Please visit the Google Applications page to access information on how to manage your Google account.

imagejpeg_3_3.jpgThe May 29th edition of the Beasley Bulletin featured two free online storage sites: Dropbox and 4Share. 4Share allows users to upload 5 GB of text, audio, video, and photo files for free, and Dropbox provides users with 2 GB of storage space. Dropbox users can earn an additional 16 GB of free storage space by referring other users to the site. While 4Share provides users with more initial storage space, like many free web based applications, it collects data from its users to share with third parties; as such, Dropbox might be a better choice. With the 2012/13 school year quickly coming to a close, it might be a good idea to review and utilize one of these free storage sites to help you purge your district provided laptop of unnecessary files so it can be reimaged by the Technology Department. To learn more about Dropbox, please review the video embedded below.


Dropbox
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TechSmith Corporation

Two free products created by TechSmith Corporations were featured in the Beasley Bulletin for April 24th. Jing gives users the ability to create short video tutorials and lessons by recording the images on their screen as well as audio. Screencast is a free, private storage space (much like Google Documents) that allows users to upload up to 2GB of documents, presentations, movies, and pictures. Using these two educational applications, educators can create short informative tutorials for their students discussing a specific part of a lesson, or they can provide students with oral feedback on their project or paper. The following sample tutorial available on my personal Screencast account demonstrates the useful nature of the products in question: http://screencast.com/t/nuEpG2D2mTE. To learn more about Jing and Screencast, please watch the product overviews embedded below.

Jing
Screencast

Storybird

The World Wide Web offers a wealth of free educational web based applications and interactive websites for educators to use free of charge with their students. One of my all time favorite resources is Storybird, a web based service that allows users write and share beautifully illustrated short stories. The site allows users to work independently or to collaborate creatively with family, friends, or classmates using a built in share feature. In addition, teachers and parents can create unique reading lists for their students or children for free. The sample below, Three Minutes Older, Thirty Times Better, is a short story published using this online tool. Please take a few moments to review the sample and visit the site. Your students will thank you!
Three Minutes Older, Thirty Times Better by MrsGalil on Storybird

Animoto and Go!Animate

Publishing is an essential ingredient of any successful project; publishing a project not only validates a student’s work, but it gives them a forum to show off their hard work and creativity. The problem that many teachers encounter with frequency, especially at the primary and junior high school level, is how to find unique and interesting ways to showcase student work. The typical Keynote, Power Point, or Prezi presentation assignment loses it charm when it is assigned repetitively. Web based applications like Animoto and Go!Animate offer teachers an alternative. Go!Animate allows students to create short 2D animated clips by completing a few simple steps. After completing a membership application (discounts are available for educators), students select a background, select characters, record or type text, and publish their product. One thing I like about this application is that an entire class period does not have to be devoted to producing a viewable product. The program would be an excellent way to have young student publish their scripts and share them with a class or demonstrate their understanding of a particular concept.
















Another interesting web based application is Animoto. This web based application allows students and adults to generate professional quality videos in minutes using the unique technology. If your class is ready for something new but they aren’t technologically savvy enough to begin using iMovie, this application is perfect. The application allows users to add and illustrate text by allowing them to upload images, video, and music from their personal library or select appropriate material from the web based application’s library to create a high quality video. Animoto would be an ideal application to use with younger students with emerging technology skills who are searching for an unique way to present a short written assignment like a poem or short story. The company offers an promotion to educators which allows them to create an Animoto Plus account as well as invite up to fifty of their students to use the application as well.




Google Literary Trip

In the Performance Based Journal for December 2011, I discussed the benefits of using Google Literary Trips to introduce the setting of a particular novel or a historical event and provide the students with context. The trips allow students to literally take a few moments and walk in a character or historical figures shoes. Using Google Earth, teachers can recreate the journeys of characters in literature adding both important visuals and useful resources to a unit of study. On each step of the journey, teachers can add a variety of resources including links to supplementary material such as a link to a museum website or online video as well as images, discussion questions, vocabulary words, and much more. There are also a number of methods of organizing and presenting the literature trip; for example, students could view a portion of the trip at the beginning of a class period to provide context for a particular chapter of a novel or history textbook, or a teacher could have the class view the entire trip to introduce the students to a new unit; the instructor also has the option of requiring the students to view the trip and answer questions as an independent assignment. The act of creating a literary trip has the potential of being an outstanding summative assignment for English and history teachers as it would address a number of Common Core standards on research and technology. If you don’t have the time to create your own Google Literary Trip for your class, you can access a number of free trips on Googlelittrips.org. The site has become widely popular with teachers, and in 2010, the creator, Jerome Butler, was one of the recipients of the Microsoft Education Award for Technology Benefiting Humanity. Please visit the helpful tutorials below for more information on how to create a Google Literary Trip using Google Earth.
Resource Link
Description
Google Literary Trips: Part I
Watch a introductory Youtube video on Google Litery Trips by Kate Reavey of Peninsula College.
Google Literary Trips: Part 2
Watch a introductory Youtube video on Google Litery Trips by Kate Reavey of Peninsula College.
How to Create a Google Lit Trip: Part I
Watch an detailed Youtube video tutorial demonstrating how to create a Google Literary Trip about Johnny Appleseed.
How to Create a Google Lit Trip: Part 2
Watch an detailed Youtube video tutorial demonstrating how to create a Google Literary Trip about Johnny Appleseed.

Stem Challenge

The December 6th edition of the Beasley Bulletin focused on authentic learning opportunities for students. To access the this edition of the Beasley Bulletin, please click here. In the Technology Tip portion of the article, I highlighted the STEM Challenge, an annual video game creation competition designed to reinforce strong science, technology, engineering, and math skills. Students in middle and high school can enter original video games created using a variety of free and low cost online applications and down loadable software suggested by the challenge creators, or they can select a program of their own and enter their project into the open platform portion of the competition. In addition to having their game featured on the challenge website, winners receive a laptop computer equipped with educational software, and two thousand dollars is donated to their school or the nonprofit of their choice. In the article, I discussed one of the suggested types of computer software called Scratch, a kid friendly programing language which allows students to design, share, and play video games using the math and critical thinking skills they have acquired in the classroom. Even though I have never used Scratch or created a game using any other software, I was able to familiarize myself with the application and create a basic game in about an hour. The fun features and kid friendly layout made creating the game enjoyable. While the STEM Challenge website and the Scratch website offer numerous resources, I thought I would include a few tutorials on this page to make getting started easy. There are also number of other great video tutorials on Youtube (the majority of which, ironically, appear to be created by teens).
Resource Link
Description

Download a PDF document (also available on the Scratch website) that lists the steps you need to take to create and edit a a game using Scratch.
Scratch Video Tutorial
Watch an extremely detailed Youtube video tutorial created by a teen that shows viewers how to create a basic video game using Scratch.
Wiki Spaces
The November 29th edition of the Beasley Bulletin featured a Technology Tip article that discussed the benefits of creating a website on Wiki Spaces. If you haven’t had an opportunity to read the article, please click here. A wiki is a user-friendly, web-based application that allows people to create websites. Creating a wiki is a great way to communicate information about your class or club with parents, students, and other staff members. It could also serve as an excellent group project for your class or club. Many of you commented that you would be interested in creating a wiki for your school club or class. The following are an article by me and a link webpage by Richard Byrne with many useful tools that will help get you started.
Resource Links
Description

Download a PDF document that lists the steps you need to take to create and edit a wiki on Wiki Spaces.
Wiki: How To
Read a description blog entry and watch a step by step presentation on Richard Byrne's web page. Free Technology for Teachers.
Create a Wiki on Wiki Spaces
Watch an extremely detailed Youtube video tutorial that shows viewers how to create a webpage on Wiki Spaces and edit and add content.