Thursday, 31 May 2012

Lunapic: Online Image Editor

Lunapic is a product I came across when trying to find a way to remove the white background for images I want to place on my sites containing lessons. Often, I use coloured backgrounds and the usual white filler is visually unattractive. Step in Lunapic. It performs a myriad of tasks to edit an image, but the one I bookmarked it for was the ability to make backgrounds transparent.


  • Use Lunapic to brighten up your own learning sites
  • Learners can use Lunapic to enhance presentation of tasks they complete, particularly if they are for the public domain

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

LogoTypeMaker: Create custom logos

LogoTypeMaker makes it very easy to create your own logo. It's as simple as entering your brand name, and waiting a few seconds while it generates a selection of different logos, rather than just one.
I came across this while researching resources for an Apprentice unit that I'll be doing with my learners soon. This will give them the opportunity to create their own brand visual for use in their pitches and presentations. Here's one I created in less than 30 seconds.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

ZombieMe: Zombify Yourself

Warning: If you're easily grossed out, look away now!

As I was researching resources for a unit based around 'Horror', I came across ZombieMe which allows you to upload a picture of yourself and then add scars, necrosis and other zombie features to create a picture you can use however you choose. Definitely not one for the younger learners, but with the recent trends in the zombie genre, perhaps this would allow your learners some creativity in the classroom?

  • Learners could create zombies for their own horror photostory
  • Use creations to inspire creative descriptive writing
  • Use as a lead-in for Biology lessons looking at decomposition; a zombified teacher will certainly capture their attention!

Monday, 28 May 2012

Google 3D Photo Tours of Famous Landmarks

Google has launched yet another great tool that has great potential for the classroom - Photo Tours. Tekzilla explain it all in the video below.

  • Use this tool to set up virtual field trips.
  • English teachers can guide learner toward this tool as inspiration for descriptive writing.
  • Build excitement around an actual school trip by exploring landmarks in ways not possible in the physical world; zoom up buildings, see them from above etc.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Thinglink: 27+ Interesting Ways to Use

A while back I posted about a gadget for emebedding Thinglink into a Google Site. Today, I came across this great presentation that offers up 27+ ways to use Thinglink in the classroom. It has been produced under a Creative Commons licence so anyone is free to add to the ideas. Have a look and be inspired.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012 - Slideshows with a Face! allows you to record yourself via a webcam while presenting a slideshow. The guy in the video below has over 50 years of communications experience, so I'll let him explain the rest.

  • Use it to explain concepts for lessons and make it part of your flipped-classroom toolkit.
  • Learners can use to record digital presentations for current and future learners.
  • Learners could also use it to present a portfolio of work evidencing their progress or talk their audience through the process of doing something e.g. the essay-drafting process.
  • How about a project where older learners write stories for younger learners, illustrate slides to accompany their tales and then read them aloud before sharing across the school and perhaps even with other schools?

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

A Result! Thinglink Gadget for Google Sites

After a very frustrating couple of days, the kind Andrew of Thinglink has produced a gadget to embed Thinglink images into Google Sites.

Instructions (Open your Google page before reading):
  1. Go to the Google Sites page where you want to place image and click 'edit'
  2. Click 'insert' and choose add gadget.
  3. Add a 'Gadget by URL'
  4. Enter the URL:
  5. Enter the embed code from the Thinglink image where the box is
  6. Save the page to see what it looks like; you may have to fiddle with the height and width settings depending on your image dimensions
  • Use embedded Thinglinks as a navigation menu on the splash page of your site. (Thanks to Holly for this one.)
  • Learners can use Thinglink to draw together information on a topic using a relevant image; as it's a collaborative tool, you can allow anyone to edit and add tags.
  • Learners could make a map of place that a story takes place in and then embed different media at certain locations as a way to experiment with experiencing narrative in different ways.
  • Science could set up a murder scene with tags leading to various clues or English/Language Arts teachers could do the same as a starting point for imaginative writing.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Festisite: Unleash the Creativity - Mother's Day Cards?

Festisite is an interesting platform for producing some great teaching resources, as well as getting your learners to be creative with texts. You can sign-up using an existing account such as Facebook, so no need to create a separate profile.

  • Use the money generator to produce customised cash for use in the classroom - maths?
  • Personalise cards with pictures for classroom games.
  • Create shape texts - how about one like this letter (below) for Mother's Day?

Monday, 7 May 2012

Pinterest: Visual Community Curation

One of the hottest topics at the moment is Pinterest, accounts for which are still only available via invitation. It's basically a visual curation site to gather and share content around the web on any topic you choose. Fortunately, you do not need an account to see what pin-boards others have created and here's a very useful one from David Kapuler sharing a variety of free clipart sites for use in education.


  • Pinterest is a great go-to site if you are looking for particular teaching resources that others recommend; here's another board for The Hunger Games but you can find boards for a huge variety of topics
  • Learners could use Pinterest to find curated content on research topics; my learners are currently using it for the My Hero project and have managed to find some great links
  • If learners request an account and are successful they could work together to create their own boards related to specific topics

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Sumdog: Games for Math Practice

Sumdog offers a wide range of games to practice math in a fun way. There are rewards, competitions and multi-player games to keep even the most reluctant learners engaged. There are portals for teachers, students and parents so it can be used at home too. Teachers can organise students into classes and set specific activities for them to complete.

  • The ability to create free logins for all your students, without providing e-mail addresses is a bonus for schools not yet using a school-wide email system
  • As teachers can choose which skills learners practise, activities can personalise activities and  complement classroom activities 
  • Let's face it - what teen would rather do exercises out of a traditional textbook than play interactive games online? It's a winner for motivation and engagement at all levels.

Illogical Fallacies put to Rest

"A logical fallacy is usually what has happened when someone is wrong about something. It's a flaw in reasoning. They're like tricks or illusions of thought, and they're often very sneakily used by politicians and the media to fool people.
Don't be fooled! This website and poster have been designed to help you identify and call out dodgy logic wherever it may raise its ugly, incoherent head." 
- your logical fallacy is
  • Use the full size infographic to guide learners through the maze of propaganda and bias found in the media around them when looking at various texts in English (Language Arts) or Humanities.
  • A useful resource for PSHE or Theory of Knowledge discussions for the IB course.
  • Display one of the posters on your wall as a quick reference tool when it's needed.

Dropbox Update: Publish Stored Files to the World

Dropbox has added a new feature to its service now allowing users to publish any file stored in an account, much like Google Docs. And about time too!

  • Dropbox is already used by many teachers to allow learners to send them files via DropItToMe so this addition will make it much simpler for teachers to share files too, without granting full access to their accounts.
  • If your organisation does not use Google Apps, this could be a useful alternative for file sharing.

Go Google Drive - Even More Free Storage!

You could hardly have missed the recent hype surrounding Google Drive being launched last week, but just in case you missed it, here's a very quick introduction to Google's answer to Dropbox.

Creativity Counts!

A creativity gap has been identified and is laid out in the infographic below. Looking for ideas to get creative in the classroom? How about 500 to get you started? Click here.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

SearchyPants: Customisable Searches for Kids

I am always keen to find customised search engines for learners and SearchyPants is my latest find.
Searchy Pants allows children, parents & schools to create a custom search home page for their child to use and allows families to easily communicate by leaving custom messages. Schools can also use Searchy pants to showcase pupils work while providing a safe search experience.
-SearchyPants 'About' page 

Since introducing SweetSearch and Instagrok, my learners have been surprisingly vocal about how useful they found them so I will definitely be adding this to their toolbox.