Juxio is a website that allows you to create custom posters. several templates are available, including a set aimed at educators. Juxio allows you to combine photos and text to make organized, eye-appealing collages. Create and share your "jux" with others for free, or buy printed versions of your creations.
Be Funky allows you to upload digital photographs and then add special effects. It's completely free, with nothing to download and no account necessary. Simply upload your photo and then choose the effect you want to apply. You can edit the photo first (crop, resize, rotate, adjust brightness, etc.) and then apply an effect (pop art poster, cartoonizer, charcoal, vintage colors, and many more). My favorite effects are color pinhole and cyanotype. This is a great option for creating visually appealing images for students projects, publications, digital storytelling, and websites.
Webspiration is a free "online visual thinking tool." Create mind maps, webs, graphic organizers (whatever you like to call them). Webspiration will even convert your creation into an outline for you. You can toggle between Diagram view and Outline view, save, print and export.
Big Huge Labs has an endless supply of fun creation tools for photos. My personal favorite option is the mosaic maker (pictured left). I created a mural of famous African American writers to display on a classroom homepage. You can also create motivational posters, puzzles, magazine covers, movie posters, trading cards, slideshows, and tons of other goodies. This a great website for anyone who wants to create some visual appeal for their handouts or websites. You could also have students use the website to create interesting visual aids for projects and presentations, or for posting on e-portfolios.
Screenr is currently my favorite tool available for creating screencasts. It requires a Twitter account to use, but setup is quick and easy. Screenr allows the user to record the action on his or her computer desktop. If your computer has a microphone available, it records sound, too. The movie file that is create (the screencast) can be embedded on another webpage, or you can provide students with the direct URL to access it. I know that, every time I demonstrate a technology-related activity in my classroom, several students are going to forget what they are supposed to do by the time we march down to the computer lab. Why not create a screencast for students who need to watch the process (of creating a header in a Word document, for example) multiple times? You could even have a tech-savvy student create a webpage and embed multiple screencasts related to the projects you'll be working on all year.
Prezi: The Zooming Presentation Editor. Power Point has become the go-to technology product for many teachers but Power Point just doesn't have the visual impact that it once did. Want to wow your audience with a dynamic presentation tool that allows you to zoom in and out? Want to visually represent the big pictures as well as the specific details? Then you need to give Prezi a try. Once I got familiar with the tool bars, I found Prezi to be even easier to use, and much more attention-grabbing, than Power Point. When given the option of using Prezi or Power Point, the majority of my students opted for this gem, even though they had never used it until a month earlier.
Note: Click on the image above to link directly to my Prezi on methods of speech delivery.
Jessica Pilgreen is a National Board Certified secondary English teacher, a Doctoral candidate at UMSL, a Google Certified Educator, a PBS Learning Media Digital Innovator, a mom, a wife, and a self-proclaimed ed tech enthusiast!