Monday, June 20, 2011

Reflection- Top 20 Web Tools Countdown

I just went through the top 20 web tools countdown. I came  across many tools that I hadn't even heard of before. I'm going to list some of my reactions here.

1. Glogster
I've used Glogster before and have found value in it. My students created a glog on cell organelles. Not only did the kids enjoy creating the glogs (the learning curve was minimal), they were able to create great visuals to go along with analogies they created for each organelle. I will most likely continue using Glogster in the future.

2. Prezi
Prezi is a tool that I've heard about before but never got the chance to explore. I've seen presentations created through Prezi. To me, Prezi is much like slides on a PowerPoint except that it provides a lot more flexibility. Based off of the examples that I've seen, the presentations flow much better and do a better job showing connections between topics.

3. Blabberize
This is a tool that allows you to take a picture and have the picture move its mouth according to the text you provide. I think of this as more of a gimmick tool. I don't mean that in a negative way. This could be used as a great hook. I don't see this as something you would use a lot, but it could really get the attention of students at the beginning of a lesson or really hammer home a central point at the conclusion of a lesson.

4. ToonDooSpaces
This is a website that allows students to make comic strips. This tool I know very little about. I plan on exploring this during the week. I will give you an update on what I learn/think.

5. Xtranormal
Here's another one that I know very little about. You create a dialogue between characters. Then, you can use this tool to create an animation to fit your dialogue. I read on a blog (my new knowledge on blogs helped out here) about how he used it his foreign language class. The teacher provided a positive review on the use of this tool. I plan on exploring this one a little further this week.

I will spend some more time exploring these. I'll provide some updates as the week goes on. If you have any experiences with these tools before, don't be afraid to comment. I would love to hear if you felt they were worthwhile using or not. Also, don't be afraid to brag about the cool lesson plans you've used them for.


  1. Glogster looks interesting and I want to check it out.

    I do have experience with Xtranormal. My kids used it on a project this year in chemistry where they had to anthropomorphize an elements by turning physical and chemical properties into personality traits. They created animated videos of these "characters". Some chose to have them interact with other elements and some chose to just do the single element. The videos were hilarious I must say. They did feel limited by the amount that could be done only using the free version, but few felt the desire to pay to have access to more options. The site itself does allow for free accounts for educators that allow you to have more options than the regular free version, but it states that at this time they are not extending that to students for use in projects. I would use it again and suggest that it works best when an actual dialog is created. I believe you can also choose famous scientists as your animated characters which could be useful for students if they were simply trying to make a video that explained a topic. I can see some hilarity using it to explain Newtonian mechanics.

    Hope this helps!

  2. Great blog, Taylor! It made me want to go exploring some more.

    And I love the element idea, scinerd. I have got to try that out. Every year I have students choose an element to do a book cover over and I've always wanted to have them do something else with it.

  3. Thanks for the comments! I really appreciate your input scinerd. It's nice to hear from someone who has had first hand experience with these tools. I love your idea about the elements. I'm teaching a general science course this coming school year for the first time. I wonder if I can adopt your elements idea during the chemistry part.

  4. I have used toon doo in my chem II class- the students divided up the periodic table and had to make superheroes out of each element using toondoo, and we put together a periodic table of their cartoons. They were quite proud of their work.
    I have also used Blabberize for Einstein telling them they were lucky to have calculators and to make sure they brought them to class everyday- also Volta and Lavosier gave them a little talk. My son, as a sophmore used it as part of a powerpoint to have and Indian tell about healing herbs.- It is a bit gimmicky, but in a fun and good way. I have heard of teachers scanning kids art work in and having the art work talk too- which I thought was cool.
    I also have students do Glogs and some liked it and some begged to do a traditional poster board because they liked the cutting and pasting thing.(digital natives, right!)

  5. Teachers at my school have used Blabberize to give the overview/syllabus for their classes. It catches kids attention and is better than just reading aloud.

  6. It sounds like great examples in these comments! I look forward to reading about your explorations of these tools.

  7. Thank you for the summary! I am interested in using the ToonDooSpaces website for creating comic strips. There are two comic strip assignments in my class. One is to make a comic strip of Beaufort's Wind Scale during my meteorology unit and the second is a comic strip on the formation of Earth. I'm sure that my students would find these activities much more interesting if they created the comic strip online.