Sites to Engage Kids (and Anyone Else) to Create Online Content!

And last but not the least from Larry (his blog is such a goldmine of teaching and learning links!!), how to get over techphobia and I.T. inertia through a sampling of these links.  Quick, easy and relatively painless ways of creating online content.

Larry’s post is so helpful, so I just have to lift his descriptions verbatim from his Best Websites of the Day. To quote Larry:

MAKE A MOVIE: Use Dvolver Moviemaker to create short animations with text bubble dialogue.  You can see many examples of these films on my Examples of Student Work page.

WRITE A SONG: Use Let Them Sing It For You to write lyrics, and have each word sung by a different singer.  You have to hear it to believe it…Or, if you’re an American Idol fan, you can try Don Pablo’s Tex Mex Serenade, choose a singer and a song, and then use a text-to-speech feature to act as one of the judges.  For more ideas on how to use viral marketing gimmicks like this in the classroom, please see my TechLearning article Samuel L. Jackson, My ESL Students, And Me.

MAKE A MAP: There are two sites in particular that allow you easily make and save maps (without registration) that include multiple ”pushpins.”  These are spots on the map where you can insert more information about different places.  These map-making sites are Quikmaps and TinyMap.

CREATE A PIECE OF ART: There are numerous sites that “fit this bill.”  They included Imagination Cubed (which actually has multiple uses — see the Solar Systems my students created), Art Pad, Mr. Picassohead, and Etchy (an online Etch-A-Sketch).

CREATE A CARTOON/COMIC: Again, there are a number of great sites in this category.   They include MakeBeliefsComix, the Toronto Public Library Tell-A-Story Builder,  Scholastic’s Captain Underpants, and Kiddonet.

MAKE A SLIDESHOW: Bookr is about as easy of a slideshow maker as they get.  You can search through images with a tag word, drag them into a flip-like book, and add text.  My students love it.  You can see some of their samples here.  For an even easier way to create a slideshow, you can try Colgate’s Smile Slideshow.

PICK AN IMAGE AND WRITE A SPEECH BUBBLE: There are a number of sites that allow you to easily grab an image off the web and add a speech bubble with your text.  The best ones are Bubblr and Caption Bubble.

TELL A MEDIEVAL TALE: Use the great Historic Tale Construction Kit to tell a story with images and text while you create a virtual medieval tapestry.

WRITE A POEM:  Write ones using virtual refrigerator magnets at Shocked Poetry or Fridge Messages.

CREATE A POLL: Come-up with questions for a poll you want your friends or others to participate in with Snappoll or Flektor (click on “guest”).

DESIGN AN EARTH-FRIENDLY HOUSE: My Abodo lets users design a house and then get a rating for how environmentally-friendly it is.

SUBTITLE A CLIP FROM A BOLLYWOOD MOVIE: Bombay TV lets you choose a scene from a B movie from Bollywood and have fun creating subtitles for the clip.

DESIGN A VERY STRANGE-LOOKING BACKYARD: You can design a bizarre Backyard Paradise, name it and then add a description.  Here are some student examples.

SEND A TALKING EGG-A-GRAM: This is another strange example of viral marketing.  You can choose the way you want your eggs — scrambled, hard-boiled, etc. — and then use the site’s text-to-speech feature by having your chosen egg “speak” your Egg-A-Gram.  Again, you can see some student creations here.

WRITE AN E-CARD: I have links to literally thousands of different kinds of E-Cards on my website.  They include ones of images from every country in the world (Nations Illustrated), a Dancing Santa Claus or a Christmas treedinosaur pictures, a Valentine’s Day virtual cake,  and a big selection of virtual gifts.  You can see student examples of these at my website.

CREATE A PICTURE SENTENCE: Write a sentence and select an image to go with each word by using Phrasr.

CREATE A CHARACTER FROM THE DARK AGES:  Dress-up the character of your choice from the Middle Ages (Viking, nun, knight, peasant, etc.) with all the accessories.

MAKE A TALKING OTTER: Yes, that’s what it is.  Build and send an Ottogram.  I wonder how they come up with these things….

DESIGN A FLAG: Go to We Are Multicolored and design and describe a flag that represents you.

CREATE A MUSEUM EXHIBIT: The Object Of History from the National Museum of American History allows you to create a virtual museum exhibition about a number of historical events, including the California Gold Rush, desegregation, and organizing for the rights of farmworkers.

End of quote.  Note that some of the sites may require you to subscribe, paid or otherwise. 

Kudos to Larry Ferlazzo and his love for edublogging. 


More from Ferlazzo: Lounging in the Computer Lab

On further surf, Larry Ferlazzo poses a good question how to spend effective time in a computer lab.  Good point. We sometimes use the computer as the substitute teacher, almost like putting the kids in front of the tv to keep them quiet and occupied! 

Use the computer to engage learners to be contributors rather than consumers of content.  Maximize the lab time for application and integration of lessons.

Take a different approach when teaching working adult learners in a computer lab set-up, especially those who are relatively comfy with the hardware but not with the software apps.  Early into the program, provide sufficient time for immediate hands-on exploration of the software interfaces in a semi-structured, small group activity.  Doing the reverse with adults:  try out timed, appropriate games to engage them!  Just some thoughts on how to help them get over initial soft-tech phobia and perceptions of isolation.

No computer can take the place of a face-to-face mentor–but it can definitely give bookpages a run for their money.

The Best Education Apps for 2007?

A lead from my favourite blog Master Maish of E-learningpost:  Tech Crunch links to Larry Ferlazzo’s top picks for best education start-ups of 2007.  Online learning just keeps on getting better. 

Just timely: I’ll be doing a roadtest for suitability of these tools for my forthcoming blended learning program on I.T. apps training.  Watch out for that!

Spend more time on Larry’s blog if you want to go through more of his lists for best sites that support teaching English as a Second Language (ESL), Social Studies, Science, and Math. 

Where in the Net is That Fil Language Site for Kids?

I’ve been in hibernation for months.  And now that school is in, I’m back for something very basic:  language learning. 

For the past two quarters I’ve been searching for an online Filipino language learning site for grade school children. The Tagalog language learning site by Northern Illinois University  is commendable and truly multimedia in approach.  But it’s complex for  8- and 9-year old kids, even if they have modules from Basic to Advanced Filipino.  The online dictionaries and audio spiels prove helpful for guided tutorials. Tutors and teachers will find it helpful to go through the vocabulary strategies to understand the pedagogy used for the lessons.

For older kids and adults, the site offers online dictionaries, forums and even tutorial help!  Try it out and see how it fits your Fil language learning preferences. You may try interacting with Filipino students based in the US, specifically in NIU.   

Otherwise, please any links to good Filipino language learning sites for kids would be most appreciated. E-mail architelago!

Project Communications via Team Blogging

Came across an interesting article on enterprise blogging for projects by Rod Boothby of Innovation Creators.  It’s a very concrete, practical way of introducing blogging to the institution.  It reminds me of virtual teaming projects that allow participants to practice several skills: collaboration, communication using asynchronous tools, writing for the Net,  and information literacy.  It’s also highly practical for those who are not co-located and not from the same domain knowledge, yet need to work on a single project.  This works for those who are in corporate as well as in academe.  See my earlier post on using the blog for a primary school musical.

A concrete project with a short timeframe allows users who have little or no experience in blogging or social networking tools to experience the benefits of using weblogs for communication among team members.  What’s nice is that Boothby notes free tools such as WordPress or Movable Type , and the ubiquitous e-mail groups can work just as well as intranet-based enterprise software.

I like Boothby’s idea of creating a central directory of topics by using targetted e-mail addresses.  You can also use this for  asynchronous brainstorming: you can e-mail an idea to a specific address that posts it to the relevant blog! That would be create a rich repository that can be later on categorized and mined.  The site editor can add links of specific resources to help the blog visitors further explore the project topic, making it an organically growing, informal learning site.  I love it.

Blog for a School Musical

Woodrose School’s Primary Department put up a blog for its forthcoming musical, “The Littlest Empress”, to be shown on February 22 and 23, 2007 at the Insular Life Auditorium, Filinvest Corporate City, Alabang.  Proceeds from this original musical, written ten years ago by the school’s energetic primary level teachers, will be used to upgrade the school’s instructional materials and computer equipment.

This is one way to introduce teachers and students alike to the uses of blogging in education. It becomes a link between the school and the parents, those who wish to know more about what’s going on in their daughter’s academic and extra-curricular enrichment activities.   

The blog also serves as an online advertisement for the play, as an additional promotional venue for sponsors.  The blog is also used as an online announcement board (again for parents’ use) on the practice schedules and pictures of the rehearsals. Beyond the play, there are links to lead teachers, students and parents to other online learning sites.

For the Primary Department’s Academic Week, the blog will be used as a resource site to help students practice reading,  writing and computer usage skills together with their parents. 

iBlog 3.0 in the Works!

My intuition served me right.  I visited on a whim (and why didn’t i put it in my blogroll?).  I was pleased to see that plans are now being drawn up for iBlog 3.0 , scheduled this April 2007. 

As before, the energetic Ms. Janet Toral is at the forefront of the preparations.   iBlog 3.0 will be a two-day affair held over a weekend.   The one-day forum last year was way too short, with such a rich opportunity for discussion and idea exchange.  So Pinoy bloggers, speak up! What topics would you like to take up during the summit?

5th Philippine eLearning Conference Marks Team Approach

Congratulations to Conference Chairman Toots Policarpio on the success of the recently concluded 5th eLearning Conference.  Too bad I missed it, but check out the PeLs website  for the various themes and papers. 

Philippine eLib One of the World’s Most Comprehensive

Have you visited the  Philippine eLib site lately? 

The Philippine eLib is a collaborative project of the National Library of the Philippines (NLP), University of the Philippines (UP), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Agriculture (DA), and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).

As lifted from the site, the site is funded through the e-Government Fund of the Philippine Government. The project aims to supply the information needs of all sectors of society in a convenient, affordable, and efficient way of delivery.

Available Resources include:

  • Union catalog of the 5 partners;
  • Digitized Filipiniana materials including theses and dissertations;
  • Special collection/researches of the 5 partners;
  • Online resources/subscription to electronic databases.

I’ve just done a token search on the subject “e-learning, elearning” .  Well, the first few entries on the list didn’t have anything to do with e-learning, just plain learning on a vast array of different fields.

I’m just rushing through the site, but for those who care to try it out, the eLib is a timely and valuable resource for today’s global, digital Pinoy.  Who can argue with 25 million pages culled from our very own Filipiniana and global databank resources, all at the click of a mouse?


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