Comic Life OS App

I’ve used a couple of different comic creation websites previously, but this was the first time I’ve used a downloaded app and the experience was very different in a positive fashion.

Here’s the Comic Life Website to get started and here’s what I created and exported to a PDF:  Comic Life App Comic.

The app has templates in seven styles:  certificates, creative, education, how-to, life stories, single panels, and classic for a total of 64 templates.  Once a template is selected, there are additional options for template pages and panel layouts.

There are 15 different caption options and all the color options that Mac has available along with pages of font options.

As soon as I opened the app, I immediately started creating my cartoon without any tutorials because the app layout is highly intuitive.

There are many ways to use cartoons/comics in the classroom.  They can be used to improve reading, writing, conversation, and social skills.  They can also be used to improve emotional, life, and conflict management skills.

Teachers and students alike can create their own effective comics for learning and some may even create the more advanced graphic novel.

While I’ve never been a fan of graphic novels it can be a useful tool in supporting reading and comprehension improvement for struggling adolescent students because graphic novels can provide the “non-verbal” cues through the visual content.

Now I’m going to go finish the graphic novel, Watchmen.

iMeme

iMeme is an OS app to create memes using over 100 built in images and built in header and footer options.  I’m not a super creative person, but this app made it easy to match a photo with a fun quote:

Memes can be powerful and have had quite the influence on language and culture.  Context is king in the creation and understanding of an effective meme.  They take only a few minutes to create and can be understood and enjoyed in mere seconds and can spread like wildfire on social media when they are impactful.

Students can quickly relate and respond to a complex idea by looking at one meme instead of relying on reading through and understanding lengthy text.

For a teacher, memes can be an effective tool to introduce learners to a topic and to entice them to learn more.  Memes can also be used in the classroom to develop critical thinking skills by supplying a partial theme and asking students to complete it.  Teachers can even use memes to highlight rules of the classroom in a way that is fun and memorable.

Finally, students can create their own memes to display their understanding of a subject that they’ve been studying.

PodBean for Audio Podcast

Making an audio podcast with the PodBean app was seriously too easy and the online site has both a free and paid version.

It took me about 7 minutes to make this 3.5 minute audio podcast:

Kiyomi’s Books of 2017

The iOS app allowed me to quickly start recording, to pause the recording, and to edit the recording before finalizing the product.  When I would make an error, I could pause the recording, trim out the error, and then continue to record.  The app was intuitive and I felt I mastered most of the options within a couple of minutes of using the app.  With the free option, there is a max recording of 90 minutes per podcast.

The app allows for quick sharing on social media or an option to download the podcast in an M4A format.

This is a useful tool for teachers to quickly capture and share their learning concepts with their students and other important messages for family members.  In our busy world, being able to listen to podcasts while riding on a bus or in a car, while exercising or doing chores, can make learning more convenient while allowing learners to listen to the podcast multiple times.

Students can also use this tool to share their learning with other students, family members, and teachers.

Of all the tools I have used this semester, this was the most intuitive and allowing for a quality product with minimal effort.

ScribbleMaps

I’ve never created an interactive map before and had some fun with ScribbleMaps.  I was born on the island of Okinawa and thought it would be interesting to see what movies have been set on the island.  I was surprised to find twelve movies, three of which were Godzilla-type movies.  I’ve seen The Karate Kid Part II, Kill Bill:  Volume 1, and Tomorrow Never Dies.  The most recent movie is Hacksaw Ridge which I am now excited to see after having done research for this project.

Movies set in Okinawa

While I was able to quickly start creating a map, I fumbled a few times as I was trying to add markers to the map such as effectively using the tool menu.  While this site can create a beautiful map, I believe one would need to have some web savvy in order to take advantage of all of the available tools and I could see someone who is inexperienced getting frustrated while trying to learn the functionalities built into this site.

Even though it’s not fully intuitive, this site can be an effective learning tool for both teachers and students.  Teachers can create learning lessons via this interactive map and students can show their learnings visually through this tool.

SeeSaw App – Online Learning Journal

This was my first time working with the SeeSaw learning journal and found it intuitive to work in with a myriad of multimedia options.  The site provides several video tutorials to help teachers get started which includes a 30 minute interactive course.  SeeSaw is described as a “Facebook” like interface for student’s work and it has built in functionalities to communicate with students and families separately.

I’ve uploaded an announcement, a link to an Emotional Intelligence test, and a YouTube video to listen to the audio version of Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence book.  I have three students listed as part of the class, David Pownell, Joanie Smith, and Steven Johnson.

To gain access to the class page, please use the QR code below:

Students can also sign in using a text code, but for security reasons, these codes are good for only 60 minutes.

I consider these types of websites useful in quickly communicating with students and families about upcoming class activities and assignments.  I also believe this type of website is an effective way to have students share their work.

There is a unique functionality I have not seen in other similar websites – the ability to identify skill goals and tag students’ work as having demonstrated a specific skill along with a star rating.  This can make it convenient for students, teachers, and families to recognize the development of the student in specific skill areas.

Haiku Deck – Zuru AI

I’ve used Haiku Deck before but they have added Zuru which is an Artificial Intelligence platform that makes it almost too easy to create presentations from pre-made material such as a PowerPoint, Wikipedia site, or an outline.

Because I’m half Okinawan, I’ve always been interested in my Okinawan heritage and especially the similarities and differences between the Okinawan and Japanese culture and language.

My mother was trilingual, she spoke Okinawan, Japanese, and English so I thought it would be interesting to learn more about the Okinawan language and there happened to be a Wikipedia page on just that subject so I was able to share the Wiki URL on Zuru and a presentation was seemingly magically created with subject slides included.

I had the opportunity to make any changes to the content that I wanted, but I didn’t so you could see exactly how the Wiki page was directly transferred into a presentation.  Zuru gave me the opportunity to add pictures to each slide and I was provided many relevant picture choices based on specific word searches for each individual slide.

Here’s the Zuru presentation I created from Wikipedia material:  Okinawan Language

Haiku Decks can be viewed via URL or the deck can be downloaded directly to your computer as an editable or un-editable PowerPoint, or as a PDF.  The decks can be made public, restricted (direct link required to view), or private (the deck is only visible to the creator).

As a teacher, I would use this as a time-saving way to create a visually attractive presentation from content that can be found on Wikipedia, to update an old PowerPoint, or to bring a learning outline quickly to life.

Time Toast – Timeline Creator

I’ve always enjoyed looking at timelines and find it an effective tool for learning but I’ve never created one myself.

The TimeToast website is a free and intuitive website for creating timelines of your choosing or you can search for timelines that others have created.

I decided to create a timeline to look at the top ten grossing movies when adjusted for inflation.  I was shocked to learn that the newest movie on the list was from 1997 which was Titanic that grossed over a billion dollars when adjusted for inflation.  When I hear these huge dollar amounts that current blockbusters bring in, I thought for sure there would be a movie from this century.

Top Ten Grossing Movies Adjusted for Inflation

This site allows the uploading of pictures along with hyperlinks for each item on the timeline.  There are also two different styles one can select to view the timeline – timeline view or list view.  The list view shows all the notes included in the timeline item along with easy access to any links, but, unfortunately, it includes ads between the items on the timeline.

I see this tool as useful to both teachers and students.  Teachers can create timelines to help students learn through visualization and students an create timelines from research to help solidify their learning.

AddPoll for Polls, Surveys, Forms, and Quizzes

AddPoll is a versatile and easy to use website to develop polls, surveys, forms, and quizzes.  I was impressed with the different templates that were available for each type.

This is the first site I’ve worked in that has a “forms” option.  I’m thinking about using this site to develop on-site consent forms for research participants if I decide to do an action research project as my Capstone Experience.  I can see this also being valuable for a person who has a website and wants to capture information about the visitors to the website or to allow visitors to submit questions.

For today’s product, I decided to create a 20-question quiz based on US Government and History topics:

Could You Pass the US Citizenship Test?

When someone takes this test, I receive an email notification of a new completion of the test.  The website dashboard gives me detailed information regarding each test completion.  I can see how each question was answered and can export the results to PDF, Excel, or Word.

 

 

 

 

 

This is a great tool for a teacher to survey or assess students at the convenience of the student or to get quick poll responses in the classroom.  I’ll definitely be using this tool in the future.

Text to MP3 – Text2Speech

I spent quite a bit of time trying to locate a tool that would convert text to MP3 that would be free and easy to use.  There are several sites with this capability, but most limit the recordings to a minute or less or to a minimal amount of words without a paid membership.

http://vozme.com/text2voice.php?lang=en is free without time or character limitations; however, the audio is barely understandable.

http://www.text2speech.org/  allowed up to 4,000 characters, had the option of either an MP3 file or a WAV file for downloading, along with four different English speaking voice options.

I converted this blog into two MP3 files:

http://clive-shepherd.blogspot.co.uk/2017/02/the-changing-skill-set-of-learning.html

Unfortunately, the recording is very mechanical without appropriate pauses for periods, commas, and hyphens.

While I believe having audio available can help students with different learning preferences, I felt this particular audio was not very effective; however, there are better options if you are willing to pay for them.

www.readthewords.com, which costs $99 for the teacher’s package, has an option to add in manual pauses using <Silence msec=”500″ /> within the text to apply pauses by the milisecond.  The 500 option would provide a 1/2 second pause.

With the paid membership, there are options to embed a customizable avatar along with 15 different voice choices for the recording.  The recording limit without a paid membership is 30 seconds and with the Teacher’s Pack it is 8 hours.

While converting text might be helpful for learning in theory, finding a tool with a voice that is understandable and easy to listen to is a challenge.

StoryJumper – Recipe Book

This was the first time I have used StoryJumper and was very pleased with how user-friendly the site was.  To begin, you are offered a video that shows you how to use all of the available tools.  When you’ve completed your book, you can make it available to view online or printable with a nominal charge.  I was impressed with the number of books that were viewable to the public and you also have the choice of keeping your book private with access by a hyperlink only.

Here is a juice recipe book I created:

https://www.storyjumper.com/book/index/44068026/59c9e70aec400

I liked the ability to bring in my own photos that I found on the web labeled for noncommercial use and the site had several background options to dress up the book.  There are also several font and color options to personalize your book.

This tool can be used by both teachers and students to create lots of different reading products.  I imagine a teacher could create lessons through stories using this tool and again, the book can be either in soft copy or hardcopy.  Students can use this tool to depict what they’ve learned or it can be used to  let their creative (or even technical) writing capabilities come to life.  As a child, I would have loved to have created a book and to get a hard copy to keep.

This tool is easy and fun to use!

WordArt Word Clouds

I tried to used Tagxedo to create a word cloud, but because I don’t have the Silverlight plug-in, it didn’t work for me.  However, I found another website, https://wordart.com and created this Leadership word cloud:  https://wordart.com/o4z8w63zi4km/leadership from the this website:  http://briandownard.com/leadership-skills-list/.

There are several personalization capabilities built into this website:

Words:  Type in the words manually, import words from a spreadsheet or from a website.  Decide whether the words show up once or multiple times.  I typed in the words manually and elected for individual words to show up only one time in the word cloud.

Shapes:  Select from many different shapes available on the website or add an image of your own in which the words will reside.  I chose the built-in “globe” image.

Fonts:  Choose from several fonts or add your own font.  I selected the built-in BPreplay Italic font.

Layout:  Choose the direction and placement of the words in your word cloud.  I chose for the words to show up in a “positive slope.”

Colors & Animation:  Select the color(s) of the words and personalize how words will be highlighted when scrolled over.  When you scroll over a word in my word cloud, you’ll see it enlarge in a pink box with green lettering.

This website is fairly user friendly . . . just remember to press the “Visualize” buttton to see your word cloud and after your edits in order for changes to take effect.

This tool is a way to show words that are connected with an idea and can help identify words that are listed most often on a webpage.  Word clouds can help to create a visceral impact that may not happen when staring at a page of text. Word clouds can also help quickly identify themes and can be an interesting way to start a conversation around a particular topic.

Quiznetic – Quick Quiz Creater

Quiznetic is an online program that is completely free and I was able to log in with my Google account.

I created this Quiz:

Pop Culture Trivia

If you scroll through the quiz page, you’ll see that I was able to add video and pictures to enhance the quiz.

Here is a video of how the Quiz is played in the classroom.

A few things to note:

  1. I had trouble logging into the quiz as a student using Safari on my iPhone but Google Chrome worked great.
  2. The quiz I created was short answer instead of multiple choice.  It was not case sensitive but if I added an extra space to my answer (this automatically happens if you select a suggested word instead of typing it out completely) then the answer will be considered incorrect.
  3. At the end of the game, as the teacher, you can get the final results for everyone who finished the game and can export the results to a spreadsheet so you can see how each player answered each of the questions.
  4. The scoring is a bit interesting.  I selected to allow a player to move forward two spaces for each correct answer and to move backwards one space for each wrong answer.  One of my players only had to answer 10 questions to move through all 18 spaces on the board; next time I will be sure to create enough spaces on the board to force a player to answer every question to be able to reach the final space.

Here are some screenshots of what players see:

I think online quizzes are a great way to engage your students and assess their understanding of the material.  While this quiz was filled with fun pop culture questions, I could see a teacher 1) attaching short videos to be viewed and then a question or questions to determine what was learned from the video; 2) asking mathematical questions; and 3) using a picture to prompt answers.

Quiznetic is so easy to use, has capabilities to add video and photos, and the options to have multiple choice questions, or numeric input, or short answer.

The biggest drawback for this tool is that it seems the quiz has to be opened and closed in real time so a teacher would only be able to use this in the classroom or during a pre-determined time frame outside of school hours.

Canva – Graphic Design Publications – Mindfulness Infographic

I got the idea of making an infographic from reading Marc Routsong’s blog and I found the site, https://www.canva.com/, to be fairly user friendly.  I made the infographic below from some information I received while taking a Mindfulness course.

There were many different templates to choose from, and it was easy to edit the text.  However, I found that changing the layout and editing the pictures to be cumbersome.  I was able to use the copy/paste function to add two additional blocks to this template which originally had only seven blocks.  Also, there is no “grouping” option so the text boxes did not move when I decreased the size of or tried to move an individual block.

There is the capability to upload your own pictures and even access pictures from your Facebook account.

I really liked the share functionality as it allows one to share directly to Twitter or Facebook, and even gives the option to embed on WordPress.  There are also options to share via email and give those you share with the rights to edit your design.  This would be very useful in a collaborative working situation.

The order prints option is probably the most unique capability of this website.  I would love to have this mindfulness infographic printed as a bookmark, but unfortunately, that was not an option.  However, I could order 25 5×7 cards which would cost me $54.50 or 50 business cards for $50.50.

I see many uses for this graphic design website to include creating posters and cards with quick-hit information and colorful infographics.

VideoScribe Anywhere- Video Scribing Presentation

VideoScribe Anywhere is an iOS app that allows one to easily build a video scribing presentation which are those animated videos in which you watch a hand draw out the presentation in pictures and words.

Building the presentation was fairly easy with the ability to select font type and color.  For my particular presentation, I did not select any of the app’s stock pictures and I could not figure out how to add pictures of my own or from the web.  My favorite option was the capability to select how long to draw out each animation and text box.

I would have preferred to have the option to select a size instead of having to manually size each box with the click and drag method.  There was no way to select a font size but it would change with the size of the text box.  The only saving grace in this arena was the quick ability to copy and paste the text boxes to make them uniform.

There are also options to add background music from a stock selection and to add voiceover; however, the free app kept crashing every time I tried to add a voiceover.  There are options for paid services but I felt they were a bit pricey for just a one-time use – $29 per month through https://my.sparkol.com.  If I were going to use this tool regularly, the value would be in the yearly subscription of $144 payable at $12 per month.

I also tried to upload my videoscribe to http://sho.co/ to share but the app kept crashing every time I selected this option.  It might have been because I did not have the paid monthly subscription.  There is the option to pay $4.99 for the capability to download the newly created videoscribe to one’s camera roll to share but be warned that this option is very slow . . . it took nearly two hours to download my videoscribe presentation.  The quality is also not as good as it is when played on the app . . . HD available with a paid subscription.

Once downloaded, it was too large to share the video directly on WordPress so I uploaded it to YouTube.  Enjoy!

Mindomo – Mind Map Meets Prezi

As I was reading quite a few PDFs for my Intro to Educational Research class and I realized I needed to create a mind map to better understand the material:

Education Research Process

I’ve used other mind map tools, but this online tool has a presentation mode which gives it a Prezi feel.

It’s user-friendly and has short cut keys built in so that topics, subtopics, and floating topics can be quickly created.  There is also a tool that will connect two seemingly unrelated topics to show a relationship.

When creating a presentation from the mind map, there are tools that allows one to quickly and easily create “slides” that contain just the topics and subtopics you want displayed.

There were several template options along with tools that allows one to add notes, hyperlinks, attachments, images, videos, audio clips, icons, tasks, and comments.

Since this was my first attempt at using Mindomo, and there being  a lot of information to add to the mind map, I kept it very simple.  This mind-mapping tool can be used by both teachers and students, alike.

Some ways to use mind maps would be to generate ideas during a brainstorming session, organize information to make it easier to understand, and take notes in a way that can help to make richer connections and correlations around the material.

Animoto – Video Slideshow Maker

This was my first attempt at using Animoto at https://animoto.com.  I’m an executive and life coach and have recently been fascinated with natural remedies and created a video slideshow about the 10 Benefits of Castor Oil:

Animoto is user-friendly and has several templates to choose from along with music to play in the background of the video slideshow.  While there was an option to upload songs of my choosing, I could not find a way to create my own background template so I was limited to what the site had to offer.  I also had no control over the positioning of the pictures or text within each individual slide.

I was able to quickly learn how to create picture and text slides, edit the slides, change slide positions, duplicate any slides, and delete unwanted slides.

Once my video slideshow was finished, I had the options to publish it directly from the Animoto site, or to upload it to YouTube or other social sites such as Twitter and Facebook.  There was also an option to download the video slideshow into an MP4 version directly onto my computer.

Privacy settings were also available so that I could decide whether to allow comments or social sharing by viewers of my video from the Animoto site.

Animoto does require an upgrade in order to remove their watermark from the created slideshow, which I did not do.

This web tool should be part of any multimedia tool kit and there is also an iOS app for the iPhone or iPad.  Video slideshows are a great way for teachers to share information and are reusable.  I believe students can easily grasp how to use this tool to create their own video slideshows to demonstrate what they have learned in the classroom.

animoto