Monday, September 27, 2010

Saving Paper in Your Classroom

Obviously, the best way to save paper is to issue laptops to every student and use tools such as Moodle and Google Docs to share information and collaborate. Well I don't suspect that we will be a 1 to 1 school any time soon so here are five tools that you can use to minimize how much paper you use in your classroom.

Moodle is a great tool for minimizing printing that we have access to here at Franklin Regional. Moodle allows you to post assignments, homework, and handouts. You can also have class discussion and chats, allow students to upload completed assignments and even use the quiz feature for online assessments. If you want a class page set up contact Roger Crider or Frank Muto to get started.

Google Docs provides a web based alternative to the Microsoft Office suite. Students and teachers can create documents, spreadsheets, presentations and forms online that can be shared. For example, if you have students creating a word document and printing it to turn it in you can instead have them create it in Google Docs and have them share it with the teacher. No need for printing. Google Forms is a great tool for assessing students or gathering data. You can create a test, quiz, or survey that students can access online and it will allow you to check it online, again without using any paper.

Print What You Like, is another web based tool that allows you to print exactly what you want from any website. Using this tool you don't have to print an entire webpage. You can select what parts of the page you would like to print and only print those parts. Users can also remove images from the background or foreground of a website before printing.

PrintFriendly, gives you the ability to print content from a webpage without printing the ads and widgets in the side columns. There are two ways to use PrintFriendly. You can copy and paste an article's url into the PrintFriendly homepage or use the PrintFriendly bookmarklet. Using the bookmarklet seems simpler as it doesn't require any toggling between browser tabs or windows.

Printliminator is a bookmarklet for Firefox, Chrome and Safari that allows you to highlight a page and select only the parts of the page that you want to print. You can install Printliminator in seconds by just clicking and dragging the black box into your browser's toolbar.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Bring Words to Life!

Wordia is a video dictionary site where people post videos to define words visually. You can watch or upload videos, find defitions and more all for free.

Visuwords, allows users to enter words and Visuwords builds a word web of related terms, parts of speech, and definitions.

Lexipedia, another word web tool that builds webs from keywords that you enter. Lexipedia returns synonyms, antonyms,definitions and even allows for French, German and Spanish words!

Snappywords, builds word webs also with defintions and related words. Seems to be just starting and is adding components as they go.

These tools would be great for ESL, foregin language, elementary students, and low level readers. Could also be used for SAT and PSSA prep work.

Monday, September 13, 2010


Shmoop, is a great resources for several content areas. The site provides study guides and teacher resources for Literature, Poetry, Shakespeare, US History, Civics, Economics, Biographies, Music, Pre-Algebra, and AP Exams. Under each section there are several topics that provide information on specific things. They provide summaries, timelines, key people, facts, photos, websites, review questions and more.
Take a few minutes to check it out and see what you can find.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Research Tools

Most students and teachers are familiar with Google and its search capabilities. Google does have many advanced search tools as well as Wonder Wheel and Timeline. These tools are easy to use and help to narrow a search for teacher and/or student.

I have been sharing some other tools with my class this year that they found interesting and useful. Mashpedia is a new tool that I think is awesome. It provides good results for searches that are narrow and diverse. When you search for a topic on Mashpedia you will see You Tube videos, information from news sources, blogs, and books. The really cool thing about using the books feature is that it takes you to Google Books which very often will provide the ability to read a chapter or two from each book. Some books are shown in their entirety! You will also see Tweets from Twitter in your search results, this is key because tweets are typically very current information so if you are researching a currently topic you can get up to the minute results. You will also see facebook posts, wikipedia information on the topic and images. This happens all in one place making it easier for student to get a variety of information from several sources. It is also very visual for all of us visual learners.

Sweet Search is another great tool for school research. When you enter a topic into the search box you will get only educator approved information from trusted educational resources. Sweet Search evaluates their resources using content experts in various fields. It is excellent for students because it provides good sources for them and it also better narrows their search results unlike a typical Google search.

Try these in your classes and I am sure that your students will like them and produce better results on assignments.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

47 Alternatives to YouTube

You tube is a great resource for educational videos, but we have to override the content filter every 30 minutes as a teacher and our students cannot access it at all. so, I found this list at my favorite ed tech blog (Free Tech 4 Teachers)Thanks Mr. Byrne!

1. School Tube is a website dedicated to the sharing of videos created by students and teachers. School Tube allows teachers and schools to create their own channels for sharing their students' works. School Tube also provides excellent how-to resources, copyright-friendly media, and lesson plans for using video in the classroom.

2. Teacher Tube has been around for a while now, but I still run into teachers who have not heard of it. Teacher Tube provides user generated videos for teachers by teachers. Many of the videos on Teacher Tube have teachers sharing lesson plans in action. Some videos on Teacher Tube are simply inspirational. And other videos don't have teachers or students in them, but contain educational lessons none the less.

3. is a UK- based website of videos for teachers and about teaching. provides hundreds of videos available for free download. On there are videos for all grade levels and content areas. also has videos about teaching methods and practices.

4. Next Vista is a nonprofit, advertising-free video sharing site run by Google Certified Teacher Rushton Hurley. Next Vista has three video categories. The Light Bulbs category is for videos that teach you how to do something and or provides an explanation of a topic. The Global Views video category contains videos created to promote understanding of cultures around the world. The Seeing Service video category highlights the work of people who are working to make a difference in the lives of others. Watch this interview I did with Rushton to learn more about Next Vista.

5. Academic Earth is a video depot for individual lectures and entire courses from some of the top universities in the United States. Visitors to Academic Earth will find lectures and courses from Yale, MIT, Berkeley, Harvard, Princeton, and Stanford.

6. Snag Films and its companion site Snag Learning are great places to watch full length documentaries from producers like National Geographic for free. Snag Learning provides a catalog of educational films that are accompanied by classroom discussion questions.

7. How Stuff Works is a video site that I have spent hours exploring at times because I was sucked in by the quality of the educational content.

8. Viddler is a service that I enjoy using because of its integrated in-video commenting system. Viddler also allows you to record videos directly to the site through your webcam. I use Viddler to post messages to my students on my classroom blow when I know that I'm going to be out of the classroom.

9. One of the first things you'll notice about Vimeo is the image quality of the videos. The image and sound quality of the videos on Vimeo is far superior to many of those found on YouTube. Vimeo has all of the sharing options found on YouTube, but in a much cleaner and easier to use interface.

10. aims to provide video creators with a high-quality service for sharing their web shows. The content on tends not to include "cat" videos and "hey, Mom, watch this!" content.

11. Dot Sub is full of user generated content that is subtitled into many different languages. I had a hearing impaired student a couple of years ago and Dot Sub was very useful for both of us.

12. CNN Student News is a daily web show highlighting a handful of stories. The stories covered by CNN Student News range from traditional serious news topics to how-to stories appealing mostly to students to light and fun stories. As a social studies teacher every week I find at least a couple of stories from CNN Student News that I can work into my curriculum. CNN Student News provides printable maps and a daily news quiz to go along with each episode.

13. If you're interested in showing your students the inner workings of Congressional proceedings, visit the C-Span video library.

14. To give my students a little more global perspective on the news than CNN Student News provides, I will use Reuters Video Index.

15. Hulu, a joint venture of NBC and News Corps, offers high quality video of television shows, movies, and old news broadcasts. In the past I've featured Hulu collections of NOVA programming and NBC News Time Capsules.

16. TED Talks are a great source of inspirational, thought-provoking, educational, and entertaining presentations given by some of the world's leading experts on a wide variety of topics. Check out this list of 15 TED Talks for Teachers.

17. Big Think is a video website containing expert commentary on a wide range of issues and ideas. The experts featured on Big Think really are experts in their fields. Harvard Professors, editors of major news publications, politicians, and other recognized authorities offer their commentary on various issues and ideas. Registered users of Big Think can comment on and discuss the videos or post an idea to have others discuss.

18. Untamed Science offers a collection of videos and podcasts about biology and Earth science topics.

19. is similar to Big Think in that it presents videos relevant to topics in the news and in the public conscious today. The videos feature well known personalities and experts talking about the important issues of the day. You will also videos of debates, press conferences, and public meetings.

20. PopTech is a conference similar to TED that features leading experts from a variety of fields sharing their knowledge and passions. Videos of the presentations can be found on the PopTech website.

21. iCue, presented by NBC News, features videos about history and current events. There is a capability to connect with other students to discuss topics and learn together. There are also quizzes and learning activities associated with many of the videos.

22. Current TV, the cable network started in part by Al Gore, features user generated content about a diverse array of cultural and current news topics.

23. PBS Video offers videos from the most popular shows including Frontline, NOVA, Nature, and American Experience. For the younger crowd, PBS Kids offers videos as well. If you're not sure what you're looking for, but you think PBS has an appropriate video you can search the PBS Video center by topic.

24 & 25. The History Channel and the Discovery Channel both offer a lot of content similar to and, in some cases, identical to that which is found on their respective television networks.

26. In addition to resources for learning languages, LangMedia offers a section called Culture Talk. LangMedia Culture Talk is a collection of video clips of interviews and discussions with people from many different countries, of different ages and from different walks of life. The videos are intended to give viewers insight into the cultures of peoples around the globe. Some of the videos feature English speakers while other videos do not. Those videos that are not in English are accompanied by a written English transcript.

27. The USGS Multimedia Gallery contains large collections of educational videos, animations, podcasts, and image galleries. You can search each collection by topic and or keyword tags. RSS feeds are available for each gallery.

28. PupilTube is a source of user-generated how-to videos. PupilTube hosts videos in thirteen categories. Some of the videos visitors to PupilTube can find include how to calculate compound interest, how to learn common Spanish phrases, and how to protect yourself from credit card fraud.

29. is a collection of videos featuring experts sharing knowledge and how-to tips about the topic of their fields of expertise., like many other video websites, has channels or categories. The channel most useful to teachers and students is the Careers & Education channel.

30. Europa Film Treasures is an online archive of classic European films. The films in the archive can be viewed for free on Europa Film Treasures. You can search the archives by dates, genre, country of origin, production method, and director. Along with each film in the collection Europa Film Treasures provides some background information such as production method, storyline, director's bio, and information about the the people appearing on camera.

31. Clip Syndicate is a provider of professionally produced news videos from television stations and other media outlets around the United States. Clip Syndicate also provides videos from the Associated Press. All of the videos on Clip Syndicate are categorized into 86 different channels. Users of Clip Syndicate can embed into their blogs one video or an entire channel of videos.

32. produces and hosts high-quality documentary films and photographs. The films and images focus on exploring the world and the work of non-profit organizations around the world. The films and images are organized by location and by charitable and or environmental cause. is funded in part by the Annenburg Foundation.

33. 22 Frames is a service that provides a central location for locating captioned videos for learning English and for Internet users who have hearing impairments. 22 Frames provides more than just captioned videos. For each video 22 Frames provides a list of idioms, slang words, and commonly mispronounced words in each video. 22 Frames tells viewers where each use of idioms, slang, and commonly mispronounced words appears in each video. Viewers can click on any of the words in the lists provided by 22 Frames to find a definition for each word and to find pronunciation tips.

34. I like websites whose names say exactly what they offers. Free Video Lectures is one of those sites. Free Video Lectures is a library of more than 18,000 video lectures from more than 700 courses offered by some of the world's top colleges and universities. The library of videos can be searched by subject and or university. The video sources are a mix of YouTube and other providers. Many of the videos are available for free download.

35. Kids Tube is a video sharing hosting and sharing site designed for hosting content produced by kids and content about kids. Kids Tube monitors all submissions and monitors comments left on videos. To encourage students to develop their videography skills, Kids Tube holds weekly videos submission contests. The contests are arranged around a theme and one winner is selected by the Kids Tube team.

36. ESL Basics is a site that provides short video vocabulary lessons for beginning and advanced ESL students. For teachers, ESL Basics has a small collection of suggestions and ideas for teaching ESL. ESL Basics is adding new content on a regular basis.

37. FedFlix, hosted by the Internet Archive, is a collection of nearly 2000 films produced by the US government during the 20th Century. The topics of these films range from presidential speeches to agricultural practices to public health and safety. Some films are instructional in nature, for example there is a film for police officers on how to arrest someone. Other films are more informative in nature and some films are flat-out propaganda films. All of the FedFlix films are in the public domain so feel free to reuse and remix them as you and your students desire. The films can be downloaded or viewed online. Films can also be embedded into your blog or website.

38. Art Babble is a video website designed and maintained by the Indianapolis Museum of Art. The purpose of Art Babble is to provide a place for people to learn about the creation of art, artists, and collections through quality video productions. Visitors to Art Babble will find videos related to many forms of and formats for art. Browse the video channels and you'll find videos covering a wide array of topics including abstract art, European Art and Design, African Art, graphic design, glass, sculpture, surrealism, and much more.

39. Math A Tube is a compilation of videos from a variety of users and other websites. Videos are categorized by mathematics topics and sub-topics. The videos demonstrate everything from basic addition through Geometry. The videos on Math A Tube are user-generated so some videos are better than others.

40. The Kids Know It Network is full of educational interactive games and movies intended for elementary school students. The Kids Know It Network hosts a number of animated videos explaining and demonstrating concepts from math, science, geography, and English. Each video starts with an introduction to a topic and is followed by a quiz. If a student gets less than 80% of the items correct they are prompted to start the video again.

41. The Futures Channel has come to the rescue of Math teachers who are constantly asked the question, "when are we ever going to use this?" On the Futures Channel there are many lesson plans and lesson ideas relating math (and other subjects) to current "real life" situations. And by "real life" the Futures Channel doesn't mean just converting recipes like my high school Algebra book did. Check out the Futures Channel today and stop answering the question, "when are we ever going to use this?" The Futures Channel isn't limited to just mathematics videos, you will also find videos for science, music, art, business, sports, and more.

42. The Biology Department at Davidson College has a large collection of videos and animations of cell biology processes. Most of the videos are in QuickTime format while most of the animations are GIF animations. The collection is divided into five categories; Movies of Cells, Movies of Cellular Calcium, Movies of Molecular Methods, Molecular Movies, and a miscellaneous category.

43. Wired Science has hundreds of videos addressing a variety of science and technology topics. In addition to the library of videos, Wired Science, has great articles and lists of science resources.

44. Test Toob is a free website where science teachers and science students can share videos of the experiments they conduct. The service is designed for use by middle schools and high schools. In addition to providing video sharing services, Test Toob offers suggestions for experiments that students can conduct.

45. Math TV offers an extensive collection of high quality mathematics tutorials. Math TV's video lessons cover basic mathematics and Algebra. Math TV videos are not easily embedded in other websites, but they are free and you can create your own individualized playlists.

46. Brightstorm is a provider of online study materials for mathematics as well as ACT and SAT preparation. The ACT and SAT preparation materials are not free, but the mathematics tutorials are free. The mathematics tutorials are videos featuring mathematics teachers explaining and demonstrating how to solve mathematics problems. There are tutorial videos covering Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, and Calculus.

47. The Week in Rap is produced by the same people that produce Flocabulary. Each Friday The Week In Rap posts a weekly news summary in the form of a rap music video. The videos cover stories from national and international politics as well as sports and entertainment news.