I have never been one to shy away from plundering the rich resources of the Internet. Why buy stuff when you can often get it for free off of the net? Over time I shall organise this page into a more user-friendly structure, for the moment what follows is a list of links, with brief descriptions about what you can expect to find at the end of the link. Please let me know if you find these links useful; better still if you have some resources to share please do so and leave the link in your comment and I shall add these to the page too.
Hugin – This is a fantastic cross platform open source utility that enables you create your own ‘spherical’ panoramic images. I can see a huge potential for this kind of software offering panoramic views in schools. What is more these spherical images can then be uploaded to 360 cities and are then available for embedding into blogs, wikis and websites. What is more there is also a 360 cities layer in Goolge Earth, ensuring that your images, appropriately tagged can be placed in their exact location.
Scribus – Thinking of migrating from the constantly updated world of Microsoft Office suite of products? Tired of the expense of purchasing and licencing these products? Open Office will fix most of your Office needs however it does not have a DTP of its own. Scribus is a fantastic and viable open source alternative to Publisher.
Glogster – Glogster is a fantastic web utility. It markets itself as an online poster, but it is so much more than that. Each ‘Glog’ is a finite size and into that space (approximately foolscap in size) you can grap, link or upload multimedia files. It is a great tool that can be used as an end point to a project with students. They can grab video, images and audio from the web upload their own video, images and audio from their computers and even record direct from their webcams or microphones to their glog. There are hundreds of widgets and skins to choose from so that students can customise the page to suit their needs, this is the potential downfall, students will spend hours on the bling and not the content! You can register upto 200 student accounts on your one log in, a great tool.
Rocket Dock – This little utlitilty is a beauty! It is a shameless copy of the Mac OSX dock, complete with spring loaded animation to expand folders, this has to be downloaded and installed separately. Of no educational worth, but a great deal of fun and allows you to keep a clear desktop if yours is, like mine was, cluttered up with shortcut icons.
Iknowthat – This is a web based activity site. It is really cool with lots of games and activities for students to work through. I have already posted about this site, but it is yet another one to add to the favourites and delicious lists!
Vocaroo – I found this tool by accident. It is a really simple voice recording tool that even the youngest student will master in seconds. Freed from the tyranny of typing, students can share their thoughts and embed them into blogs and wikis within seconds. A great tool and should be in the armoury of ever classroom teacher.
Tutpup – I was informed of this particular utility by Richard who has been reading my blog and thought that we might find his tool useful. I have signed up to the site and made an account and I have to say that it is very good. It is a numeracy and spelling site. A teacher can set up a class and can keep track of individual student progress. The site awards Hall of Fame status to students who perform well. The site keeps track of your work over the last day, 7 days, month etc. Finally it is designed all around students having the ability to compete against other students of similar ability from all over the world. Students design their own user name based on a choice of animal, colour and number, this then becomes your online avatar on the site. So I a Green Snake 3 if you ever compete against me! And of course it is all free!
Voicethread – This little beauty is rapidly turning viral in the education community. It is a great tool for recording audio evidence of students’ thinking. It is based around a series of uploaded files that can be annotated and commented on by contributors in several ways. Audio, written, via webcam and even by phone. A great tool, fully embeddable into wikis, blogs and your website. Go sign up today!
Mogulus – This is an on-line TV station. You can plug in a web cam and do live broadcasts. You can cue between the live feed and pre-recorded videos. You can have a ticker running along the bottom of the screen, logos or even a test card when you are not transmitting. This one will really kill your bandwidth!
Shapeshifter – This is another animation package, a bit like Pivot. Only this one is entirely online, no programmes to install and has a more graphic quality to it. You build up your shape with basic building blocks and then animate. A simple and intuitive interface and when combined with CamStudio a real winner I think. Another option.
Musicovery – This is a web based tool. It is a music site to suit your current musical tastes. You can select by, era, mood, tempo and genre and then search for the music you want. It is a tool that I can see not only as a way of carrying your favourite tracks with you where ever you are sitting.
Keeptube – This little beauty allows you to download and save multiple You Tube videos at once. For those of you that have band width issues, this means that popular videos can be downloaded once and then linked to from your Intranet, saving bandwidth. It also means that if you wish to use a particular video in a presentation, you can now embed your chosen You Tube video into your slide show. Great stuff! Thanks to Steve Kosovich for pointing this one out to me.
Inkscape – You will have seen from my Madasafish post that I love vector graphics programmes. As a result of that one image I have been asked to teach two sets of classes at oposite ends of the planet how to teach students to create graphics using these kinds of programmes. This one works on Mac, Linux and Windows platforms and I am about to experiment with it.
Go2web20 – I was at the recent Ulearn07 conference and Tony Ryan pointed out this site. The purpose of this site is to collect together links to all the web 2.0 applications that are currently available, it is a bewildering array, but oh so cool, check it out.
Google Desktop Widgets – This is really enhancement for your desktop, or to put it another way, more resource chewing cool stuff! There are plenty to choose from, personally I am a sucker for analogue clocks… It is the frustrated engineer coming out again! Did you know that Brunel Junior did an apprenticeship with a watch maker in Paris? So my desktop currently sports a shiny new analogue clock widget, courtesy of Google.
Bubbl.us – This tool was shown to me by Dr Baldev Sing. I was with a couple of hundred other people at the time though, so it was not a personal thing! This tool is similar in concept to skrbl only this time it is an online bubble map creator. It does not have the imagery associated with Inspiration, but it does have the ability to be collaborative. A great thinking tool for 24/7 student access. The beauty of this application is that any bubble map can then be embedded into a blog, wiki or webpage and get updated as the students make their changes, how cool is that?
StumbleUpon – I was reading the news on the BBC website earlier today when I noticed amongst the usual feed widgets at the bottom of the article this new icon, stumbleupon. It is a great tool for searching sites. It is not something that I would use with students at primary level. I have installed the toolbar and have registered my account and in the few minutes that I have been using it I have now stumbled upon some really good education resource sites that I have now posted to del.icio.us. When you set up your account you can select what you want to see and the categories are the reason why I would not want to use it with students… That aside it is a good tool.
ToonDoo – This is the subject of my post on 31 July. This is an online resource that I think has a lot of potential for the classroom. It can of course be used for humourous cartoon strips and they will have their place in school too. I think however that this resource can be used to help children sequence ideas, storyboard films, tell short stories, even create graphic type novels… This tool, especially with its ‘book’ facility will enable tons of literacy and integration type activites to happen in the class. Take the tool and bend its potential, have fun!
Skrbl – This is another online tool. This is a collaborative whiteboard that multiple users can comment on at the same time. Genuine 24/7 collaboration. Please leave a comment on my skrbl as a test. You can even embed your skrbl whiteboard into your own blog or webpage… Keep bending those rules!
Timershot – This time this is a free utility from Microsoft! Strange but true they do have goodies to give away. This tiny utility is an XP extra and enables you to make time lapse movies. The program utilises your webcam to capture individual frames at a rate set by you. I think that this tool has many uses in the science curriculum for recording change over time, autumnal leaves, mould growing etc, you can have a lot of fun with it. Once you have the sequence of images they can then be uploaded into Movie Maker or some such movie editing program and made into a movie.
CamStudio – This is a free utility that allows you to screen capture sections of your screen or indeed the whole thing and turn it into a movie, you can add a voice over and so is great for creating training videos. Thanks again to Andrew Churches’ presentation at TUANZ for this tip. I have used CamStudio to make this clip on TeacherTube.
Netvibes – This is a great aggregator of rss feeds. It will organise your online life! You will need to create an account and then you can modify the widgets there to keep track of almost anything that you wish to!
Game Maker – Mark Overmars’s free software, great for problem solving, logical thinking and just making games
Blender – Open source 3-D animation program, a personal favourite of mine, takes some getting used to, but the effort is worth it
Art Rage – This is a free trial version download a great program and for all NZ Schools available at the bargain basement rate of $1 per seat! A no brainer, every school should have it! It is painting without the mess, but still has all the tools and canvas types that you need to create some stunning art.
Juice – This is one of many podcatchers out there. If you want to subscribe to podcasts, but do not want to use iTunes then this kind of program is for you. All you need is the rss feed location and the program does the rest.
Easy Podcast Maker – This little utility takes your standard mp3 file and ramps it up to podcast standard, it produces a cumulative rss feed file and will even launch it for you if you know your ftp address. Simple to use.
Audacity – A really simple to use audio program that enables you to create multi-track recordings, ideal for making podcasts on a Windows platform, ducks background music under voice. Simple and easy to use, I have year 2 students successfully using this program indepedently.
Goldwave – This is another free recording program, it is more sophisticated than Goldwave and will take a little more up front input on your behalf, but do not be put off, it can do some really sophisticated stuff.
Google Sketchup – A great 3D graphics tool, create your dream home! Easy to use, instant gratification and puts in place some basic skills for working with programmes like Blender.
MSW Logo – Fantastic program this. Introduction to programming for students of all ages. The basic building blocks are easy to learn and where you can go with this program is only limited by your imagination and time of course!
Skype – Video conferencing on the cheap! I have set up links with schools in Australia and Singapore, it works really well. It creates a habit and then you can justify the expense of video conferencing equipment.
Google Earth – Kill the bandwidth with this fantastic application! I have made animations using the screen capture option to locate us on Earth, very powerful. Not for those still on dial up and not for whole class lessons in an IT lab!
VLC Media Player – Play live video over your network using webcams, create a live stream from webcams to your website. This is a cool tool, takes a bit of setting up, but there are plenty of tutorials out there, just Google it!
The Gimp – If you wish to teach graphics and can not afford the likes of Freehand or Illustrator, this program will do a lot for you. It is also a good substitute for Photoshop. Ensure that you download the installer files as well as the program files. Install the installers first.
Inspiration/Kidspiration – This suite of programmes are graphic organisers, if you have a Smart Board then you will already have a free copy of Smart Ideas, it does the same thing. The download here is for a 30 day trial. Great for brainstorming and organising your thoughts. For New Zealand teachers it is currently $42 per licence good value. However if this is stretching your budget, you can do the same things in PowerPoint using autoshapes and the linking tool.
Smart Board Software – Even if you do not have a Smart Board I would recommend downloading this program, it is free for starters and it can be used in different ways to make and store lessons. I use its ability to create pdf, html and avi files to make lessons made up of screen shots, so that simple tasks can be learnt independently. Just make sure you have lots of free storage space if you want to use the avi option. This option is good if you use your headset to record your actions as it will not only show your actions on screen it will capture your voice, a real lesson without you being there that can be played over and over.
Chaos Pro – This is a fractal generating program. Students can animate their chosen fractals and produce some stunning images. They can play with variables and create their own fractals and layer them. Stunning, another hot favourite of mine.
Pivot Stick Figure – I have used this as a good introduction to stop frame animation, the students get very inventive and produce some interesting animations. Only downside, I have not found a way to export the movies into a format that can be played outside of the program itself. If anyone knows how to do this let me know please.
Anasazi Animator – Another good program for stop frame animation skills.
Crocodile Clips – The program is a good little utility for assessing understading of circuits. It can also be used to plan and test viability of circuits.
Leo Cad – We can’t use the word Lego here… however this program has Lego looking building blocks that are uncannily similar to the real thing. Students can create a virtual model and then animate it. A bit tricky to start with, but worth the effort. I can’t seem to keep the students off of it!
Photo Story – Microsoft’s junior version of Movie Maker. I find that this program is a bit of a dead end. It serves its purpose, but you can do it all and more in Movie Maker. If you are prepared to put the ground work in, then the skills learnt in Movie Maker will be transferable to other programmes later on. This is not so true of Photo Story. If however, you want simplicity, then this is for you.
Reasonable – This tool is ideal for creating structure to your arguments, it helps students to collate their thoughts in differing ways. It helps to develop reasoning skills.
Rationale – This program supersedes Reasonable, I have not used it at all, so can not comment.
Smart Number Cruncher – This program is free to download, but will only work when it can detect a Smart Board attached to your computer. It is a brilliant tool for teaching and modelling different algorithms, very interactive. I love it.
Smart Speller – This is another program like the one above, you need to have a Smart Board in order to operate the program. Good stuff though.