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Friday, November 21, 2008


xtranormal is an amazingly easy tool to pick up and start using to create fairly detailed animated movies. They advertise the tool by saying "if you can type, you can make movies" and it really is that simple yet the range of options is quite extensive. You can pick your own characters, setting, camera angles, emotions, hand gestures and voices. Then, whatever you type in for a script the characters you select will say, so you can make your movies as complex or as simple as you want. I've included a sample below that is an interesting lesson on the letter B. While this particular example may not be the best representation of how you could use this with k-12 students, I think this tool has a lot of potential as far as a creative way for students to express their understanding of different concepts and subjects. As with many other Web 2.0 tools you can share your creations by giving people the URL or embedding it.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


If you have, or work with, kids that are in the 6-10 year old range than you probably already know about WebKinz and the virtual world associated with these furry little critters. If your not familiar with this ingenious marketing ploy it basically consists of the kids buying a stuffed animal that comes with a code they can use to register it in the WebKinz virtual world where the owner (your child) can then earn WebKinz money by playing games and doing different jobs. This money can be spent on buying a house for the virtual pet (the online representation of the stuffed animal they bought) as well as other highly necessary items like a four-wheeler (what pink bunny can survive without one) clothes, jewelry and a wide range of furniture.

At this point you may be wondering why I'm spending so much time talking about WebKinz since it would be a stretch to call it an example of educational technology. Well, stick with me here. The reason is because Shidonni is a lot like WebKinz except you don't have to buy a stuffed animal and you get to create (draw) your animal yourself. Not only can you draw your animal but you can animate it and have it run or fly all over the place. You can also create a world for your animal to live in and then feed it and take care of it. In fact, you can create multiple worlds and multiple animals so students could use this tool to learn more about the different types of animals by creating relevant habitats and populating them with their animals. You can also share your animals with other users if you like. I am going to suggest using this in my daughters' classrooms (they are in first and third grade) as they learn about the classification of animals. It does require a log in so you would need to create accounts for kids but that's easy enough to do. They have a basic introductory video you can watch to learn more about the range of features within this tool.

Monday, November 3, 2008


I first learned about Glogster a while ago but didn't share it because it is one of those sites with a great tool but also a lot of user generated content that would not be appropriate for k-12 students to see or read. Thankfully, like so many other Web 2.0 tools, Glogster has come out with an education version of their tool that filters through the content more effectively and provides a safer learning environment for students.

So what does Glogster allow you to do? Basically, you can create your own online "poster" using images, text, video clips and audio files. They refer to these creations as "glogs", which I'm guessing is a take-off on blogs (maybe graphical blogs?) but that's just a guess. In a sense, a glog is like a single webpage but I think it also helps to imagine it as an electronic or online multimedia poster. There is a social networking element to this site in that users can create a profile and share their creations with others. I've included a sample glog below to give you an idea of what one of these might look like. Glogster has all the capabilities that you would expect as far as being able to embed your finished product and share it with others. The possibilities are endless with this and it would be very easy to incorporate into an existing website or Wiki.