The inspiration for this post about Search Stories comes from the Stretch Your Digital Dollar blog. The basic concept is to create a story through a series of Google searches. After watching a few sample videos, I decided that I had to try it out for myself. This was a lot of fun, and I think that my students would really love this as a brief writing assignment, possibly to review the plot pyramid (exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution). This would also be an interesting addition to student e-Portfolios. Below I'm embedding my first ever "search story." I hope you enjoy it, or (better yet) you create one of your own and then contact me so that I can add a link to it on my blog.
View my students' search stories on YouTube here: http://www.youtube.com/user/pilgreenenglish
ZooBurst is "A digital storytelling tool that lets anyone easily create his or her own 3D popup book." This a fun tool that would really get students engaged, and eager to share their work with others. Books can be viewed later and controlled via keyboard commands or webcam. (Let's face it, though--the webcam option is so much more fun!) Below, I'm embedding a Screenr screencast of myself interacting with a very simple pop-up book that I created in about 10 minutes in order to "test drive" ZooBurst.
TED--Technology, Entertainment, Design--Talks provide "riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the world." Until a few months ago, I had never heard of TED talks, even though they have been around for several years now; recently, however, I have heard mention of TED talks in numerous conversations and on numerous blogs. So far, my favorite TED talks are the ones by Sir Ken Robinson about the status of creativity in the classroom. To view TED talks, visit their website at www.ted.com
I first heard about Alice at a technology conference in 2009. There was some hands-on time where we were led in a brief activity, but I must admit that I felt in over my head. I could this program confusing some students, but some students--particularly gifted students or students interested in computer programming--might really enjoy the opportunity to build virtual worlds. You may already be somewhat familiar with this program if you've ever watched Randy Pausch's "Last Lecture."
I haven't tried this program yet, but after watching the video below, I am definitely curious about its potential as an educational tool. I'll be posting in the future after I have the opportunity to experiment with it. IF you are interested in using Edusim, check out their website here. Also, please contact me if you have any experience working with Edusim; I'd love to hear what others are doing with this.
A tutorial on getting started with Edusim can be found here.
The "Did You Know" series of videos seem to be a staple in every technology-enthusiast's supply. The videos are great attention-grabbers and conversation-starters when it comes to illustrating the growing impact that technology has on students in particular, and society in general. The version embedded here is Did You Know 4.0, which contains the most up-to-date statistics, but if you search You Tube for the previous versions, you will find them likewise inspirational. Happy watching!
My Fake Wall allows user to create fake Facebook walls for fictional (or nonfictional) characters. The fake wall to the left is from the website's "Favorite Fake Walls." This would make an excellent exercise for introducing characterization. I would love to see a chemistry teacher have students create fake walls for different chemicals, or see a math teacher have students create walls for different geometric shapes or theorems.
Creative Commons allows users to search for media online without violating copyright laws. This is a great tool for teaching students about fair use, copyright, and plagiarism. If your students are looking for images that they can display publicly on websites and blogs, have them use the Creative Commons.
Create falling sand art. Need I say more?
While this could have some educational functions, it's also just plain fun!
Slideshare allows you to upload slideshows (such as Power Point) to share with others. You can also search among uploaded slideshows for a presentation that might fit your needs. One of the best features of Slideshare is that it turns your slideshow into an embeddable document that you can add to your website. Slideshare is also completely free, unless you decide to upgrade to a Pro account. But enough of me; let the Slideshare people tell you for themselves why you will love their product...
Dr. Jessica Pilgreen, Ed.D.