Quora is a question-and-answer website where questions are created, answered, edited and organized by its community of users. Users may log in by creating an account or using their Google, Facebook, or Twitter account. After logging in the user is given interest areas from which to choose to create a personalized question and answer feed. Education is one of these choices, along with literature, science, and many others. This site is more appropriate for teacher use than student use because it s anyone can create or answer a question, which would not allow teachers control over students’ online interactions. Teachers can put a question on the feed and learn as others respond, or look through the feed to see what topics are trending within their subject area. It is a great way to find fun, fascinating information or connect with other teachers.
PiratePad is an on-line collaborative writing tool that synchronizes text as multiple students type. While it is similar to Google Docs, this tool does not require a Google account. It allows users to type in multiple languages and its pictorial toolbar and easy to follow instructions are extremely kid-friendly. Teachers can also work with students one on one or in groups, allowing teachers to follow the entire writing process, not just review the finished product. The chat function allows group members to have conversations and gives teachers a space to ask critical thinking questions as student write.
This website is an amazing resource for teachers, parents, and anyone interested helping develop strong young women. The resources range from birth all the way to teens and include books, movies, toys, television, a book club, and even parenting advice. The site is kid-friendly so teachers can send students to the site for book recommendations or suggest that students check it out at home. Everything on the site is well organized, allowing users to find what they want quickly. Women in specific careers, storybooks about untraditional princesses, great music—this site has it all!
The University of Wisconsin Stout has a site that offers rubrics for multimedia projects including, but not limited to, wikis, web sites, podcasts, writing, oral presentations, and research. This is a great place to start when thinking about finding, altering, or creating a rubric for your students’ multimedia projects.
Wix is a free, easy to use site that allows users to create their own websites. There are templates, graphics, tutorials, and a helpline that operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For those who feel intimidated by the prospect of creating a website, this is a great place to get started!
Interested in creating podcasts or having students create podcasts as assessments? Vocaroo is a fast, easy, free way to do this without downloading any software. The Vocaroo home page is the record page. You do not need to register or provide any personal information. Once you have recorded your message, click save and choose how you would like to share your recording. Options include Tumblr, Pinterest, Gmail, Email, Blogger, Facebook, and more! This is also a great tool for students with trouble speaking in front of large audiences. They can record their message here and share it with the class.
Don’t have multiple computers with microphones but want to have students create audio? No problem! Google to the rescue! Google Voice is free to anyone with a Google account. Google gives you a unique phone number that students can call and leave a recording that that can then be stored in an email-like inbox. These recordings can be downloaded as mp3 files and embedded into projects and presentations.
Audacity is a free, open-source program for recording and editing audio. Teachers can use this program to convert their favorite resources that are in outdated formats such as CDs or audio tapes, record live, cut, splice, or overlap audio, change the speed or pitch of recordings, and more. For our tech-savvy students, the options are limitless. The program is user friendly but have a learning curve for importing, exporting, and manipulating audio. This is a great way for students to incorporate audio into project-based learning.
We often think of Skype within our lives as a way to communicate with loved ones or business connections who do not live near us but what if we implemented Skype into the classroom as an authentic learning tool. Skype has paired with educators to create Skype in the Classroom. This free, interactive service allows classrooms allover the globe to connect with one another. Students gain access to, and can serve as, experts about their culture, geography, and lifestyles. Skype in the classroom offers teachers the amazing opportunity to pair with other teachers from around the globe to increase student learning.
Mindmeister is an on-line free mapping and brainstorming tool where students can create maps of project plans, show how historical events are linked, brainstorm for their next piece of writing, and more. Students can work independently or can work on the same map from multiple computers and locations simultaneously. This is an easy to use way for students to map out their thoughts with fun icons, cool colors, and the option to upload pictures. Teachers can use it as a tool to model to create a whole class map via a presentation station or Smart Board.