Search for Web 2.0 Tools

Monday, December 30, 2013

Students create and embed comic strips into your class blog or website.

I have tried many comic strip makers and have them listed on my web 2.0 page.  StoryBoardThat though looks to be the best.  They have many backgrounds, characters, objects and sharing options.  The site is free to use and has paid services that will allow you as a teacher to monitor students work.  I think StoryBoardThat would be a great technology integration tool with classes like ELL and any class that requires writing which should be most of them.  Below you will find an example an embedded comic strip that demonstrates Amendment 2.  Like I mentioned, after the comic strip and story is made it is very simple to then take the code snippit and embed the image into your website.

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StoryBoardThat tutorial

1. Go to website and create a new account.  Then just click the "Create a Storyboard" link found at the top.

2.  Just drag and drop characters onto the storyboard.  There are quite a few to choose from.  Note also that you can add scenes,  text bubbles, stencils and objects or you can just upload your own.

3.  Once you drag something onto the canvas you should get options.  For example after dragging on this angry woman onto the storyboard I can now use the "handles" and re-size or rotate her.  I can change the color of her hair, skin, shirt, skirt, and shoes.

4. If i add a textable/text bubble, I will also get some more options like font size and color.

 5.  Down at the bottom you find your undo, clear all and add cells which will add more area to your comic strip.  You can also drag and drop your cells to reorder or rearrange them.  From this menu you also find your "Save" button.

6.  After you are all done creating your educational comic strip and click the "Save" button you will then be asked to give it a title and description.  Click the "Save Storyboard" button to view your final product.

7.  On the next screen to the left you will see some sharing options.  It is very easy to share to your Facebook, Twitter or your Google+ pages.

8.  At the very bottom you can also create a "New Storyboard" edit the one you just did or even delete it. A couple of really cool things you can do is download your comic strip as an image or even a PowerPoint.  And finally my favorite thing for me when it comes to web 2.0 tools is the ability to embed the final product into either my website or my blog.

9.  Once you click the "Embed" button you will get the code snippet.  Just copy and paste it into your classes blog or website for all to enjoy or learn from.

Creating this comic strip is fast and easy.  Try having your students create one as one of their options of reporting information.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Smartboard: Are they really going to charge an annual subscription fee?

I was hoping that this was a rumor I had heard on Google Plus, but it is in fact true.  Smarttech starting in April of 2014 will begin charging a subscription fee to their Notebook products.  It is called the "Notebook Advantage."  Smarttech I have to admit that I am a little disappointed.  I love your software and got my entire school district to purchase a Smartboard for every classroom, and now you are saying that I am going to have to pay a fee to get the product updates.  Not cool.  Unfortunately we are already invested in using the SMART products, and will probably buy, but I promise that as newer technologies come out we will now keep our eyes open for something else.

Sorry to my readers for my rant, but here is the link to the FAQ on SMART Notebook Advantage.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Students create presentations in the style of cartoons

Ok, now I really like this idea.  PowToon allows you to create animated presentations within minutes.  I couldn't believe how simple it was.  This may be one of those digital tools worth buying.  I am a big fan of blogging about free web 2.0 tools and PowToon is definitely free, but you can create class sets for yearly fees.  You can create up to 30 exports for free and the only drawback is that your video export gets branded with the "PowToon" logo.  Just watch the example below to see what PowToon can do.  It does much more.  In fact there is so much that this tutorial is going to be short.  Like always, if you truly want to get good at any app product then you need to "play" with and explore all the options.

1.  After registering at, click the "Start Now" button to get your cartoonized presentation going.

2.  Choose a category, in this case I am going to use "Educational Clip."  Next choose a template to use.  Then give it a name and a description.  Once you are all done just click the "Create" button.

3.  With PowToon just add text and graphic to your presentation.

4.  On the left hand side you can see all the different slides you have.  Above the 1st slide you can add and delete your slides.

5.  On the right side you can add text effects, characters, animation to your objects, props, shapes and slide transitions. 

6.  At the bottom is your time line.  All the way to the right you can add or subtract how long your slides is going to stay up.  On the left side you have you play buttons to view your objects and timing.  On the timeline you can decide how and when to add your different objects. 

7.  At the top, you have your standard icons that you would find in almost any presentation software.  You can add images, sounds, and text as well as change the way the text looks.

8.  Also at the top you have a "Preview" and an "Export" button.  You can easily export your videos to Youtube.  To get your embed codes though just click the "Preview" button.

9.  Now click the "embed" button.  Just copy the embed code and paste it into your blog or website.

Give PowToon a try and comment below how your PowToon came out and if there are other web 2.0 tools that you would like to share, that can be used for technology integration in the k12 classroom.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Create video and audio PowerPoint Presentations for your students with Knovio.

Once upon a time, when I was teaching 7th Grade Earth Science, I used a product from Microsoft that allowed you to add video and voice to your presentations.  I would then upload the presentation to my class website.  When I had a sub I actually have them go through the PowerPoint and my students wouldn't miss me much because there I was in front of them, as if I had never left.  My students would always ask why they could never get rid of me.

The problem with my method above is that for the average user and anybody who didn't have time could never really duplicate it.  I too, thought that I just didn't have enough time, to film myself and then upload the whole thing to my website and then make sure I explained it to the substitute.  Well Knovio, I think solved the time and frustration issue.  This website allows you to upload the PowerPoint which takes seconds and then record your video and voice onto their website so that you can save time by not having to upload it yourself.  Also you can embed the presentation or just give your substitute the link so that he/she can easily get to it.

Knovio Tutorial

1.  Go to and register.  After registering you just click the "Upload Slides" button.

2.  It will then start processing the PowerPoint slides.

3.  Click your "View your slides" button, to make sure they all turned out OK.

4.  Once your slides are all there and verified you click at the bottom right of your scree the "Next Step: Record Video" button.

5.  You will probably have to give permission to Knovio to access your video and microphone so if the following popup appears just click the "Allow" button.

6.  Click the "Record" button to get going.

7.  If you are too shy to show your face to your students or don't want them to know that you created the lesson in your PJs then just select the "Record audio only option" under "Camera Settings."

8.  Just click the "Next Slide" option to advance your slides.

9.  Once you are done you can click the "Play" button to see if you are please with the results before publishing.  If you are not then click the "Record" button to trigger the option to start all over.

10.  Once you are satisfied with the results then click the "Next Step: Share" button found at the bottom left side of the screen.

11.  Give your presentation a title and a description then click the "Save and get on with it." button.

12.  On the left hand side now you will see a "Preview" button which will allow you to preview your whole presentation.  You can give your substitute your "Presentation Link" or you can do my personal favorite which is to give use the embed code to embed a video or presentation into your classroom blog or website, just like my example below.

Give Knovio a shot and comment below if you have any further suggestions or other similar tools that are worth sharing with the educational community.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Google Apps (Presentation): How do I embed my Google Presentation into a website or blog?

One of the many awesome features of Google Presentations is that you can embed your presentation into your website or blog.  This is cool, because you only have to embed it once and any change you make after that will automatically be updated.  Your students will have access to the latest version/revision of your presentation.  Embedding the Google Presentation also gives your students easy access to it from home.  This really helps with the latest educational idea of the Flipped Classroom where students can learn much of the material from their house.

Embedding Google Presentation Tutorial and Example

1.  After creating your Google Presentation click on "File" and select the "Publish to the web" option.

2.  Click the "Start Publishing" button.

 3.  You might get a popup that asks if you are sure you want to publish.  Just click the "OK" button.

4.  You can share your presentation by sharing the link as well, but if you want to embed it within your website or blog, highlight the "Embed code" and then right click and copy it.

5.  Now take that code and paste it into the HTML section of your blog or website.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Add a little humor to your class website with a Voki.

A few years back I ran into the Voki website and thought it was a funny idea to create a Voki and add it to my website.  My students thought I was crazy, our internet speed was atrocious and I was still using a Windows 98 machine and my student machines didn't have the latest browsers so using Voki just wasn't worth it.  Now that our school is doing really well with technology integration and many of our teachers are creating class website, I though I would blog a little about Voki.  Voki is an avatar creator.  I literally only takes seconds to create an avatar that can speak to your students from within your website.  Below is an example of one.  This is one that literally took seconds to do.  I am on Christmas vacation so I didn't even have anything clever to say, but if you are interested in creating a Voki for your school website or blog, below is a tutorial on how simple it is.

 1.  After you create an account and log in to it at , just click the "Create a New Voki" button.

2.  Next pick a character and start customizing it.  You can add hair, change the mouth style, change its clothing and "bling" it out.

3.  You will notice a di once in awhile.  This will just quickly randomize the look of your avatar for you.  You can also manually change the features of the avatar's body as well as its color.

4. Now give it a voice.  The phone icon will let you call in and give it your own voice if you don't happen to have a microphone.  I prefer the mic option.  You can also have a computerized voice by just clicking the "key" button and typing in your message.  Finally you can also add a sound file from your computer to your avatar.

5.  Now choose a different background for your scene to take place in.

6.  Make sure you click the "Done" button each time you are finished manipulating part of your scene.  The "Players" button lets you change the style of the Voki's media player.

7.  Once you are done playing with and creating your Voki, just click the "Publish" button.

 8.  Give you Voki file a name and click "Save."

9.  Click the "Add to your site" tab and then copy the "Embed Code:".  Now just take that embed code and paste it into your "HTML" section of your website or blog.

Don't be afraid to let your kids try it out as well.  I think they would really like to create a Voki.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Google Spreadsheet: Update your Google Spreadsheets to the latest version.

Google has just updated their spreadsheet program with a few added benefits including using the program offline as well as some aesthetic features assigning each spreadsheet a different colored tab.  Here is how you go about updating the Google Spreadsheet program and a little tutorial on changing tab colors.

1.  Go to your Google Drive and click on the settings/gear icon.  Select the "Settings" option.

2.  Once in settings click the "Editing" tab.

3.   You will see a "New version:" section.  Just put a check mark into the check box that says, "Try the new Google Sheets."

4. NOTE:  Your old spreadsheets will be used with the older format, but your newer sheets will now have the latest features.  You can go through the "tour" by clicking the "Next" button your you can always skip the tour by clicking the "Skip tour" button.  The Google Sheets tour just shows some of the new things you can do with the program.

5.  That is all there is to changing over to the newer version.  To play with the ability to assign spreadsheet tabs a new color, just create a new spreadsheet from within your Google Drive.  Once you are in the spreadsheet document, just click the drop down arrow next to the sheet name, in this case "Sheet1."  Just choose the "Change color" option and pick your color.

6.  You can now see that the "Sheet1" tab has a blue line running below it. 

7.  Change each tab you create for coding purposes.