Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Storybird...Create collaborative stories online! provides a great, and easy to use platform for creating stories online. To start, from click on Start a Storybird Now. You'll then be able to browse and select the artwork that you'd like to base your Storybird on (this is my favorite option), or scroll down the page and explore by theme (also a good choice =). You can click to See More Art or See More Themes from both of these areas. You can also click Reload from the Image pages to view even more artwork! Once you decide on the artwork that you would like to use, click to Start a Storybird with this art. This is where the fun really begins...

When you see a screen similar to the one above, you are ready to roll. The artwork group that you selected will be displayed to the right and left of your Storybird book. If you can't see all of the images, no worries, just move them around on your screen. You can click and drag them to a different spot, or just click once to view it larger! To place an image on the Storybird just click and drag it onto the page. The location of the image on the page will depend on where you place it. If you put the image more to the right side of the page then you will have a place to type on the left, and vise versa.

The story board for your Storybird (try saying that fast 3 times!) is below your book. From here you can add or remove pages, as well as re-arrange the order of your book (just click and drag). Don't forget to click on the cover of your book from here to add the title and author.

You have the option to just Save, or to Publish your story (publishing means it's open to the public). You can also invite a collaborator to the story so that they can "jump in" and add to the story where you left off. If you want to save your Storybird, and you have not yet created an account, you will be prompted to do so at this time. 

Classroom Application

Write a Storybird with your class. Have students give input as a class and publish online for the students and parents to access. Additionally, Storybird gives you the option of creating a class with your login, and adding students to the class (all for free!!). Students are given a username and password in the system that they can use to create Storybirds that you as the teacher will be able to access. You can also give an assignment to the students on the website for creating a Storybird. They will see the assignment when they login!

*Make sure if you post student work online that you have the necessary approval from their parents/guardians. 

Have fun and enjoy!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Pixlr...Photo Editing Services
Pixlr provides a great online application for editing photos. So you may ask...what makes it different from other online photo editors?? Well for starters, you don't have to register for an account so it is quick and easy to start using the application. 

Even better, Pixlr offers you a couple of options for editing your photos. If you're a beginner with photo editing, Pixlr Express is a great place to start. It offers cropping and resizing tools, as well as adjustments and effects that you can apply to your image. 

If you are familiar with products like Photoshop, then you will be quite comfortable using the full Pixlr Editor. The editor will allow you to import your own images and it gives you the option of creating an image from scratch. In the Tools window you will also find red-eye fix, blur, clone, and many more correction and editing tools.

When you click on either of the options (Editor, or Express) you will first see a window that prompts you to select your image source (or create a new blank image in Editor). Once you make your choice, you will see the application with the toolbox on the left. 


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Snappy Words

The site this week is, an online visual dictionary. What exactly does this mean? Rather than the traditional definition format that you are used to seeing when you search for a word in a dictionary, you will see a graphical representation of different words that explain the meaning.

When you first go to Snappy Words you will probably notice the web of words that appears. This word is generated randomly by the site when you pull it up. The word in the middle of the web is the main word, with the lines and colors that connect to the other words representing various things.

Even more fun is the fact that the word web is interactive. Click and drag to move the web around, scroll up or down to zoom in and out, and you can even click on a word and move it to a different location. You can even hover your mouse on any of the words in the web to see more information. To see the meaning of the various lines and colors, view the key that is found below the word display. If you're wondering what dictionary Snappy Words uses.... 
"The Snappy Words interface queries the WordNet lexical database developed by Princeton University and made available for students and language researchers. This dictionary groups synonyms into synsets through lexical relations between terms. These meanings and semantic relationships are revealed graphically by the interactive web technology made available by Snappy Words."
To search for your own word just enter it into the search window that is found in the upper-right portion of the page. Now do I think this a replacement for the traditional dictionary? No, but I do think it is a fun change of pace that will stimulate some thought with your students. Once students have seen and used the site, maybe they could come up with their own "visual definition" of a word.