Monday, December 17, 2012

The Newspaper Clipping Image Generator

Create your own content specific newspaper article

This web-app could be used to create "authentic" newspaper articles that link to a novel students are studying. Imagine how events in a story might be reported from an external point of view. Students could also use this in a Social Studies context. (Write about historical events you have researched.)


Monday, December 10, 2012

Liberate your hidden mashup artist.

Mix videos, GIFs & sounds!

Weavly enables you to create video mashups and remixes with material you find on YouTube, SoundCloud and Loopcam. It's free to use and according to the Weavly blog, "you don't have to worry about uploads, downloads or copyright issues". 

Browse samples on the site or create your own. "Weavlies" are public and viewable by anyone with the URL. You can upload your own original dialog or music tracks using SoundCloud and combine it with found video on Youtube or your own uploaded clips.


Monday, November 26, 2012

Draw on the Net

If you teach using a projector and a laptop, but you don't have a Smartboard, sometimes you wish you were able to draw on a webpage just to highlight a section or point out a noteworthy feature. While you might have software installed on your computer that will allow you to do this, occasionally, all you want is a quick-launching option to make a note or two and then move on. I've blogged previously about which lets you place arrows, circles and squares on webpages, but "Drawonthenet" allows you to scribble away to your heart's content. You can even "save" your creation as a separate webpage, and direct your students to the annotated version. To use, simply drag the "star" to your links bar on your browser, navigate to the page you want to notate, and activate the bookmarklet.


Monday, November 19, 2012

"Book Creator" for the iPad

Billed as "The simple way to create beautiful books on your iPad", this simple to use app offers kids a great outlet for their creative talents. Students can create their own artwork, pair it with their own storyline and quickly produce "iBooks-ready" creations to share. Students even have the option of embedding audio file right on the page. The option of sending the file to Dropbox means that it can be easily viewed by a large audience.

Book Creator can be downloaded from the App Store here and costs $4.99 - well worth the cost!
What kind of books can kids make? Use your imagination: Children’s picture books, Photo books, Art books, Cook books, Manuals, Textbooks and more. If you want to get fancy,  check out Liz Castro’s excellent mini-guide Audio and Video in EPUB.)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Photoediting - Pixlr

Lately, I've had to do some editing of images to produce icon buttons for databases we subscribe to. I wanted something quick. Rather than fire up Photoshop, I've been using Pixlr.

This easy to use, web-based app loads up quickly into your browser. While the Advanced version (one of the choices) gives you layers and Photoshop-like features, "Pixlr Express" is quick, did most of what I wanted to do, (text, borders, stamps, cropping, etc.) and didn't overwhelm me with options. The Pixlr-o-matic (also available in an iOs and Android app) is very simple - allowing some borders, overlays and filters for a quick effects wash. Give it a try.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Posting work for QR without a login?

Here's the problem I was recently given: "How can a teacher easily share student work, without requiring a login or account creation?"  The teacher in question wanted to attach student poetry to QR codes and put the codes up around the school, and have kids discover them in a kind of literary scavenger hunt. (I think the poems contained clues to the next spot.) There are a few solutions out there (try googling "disposable pages"), but the most elegant seems to be Tidypub. This simple, elegant service lets you post a page of text, and gives you a URL to share. While you can't go back and edit after the fact, this is an easy solution for a quick paste of student created work. Take the resulting URL and past it into to get a QR code (look under the details tab).

Check out the sample I created by scanning the code in this post!


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Stunning Slideshows with Haiku Deck

Haiku Deck
If you were looking for an antidote to text-heavy, dreary Powerpoint slideshows, the Haiku Deck, (an iPad app) is a breath of fresh air. HD lets you to create striking slide presentations using simple templates (with premium designs you can purchase, of course.)  Because the app limits how much text a user can put on each slide, the focus is on the amazing image or idea - not on lines and lines of cramped text.

Haiku Deck prompts the user to search Creative Commons images for each slide. Type in a few words, and Haiku Deck searches for pics large enough to fill the slide. (Users can also upload images from their iPad or import images from a number of sites: Flickr, Picasa, Instagram or Facebook.) Sign in with Twitter, Facebook or create your own account.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

View 3D Augmented Reality via your iPad

Augmented reality is a new way of seeing the world and exploring 3D models. There are three apps that help you do just that with your students. Easy to use, and lots of "wow" factor, along with some great learning - explore ancient ruins, view modern structures, get close-ups of insects and animals.

View 3D Spiders, Cars, Windmills, etc. using AR-Media Player

AR (augmented reality) apps allow you to "see" floating 3D models on the table in front of you! Using the AR Player you can see, rotate and enlarge an image from a growing library of 3D models. Print the marker, aim your ipad camera at it, and select the model you wish to view. 

Download and Print the marker here.

"Augment" 3D viewer for iPad

Augment is the best way to test paintings on your walls, and to discover buildings, objects or even characters in stunning 3D.

Download and Print the marker here.

Aurasma for iOS - insert 3D animations onto real world items

Aurasma allows your smart phone or tablet to recognise images and objects. It then augments your view of the real-world with videos, music and 3D animations called “Auras”. You can even use the simple tools in the app to create and share your own Auras – for example, attach a video to a birthday card or create a 3D dinosaur right outside your own front door. 

A TED talk on developments in AR - Aurasma

Monday, September 24, 2012

Tubechop - Youtube à la carte

Say you want to show just one little section of a YouTube clip to a class, or display it on your blog. With a little URL editing you can change the start time, but what about the end time? Enter TubeChop. This handy webapp allows you to choose a YouTube video, set the beginning and end sliders (easier to do by looking at the original clip, and noting the best start and end times) and then "chop it", creating a unique URL that you can share, including an embed code you can use on a website or blog. So easy.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

My Newest Fav iPad browser - Puffin

I love my iPad, and the only thing that would be a real improvement would be a faster, Flash compatible browser. Unfortunately, I was never able to find anything to fit the bill. Until now: Puffin! My wife (an Elementary TL) was tipped off to this app by a colleague. (Even the free version is pretty good!)

The publicity on the website promises faster screen refreshes and page-loading. And claims to offer Flash functionality. I tried it out on a few sites where I cannot use my iPad and was pleasantly surprised. Puffin even includes a virtual pop-up trackpad so you can use a pointer to click and scroll on sites that don't like the touch and swipe UI. There are a few idiosyncrasies, but overall I was impressed with what it can do. Try it with your favourite edu site.

Here's a side-by-side comparison:


Monday, September 17, 2012

Twtrland - Who are you following?

So you're thinking of following someone on Twitter, but you're not sure if they tweeting or retweeting enough, or too much, or not at all. Take a look at twtrland.  Simply type in the handle of the person you are thinking of following and see what comes up. It's informative to check your own twitter profile as well!  

Here's what the creators themselves say about their service:

"We take a bag of tweets, analyze them, and create a profile page which showcasts the person behind them. Currently we focus on behavior patterns, famous words, top followers, links, replies, songs, pictures and check-ins."


Thursday, September 13, 2012

"The Free Dictionary"

While this is not exactly a "web app", the Free Dictionary has many word intensive activities for students to try. Teachers will also like the options: word matching, mystery word, vocab of the day, as well as multiple language support. Great for the language arts teacher!


Friday, August 31, 2012 - a corkboard interface

Lino it is an easy to use webapp that lets you post and share stickies for a project, class discussion or brainstorming session. You can log in via the web, or use a dedicated iOS or Android app to access your board.

This short vimeo clip shows how to use the features. I think you could easily use "groups" for classroom notetaking. (See another clip below.)

There's also helpful "how to" lino board.


Friday, August 24, 2012

Need help finding the right app?

Sometimes the task of finding the right app can be down-right time consuming. While there are a number of clearinghouses out there that list apps by topic or use, Quixey aims to help you find any kind of app (iOS, Android, web-based, etc) that will meet your needs. Your initial search can be refined, and refined so you end up with a manageable list.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Banners anyone?

Bannerbreak has so many options to choose from. If you want to jazz up a class site or your own blog, see what they have to offer.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

It Checks, It Grades, It Suggests!

Another site that helps students get a sense of their own writing is "PaperRater".  

From the website:  
" is a free resource, developed and maintained by linguistics professionals and graduate students. It is used by schools and universities in over 46 countries to help students improve their writing."

PaperRater will even provide the following services:
  • Plagiarism Detection
  • Auto Grader
  • Spelling and Grammar Check
  • Style and Word Choice Analysis
  • Readability Statistics
(In an article for SLJ, Krista Brakhage speaks about how she uses it herself! LINK)


Friday, May 25, 2012

"Check your own paper, kids"

Worried about plagiarism? Wondering what to do about it? Instead of having the teacher check, why not ask the students to do it first? Plagium is a site similar to many grammar checking URLs that scours the internet for copied content. This can be a helpful pointer to students who may have inadvertently copied, and a wake-up call to those who have fallen into the practice. Why not give it a whirl?

Friday, May 18, 2012

ThingLink - link anything to your images

Do you want an easy way to annotate the images you find, or the pics you place on your website or blog? ThingLink is an innovative way to do this. You can embed videos, images, sound files and URLs, making your image much more than a simple picture. Teachers could upload an image of a worksheet, with step by step audio instructions. Students could use a relevant picture as a project placeholder for any number of links to supplemental material. Watch the short video on the site and then sign up!

Friday, May 4, 2012


Slideshare has added a great feature to its hosting of PPT shows - audio and video. Yes, using the Zipcast function, you can now do a realtime audio or video presentation using your Slideshare content. Invite participants and you have an instant webinar. The free version has a few limitations, but for ease of use, it can't be beat.


Monday, April 23, 2012

Quick Start Page for your links

Looking for a quick "Table of contents" page for your staff or students? gives you an easy to set up, no fuss start page. Customize the colours and background design.


Monday, April 2, 2012

QR Voice - have your say!

A QR code can be used for all kinds of things. Now, you can use them to share a machine-read message with QR Voice. It's a great way to add a little "spice" to a worksheet, book review or even a birthday card.

I think with a little brainstorming, you could come up with all kinds of uses. The best part? It even will read in a whole bunch of languages. (Maybe a fun way to do vocab lists, or instructions?)

Scan it! How's your French?

Friday, March 9, 2012

Miniature Faking with TiltShift

Stop motion animation has become a popular way to represent the world, and a "fresh" approach to film-making. Now, photographers are talking about "tilt shifting" as a way of flipping this on its head. Rather than trying to make clay look like the real world, tilt shifting seeks to make the real world look like claymation. Called "miniature faking", you can transform a real-life scene into a miniature world with a great iPhone app. This new application called TiltShift simulates the effect of a tilt-shift lens, tricking your mind into viewing a photo as a miniature scene.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

StoryJumper - create picture books

Quick Picture Book Publishing

Create your own account and start writing using StoryJumper. Write a story to illustrate a concept you are trying to teach. Share it "publicly" and use it in your class. Teachers can create a class account and manage student work. 

"StoryJumper is a website that allows kids to build their own books. You can easily create cover pages, add text, upload drawings or photos to illustrate your story, and you can use the StoryJumper clipart gallery, too. When you re done, you can order your own professionally published hardback book."

Step-by-step instructions: HERE


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

You're the publisher!

I've mentioned this site before, but I'm still amazed at how simple and slick it is.

Within minutes, Youblisher will turn your magazines, catalogs, business reports, presentations and all other pdf documents into publications with flippable pages!

Your book/magazine gets a URL that shows only your document, with no other ads or content on the side. Perfect for publishing a classbook or project. Finished work can even be embedded in a site or blog.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Write an eBook - PDF or ePub

Digital Publishing is back with the spread of eReaders and iPads in schools and homes. Cheryl Davis from Acalanes Union High School District has created 3 mini-tutorials for teachers and students to use, depending on the app they select: Google Mobile, Pages or Google Docs. The first 2 options generate PDFs which don't allow for resizing the text, but the Google Docs (+ ePub Bud) let you create true ePubs.

More about ePubBud:

Friday, January 27, 2012


Share Youtube videos in class without all the extras.

Youtube has many great clips that can enhance a class discussion or serve as a springboard to a lesson. Sometimes the "related content" is just not appropriate. SafeShare allows you to view just the clip without the "extras".

"Our service provides a unique combination of the ability to view the video with minimum distraction as well as the ability to crop distracting scenes within the video !"


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

picoDoodler - quick draw artist!

What can you do with just 10K? The site "10K Apart" sponsors a competition to see who can create the most interesting webapps, with the smallest footprint. These apps run in your browser window and let you play games, doodle, look up stuff, calculate, run animations, etc. One I like is quick draw app called PicoDoodler. This basic draw program lets you select pen size and colour, erase mistakes and save the image to your desktop, and it's only 4.97K - wow!  Perfect for a quick little sketch to show off an idea or illustrate a concept. Launch it is a sec, draw your image, and move on.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Spiderscribe is an easy-to-use mindmapping application that allows you to upload pictures and documents to enhance your "web". From the site: "It lets you organize your ideas by connecting notes, files, calendar events, etc. in free-form maps. You can collaborate and share those maps online!" Maps can be private or public, and can be a way to marshall resources needed for a presentation. Students simply login to their account and all their material is in one place.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Intervue - get video feedback on topics you post

One of the key features of the Web 2.0 world is the ability to give feedback to posts and webpages. In most cases, the feedback takes the form of a text comment. "Intervue" by particleteam allows you to create a video response wall where people can be invited to leave an AV comment to a question or issue you post. As the owner of the intervue, you can choose to set the video responses to Hidden. (When you do, only you will be able to see the videos.) Or you can allow them to be visible to the world.  Compose a set of questions, post them for your class, gather the responses publicly or privately, download the responses as mp4s or embed them. Use Intervue to get student responses to a test question, practice public speaking or as a placeholder for your own video clips.