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Welcome

 

 

Welcome to

MI-LIFE's

 Building Capacity for Continuous Improvement Site

 

This Protopage site is devoted to free Web 2.0 applications which support not only collaborative professional development for our 21st century educators, but also collaborative learning for our 21st century students.


Collaborative Professional Learning

Bookmarks

Bookmarks

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Classroom 2.0


Classroom 2.0 is a social networking Ning-based community of K-12 educators interested in integrating technology into their classrooms.

Curriki



Curriki is a wiki created by educators and learners who work together to create quality curriculum materials to help teachers and students around the world. It is the result of work done for the Global Education and Learning Community  (GELC).

  • Begin by clicking here to take a short guided tour or click on the image above to view the site.
  • You do not need to become a member in order to use the materials found in Curriki, but if you wish to contribute your own curriculum materials, provide feedback, join groups, create a personal collection of items, or create your own wiki resources, you need to create a Curriki account.

 

Delicious

 

Delicious is a social bookmarking site in which users create links to favorite websites, tag them, making them searchable by other users.

 

With bookmarks stored online, they are accessible from any computer. By creating tags for bookmarked websites, teachers can collect URLs for specific websites and instruct their students to visit Delicious and searching for the unique tag which their teacher has designed.

 

Click on the icon above to visit the Delicious site. Membership is required to store bookmarks, but not to search for them.

Google Alerts


Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results based on your choice of topic. Build a digital library for yourself with links to subjects of interest to you by using Google Alerts.


Click on the image above to visit the Google Alerts site. You must have a Google account to use any of the Google products, but once you have an account, it is good for every Google application.

 

FixYa

While not necessarily an educational site, FixYa provides free tech support and technical help for gadgets, electronic equipment and consumer products. Fixya's technical experts advise on fixing problems and provide instructions on proper usage of products either by chat or message posting. FixYa stores manuals and troubleshooting guides for over half a million products. FixYa's tech support community will provide a quick solution for your "how to" problem.

 

Become a FixYan yourself and become  part of a DIY revolution that helps empower techies, tinkerers and hobbyists across the globe.

 

Click on the Fixya icon above to link out to the site which has over 1,000,000 products in its data base to help you fix whatever needs fixing!

Google Scholar

Google Scholar permits you to search for scholarly literature from peer-reviewed papers, journals, and abstracts from academic publishers, scholarly societies, colleges and universities.

Click on the Google image above and enter a search term. Once you have located a relevant article, Google Scholar helps you locate the full text version if unavailable online by finding a library in your area.

 

This Google app allows you to import citations into a bibliography manager in your preferred citation format - APA, e.g.

Google Docs

Google Docs is a free online document creation, sharing, and storage service provided by Google.

 

It permits you to create word processing documents, spreadsheets, and presentations, and to share them in real time with invited editors.


Click on the image above to visit the Google Docs site. Once there, click on the short Google Docs video to view how Google docs works.

 

If you decide you are interested, you must create a Google account .

 

LiveMocha

 

Want to learn Mandarin Chinese, but don't want to attend class and pay the tuition? Try Livemocha, a free beta site which offers you the opportunity to learn 11 different languages by integrating online instructional content with a global community of language learners. 

 

Members all over the world can utilize their native language proficiency to teach and learn from other members of the community. Users have the option of practicing structured conversation exercises with a native speaker or submitting a writing or an audio sample of an exercise for a native speaker to edit or correct. These community-based interactive tools in Livemocha help build a strong engaged language community.

Click on the Livemocha icon above and view the Livemocha video, a six-minute explanation of how Livemocha works. Or click here for an interactive tour of this social network for language learners.

Flickr

Flickr is a photo-sharing site which permits registered users to upload their photos, tag them with descriptive words so that they are searchable, and share them with others. Owned by Yahoo, Flickr offers a Creative Commons search filter for locating pictures whose owners have offered to share with others, so you don't have to worry about copyright violations.

 

Teachers could upload a series of photos, tag them with a descriptive name which is searchable, and then share them with students or colleagues.

 

Click on the Flickr icon above and visit the site.

Shelfari



Shelfari is an online gathering place for authors, publishers, and readers where you could create your own professional learning community.

 

Click on the Shelfari image above and in the new screen, select the blue Explore tab to navigate.

 

As a Shelfari member, you can:

  • Build virtual bookshelves of books you have read or want to read
  • Discover books that are popular in your trusted circles of friends
  • Influence peers by rating and discussing books online
  • Discover and learn from people with similar reading tastes
  • Participate in online book groups to further explore literature and share ideas
  • Interact with and learn from authors

Wordle

Wordle is a free online application for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The text could be from a short story or novel, from a textbook, newspaper article, or blog. Below is an example of a Wordle that we at MI-LIFE created for our website.

 

 

The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. Increased practice with Wordle can generate word clouds in which you control the size of the words and their connectivity.

 

Click on the Wordle link above and in the new screen, click the Create link to generate your very own Wordle. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to the Wordle gallery to share with your friends.

 

Locate other examples of Wordles (actually about 209,000) by Googling Wordle.

TeacherTube

TeacherTube is a free site dedicated to user-provided video content related to teaching. A video could be one of a teacher demonstrating a method, a scientific experiment, or an acted-out conversation between a college admissions counselor and a high school student.

Registered users can upload videos and share them with others by tagging them with appropriate descriptors so they are searchable.

Click on the icon above to launch the TeacherTube site. In the new screen, enter a topic in the search box of a video you'd like to use in your classroom.

SlideShare

SlideShare is the world's largest community for sharing presentations. The application is free and permits you to do the following:
  • Share slideshows with others, privately or publicly
  • Search for slideshows created by others who wish to share their work
  • Add voice over to your slides
  • Embed the slideshow into your blog or website

Click here to view a slidecast tutorial, or click on the SlideShare icon above to visit the webView the Slideshare below and if you are interested, click on the SlideShare image above to visit the site. You will need an account to upload presentations, but you can search for presentations without being a member.

Collaborative Student Learning

Bookmarks

Collaborative Student-Centered Learning

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BeFunky

BeFunky is a free online tool which permits users to upload a photo from their desktop or online photo storage location such as Flickr or Facebook, add special photo effects available at Befunky, and then save the photo and/or share it with others. BeFunky helps users enhance the look and feel of their blogs, personal websites and profiles on social networking sites. It includes a special tool for creating an avatar.

 

The BeFunky PhotoEffects allow users to easily create photographically rich and artistic results without any technical knowledge. Just click on an effect and then view the results.

 

Click on the BeFunky icon above, and in the new screen, view the various Photo Effects as they loop automatically in the center of the screen.

Bubbl.us

Bubbl.us is a free online concept mapping software that permits users to brainstorm online, share their completed mindmap with others, embed it in a website or blog, email it, print it, or save it as an image.

 

Click on the bubbl.us icon above and in the new screen, click on the features tab under Examples. Here you will see an actual mindmap outlining all the bubbl.us features.

 

Next, create your own mind map by clickiing on the Start Brainstorming button. You do not have to be a member to practice with bubbl.us.

Dweeber Beta

 

Dweeber is a newsocial networking site for student-homework collaboration. It enables members to solve problems together, participate in virtual study sessions, and communicate with friends about homework.

 

Click on the icon above to get started using Dweeber, or click here for a Quick Tour before signing up.

Drop.io

Drop.io is a free file-sharing site which permits users to privately share their files and collaborate in real time by web, email, phone, mobile, and more. Create a drop by uploading a video, photo, document, or music file, in two clicks and share with others by providing them with the drop name (URL). Size limit is 100 megs.

Use drop.io to privately share your files and collaborate in real time by web, email, phone, mobile, and more. Create each drop in two clicks and share what you want, how you want, with whom you want.

Have your students create a collection of artifacts on a specific subject and collaborate on the selection. If you prefer, you could create a subject-specific drop for and share with your students. Check out the 'How To' video to learn more about this robust file-sharing social networking site.

BuiLD YouR WILD SeLF

 

BuiLD YourR WILD SeLF is a free data mashup tool sponsored by the Wildlife Conservation Society and the New York Zoos and Aquarium. It permits users (no account needed) to create an image, starting with a human form and adding animal parts. The resulting image is shareable.

 

Think about using this with a story-writing exercise, or a discussion of animal habitats.

 

Click on the image above, and start building your wild self!

eSnips

 

eSnips is a social content-sharing site, where you can publish and share any media type. You have practically unlimited flexibility in choosing what you want to share, and with whom, in 5GB of free space. eSnips is the one place where you can share anything you want, about any topic: your thoughts, your photos, your music, your videos, your flash files, stuff you find on the web, and many other media types. Once you create different folders for each interests, you decide what files to put in each folder, and you control who is allowed to view each folder – just your colleagues or just your students.

 

Click on the icon above to view the site, or perhaps you would like to take a tour.

Imagination Cubes

 

General Electric's virtual sketch and collaboration tool permits users to create a sketch, send the sketch to a friend through email or share with a link. Think of it as a free whiteboard which can be shared with others. It was created as a promotion for GE's slogan, "Imagination at Work,", but still finds relevance in the classroom.

 

Click on the GE icon above, click on the marker, and create a sketch or write a message. Click on Clear if you don't like what you've created. A tool bar offers a choice of shapes, a stamper, lines, and a variety of background themes. From a file button, you can print, send, or add a grid.

Intel Education Resources

Intel Education web resources are a rich collection of free instructional unit plans and tools.The unit plans are project-based, collaborative, and tech-infused.The tools (Visual Ranking, Seeing Reason, and Showing Evidence) emphasize higher-order thinking and cooperative learning, and can be adapted to any grade level or academic discipline.  And again, these resources are free.

Click on the Intel icon above to visit the Intel Educational Tools site to explore its contents.

For a quick sample of an actual Visual Ranking activity, click here.

JogTheWeb

JogtheWeb is a tool which permits a creator to collect a series of topic-related web pages, annotate them, store them online for interactive use by students. Instead of providing students a list of URLs, create a JogtheWeb track for them. A Firefox extension lets you build tracks as you browse.

 

View an sample JogtheWeb of all the Collaborative Professional Learning sites for Educators created by MI-LIFE here.

Quizlet

 

Quizlet allows teachers or students to create online flashcard with as many questions and answers as they would like. Access the flashcard sets online for studying or reviewing subject matter or print out the flashcards for use in class.

 

 Create a group so members can study together and discuss their answers via chat.

 

 Avoid reinventing the wheel by searching for flashcard sets which have already been created. Click here to view the top 100 topics for which flashcards have already been created. 

TextMarks

 

Communicate with your students via cell phone text messaging with TextMarks. If your students are in after-school study groups, TextMarks is an easy way for you to communicate with them by texting from your cell phone. You text to only one number, yet all your group members can receive your messages.

Facilitate many-to-many text discussions and save time and money by texting to only one number. Use TextMarks to collect real time feedback at school events.

 

Step-by-step directions are available, or simply click on the icon above to view the site.

Skewz

Skewz is a website where users can read conservative and liberal stories selected by other users, and then vote on the liberal or conservative bias of the article. Skewz is driven by the wisdom of the participants who can read the latest news, submit new articles, "skew" and comment on existing articles.

 

Click on the image above, and in the new screen, select a story and vote on its bias by sliding the voting bar to the left for liberal or to the right for conservative. This would be a great site for teaching point of view.

 

 

 

MakeBeliefs Comix

 

Create your own comic strip and make your characters talk to each other! Click on the image above, and in the new screen, click on a face to make your character appear in the first frame. Select emotions, and then insert a thought or speech bubble. Enter text to tell your story!

 

Click on the story ideas and writer prompts tabs at the bottom of the screen for wonderful curriculum ideas. Another great storytelling application for younger students.

Woogi World

Woogi World is a social networking site for young elementary school children which focuses on teaching them how to interact properly online, and prepares them to become global goodwill ambassadors.

 

Read more about the philosophy behind this website and click on the icon above to tour the site.

VoiceThread


Ed.VoiceThread is a web-based communications network for K-12 students and educators. This online application permits users to create and collaborate on digital stories and documentaries, to explore geography and culture, or to solve math problems,

 

Ed.VoiceThread is a collaborative, multimedia slide show that holds images, documents, and videos and allows people to leave comments in 5 ways: microphone, phone, text, audio file, or video. With VoiceThread, group conversations are collected and shared in one place from anywhere in the world. Click here for a VoiceThread on "The Networked Teacher."

 

The application is web-based so requires no special software. A free membership with limited capabilities is offered for free. Other price options are quite inexpensive. Click on the VoiceThread logo above to learn more. In addition, visit the VoiceThread Ning to learn about educational applications for VoiceThread.

Communication

Bookmarks

Communication

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Adobe ConnectNow beta

Adobe ConnectNow is a free web-conferencing tool which offers screen sharing of the host's desktop, whiteboard utility, video conferencing, remote control of another user's desktop (with permission), and does not require regisration of invited participants.

This beta tool is free, but requires registration and a very small download of Adobe Air to run on your computer. For more information, click on the Adobe icon above.

DimDim

 

Dimdim is a free web conferencing service where you can share your desktop, show slides, collaborate, chat, talk and broadcast via webcam with 20 people simultaneously.  No download is required, although you must sign up to create an account. Collaborate with your colleagues in real time. All they really need is an internet-capable computer. To join in a conversation, participants would need a headset. 

 

Click on the Dimdim icon above, and in the new screen, scroll to the bottom right and click on the video camera in the Video Tutorials box. The first short 2-minute tutorial will explain quickly how Dimdim works.

Doodle


Have you ever tried to schedule a meeting time convenient for a large number of people and been inundated with emails back and forth until you finally settle on a date? Use Doodle to schedule a convenient meeting date by polling your invitees to determine the best date. The application is free and does not require a membership.


Click on the icon above and in the new screen, click on the Schedule Event button. Follow the easy on-screen prompts to complete your poll and share via URL with your invitees. This application will save you hours of time!

Eg.gtimer

 

Students and/or teachers can use this free application to set a timer for their discussion or group work. The countdown appears on a full screen and a buzzer sounds as an audible reminder that time has run out. Click on the icon above, and in the new screen, set the timer and click "go" to see how it works. No membership required!

Jing

 

Jing is a free software from Techsmith which permits users to create screen shots of a static desktop image or record onscreen activity as a 5-minute movie with narration which can then be shared with others via the web.

 

It is perfect for creating tutorials or capturing an online video which is not downloadable. Screen captures and videos are stored for free on Techsmith's Screencast site. Think about creating a Jing to demonstrate how to solve a math problem, how to create an outline, or how to navigate a web page.

 

Click on the Jing logo above, and in the new screen, locate the Watch a Video to See How link  or visit the Jing blog to discover ten things you can do with Jing.

Remember the Milk


 

Remember The Milk is a free online list-creator which provides users with a robust program to create tasks, prioritize them, categorize them, share them, and embed them in your Google calendar.

 

When creating a group project for your students, have them create a task list in Remember the Milk.

 

Learn more by clicking on the Remember The Milk icon above.

Google Videochat

If you have a Gmail account (Google Mail), you can chat face to face over video in an actual conversation with someone who also has a Gmail account. Besides having a Gmail account, you will also need to download a small program from Google.

 

Learn more by clicking on the GMail logo above.

QuickTopic

QuickTopic free message boards

Create your own discussion board to gather input from colleagues or as part of an assignment for students by using QuickTopic. This online tool is free and if you wish to try it out, click on the forum titled "Discuss 21st Century Learning" below.


QuickTopic free message boards
Discuss 21st Century Learning

Skype

Skype, through a simple download, offers users the ability to communicate through voice and video calls by using their computer, a webcam, and a microphone. This service is free, but many people also use Skype to call landline and mobiles with a monthly subscription, which, for example, would cost $9.95/month for unlimited calling to 36 countries throughout theworld.

 

Click on the Skype logo above to learn more about this popular communication tool.

TinyURL

Tiny URL


Sending a long URL in an email sometimes results in what is known as a broken link because the link extends to more than one line, losing its hyperlink capability. To prevent broken links, shorten your URLs through the use of a free online service, Tiny URL. The user enters a URL in a text box, clicks the Make a Tiny URL button, and a shortened URL appears immediately. The URL never expires and can be used as a substitute for the long URL.


Visit TinyURL to view the site, but don't try it out unless you have an actual URL!

Transfer BIG Files


Transfer BIG Files is a free online application which permits web users to send large files to each other without using email, which sometimes prevents delivery of large attachments.

 

Simply upload your large file to TBF, enter an email address, and the recipient will receive a link to the uploaded file which he or she can then download. File sizes are limited to 1 gig, and remain in storage for up to 5 days.

 

The program is completely web-based, but if you wish to see a dashboard of uploaded files and have other capabilites, you could download the TBF client tool.

 

Click on the icon above to visit the site.

Weebly

Weebly is a website-building tool which permits the user to create a web page which is hosted by Weebly. Simple to use, it requires no knowledge of HTML code.

Users can choose from a variety of templates, and embed videos, pictures, and maps with a simple click and drag tool. It's easy to add new pages to your website because Weebly automatically creates the link for you.

Create a practice page or click on the Weebly icon above to create an account. Then you can begin building a website for your classroom!

 

 

Twitter

Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service whose users communicate with others in text-based posts up to 140 characters in length. Users can choose whose Tweets they wish to follow, and with careful selection, could actually create a powerful professional learning community. Tweets can be sent and received via the Twitter website, via cell phone, or though third-party applications such as Tweetdeck or Hootsuite which reside on the  desktop.

 

Click here to view a short Commoncraft Video titled "Twitter in Plain English." If you wish to visit the Twitter website, click on the Twitter logo above.

 

For an excellent overview of the educational aspects of Twitter, view "7 Things You Should Know About Twitter" from Educause.

 

And finally, check out "25 Ways to Teach with Twitter," just in case you aren't convinced!