Tools that Enhance Lessons and Excite Students

Wordle

screen capture of Wordle

That’s the title of my presentation at Christa McAuliffe’s Share-a-Thon. Now it’s getting close to the time that I have to actually choose just a few so as to not overwhelm people who may not know the depth and breadth of what’s out there.

For students:

Should I share the wonderful Scholastic site, kerpoof.com? This is where kids can create cards, stories, pictures, and movies. When they become members (for free) and acquire a log in and password, their work can be saved, added to, and shared with others.

Should I share the incredible program, Scratch, created by the Kindergarten group at MIT? This free, multi-platform programming application is bringing kids together from all over the world. I attended the first Scratch conference at MIT last summer and wrote about it here: Connections, August edition.

Maybe I should tell them about pbwiki, a free web presence where teachers and classes can either privately or publicly converse, collaborate, customize, and share their ideas, artwork, questions, and thoughts. Pbwiki even works for kids who don’t have email addresses; there is a feature whereby a teacher can enter first namesĀ  and then usernames and passwords are generated, thereby making this a tool for even elementary age students.

I should show them how my students then use Voki to create a talking avatar of themselves. This could feasibly take an entire class period if you don’t give limits! It’s way too much fun.

Should I mention how I use epals with the students? This is a free service that enables your students to correspond with other members of epals from anywhere in the world. It is safe; the teachers on both ends of the mail have to approve the content.

For teachers:

I use google docs for collaboration, pbwiki to share my lessons, WordPress for my blogs, gmail for my email, Pageflakes for my starting page, Twitter for professional development, flickr for my photos, Quick Topic to hold ongoing conversations with family and friends.

And one fun tool for teachers and students: Wordle is a great place to be brainstorm and be creative!

About

I am the Library Media Specialist in a small public school in New Hampshire. It's the best job ever. I get to read awesome books, teach kids how to find what they need in the library, how to find their way around a computer and how to stay safe on the Internet. The best of both worlds, I say!

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Posted in education, information, tools
One comment on “Tools that Enhance Lessons and Excite Students
  1. Meera says:

    Hi Linda,

    Maybe you could also tell them about ToonDoo,, an easy to use comic strip creator with lots of cool features. ToonDoo has been used creatively by many teachers and is also available as a separate service for schools.

    For more info, you can write to toondudette at toondoo dot com.

    All the best with your presentation!
    Meera

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