Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Class Summary 6/27/12

Stacey and I used Xtranormal to record our class summary.  Enjoy!

Robotz Movie
by: manatee633

 In case you didn't catch it, our question to you is: Which attributes of CSS do you think you will use the most and least in an educational setting?  Please type your answer in a comment below.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Xtranormal Sample

I tried to make a video using Xtranormal.  I was using the free basic plan.  My video turned out alright, but the character is standing backwards for part of the video.  You have a lot of control when creating your videos, but it is important to preview the video before publishing.  I previewed my video once, and was surprised to see the character was turned backwards for the whole video.  I added a camera direction at the start of my dialogue, and assumed that would solve the problem.  The character turns around halfway through the published video.  I did not think I would have to add multiple camera directions throughout my dialogue. 

Here is my video:

Pawz Movie
by: manatee633

Educationally, this tool could be used for many lessons, but I'm not convinced it is worth the monthly fee.  Here are some resources for educational uses of Xtranormal: TeachWeb2.0, BoxofTricks, and TeachingSocialSkills.

ISTE Technology Standards: When students use Xtranormal, they will be meeting the standards 1(creativity and innovation) and 6 (technology operations and concepts).  They will be using prior knowledge to create innovative products, as well as, using and understanding the technological applications.
One of the best features, in my opinion, is the ability to choose a voice from a very multicultural list.  The list of languages is extensive including Spanish, French, Indian, Swedish, German, etc.  This would be valuable for a foreign language class. 

So, I will not be using Xtranormal with my students, but it was interesting to explore. 



I found a web 2.0 tool called Xtranormal that allows you to turn your text into a 3D animated video.  Like most tools, there are different plans and fees.  The basic free plan only allows you to create two videos.  The educator plan is $10 for the teacher and additional 50 cents per student EVERY MONTH, but it allows unlimited use.  The educator plan also allows teachers to create student accounts.  One negative I found with the web site is some of the sample videos include profanity, and are inappropriate for children.  One of the features listed under the educator account is a kid-friendly environment, so you have to pay to block the inappropriate content. 

If you would like to find out more about the educator account, watch the following video.


Aminah's World in the Classroom

All of the web sites I found that linked to Aminah's World were related to art education.  But I would use this web 2.0 tool in my special education classroom.  I teach a primary Multiple Intensive Needs Class (MINC) with students who have severe cognitive disabilities.  I modify the kindergarten curriculum for my students.  Within the kindergarten curriculum, there are a lot of art references.  One of the language arts units is Art All Around.  The students discuss different places they can see art during their day-to-day routine.  They learn about mixing colors, patterns, and how to apply these skills when painting.   

ISTE Technology Standards: When students use Aminah's World, they will meet standard 1 (creativity and innovation) by expressing their creativity through online artwork.

Overall, Aminah's World will help reinforce the art skills learned, and allow my students to explore art in a new way. 

Please comment to share your ideas for Aminah's World, or other art integration web sites and tools.


My Aminah's World Creations

It was very soothing and fun to create my own artwork on the Aminah's World web site.  I made two different creations. 

The first time, I tried to make a scene with the various objects.  I call this Sunset:

The second time, I chose to make something that was more abstract. 

Education connection: I teach students with severe cognitive disabilities, and I know they would enjoy choosing the objects to use to make their own artwork.  The majority of my class is non-verbal, so this would be a great tool for them to use to express themselves.  The web site is easy to use by touching the objects, and moving them around on the "canvas".  My students would be able to create their own artwork on the Smart Board in our classroom.  It is difficult to find web 2.0 tools that my special friends can manipulate independently.  I am excited to try Aminah's World with my class in the fall!  


Aminah's World

I found a web 2.0 tool called Aminah's World.  It is based on the work of the artist, Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson, who created art from various fabrics, buttons, shells, feathers, strings, scraps of paper, etc.  The artist's web site features a place for students to create art using objects like Aminah. 

The "Create Your Own Artwork" tool lets the student choose a background and the objects to use.  It has buttons to make the objects larger and smaller, and buttons to rotate the objects.  The students can be as creative as they want with these features. 

The web site also has a teacher section where teachers have shared lesson plans that use Aminah's World to help the students learn various concepts.

I will be back soon with my creations.


Scribble Maps Resources

I found a couple of helpful resources to use when you explore Scribble Maps.
ISTE Technology Standards: When students use Scribble Maps, they will meet standards 1 (creativity and innovation), 2 (communication and collaboration), and 3 (research and information fluency).  Students will use maps in a new way, learn about other cultures through sharing maps with international peers, and could use the maps to collect and analyze data.

Please leave a comment if you have experienced using Scribble Maps with your students.


My Scribble Maps Sample

After playing with all of the cool features on Scribble Maps, I have to say it is a really fun tool to use.  I was able to easily create a sample map after getting to know each feature a little better.  I was able to place a marker on my location, add a picture from Flickr to the place marker, draw a shape over my state, and write text to explain my drawing.  I made a simple map for a sample, but I can see the possibilities are endless, and there are many educational uses for Scribble Maps.

Here is my map. Be sure to double-click on the star to see the picture I added. 



Scribble Maps

Do you use Google Maps or Google Earth with your students?  If you said yes, then Scribble Maps is a great web 2.0 tool for you! 

Scribble Maps lets you or your students scribble, draw, and type on Google maps.  This web 2.0 tool can enhance your social studies lessons.  Students can circle places on a map, and type facts about those cities, states, or countries.  After returning from summer break, they could mark all the places they visited, and then write about their vacations.  Students could choose two locations, research them, and compare/contrast the locations. 

This would be a great site to use in conjunction with a telecollaborative project.  Your students could circle where they live on a map, and type some interesting facts they would like to share.  Then they can email the map to a student in another state or country, and they could share information about where they live.  This would be a fun way for the students to learn about other cultures.

I am going to attempt to make a scribble map...wish me luck!


Monday, June 25, 2012

My Sample Letterpop

I was not able to save the sample Letterpop I made, so I captured a screenshot of my attempt (cropped it and added it to Google Docs).  This is from my third attempt, so there is no picture.  The web site allowed me to upload a picture during my first attempt, but was forcing me to pay to add my picture during my second and third attempts.  The sample version I was using only had six free pictures, but they were irrelevant to my sample.

I created this sample with telecollaboration in mind.  If the web site was free and/or more cooperative, I would have students create a question, answer the question, and then email their Letterpop to another student (preferably in another country) and have them answer the same question.  This would give students a global perspective on various topics.  It would be a more visual way to interact with the other class, instead of sending email messages back and forth.

ISTE Technology Standards: If students use Letterpop, they will meet standards 1 (creativity and innovation) and 2 (communication and collaboration).  Students will apply prior knowledge of describing pictures and answering questions in an innovative way.  Also, they will be able to communicate with students internationally to learn about different cultures.
I was able to find a blog post from Baltimore County Public Schools that puts in a good word for Letterpop, and explains how they have used it with students.  The post is from 2008, so it is not as current as I would like.  Letterpop may have been a free site at that time. 


Letterpop Attempt

When I was writing my first post about Letterpop, I was excited to make newsletters, photo collages, and invitations easily.  Then after exploring the site, I have decided it is not the most effective site for newsletter creation.  First of all, it is not a free tool.  The basic plan costs $4.95 a year which only allows you to share 10 items per year.  Educators can purchase a yearly plan for $39 that allows 365 items to be shared throughout the year.  The educator price would be the most cost effective if this turns out to be a tool that would benefit your classroom.

After attempting to create a sample page, I would not recommend this site for students.  It was very frustrating to make a newsletter.  Each time I accessed the web site, the text boxes were different.  The first time, the text box was not large enough to hold the font format box, so there was no room for me to type my own text.  During my second attempt, the font formatting information moved to the top of the text box, so I was able to type my own text.  However, after I typed my text, and clicked the check mark that means I was finished editing, my text disappeared.  The third attempt allowed me to edit, and kept my text, but when I tried to share the newsletter, it asked me to pay before going any further. 

The video I shared in my previous post persuades and excites users, but the actual tool was a let down.  I am not willing to purchase this web 2.0 tool, so I will not be able to see if the paid version works more consistently.  If you have a paid subscription to Letterpop, please comment to let me know if it was worth your money. 

Thanks for reading!


Sunday, June 24, 2012


Are you tired and bored with using Microsoft Word or Publisher to create newsletters?  Do you think snail-mailing your newsletters is not being technologically-savvy? Well Letterpop is your new tool of interest! 

Letterpop is a word-processing tool that allows users to create newsletters, photo collages, invitations, and more.  It is simple and easy to use, and allows your creations to be shared via e-mail, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, etc.  Students in elementary school (who know how to type) will be able to use this tool by dragging and dropping photos, and simply typing their information. 

Need more information?  Watch this video that is a part of the Letterpop website to learn more about this cool tool. 


Useful Resources for Animoto

I found a couple of resources that will help make using Animoto even easier in your classroom. 

First, I found a webinar about Animoto.  It gives background information, directions on making videos, and examples of how to use Animoto in the classroom. 

Another great resource is the blog on Animoto's website.  It is updated regularly with ideas, tips, and tricks to using Animoto.  It covers many different purposes for Animoto, including business, weddings, and photography.  However, many of the ideas can be used in an educational setting as well.  If you plan on using Animoto, the blog is definitely worth checking out. 

Have fun exploring Animoto! 


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Animoto in the Classroom

I have created a video using Animoto.  I found that Animoto is a very user-friendly tool.  It could be used in any K-12 classroom.  Students in kindergarten through second grade may need assistance, but older students will be able to create Animoto videos independently. 

Where do the pictures come from?  It would be ideal for students to use pictures that they have taken themselves.  However, if this is too time consuming, pictures can be found online through  Be sure to search for pictures that can be used freely under the Creative Commons license.  This second option is how I found the pictures for the video I created as my sample.  I have a list of references for the pictures used.  Please contact me if you would like to see the URL list.

How can Animoto be used in the classroom?  There are endless possibilities for using Animoto in the classroom.  A few of my ideas include: student introductions, photography club, persuasive advertisements for novels, explaining math problems, Treasures (reading program) theme projects, field trip memories, end-of-year highlights, etc. 

I created my sample video with telecollaboration in mind.  Animoto could be used to create videos about your school, city, state, or country.  These videos can be shared with other schools around the world, and they could make their own videos to send back.  This activity could be part of a telecollaborative project that helps students learn about different cultures. 

ISTE Technology Standards: When students use Animoto to create videos, they will meet standards 1 (creativity and innovation), 2 (communication and collaboration), and 6 (technology operations and concepts).  Students will compile pictures and videos in a new and creative way.  Also, they can collaborate with each other in groups to make their videos.  Then they can communicate with students in other schools to learn about various cultures.  Students will show that they understand how to use the technology effectively by creating their videos. 

Here is my sample video about my state: Maryland.  Enjoy!!

Please comment if you have used Animoto in your classroom, or you have other ideas of how it could be used in the classroom.  Thanks for reading!



Have you ever heard of Animoto? is a Web 2.0 tool that allows you to create a video from your personal photographs and video clips.  You get to choose a background theme and a song (over 600 song choices), then you upload your photos and/or video clips, and Animoto does all of the editing and producing for you. 

This is a free tool, and educators even have free access to the Plus version which typically costs $30 per year.  The free upgrade allows you to create videos that are as long as the background song, instead of only 30-second videos.  It also allows you to download your videos to your computer and burn them to a DVD. 

Feel free to explore Animoto on your own.  I will be back soon to post a sample video that I have created. 


Monday, June 18, 2012

Welcome to my blog about Web 2.0 tools.  Let's have fun exploring Web 2.0 tools together!