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The Generator Blog introduced me to PhotoSoup that is powered by Flickr. The best part about PhotoSoup is that it creates visual word puzzles. Where the “words” to search are unknown to the solver, but photos are given as clues. The photos fade in color when you find a word in the puzzle. You do not have to be a member of Flickr to create a puzzle or play as it uses photos from the Creative Commons only. However, in order to have better control of the puzzle you are making for your students, entering in your own photos would be the most appropriate for the subject-matter you are teaching. That way you can control the picture “words”/”tags” that are even vocabulary words your students are studying! This has potential in all subjects and grade levels depending on if you allow PhotoSoup to create it or you create your own. In math, the person could have pictures of various geometric solids tagged or in science pictures of various stages of a butterfly’s life cycle or social studies different objects from Egypt or a country of study to know the products they import and export.
I was so excited to read the Cool Cat Teacher Blog on Friday, May 30. I found out that Animoto gives codes to let you use the full version (instead of the 30 second video) for free! Here’s the how-to in order to sign-up your students for the Education Program in Animoto. E-mail Rebecca Brooks at email@example.com. She will then send you the classroom code that will allow your students to access and make full-length videos that are even downloadable to your desktop. The videos will project full-screen and without any ads or other “distractions” that may be found regularly. The Animoto people have a page with videos other educators have made with ideas. They want to keep up with all of the Web 2.0 innovations educators make using Animoto. My only wish is that I would have known about this sooner. But, I will be signing up for one for next school year!
Hip-hop songs, rap lyrics, and SAT vocabulary words. Seems like something does not belong, but on the website Flocabulary you can find all of the above! There are some free clips to watch or listen to that are quite humorous and memorable; however, most services are fee-based. If you have students who have a hard time memorizing and hate to study, this site is a good example of how to make studying fun. Flocabulary also has songs for U.S. History and Shakespeare.
One way to integrate this technology into your classroom for free is by having your students create their own Flocabulary inspired clips with MovieMaker or Photostory. Students can write lyrics with the helpful hints of how to rhyme and rap on the site. Then use Audacity to record the sound and upload into a multimedia presentation tool. Having students create their own memory aids would be beneficial to their overall learning and save some money too!
There are many assistive technology tools that will help convert text to speech. The following ones have many capabilities that would be beneficial to students who need auditory help when reading. Often literature selections from the basal readers have CDs that are used to assist students, but there are not the same tools available when reading other text. Now it is possible to take written directions to tests or quizzes, picture books, novels, student writing, website, PDF, or any text and convert it to speech with these helpful technology tools.
Read Please is a free text-to-speech download. If there is a PDF, this site can help convert it to speech. Open source software is software that can be used for free. Just go to the “search for software.”
For more assistive technology, visit the del.icio.us account by clicking on the link on the left toolbar.
Free Rice is a site that has been featured in People magazine. The site will donate rice to the UN World Food Program for answers students get correct to vocabulary questions. It works well on the interactive whiteboard for whole class use. Students get addicted to it because they are not just doing school work but helping others.
The vocabulary levels get progressively harder as the student gets more answers correct. The vocabulary words probably best suit grades 4-8. However, there are multiple choice selections and it has sound clips that pronounce each word which is great for auditory learners or students with special needs.
The more obvious subjects that this works well with are Language Arts (Vocabulary Development) and Religion (Corporal Works of Mercy). However, Mathematics can also be stressed as each correct answer is 20 grains of rice. Students can keep a tally of rice donated.
What a great concept! Help the students’ vocabulary and help the world at the same time!