Tagged: teaching

Homework:Jazz it up with Technology!

homework-cartoon-005“Home computers are being called upon to perform many new functions, including the consumption of homework formerly eaten by the dog.”

Developing web 2.0 technologies reflect the latest and the current trend in education. It encourages one of the most important skills of the 21st century “collaboration”, increases motivation, imagination and the community in a classroom. It helps to develop different skills of children. Many of the web based tools are excellent environments and valuable sources for teaching and learning and many of the tools can be a great digital source for homework.

Here are my web 2.0 suggestions to traditional homework:

Wallwisher is an online page where you can post messages. You click and write your text and you don’t need to register to use the site. You can also add images, video and music to your message. Children can use it for note-taking, to create invitations, make announcements, brainstorm on different topics, report books, collect ideas, showcase what they have done and share resources.

Voki is a tool to create speaking avatars with your own voice. You choose your avatar, you customize it by changing the hair,  clothing, accessories and the colour of the hair, eyes and skin. When you finish, you give it a voice by recording your voice by phone or using a microphone. You can also upload an audio file or you use text-to-speech feature to convert your text into speech choosing the gender and the accent. When you finish, you can get a link or the embed code to publish it on your blog or your website. Children can listen to a story and answer the questions, they can listen to a song and complete the missing words or we can use voki for dictation assignments. Children can record their voices answering a question or retelling a story.

EduGlogster is a tool to create online visual posters that are called glogs. You can add text, images, music and video to your interactive glog. Children can create collaborative interactive posters on any topic, they can write book reports, create advertisement, write and add pictures about a research, prepare a book cover, create a newsletter, introduce a famous person.

Voicethread is a site to create collaborative and multimedia  slides that you can navigate and leave comments for. Each slide can hold images, videos or documents such as PDF, Microsoft PowerPoint, Excel and Word documents  that can be commented by the people you choose to share your Voicethread. You can write a text, record your voice using a microphone or telephone, film yourself using your web cam or upload an audio file to comment. You can draw as you record your comment. Viewers can see your doodling on the slide as they watch your comment. You can moderate comments before you publish them. Children can talk about a picture, brainstorm on different ideas, discuss a topic or a video they have watched, retell a story, talk about what they did last week/summer holiday, give feedback to their friends, make sentences using the new learnt vocabulary . You can also use this tool for drilling and practicing the language they have learnt at class.

Vocaroo is a tool to record your voice and share it with others. When you finish your recording, you get a link to share the recording with others. It’s also embeddable. Children can practice their pronunciation skills, record their voices while answering a questions, retelling a story, singing a song or they can listen to the recording and answer the questions, write an ending to the story, complete the blanks in the story.

Voxopop is a tool to create online discussion talk groups. You can consider this tool as a forum that uses voice instead of text. Children can record their voices to discuss a particular topic, they can be asked to tell a  continued story by recording their voices. This tool can be used as a listening activity. Children can listen and answer the questions related to the listening, end the story in a different way, this tool is also can be used for dictation activities.

Zimmertwins is a simple site to make great and fun animated stories. You can start making your animation from scratch or you can create your own using one of the story starters. You choose the characters, settings, transitions, actions and emotions by using drag-and-drop feature. After, you only write the text in bubbles. You don’t need any drawing skills to make animations with Zimmertwins. Children can finish Zimmertwins starters by writing or creating a video, children can create their own Zimmertwins stories on different topics using target structures. They can retell a story, make interviews, write dialogues.

Hot Potatoes is a  quiz generator that you can use to create different types of tests for all grades. There are six different interactive web-based test types that you can create. You can choose to have a multiple-choice, short answer, jumbled sentence, crossword, matching/ordering or gap fill exercises.  You can add your own pictures or choose from the clip arts; also you can add mp3 files to your tests. It’s an open source and can be downloaded to any computer.

MixBook is a tool to make customizable photo books, cards and calenders online. You can use different templates, your own pictures, stickers, different layouts and fonts to create your mixbook. You can ask children to create a photo book of their families, vacations, friends, celebrations, favourite websites, history of their country. You can ask them to create their own stories with their own pictures, retell a story, write a poem using pictures. You can also create mixbook with pictures and ask the kids to write the story for it.

Shidonni is a site where students can draw their favorite animal with a world to live in it and see the animal spring to life. Kids take care of their animals by feeding, petting or sending them to sleep. The animal eats the food that kids have drawn for it. They can choose if they want their pet to walk or fly, and they can name it. Kids can draw a background and change it whenever they want. They can play games with their virtual animals or send them to their friends to play with their animals. Children can create their own pets and introduce it to their friends, talk about its one day also keep a diary for their pets.

It’s great to see how technology can facilitate learning and children enjoy while they are doing their homework. Using these tools is sure to increase the creativity and the imagination of the teacher and a great way to catch on with your kids.

This blog or the author are not responsible for any inappropriate images/text/ads of the external links. Please double check before you use it with your students.

Animation 2.0 at School

Picture1Animations have already been so popular even before internet; and with the developing Web 2.0 applications, it has become an  effective and an engaging tool in the classrooms. Creating an animation has never ever been so easy and inexpensive. Today you can create yours with different graphics, characters and fun elements with very little talent.

ZimmerTwins is a simple site to make great and fun animated stories. You can start making your animation from scratch or you can create your own using one of the story starters. You choose the characters, settings, transitions, actions and emotions by using drag-and-drop feature. After, you only write the text in bubbles. You don’t need any drawing skills to make animations with Zimmertwins. 

You can create a mini animation with DVolver by pointing and clicking. You can choose the setting, characters, music at the background and how the chosen characters interact in your animation. You write what you want your characters to say and it shows up in bubbles in your animation. When you finish, you can mail it others, get a link for it or simply embed it to your blog.

Xtranormal is a site where you can create animations using text-to-speech application. You choose your animation styles and settings, characters and the voice for them. When you finish choosing all,you can write what you want your characters to say. When you have finished writing your text, there are some directions that represent cameras, looks, points, pauses etc. You can insert them into your text. When you finish your movie, you can publish it, get a link, embed or directly upload it to Youtube.

Fuzzwich is a site that lets you create 20 second animated movies. You can choose the setting, choose among ready characters or customize them by uploading your photos, text, music and movement as well. When you finish, you can get a link or embed it to your blog. 

With GoAnimate, you choose your theme and characters or you can even create your own animated characters by changing the size and colour of their body parts and clothes. You set up your theme on the timeline. You can change the background, add characters and prompts. Characters can do different actions such as walking, dancing, talking. You can use text to speech application to make your characters talk or simply record your own voice using your microphone. You can also use zooms in/out or colour effects on your video. You can upload your own music or sound effects as well. You can post them on  social networking sites or upload them on Youtube.

Domo is another site that GoAnimate features. You can create animations and slideshows. All the animations are reviewed and appropriate to use. You can add music and text to your animations.

Doink is site that lets you create flash-style animations. You can create your animations from scratch or reuse the work of others. You only have to draw the pictures step by step to animate them.

Animasher  is another site to make animations by using pictures from the gallery or you can use your pictures too. You can add music, some sound effects, text or record your own voice for your animation.

You can also use Memoov to make animations. You choose the background from the gallery, add different characters to the animation. You can change the colour of the characters or give them different emotions or movement. You can add objects too. You can write a text or make the characters speak with your own voice. You can add music and several effects. When it is done, your video will be directly sent to Youtube for easy sharing.   

Using animations is  a great way to improve different skills of kids such as reading, writing, storytelling, decision making, problem solving as well cognitive, social and innovative skills. It’s sure to facilitate learning of the kids and boost the way you are teaching.

Cross posted on TechLearning.

Text-to-Speech:Let the Computers Talk

sdff Increasing access to the internet and different Web 2.0 tools have provided different, engaging and fun alternatives to teachers. Now, we can create our own web based activities easily with free and various tools that can be easily accessed by the learners. We can create our own videos, podcasts, upload them and share them with other teachers or our students, create digital stories using animations. Furthermore, there are many other websites that will help our learners to improve four essential skills; reading, speaking, listening and writing as well as grammar and vocabulary.

Text-to-speech applications can be an alternative way to check the pronunciation of words and sentences or to create listening activities. The applications let us listen to any written text, create audio narration of the text with a human sounding voice, adjust the pitch and decide on the speed and the accent.  Here are some of these applications:

Vozme lets you turn your text into speech. You can choose a male or a female voice and you create mp3 files and listen to them anywhere you are.

ReadtheWords is a  service that can generate sounding audio file from almost any written material. It can read the words out loud, that you you want it to read. There are 15 different voice selection and you can hear a sample before you create it. This application can also read Spanish and French too.

iSpeech is another text-to-speech application that will convert  your text (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, PDF, blogs, RSS feeds etc.) content into audio with minimal effort, no software installation and no technical expertise. You can download it, podcast it or embed it to your blog or your website.

HearWho  converts your text to speech and saves it as an MP3 file so that you can listen to it on any device capable of playing MP3 files, such as ipods, PDAs, mobile phones, MP3 players.

NaturalReaders can convert your text such as  MS Word, Webpage, PDF files, and Emails into spoken words. It can also convert any written text into audio files such as MP3 or WAV for your CD player.

Text2Speech is another free online text to speech converter.

Kakomessenger is a fun text to-speech application. It’s a singing telegram machine that will sing your text. You choose between two singers, Gina and Humphrey, write your text and let the singers sing them for you.

TalkingPets is another fun text-to-speech application that makes the pets talk. You chose your pet, accessorize it, write your text, choose the voice and your pet is ready to talk.

ReadSpeaker is a site that gives your website or your blog a voice. There are nine languages and 18 voices to choose from. By using this service, you can attract your visitors, make it easy to read your content and enable your readers to do something else while they listen to your blog.

Voki can be an alternative to text to speech applications. You can write your text, choose the accent and let the Voki avatar says it for you. You can get the link or embed it to your blog or your website.

SayitRight is a text-to-speech software that assists you with English pronunciation of the words. You can also slow down the text and see the mouth movements for a sound or word.

Although text-to-speech applications provide human sounding listening, give us a chance to facilitate learning, they sometimes lack the right intonation and stress, but I believe with the growing technologies, text-to-speech applications will provide us with the natural speech in the near future. 

Cross posted on TechLearning.