Wednesday, November 26, 2014 is a website that you and/or your students can use to create their own flash cards. 

What makes this website different from other websites like First of all, it works really well with Google Drive. All you have to do is visit the website and make a copy of the template. Use the template to create your cards. Cards can be created quickly because the template is in a spreadsheet format. Secondly, your cards can contain video. This is a great feature. Once you finish creating your cards, just publish the spreadsheet and copy and paste the link in the template. It is very easy and quick. Visit the website because it walks you through step-by-step directions. 

Once you get your link for your cards, you can also print off a paper version of a quiz. Students can also view all cards at once on the screen. There is even a template that works the same way for a jeopardy game. Check it out. I really believe you will like this website. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Inform and Animate with
 this week’s Creation Cool Tool
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This week’s creation tool isn’t that new but it I think it has been largely overlooked in our district in favor of some less engaging but easier to use tools. PowToon is a presentation app available in our Moore@School Webstore. The app though is really just a shortcut to the web-based site so there should be appropriate thought given to the digital divide before it is assigned for homework. PowToon lets the producer create those fun, Sir Ken Robinson or UPS style whiteboard drawing presentations.

PowToon supports single sign in with their account & willl connect to their Drive accounts. Students can start with one of several free templates or a blank presentation. There are four predetermined backdrops for the scenes but images can be uploaded as backgrounds, props or characters. Among the pre-loaded characters are a handful of silhouettes and cartoons with simple animations. Those animations and a “finished” look in the image quality make the PowToon presentation more engaging than the PowerPoint or Slides programs.
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Most common text editing options are available PowToon. Simple shapes, objects, and transitions can be added by clicking and dropping from the right side tool bar. Much of the tools options and slide navigation features closely resemble those of both PowerPoint and Slides. Users select between slideshow or movie mode by clicking their choice on the slide bar. The movie mode will produce a self propelled final product but give up the option of embedded video available in slide mode.

This would be the next step if your students are proficient with PPT, Slides, or other static presentation makers. Additional paid features include voice over, but I would consider combining finished products with Screencastify or Movenote to achieve the same impact at no cost to the student, teacher, or LEA.

Look here for just a couple of practical ways to use PowToon in your room:

Here is the summary of the Graphite Review. Click HERE to navigate to the full review
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Will Herring MEd-IT, NBPTS
Moore County, DIF


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Online Bulletin Boards with Padlet

   As teachers, we are always looking for new ways to spark discussion, share resources, and communicate with students. Padlet is a multi-functional tool that has various benefits in the classroom. Not only is Padlet a free website, but contributors do not need to have an account in order to access it. Below is a list and short description of ways to use Padlet in your classroom!

Option 1: Group Discussion
  • The teacher can post a question onto his/her Padlet wall and share it with students. Padlet walls can be shared through email, QR codes, links, or even writing it down on a whiteboard.
  • As students access the Padlet, they can begin to discuss the question or topic. The discussion occurs in real time, so as students respond, their responses will appear immediately.
  • Students do not need an account in order to respond to a discussion!

**There is now a layout option on Padlet, that allows the teacher to effectively organize responses.

Option 2: Anticipatory Sets/Closures to a Lesson
  • At the end of your lesson, you can assess your students' understanding by having them comment on their learning. 
  • By switching on the "moderate" option, it will prevent students from seeing each other's posts.
Option 3: Assignment or Project Sharing
  • As students complete a project, have him/her share the link to their assignment/project on a Padlet wall, so others can view.
To start using Padlet, go to and begin creating engaging, digital bulletin boards for your class!

~Deanna Boesch

Friday, November 14, 2014

Haiku Deck - Transform your Presentations

Don't get me wrong, I love Google Presentations just as much as the next guy. But sometimes I want to create a presentation that's got some flavor to it. That's when I found Haiku Deck. This award-winning creation tool allows its users to create simple, yet beautiful and fun stories. These presentations can easily by shared, posted, embedded on a website or blog, or viewed on a web-based device. Some of the game-changing features of Haiku Deck include: 
  • a range of stylish themes
  • the ability to upload images to use as your background including millions of free images
  • text that makes your presentation pop
  • charts that provide sleek visuals to represent your data

Whether your students have Chromebooks or iPads, this free software will be sure to turn their ordinary stories into inspirational presentations. To learn more about Haiku Deck, including a gallery of featured decks, tips on how to optimize your decks, and more reviews, be sure to visit and begin creating your own engaging presentations. 

-Clint Rogers
Collaboration Cool Tool
RealtimeBoard for Education

Good Looking, Powerful, and Chrome-Ready Mindmapping

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In my research to write this article (Cool Tools for Collaboration) I saw tons of workspace apps for the iPad and Chrome. They all give the students a virtual space to collaborate with similar features. The Apple Apps were more pleasing aesthetically and easier to teach with than the Chrome alternatives with which I was familiar. Chrome apps had a little more functionality than the Apple Store offerings, but those are typically more distracting than helpful in the classroom. I like the versatility of Lucid, but the design space is clunky. The Chrome version of Popplet is attractive, but lacks function and has lost the trust of our teachers because of some connectivity issues.

In my search to find something easy to use, powerful, and attractive for my Chromebook users I stumbled upon RealtimeBoard for Education. It is already loaded into the Moore@Schools Webstore and ready to use now.
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RealtimeBoard EDU supports single signin with edu gmail accounts.
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If allowed to do so it will also link to Drive like Lucid (very handy) and collaborators can be located and added through gmail. The user can also add an extension to capture whole or partial screenshots that will be automatically added to the RealtimeBoard Library (handier than I originally thought it would be).
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RealtimeBoard EDU has a great, clean space for the students to collaborate synchronously. It utilizes pretty common features for this type of program including drawing tools, shapes, connectors / arrow lines, and text boxes. The types of shapes & text bubbles are far fewer than Lucid but more than adequate for our needs.

RealtimeBoard EDU Lucid
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Students can embed video as with Popplet using the URL. Additions to those common tools include very easy to generate tables and charts (pie and various bar graphs).
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Students communicate in the workspace by generating post-it type notes, screen-share or by the onscreen “board chat” feature.
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What is unlike similar applications? RealtimeBoard lets users import entire documents, pictures, screenshots (very easy if you add extension--not currently in the Moore@School WebStore).

As students analyze these pieces and begin to see how they work together they can organize or combine the elements to convey a larger story.
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Student/students can save their work to Drive, download as PDF, add the instructor as collaborator, or send them the link. This many ways to submit make it quick and easy.

I really like the application at this point and I am happy to have an attractive alternative for my teachers. I anticipate this will be a big hit. Instructionally it could be modified to fit most assignment types and levels of Bloom’s framework.

Ideas for Instruction:

Science: Lab & Experiment Reporting, Categorization

Social Studies: Biographies, Primary Doc Analysis, & Complex Cause-Effect

Math:Terminology, Illustrations of Real World Application of Skill

ELA: Character Development, Thematic Strands in Story, Types of Poetry, Mood/Tone/Theme

Foreign Language: Cultural Elements, Dialectic Variations, Topically Related Verb/Nouns
If you have found any other great alternatives or have something to add to the discussion here just post a comment below.

Will Herring, MEd-IT NBPTS
Moore County Schools, IDI DIF