Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Word Clouds (Part 2)

So hopefully you've checked out Wordle by now but did you know there are many more alternatives that allow you to do the same thing and more?  In this post, I'm going to use content from an article found here with a description in each websites own words.  I encourage you to check out the article and each one of these sites and see which will best meet your needs!

"ABCya! Word Clouds are graphical representations of words.  A Word Cloud can represent any main idea or topic based on the words used.  ABCya! Word Clouds are fun and exciting because they allow for creativity and imagination beyond lists or graphic organizers."

"Write a comment or poem in the shape of hearts or other symbols."

"Tag clouds are visualizations of term frequencies. A tag cloud allows you to see common terms in a text by grouping like terms together and emphasizing frequent terms."

"WordSift was created to help teachers manage the demands of vocabulary and academic language in their text materials. We especially hope that this tool is helpful in supporting English Language Learners. We want WordSift to be a useful tool, but we also want it to be fun and visually pleasing. We would be happy if you think of it playfully - as a toy in a linguistic playground that is available to instantly capture and display the vocabulary structure of texts, and to help create an opportunity to talk and explore the richness and wonders of language!"

"WordItOut is the word cloud generator that gives you control with many custom settings. Free to use and no sign up required!"

"TagCrowd is a web application for visualizing word frequencies in any user-supplied text by creating what is popularly known as a tag cloud or text cloud."

"VocabGrabber analyzes any text you're interested in, generating lists of the most useful vocabulary words and showing you how those words are used in context. Just copy text from a document and paste it into the box, and then click on the "Grab Vocabulary!" button. VocabGrabber will automatically create a list of vocabulary from your text, which you can then sort, filter, and save."

"Tagul is designed for web masters who want to place nice clouds on their web pages. Tagul clouds have numerous advantages against ordinary text clouds like custom fonts, cloud shapes, colors, etc. and thus Tagul clouds have much fancier look. Tagul clouds are more entertaining for your web site visitors provide better user experience."

As described by the article: Tag Cloud Generator allows you to "generate your tag clouds in html and flash online with just a few steps."

Tag Cloud Generator. (Yes it is named the same as the previous...)
"Tag clouds or word clouds are getting more and more popular to visualize nicely the different links on a website. These tag clouds serve mostly to create a good internal linking for google but not an undesired link chaos for the customer. With this tag cloud generator you may now create your own tag clouds for free and public domain. We created some possibilities to generate your tag clouds with nice backgrounds and some nice gimmicks. Just enter the internet address and then you may create your own tag clouds easily. Later on you generate the source code and enter it into your website."

and one more, my personal favorite....

"Tagxedo turns words -- famous speeches, news articles, slogans and themes, even your love letters -- into a visually stunning tag cloud, words individually sized appropriately to highlight the frequencies of occurrence within the body of text."

(FYI: I used Tagxedo for the word cloud above!)


Word Clouds (Part 1)

Good news! It seems that Wordle is back!  After being down for some time the popular word cloud creation site is back up and running.  So for those of you that love this site, get back to creating!

For those of you that don't know what Wordle is or even what word clouds are, let me explain.  Word clouds are essentially pictures created by words.  For example, Wordle allows you to copy/input text of some sort and then automatically creates a picture from the words you inputted.  The words within in the picture adjust in font size according to how many times that particular word is used in the text provided. Check out this link from the Wordle gallery for a good example of a word cloud based on the US Constitution: http://www.wordle.net/display/wrdl/1381018/US_Constitution.


Monday, November 29, 2010

Another Thing to Be Thankful For: Free Resources for Teachers!

Now that Thanksgiving is over and we've all had our fill of turkey and Black Friday deals, it's time to get back in the swing of things at school. But, has all of the deal shopping left you penniless? Don't worry, teAchnology is all FREE. This amazing resource for teachers has everything from worksheets, lesson plans, rubrics, printables, tools, tips, forums, puzzles, organizers, activity ideas, and other classroom materials. Resources are even broken down into subjects, making it easy for you to find what you are looking for.

Here are a few more free resource sites:
A to Z Teacher Stuff
PBS Teacher Resources
HotChalk Lesson Plans Page
Science NetLinks
Education World
Education Resources Information Center (ERIC)

There's so much to offer in this list of sites, that you'll have to go back for seconds.

What about you? Do you have any favorites that you use?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Gone Phishing

Have you ever heard the term "phishing"? Well, if not, I guarantee at some point you have received a phishing email message and maybe you didn't even realize it.  Wikipedia defines phishing as "the criminally fraudulent process of attempting to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication."  Wikipedia also has a great explanation article detailing it further found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phishing.  The flowchart below will help you determine whether or not you have received an email message that is a scam.  


Monday, November 22, 2010

Teaching With Web 2.0 [LNL]

This month's Lunch 'N Learn for EHOVE staff was about Teaching With Web 2.0.  Dave Jenkins and I introduced nine new (to our staff) and amazing web 2.0 websites to our staff as they ate an excellently prepared lunch by EHOVE's own Young Chef Inn student staff.  Please check out our Prezi presentation below for more information and links to the sites we went through.  Hopefully you will find these resources useful to you as well!  Let us know what you think by commenting below. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

3 Things You Probably Didn't Know You Could Do During a PowerPoint Presentation [PowerPoint]

Presenting slides to your audience with PowerPoint can be more than just showing slide after slide one right after the other. You can do a few other things during your presentation that you might not have known about that can help you navigate the slides in a different order and even annotate or draw on them.

1. Go To Any Slide Now
Let's say you're on the 3rd slide of your PowerPoint presentation and you want to go to the 87th slide in your presentation. Instead of clicking through all of the slides, you can type 87 and press Enter on the keyboard to go right to that slide. This is helpful if you know what the slide numbers are, but it could also be helpful to return to the first slide. To return to the first slide no matter where you are at, you would just need to type 1 and Enter.

2. Blank the Slide
You can instantly blank the screen on any slide and you have two options: black or white. To blank the screen white, press W and to blank the screen black press B.

3. Draw and Write on the Slide
You can scribble, draw, write, underline and even highlight slides. Just right-click on the slide, go to Pointer Options, and choose Pen or Highlighter. You could also press CTRL+P instead. Red is the default pen color, but you also have a lot of color options under the Ink Color menu.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Microsoft Word Reviewing Tools [Office Tips]

Tired of having to print off digital documents to grade or proofread? Did you know that Microsoft Word has proofreading/reviewing tools built in? For Microsoft Word 2003 there are a few tools. The first is the Reviewing Toolbar which has many great items for checking and correcting documents. To view this, go to View/Toolbar/Reviewing Toolbar. Also under the View menu, you can select the “Markup” option. If you would like to keep tabs on what you have done you can also go to the Tools menu and select “Track Changes.” If you are using Microsoft Word 2007 or 2010, on the “Ribbon” toolbar across the top, select the “Review” tab. This has all the same tools mentioned above for Word 2003 all in one location. Each of these built-in functions are ideal for showing students their mistakes and errors in an easy and very readable way.

Happy proofreading! Enjoy!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Citrix Web Portal [EHOVE Staff]

Have you ever wanted to use a program that we have here on campus at home? Even better, have you ever wanted to access your personal drive from home? Well, now you can! As many of you know we have had a system called Citrix implemented for some time now. This will allow all of the aforementioned things to happen right from your home computer or for that matter, ANY computer with an internet connection whether the desired software is installed locally or not! For detailed instructions on how to gain access please check out EHOVE's Moodle site here. (Also we have made available a document for troubleshooting common issues that may arise when using Citrix which can be found here.)  We hope this helps you and your students to become more productive as well as save you some time and frustration. This resource is in constant change with more programs to be added in the future. If you have questions about this resource please let us in the Technology Department know and we'll be happy to answer your questions!  Try it out here:  https://portal.ehove.net.  Enjoy! 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

YouTube Videos via SchoolTube

Okay so obviously viewing YouTube videos at school is useful, but of course most places must keep YouTube blocked.  Well here is yet another way to view YouTube videos when it is blocked!  For those of you who are staff here at EHOVE, we encourage you to continue to use our Educational Video Library but this could be another option for you as well.  Thanks to a post by Richard Byrne from the Free Technology for Teachers blog and a link he shared, you can do this via SchoolTube!  Using the school appropriate SchoolTube site, you can import YouTube links to make the videos viewable to you.  This process is shown in detail here: http://content.yudu.com/Library/A1pp5s/UsingSchoolTubetoVie/resources/index.htm.
Check it out and give it a try!

Please read the original post for more details at Free Technology for Teachers: http://www.freetech4teachers.com/2010/11/using-schooltube-to-view-youtube.html.


Monday, November 8, 2010

The Ultimate Ready-to-Use SMART Board Lesson Resource

Reinventing the wheel doesn't make sense. Neither does creating SMART Board lessons from scratch. Chances are someone out there has a lesson built just for you on your desired topic or field of study. Of course, it might not be perfect, but you can always tweak them to your liking.

Check out SMART Exchange, which is probably one of the best (and largest) collection of lessons designed for the SMART Board. In fact, as of November 2010 there were over 19,000 lessons available to download plus an additional 10,000 other downloadable resources. Lessons can be searched by subject, grade and content standard. This resource, maintained by SMART Technologies, is growing all the time.

You can even look up Ohio Academic Content Standards for grades K-12 and view resources directly from the content standards listed on their site. Could it get any easier than that? While these resources can help you as the teacher save time preparing for your lessons, ultimately it's just another tool to help our students learn.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Music, Sounds, and Audio Clips...Oh My!


Have you ever wanted to add music or sound effects to a video you are creating but didn’t know what to use or where to get it? There are sites available that allow free downloading and use of royalty free music. A simple Google search can give you some options but you need to be careful when opening and exploring these sites. Most you will find still charge a subscription fee or individual audio clip fee and some sites contain content that can cause your computer harm if you click in the wrong areas. So be careful where/what you click!  Also be sure to read the license requirements that each site has defining how you can use the clips you download.  Here are a couple of good sites to get you started: FreePlayMusic and Incompetech. Have fun enhancing your videos (or whatever else you do with the audio clips...)!  Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Quick and Easy Photo Editing Anywhere

Anytime is a fine time for a Picnik. Yeah, I know I spelled picnic wrong, but Picnik is a really slick photo editing website that you can use without going through the drudgery of registering, setting up an account and logging in every time you want to use it. Best of all, this service is free.

The steps to get started are easy. Just go to http://www.picnik.com/, upload a photo using the big green button on the site, use the easy menus to edit your photo and then once you're happy with the edits, save your changes.

You can really do a lot with Picnik. One of the neatest features is the Auto-Fix, which uses its best judgement to make whatever tweaks are necessary to make the photo look great. For instance, if the picture is dark, it will adjust the brightness and contrast to a good level. You can also rotate, crop, resize, sharpen, fix red-eye and adjust colors and exposure on photos.

While Picnik is no Photoshop or high-end photo editing software package, it can do the most popular functions that the average student or teacher might need. The basic function and design of the online application make it a quick and easy way to make a fast edit no matter what computer you're at.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Outlook Web Access Rule/Filter Creation [LNL]

For those of you who joined us for EHOVE's Lunch 'N Learn on Friday, October 29, you'll remember that Dave and I discussed using Rules and Filters to help you better manage the email you receive.  Rules/Filters are set up to transfer email that is sent to your account immediately into a folder or other location that you specify.  

For example, perhaps you are a frequent shopper on Amazon.com.  Amazon will send you email receipts of the purchases you have made.  These emails are sent to your Inbox along with any other email you receive.  You may not always have the time necessary to filter out those emails.  The solution is simple: use a rule or filter.  

Take a look at the following link for a step-by-step instruction guide on how to do this: 

(The link mentioned shows actual instructions written by the MIT helpdesk, but they are applicable to all who use Outlook Web Access.)

This is just another step in helping you manage your Information Overload!  Enjoy!

Surviving Information Overload [LNL]

This month's Lunch 'N Learn dealt with the topic of "Surviving Information Overload."  In today's information abundant society many teachers have trouble keeping up with all of the different sources and inputs available to them.  For example, a large part of a normal technology savvy person's time is spent simply managing email.  Dave and I talked about setting up Rules and Filters in your email client to help minimize the time spent organizing and reviewing email.  On top of that we mentioned some hardware as well as software resources that can help control this information attack.  We mentioned things like netbooks, smartphones, RSS readers, and much more.  Check out our Moodle site for more information: http://moodle.ehove.net/course/view.php?id=131.  

Feel free to contact us with questions or comments.  Enjoy!