partners asleep now?

Clocks can be a simple line like the current time in New Delhi:

Or one with a graphic like this time in Chicago:

You are also allowed to choose an AM/PM 12 hour clock or a 24 hour clock.

This CoolTool brought to you courtesy of Lakshmi Srinivas.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Mind Mapping

Webspriation is a great visual thinking tool. If you are familiar with Inspiration, you'll know where the name originates. There are many names for this: concept mapping, mind maps, idea webs. Whatever you want to call it, visual thinking clarifies thinking and is another way of organizing ideas.

Perhaps the best thing about this (besides the fact that it is currently free) is that it is housed online so allows the user to set up collaboration groups.

What a great tool for collaboration with groups in different schools! Here is a sample of a collaboration amongst our 10 buildings to create the 'backbone' of our 'shared folders' section.
It will be too small to see here, but click on it and it will enlarge.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Hot Potatoes

No, this is not about cooking, but about a really cool FREE program for Windows, Macintosh, Linux systems. The original software company was called "half-baked software!"

(download program - Freeware as of Sept.1, 2009)
Make quizzes, matching, crosswords, and more.
Also has a link to great Language Teaching Clipart to use with the exercises.

Some student made samples:
Animal Match (made by older students for younger children)
Dinosaur Quiz
Aquatic Life Crossword

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Slide Shows

There are many slide show programs available on the web. We will here feature two which you can upload to your own server space.

Both require that you download a simple application for creating the slide show.

PhotoOnWeb [Windows 98 / 2000 / XP / Vista]
is a free program by VSO-Software, France (www.vso-software.fr). The software is a useful tool for creating web photo albums meant for Windows operated computers. It supports different photo formats (such as jpg, tiff, raw, gif, bmp, png and dng) and offers several templates (see examples at http://www.photoonweb.com/en/templates.php) to make a photo web gallery in a simple way.

PhotoOnWeb includes a built-in FTP client – to share a web album one can publish it on a free VSO account (first register for free at http://www.photoonweb.com/en/register.php - free space storage limit = 20 Mb) or send it straight onto a personal webpage server.

PhotoOnWeb download page: http://www.photoonweb.com/en/download.php
This cool tool was suggested by Aleksandra Blalteberg. See one of her galleries of Gdansk.

Gallerie - Macintosh OS X only
Quick media gallery web pages.
Also download templates.
Here is a sample of a gallery using the Spring template.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Google Docs as a Survey Tool

Google docs
Can create a form to be filled in by others. Results are automatically put into a spreadsheet for you.

However, Google Docs is much more: Word processing, spreadsheet, presentation. Collaboration with others. Accessed online. Office, but not the newest, can be uploaded, edited, shared. See ideas on Google Docs for Teachers.

Here is a sample:

When you create your form it can have many questions.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Creating Cartoons


You do need to sign up for an account. It's free. This is one of the free strips with the most options. Cartoons can be on "one scene" as shown below or as many frames as you choose. It can even be a whole story! Loading the program does take awhile, so it may not be something to do with and entire class at one time. You can even create your own character (from within some limited choices.) As you can see below, I've created one account for my Julian Middle School students to use from school or home.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Live & FREE conferencing

  • DabbleBoard|
    Free 'whiteboard' for collaborative online communications, dabbleboard, lets you use visual as well as verbal or written communication.
This resource was suggested by Marsha Goren and Matt Kuntz.
  • Dimdim
    Lets you deliver synchronized live presentations, whiteboards, and web pages while sharing voice and video on the internet – with no download required.

  • Jing! PC and Mac - Download free software
    Take a screen snapshot; record video of onscreen action; share instantly over web, IM, email. Can also be used asynchronously. Saves as .swf file

  • Yuuguu
    Simple and easy to use screen sharing, web conferencing, remote support, desktop remote control and messaging.

    Free internet calls - Make free Skype-to-Skype calls – any time of day, any day of the week, anywhere in the world.

Sunday, August 9, 2009


Smilebox is a great way to send ecards and/ or slideshows to your partners. Use your own photos. Hundreds of designs for almost any occasion. Music too, or you can add your own. FREE version does have advertising.

Here's a sample of what you can do.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Holiday Greetings
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox
Make a Smilebox slideshow

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Drawing/Editing Tools

Purchasing drawing / editing software for all the computers in a lab or school can be daunting. While most computers come with some basic resizing, cropping, brightness/contrast tool, to do more than that, you can use these FREE web sources.

  1. Gimp
    If you've always wanted PhotoShop and cannot even afford PhotoShop Elements, Gimp is FREE, open source software that, with a little work learning on your part, will put you into the image manipulation scene.

  2. CleVR
    Create panoramas from photos
    Embed with code snippet

  3. picnic
    Edit photos online. Apply effects without an expensive photo editing program.
    Save to computer.

  4. ArtPad

    Creative paint program that allows for drawing unique works.
    Downside: can only save picture online. However, screen capture does work.

  5. Aviary
    Photo edition, logos, web templates, filters, color palettes, screen capture....and more!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Adding Bling

Bling is good in small doses! Just be sure not to overdo it. Also be aware that when these sites "host" your video or slide show, they can sometimes be busy and make it appear as if there is a bad link, or format that isn't working.

  1. RockYou Text effects
    Sparlkes, bevels, colors, etc. to make banners or headings.

  2. RockYou Photo FX
    add sparkles, etc to photos.

  3. RockYou Slideshow
    Create a slide show with your picture and add music

  4. PhotoPeach
    Similar to Rock You in that you have a video like slideshow made from photos

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Animation tools

If you've seen Flash animations, but the program is not in your budget, there are a few free alternatives.

  1. Pivot stick animator - (Windows Only)
    This free software download is a great asset to any classroom. Though it does use stick figures, creative students can do great things. Animations are saved as animated gifs. Hint: do not start with a very large background, or the animation size will be too big.

  2. Flashberry.com (Windows only)
    Free flash intros - but must use IE browser to create

  3. Scratch - (Windows or Mac - download program and work offline - available in many languages
    Create your own interactive stories, animations, games, music, art. This is a full program with a bit of a learning curve, but also lots of help online. For more see their info for educators page.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Global Virtual Classroom Cool Tools

We have created this Blog as a resource library and depository for participants and supporters of the Global Virtual Classroom program. We will create an ongoing list of "COOL TOOLS" that students, teachers and supporters can use in their collaborative learning and GVC project work.

We ask for your support and contribution to this ongoing learning project. When you identify a "COOL TOOL" that you would like to share with the full GVC community, please post it here for others to see.