Yesterday, I was fortunate to attend the first of what I hope will be many Tri-State Educational Technology Conferences. This event, conceived and organized by Eric Sheninger, principal of New Milford High School in New Jersey, brought together about 400 like-minded educators from across the Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey region. You can read about the conference online.
I thought I’d share the highlights of what I learned at the conference.
3) Tag Galaxy was probably my favorite. Basically a glorified photo search tool that scans Flickr based on the tag you want. You can narrow it down as you go and access individual photos by clicking on the globes.
4) RedZ is a visual search engine that enables students to see web sites before clicking on them.
The other presentation I found really enlightening was given by Erica Hartman on 25 Free Web Tools to use in the classroom. Again, I share with you some of my favorite links:
1) ClassTools is a lower tech option given the world we’re living in, and it also costs to have a membership. That’s the bad news. The good news is you can still get practical use out of this site for free. Everyone loved the idea of Random Name Picker. It is exactly what its name implies: plug your students’ names in and let the slot machine choose one. Can use it for student response, work submission, and job selection. It will also force you to get everyone involved.
The one I really like on ClassTools is the Countdown Timer. You can input any time and project it on your Smart Board so everyone knows how much time is left to accomplish their task. As an added bonus, there are .mp3 files uploaded to the site that you can play with the timer. My personal favorite is Mission: Impossible. Clean the room in 2 1/2 minutes? Sounds impossible. But let’s try, anyway! Great motivator.
2) Qwiki – Assuming it remains free after it debuts, this site is going to be amazing. Basically, from what I can tell, you run a search and the computer comes back with a narrated, annotated multimedia response. The creators claim it is totally computer generated. Check out the demo on the site. It looks incredible.
3) Tagxedo – I’m still trying to figure out what educational value this has, although it’s hard to deny the aesthetic value. Basically, you drop text onto the site and the program creates a mosaic of the words based on their frequency. Some really nice templates that can make for some inspirational classroom decor.
I have to play with the sites from this presentation a bit more before I put them out there, but the ones I suggested should keep you busy for a bit.
Speaking of sites, this one generated a lot of buzz on Twitter earlier today. I spent about an hour playing with it, driving through places like Stonehenge, Paris, San Francisco, Mt. Everest, and Niagara Falls. Could be a tremendous resource for faux virtual field trips, or ways to teach about cities around the world. Great fun and sensational technology. You could drive around the world, end to end, on this site, which works in conjunction with Google Earth.
Did I leave something out that people need to know about? Please share in the comments.