Friday, December 17, 2010

Collaborative Drawiing

Imagination Cubed is an online white board that has drawing tools so you and your friends, colleagues, team mates, can create together in real time. While the tools are rather primitive, they can be used by many at the same time on the same document. Work can be saved and sent to a friend, but not to disk.

Good Points:
Has pens, stamps, shapes, lines, and text as well as background options.
Can work across platforms and even with older OS both Mac and Win.
Replay option which shows the drawing being created.

Not easy to see the canvas boundaries unless you put in a background color first.
Not possible to actually export the drawing, though you CAN do a screen shot to save.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Learn Central®

Join LearnCentral®! Why? In their own words if you are "passionate about teaching and learning? LearnCentral® is all about YOU!" Once you have registered and been accepted, you'll receive a free 3-seat Elluminate virtual meeting room, with a whiteboard, audio, video, and more. Elluminate is a great real- time collaboration tool. The full program is expensive; it's really stunning that they are giving educators the use of it free. Only restrictions: limited to 3 and cannot record. Other than that you have access to the full program.

Want to see what it looks like? The online Global Education Conference session about the Global Virtual Classroom program was recorded and is available for playback at anytime using this link: You will be asked to accept a plugin from Elluminate, the program used for presenting and recording. Session is approximately 45 minutes.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Timeline - Flipbook Tool

Dipity is a free online timeline website. It started with three guys who wanted to get a good idea of what all that searching on the Internet was actually yielding; to make research more efficient; to see the big picture of how any subject affected the past or influenced the future. It allows users to bring history to life with video, audio, text... and yes, it's free. You do have to join Dipity in order to create a timeline. Their FAQ page says that soon they will support exporting of the timeline to PDF, which would also make them printable. Free accounts have some restrictions. Premium accounts start at $4.95/month.

Great possibilities also for digital storytelling.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Awesome Highlighter

Helping students research and take notes is often a difficult task. Awesome Highlighter can help with allowing them to highlight text and then save a SMALL link to that page. The short url can be saved, or emailed to self or research partners.

Best of all, there is a Bookmarklet or FireFix add-on, so once you install it, all you have to do is click on the AH on your browser page to start highlighting. Ah, how simple!

Sometimes paper is best

Many of us are familiar with digital graphic organizers - sometimes called mind maps, but sometimes paper is the way to go, especially with small groups physically in the same spot! For just some times Holt McDougal Online has published, free of charge, downloadable PDF files for various organizers. They also come with teaching notes on how to use them in the classroom.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Create Quizzes with MyStudiyo

In their own words:
"MyStudiyo offers a rich FREE solution to create online quizzes . Embed a great looking quiz widget in any website or blog without programming."

Registration required, but free. There is no limit on the number of questions and you can add video, images, and text. Check out there FAQ page for even more information.

Want to see a quiz or two? Check out what the History Channel has created!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Storybird books

Storybirds "are short, visual stories that you make with family and friends to share and (soon) print." Teachers and Librarians can create free accounts for their class that doesn't require students have email.

Storybird Quick Tour from Storybird on Vimeo.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Voice Thread

VoiceThread is an online tool for having conversations about media. The powerful tool is currently not free, but you can sign up for a trial account to get your feet wet. On October 10th a new version will be coming - a PRO version and it will be free for teachers! What is Voicethread is all about, try looking around here.

Comment from Ben Papell at Voice Thread:
Thanks for the kind words! As far as our plan for educators K-12, it’s very simple, FREE. We thought Voicethread would have classroom implications, but not to the extent that teachers are demonstrating. What’s great to see is that regardless of the subject being taught, there seems to be a fit. We feel we are just seeing the tip of the iceberg with classroom applications for Voicethread and we need to make sure educators have access to discover the tool and use it as they see fit. We have a ‘Pro’ service launching on the 10th of October, it will provide unlimited access to Voicethread, and it to, will be FREE for educators K-12.
Thanks for everything,

Ben Papell

Original comment from NC-Tech blog.

Monday, August 16, 2010


Create simple to complex banners using Bannerfans. No need to sign up, just go and get started.

Buttons below the creation area to change Layout, Text/Font, Shadows/Effects/ Borders/ Format (for download). When finished download the completed banner in PNG, JPG or GIF format ...or all three and decide later which one you wish to use.

Below is an example. Actual size is 728x90 pixels:

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Virtual Whiteboard

Sneffel describes itself as a collaborative doodle pad. There is practically no learning curve to begin use. You man sign up, but it is not required. The product is in development, created by a young programmer attending University College London, who is interested in tools for education. He is open to suggestions also, so jut email him: or use the feedback button on the bottom of the board. Sneffel is donation ware (young programmers DO need to pay for their education.)

After creating a 'doodle pad' you can just send the URL to partners. [example] If you are working at the same time, you will actually see it happening in real time. Pads can also be embedded in a website.

Tip: Higher math teachers who are teaching how to solve difficult problems, use Sneffel. Create a step by step demo of how to solve. Embed it on a page or in a blog. Students can then go to it and hit the 'replay' button to see the steps worked out.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Photo Album Application

A new tool for creating photo albums is jalbum. You can create your albums online or download the application for creating and saving on your computer, to be published where you wish. The jalbum site gives you 30MB of free space. If you want/need more than that you'll have to upgrade and pay for additional space. There are several default 'skins' [album designs] and more are being created daily for free download. If you have questions, check out their FAQs.

Recommended by Aleksandra Blalteberg, who created this album and this album as samples.

App available for: Windows, Macintosh, Linux, and iPhone.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Use Stixy to create Stixyboards for collaborating with friends and colleagues. A Stixty can be made public or be shared by email address. You can make as many boards as you like, sharing with different groups. It's easy to use, and best of all free! Here is a sample showing the types of things you can add. Great for group work when pictures, documents, due dates, need to be shared!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Visual Organizers

Early in the 2009 school year, a post was done about Webspiration. This is still a great collaborative visual organizer! For some, however, it may have too many choices and unfortunately, in the Fall of 2010 the public beta will be over and they will move to Classroom subscriptions. That means money. Fabulous tool if your district can get it.

Another visual organizer tool that is very basic, but can still be collaborative is [] Partners can be given rights to edit or only read. Registration is required, but is free. Here is a very simple mind map.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Shortening Long URLs

We've all found great sites and/or resources that we want to share with students, friends, colleagues, and have ended up with email splitting the web address because the URL was too long. There are two great sites for making short URLs.

First is It's been around for a few years, but now has a great new feature that allows you to customize your tiny URL. Clicking will take you to the Global Virtual Classroom's primary sites grand prize winner. This is much easier for students and parents to remember than the longer URL. TinyURL does not require a signup to use it, and is quick and efficient. It can also just generate a random URL.

A second choice is which only requires a sign up if you wish to customize. Using the same site as above, the customized URL is Shorter than TinyURL, but takes more time if you need to log in. No login required to generate a random short URL.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Creating video lessons or tutorials is a very helpful tool. The problem to date has been that either the software to do so has been expensive or editing was quite difficult. Welcome to ScreenToaster a free screencast video tool! The original version allows for audio and subtitles, but I found it didn't work well with Mac for starting and stopping. Their new beta version is easy start and stop, but is missing a pause feature. However, with either version, it is possible to download the video after it has been completed (downloads as mp4) and use video editing software to put in your own subtitles, add audio if desired, and cut out unwanted sections of video. (So perhaps the pause is not needed.) It took less than 20 minutes to create and edit this video tour of the GVC website. Edited video can also be uploaded to TeacherTube.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Timeline tool

Timetoast is an easy to use timeline generator. Does require setting up an account, but all free. There are many already created that can be helpful to students and teachers alike. Best of all they can be embeded into a web page or blog! Here is an example:

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Quick & Easy Word Searh

Word Search Maker does all the work, and making word searches is the only thing it does. So, no need to look through multiple menus or move from page to page. The results are instant and can be embedded on a web page or blog or simply linked. Create some fun searching for spelling words, new science vocabulary, or a multitude of other things, as shown in the sample below.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Animated Video

Go! Animate is a mostly free animation program. You (and the kids) do have to be careful NOT to choose any of the choices that cost money, but given that it's rather cool! You can upload your own voice over and background music, and there are many 'community' backgrounds, images, sound, etc. It's fairly easy to learn and soon you too will be creating your own animated cartoons. Virtual Classroom by PJMSLAB

Like it? Create your own at It's free and fun!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Create 3-D with Blender

Blender is the free open source 3D content creation suite, available for all major operating systems.

While it does have a bit of a learning curve, Blender is suitable for students in Middle School and High School who are interested and willing to put in the work.

Check out the image gallery to see some professional work. Get started with the User manual and Videos.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Make Animated Movies

Xtranormal can be used at all grade levels for anything from learning to write a script and stage a play to creating re-enactments of historical events in conjunction with a history or civics class.

Choose from several show packs for characters and setting. Each pack offers several costumed characters and background scenes. Position the camera for closeups or panoramas. Characters can move, dance, change expression, and more. Script is typed in and character 'speaks' it with the chosen computer voice.

Best of all accounts are FREE. You do need to register with an email address. Movies can later be published on YouTube. For younger students, teachers can create an account with a simple username and password (which is all the students need for login).

Some characters and scenes require download of their program STATE, but that too is free.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Blast from the Past

Just a quick reminder here to go back through the 26 posts! There are many tools that were posted close to a year ago, but they are STILL free and still great. This is one blog where old needs to be revisited!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Flash Slides

The flashslide maker is a free tool

"You can easily make a dynamic photo gallery for your website, blog, and CD's. It is user friendly and lots of fun."
Marsha Goren

Free download - Windows only. There is a paid version if you do not want the link back to the site, but the link is tasteful and does not take away from the slide show. There are many templates in which you can choose a unique look. Timing can be controlled; music added. All in all, a nice tool.

See an example here; you may need to click the stop icon to read the words.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Web based meeting place

Need to brainstorm with a class or work partner? Browse the web, use an real time white board, share files, etc, etc, etc. With Twiddla, it's all there and ready to go. No need to sign up, no cost if you are using in the basic free mode. No need for users to have email either to enter, just give them the "link" to your board. Great for classroom use, where links can be put in blogs or on web pages for students to participate.

There are some features that do require $$$, but "guest" use is always free. As the Twiddla folks say it's "painless team collaboration for the web."

So go ahead, try it! "Play" in their sandbox first and then start a board of your own (just be sure to keep a copy of the link!)

Monday, March 15, 2010

A little Flash!

Menus, buttons, banners, all created in Flash and FREE! Just go to OK, it's not as good as owning the Flash program and really being able to make your own, but it is pretty darn good.

This site was recommended by Ty J. from Washington West School in Olean, N.Y. who is a participant this year in GVC. Thanks Ty.

Saturday, February 27, 2010


WallWisher is a free tool that allows you to create a page of online sticky notes. In addition to text, the notes can include images, links and videos as long as that media is already stored somewhere else online. Create a themed wall, then invite others to add stickies. Just think of all the ways this Cool Tool can be used! [Contributed by Susan Oxnevad.]

Marsha Goren - Dreams for the future
Janet Barnstable - Save Earth!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Revisiting Hot Potatoes

In September of last year, the Hot Potatoes was put into the public domain, which means it is free for everyone to use. [See Sept 1 blog entry] It's a great educational tool for making quizzes and crosswords and matching.

The one thing that may be difficult is that it's not as intuitive to use as some of the more contemporary programs. So, here is a little help. All files are PDF format.
  1. Creating Quizzes
  2. Making a Crossword
  3. Creating a Matching Exercise (Including how to add images)
Students quickly learn how to create with the program also!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Comic Creator

Comic Creator invites students to create their own comic strip. Characters and props and backgrounds are a bit limited, but not a bad start. They also have resource lessons for various grade levels from K-12.

Completed cartoon cannot be saved, but can be "printed" either on actual paper or as a PDF document. [With Macintosh this is a standard "print as pdf" operation; with Windows, I believe you need a print as pdf plugin. There are several free ones out there.]