Word Clouds: Lots of Options

Created with Festisite.

Created with Festisite.

These days multiple word cloud options are available for students and teachers. Designing with words is an easy way for learners to create illustrations with spelling or vocabulary words, and some word cloud sites can evaluate short passages from reading material. To learn more about using word clouds, check out 108 Ways to Use Word Clouds in the Classroom at the Technology and Learning website (you may need to click past an advertisement).

Many people are familiar with Wordle — the original word cloud site — that is especially clean, easy-to-use, and without advertising. Yet, as with everything else in the digital world, however, word cloud sites are increasing. Sites building off Wordle’s success offer various options for saving, sharing, copying, and embedding, but no one word cloud site offers everything. Most of the sites allow a user to format with colors, fonts, and  typeface sizes.

  • ABCya.com — This word cloud site is designed expressly for kids by a small company that develops and markets apps. Users cannot embed images, but it’s easy to copy an image and use it just about anywhere else. You do not need to sign up to use the site, and this is good one to use with younger children because it clearly states that it complies with the Children’s Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA). Some ads promote the company’s apps.      Continue reading

iPad Skills We All Need to Know (Kids and Teachers)

Check out 15 iPad Skills Every Teacher and Student Should Have posted over at the Educational and Mobile Learning Blog. Below I’ve listed five that I want to be sure my students master, but there are 10 more skills over at the blog site.

  1. Create a presentation.
  2. Create an e-book.
  3. Record audio clips.
  4. Take notes from an iPad and print or e-mail them.
  5. Make a podcast with VoiceThread.

Accompanying each of the skills are recommended apps that can help students (and teachers) learn how to do the various tasks.

21st Century Learning Resources

Resources for 21st Century LearningEducator Med Kharbach, the proprietor over at the  user-friendly EducatorsTechnnology.com blog, offers a comprehensive end-of-the-year list of 21st Century learning resources, mostly from posts he has written over the past year.

To get a 2013 head-start figuring out how to make your teaching and your classroom environment more welcoming to digital students, it’s worth taking a look at Med’s list. Many of the sources on this list focus on ways to help students collaborate and think critically about the content they encounter in the virtual world.

Check them out by clicking on the image  on the right. Think about getting started with the link to What Teachers Need to Know About 21st Century Literacy which includes a short eight-minute video. Also check out The 33 Digital Skills that Every 21st Century Educator Should Have.

21st Century Learning: An Outline for Success

Image from Microsoft clip art.

Educators who seek to broaden their 21st Century skill set often wish for a roadmap to guide them through the professional growth maze of the connected world.

Check out Back-to-School Quiz: Skills Every 21st-Century Teacher Should Know by Susan Lucille Davis (@SuluDavis) at the Getting Smart blog. Quiz-takers will get a clear  sense of where they are located on the connected learning continuum and what personal learning needs to take place.

Today’s students are effortlessly digital, but they often lack organizational and judgment skills to help them establish themselves as stalwart learners. On the other hand, we adults are fairly good with organization and judgment, yet most us need to strengthen the digital side of our skills and understand how to teach in a connected and information-rich world. Davis outlines learning steps, offers specific resources, and there you have it — a roadmap.

Choose one item, such as narrowing a search by date or country, a task that will make an enormous difference in the quality of student Google searches but takes moments to master. And this is only one of her suggestions. Continue reading

Video Resources for All Sorts of Learners

Mention video and we all think about YouTube. But educators, students, and even their parents need to identify and access sites where they can find good video clips (sites with a bit more clip curation) as well as lots more information about using video effectively for teaching and learning.

Edudemic, a blog featuring all sorts of materials and learning tools that support educators and their digital-world students, published an August 10, 2012 post with links that its editors judge to be the 100 best video resource sites. Some links lead to video collections while others take users to information about incorporating videos in the classroom. Video tutorials abound. Still more links lead to sites with specific learning tools such as the MIT Open CoursewareClassroom 2.0GoogleTalks and TED talks.

Head on over to Edudemic to check out more than 90 other links.

Clever Ideas for Wordle

Over at the Clever Sheep BlogRod Lucier posted an engaging piece  — twenty ways to use Wordle.

Many of the suggestions in this October 2008 blog post are mimi-performance tasks that encourage learners to evaluate detailed content and distill that  information into the most significant key concepts. Most of the twenty ideas work well as collaborative learning activities. Moreover, I found myself generating additional ideas of my own once I finished reading the suggestions in Rod’s post.

Wordle creates visual illustrations — for assignments, presentations, reports, and more.

Check it out.