Saturday, October 23, 2010

Another Tool For Digital Storytelling - Animoto

Animoto is a Web 2.0 tool that allows you to create amazing digital stories from your photos or those that you find on the Internet.  Animoto creates the show automatically and you can even add music. Please have permission to use pictures, if you find them on the Internet.  The Animoto site reminds you:
Only select images that you have confirmed that you have the license to use.
Animoto is easy enough for young students to learn.  The tool is FREE for users to create 30 second stories.  There is also a paid subscription, however, the free version works fine for students.

Keeping it simple
  • creating an account takes a few minutes and only requires your name, email address, password, and your birth date.

  • Once you log in, the screen look like this.
  •  "It looks like you don't have any videos yet."  Click: Create One
  • First, you choose your video style from one of several that are available in the free version.
  • I chose Color Fold for my style.  Click free to create your 30-sec. video.
  • Now you follow the directions to find and upload your pictures, text or videos.

  • After you add images and text you are ready to pick from the large selection of music that is available from Animoto or you can upload your own music.

  • Next you have Animoto produce your video.  This will take a few minutes and they do recommend you resize your pictures if they are large files.
  •  Once your video has been created, you can view it, share it, upload it.  This is the screen you see when your video is ready to view.
Create your own video slideshow at

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wonder Wheel - A New Way To Search

If you are looking for a different way for your students to view their searches on Google, click "more search tools" on the left tool bar after you enter your search terms.  Wonder Wheel meets my "keeping it simple" philosophy.

This is the traditional format for a search on "native american corn recipes."  It should look very familiar. 
 If you open the "more search tools" option on the left, you will see Wonder Wheel.  Click Wonder Wheel, this is what you will see.

Your search list will still appear on the right side of the page but Wonder Wheel reveals a web with 8 spokes to narrow your search with the original search term in the center.

With the Wonder Wheel feature, you click one of the spokes and a new wheel with 8 more spokes appears.  

This is one of several options you have using a Google search.  The visual nature of using the wheel can offer you another way to teach Internet searching in your classroom.  Once you try this tool, try some of the other options Google offers.

If you use the Wonder Wheel feature with students, please share  your experience and thoughts in the comment box.  Happy searching with a wonderful tool. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

It's Delicious! Another great name for a useful web 2.0 tool.

I guess I've got a theme going this week with Learning Chocolate to Sweet Search and here's  Delicious

I did a Lunch and Learn session for a great group of elementary teachers in the Bronx today and I shared social bookmarking with Delicious with the group.  Since many of the participants had not heard of Delicious, I decided to share it in my blog.  Many teacher still bookmark educational websites on their classroom computer, then do it at home, and so on.  Social bookmarking takes the bookmarks off the computer and saves them online, making them accessible from any computer.  You do need to register/join Delicious.

At my training I shared the following resources.  They include an introduction to social bookmarking with video, Powerpoint, teacher examples, articles and more.  I hope to meet the needs of teachers' learning styles with the variety of resources and I intend to:

Keep it simple

Social bookmarking is a method for Internet users to share, organize, search, and manage bookmarks of web resources. Unlike file sharing, the resources themselves aren't shared, merely bookmarks that reference them.  from Wikipedia
  • Wiki on Social Bookmarking - includes video, list of uses, definition of tagging, list of sites, wikipedia quotes, and much more! - collaborative wiki
I encourage you to give social bookmarking a try.  It is easy to learn and will help you save time.  Share your comments or questions.  Happy bookmarking!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Sweet Search - following Learning Chocolate

The vast amount of information on the Internet sometimes frustrates teachers and students and Sweet Search is a search engine that can help you and your students find the information you need.

Sweetsearch was developed by Dulcinea Media and they state that every website has been researched by their research experts.

Keeping It Simple

  • There is a widget you can add to your browser to make accessing the site even easier.
  • The site is very well organized and there are tabs for elementary, middle and high school teachers and students.
  • You can also search by content area.
I really like the daily topic site.

Share this site with your colleagues and students.  There is something for everyone here.  Happy searching!