Free Technology for Teachers



Chockadoc - A Catalog of Online Documentaries
Richard Byrne Free Technology for Teachers 2012/09/21

I'm always looking for new resources for audio and video on the web. "Chockadoc is a place to find full-length documentaries that you can watch online for free. Chockadoc, like sites similar to it, pulls most of its content from YouTube. The benefit of using Chockadoc over YouTube is the categorization of the videos. The categorization makes it easier than searching YouTube to find documentaries about a particular topic or theme."

Today: Total:128 [Comment] [Direct Link]
Maps and Videos of Mouse Brains
Richard Byrne Free Technology for Teachers 2012/05/04

Richard Byrne: "Rsearchers at Texas A&M University have scanned mouse brains and mapped them using the Google Maps API. The mapped scans can be explored using the same zoom functions that you find in Google Maps. After exploring the maps you should also check out the videos of the brain scans." I'm including this so that if I ever do a search for brain videos, I'll find this. Because you never know when you'll need a video of a mouse brain.

Today: Total:126 [Comment] [Direct Link]
EdCamp Boston Morning Reflections
Richard Byrne Free Technology For Teachers 2011/05/07

EduCamp Boston is taking place today and Richard Byrne contributes a set of noon-hour reflections, including a video he referred to during his talk on quality commenting in blogs originally from langwitches on Vimeo. View also Byrne's own slides from his presentation, "Every Teacher Should Have a Blog." Today: Total:118 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Build Your Own Games and Enter the Kodu Cup
Richard Byrne Free Technology for Teachers 2011/03/21

The original idea of Scratch was that people could learn basic programming concepts in a visual and non-technical language. Wikipedia provides a history of Scratch. Microsoft has its own entry into the visual programming market called Kodu. "The drag and drop interface relies on users being able to manage "if/ then" scenarios to design a rich gaming experience. Kodu users create the setting (trees, mountains, rivers, etc), specify the roles and place characters in their games, and program what players can and cannot do in their games." These are both indications of the way greater and greater programming capacities can be placed into the hands of users. Today: Total:120 [Comment] [Direct Link]

47 Alternatives to Using YouTube in the Classroom
Richard Byrne Free Technology for Teachers 2010/12/24

This list of 47 'alternatives' is useful in its own right. But Richard Byrne seems to have forgotton that the essential functionality of Google isn't the ability to view videos - it's the ability to create and upload our own. Hence 40 or so of these 'alternatives' really aren't that. So Vimeo and Blip (which I use) are useful alternatives, but CNN, Reuters and TED are not. Not if you want to create. Today: Total:212 [Comment] [Direct Link]

The Super Book of Web Tools for Educators
Richard Byrne Free Technology For Teachers 2010/12/14

Richard Byrne has compiled a book of tools for educators. The 83-page PDF, freely available online (but awkward to download (Yudu never did fully load), and oddly licensed (see the last page)), is composed of descriptions of tools for educators, with suggestions on how to use them. It's a good initiative (maybe I should do something like this). Here's a quick overview of what's inside and who wrote what:
Introduction: pages 2-3 George Couros
An Administrator's View: pages 4-7 Patrick Larkin
Elementary School: pages 8-25 Kelly Tenkely
Middle School: pages 26-35 Adam Bellow
High School: pages 36-42 Richard Byrne
ESL/ELL: pages 43-46 Larry Ferlazzo
Teaching Online: pages 47-50 Cory Plough
Connect Via Skype: pages 51-61 Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano
Elementary School Blogging: pages 62-65 Lee Kolbert
Alternative Ed Tech: pages 66-68 Beth Still
Social Media for Educators: pages 69-71 Steven Anderson Today: Total:148 [Comment] [Direct Link]

10 Ways to Create Comics Online
Richard Byrne Free Technology For Teachers 2010/12/10

I'm not really a comic creator, but people who enjoy this method of self-expression will find this resource useful. Today: Total:180 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Seven Ways to Build Your Own Educational Games
Richard Byrne Free Technology For Teachers 2010/11/26

Having looked at some of these, I can say two things. First, creating games is complicated. A lot more complicated than creating web pages or even videos. And second, even though it's less complicated with these tools, if you want to do anything more involved than simply quiz and response, it's still complicated. You have to invest some time and effort to figure out what you're doing. That said, sites like this put a lot of functionality into the hands of people who would otherwise have had to invest a lot in authoring software. So on balance, I certainly welcome their appearance. Today: Total:136 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Do You Like Maps? Check Out The Map Room
Richard Byrne Free Technology for Teachers 2010/11/18

Do I like maps? I love maps! I have been drawing maps since I was a young child - I've mapped pretty much everything I've even known, I created outline maps of the countries of the world, and where other people doodle in their notebooks, I create detailed maps of fictitious cities. So yeah, I like The Map Room. I I like some of the posts, like this European history in five minutes video. And the link to the European Cartographic Association's Map of the Month page, which includes this Polar map. But that said, if I had to subscribe to only one map site, it would be Strange Maps, which covers much the same ground, but more of the odd, such as this alternative map of western U.S. states based on watersheds, Planet Berlin, Gangs of L.A. and much more wonderfulness. Today: Total:198 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Tripline - Create Travel Maps
Richard Byrne Free Technology For Teachers 2010/08/18

I've been having fun mapping some of my trips with Tripline, a site that lets you create a map of your trips. Here, for example, is my trip to Australia in 2004. It also supports links to photos and a connection with Twitter. There's a movie playback, which I would love to see actually play the photos, but it only follows the line. Still, there's a lot of potential here. Score another win for the whole realm of automatically generated layout. Today: Total:150 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Hotseat - Backchannel Platform Coming to a Classroom Near You
Richard Byrne Free Technology for Teachers 2010/08/02

Oh this is interesting - I spent a couple days upgrading my backchannel system, and see today that technologists at Purdue are coming out with Hotseat, a backchannel application. According the Hotseat website and the promotional videos, Hotseat will integrate Twitter, Facebook, and mobile device feedback into one stream. It doesn't appear to available to the world yet, but it looks promising. Check out the video below to learn more."

My platform, CChat (short for conference chat) does exist - I've been using it since 2007 and you can see it in action here - and what I did this weekend is to enable it to run simultaneous threads. It doesn't integrate Twitter yet, though - that's on the list, but it will take a day or so of figuring out. Right now, I want to set up a creation screen and admin guide, then it will be ready for public use. At that time (soon?), I'll post a note and you'll be be able to create your own conference thread chat for free (and Perl coders - I have net::Twitter installed, if you want to give me a function that aggregates a hash search, I'll add that too, with much thanks). Today: Total:94 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Screenjelly - Quick and Easy Screencasting
Richard Byrne Free Technology for Teachers 2010/07/21

"Screenjelly is a free web-based tool that allows anyone to quickly create a screencast video. To use Screenjelly all you need to do is go to and click the big red "record" button. Once clicked Screenjelly will begin recording your screen and your voice (if you choose) for up to three minutes. When you're done recording press "stop" and you can then share your video on Twitter and other social networks. You can also embed your Screenjelly recording into your blog or website." Cool! Today: Total:140 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Free eBook - 20 WEBTOOLS Applied to Teaching
Richard Byrne Free Technology for Teachers

Today is a day for free eBooks, starting with Ana Maria Menezes on Webtools for Teaching. Richard Byrne summarizes, "Ana Maria Menezes has just published a 53 page free ebook titled 20 WEBTOOLS Applied to Teaching. In addition to some well-known services like Animoto, Ana Maria has included some lesser-known tools that could be particulary useful for ESL/ELL instruction. You can download the ebook from Issuu. I also recommend browsing through Ana Maria's blog, Life Feast, if you've never visited it. Today: Total:196 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Print This, Share This: Moodle Tool Guide for Teachers
Richard Byrne Free Technology for Teachers

This chart (PDF) linking educational activities and Moodle tools is a great resource. For each activity, it displays each tool as either green 'great fit', orange, or red ('not the best'). The tool was created by Joyce Seitzinger of Cat's Pyjamas. Today: Total:204 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Claroline - Open Source Learning Management System
Richard Byrne Free Technology for Teachers

Haven't seen this before: "Claroline is an open source program that gives users the freedom to create their own online classroom. With Claroline teachers can produce assessment activities, post and collect assignments, build a wiki, monitor student activities, and create chat rooms or discussion forums. Claroline is available as a free download for Mac, Windows, and Linux systems." Today: Total:198 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Zoodles - A Free Kid-Friendly Web Browser
Byrne Free Technology for Teachers

Zoodles is a "kid-friendly" internet broswer that limits access to selected sites. It's free, but "a Premium Membership tier, which enables parents to block ads, block and promote content, and monitor their child's activity" will cost $US 60 a year. It supports Facebook logins, so I guess privacy isn't a big deal. You can block shows (like 'Barbie') and sites (like 'Hasbro') but only with a premium account (otherwise, the companies that market to children (which appears to be most of the content) have free reign. Installing (for my 7 year-old) (cat, Bart) I found it's an Adobe Air application. The application itself is just beautiful, but I would be very hesitant to offer my child this sort of tie-in to mass media and incessant consumer messaging (eg. in 'American Girl' I planted seeds, raised flowers and made honey, but I don't win until I sell the honey). Today: Total:138 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Remix for Personalized Learning
Richard Byrne Free Technology for Teachers

The difference between 'personal learning' and 'personalized learning' is like the difference between 'chocolate cake' and 'chocolatized cake'. That's the thought that occurs to me when I look at this video by Bob Lee. Not that there's anything wrong with the video. But it does raise the issue that there's a big difference between the two approaches that is often elided in discussion. Today: Total:214 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Jeopardy Labs: Make Your Own Online Jeopardy Game
Richard Byrne Free Technology for Teachers

Cool: make your own web-based jeopardy game on any subject you care to pick, then play it in class. Build your game in Jeopardy Labs or browse the Jeopardy templates created by others. Today: Total:318 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Virtual Tour on the Trans Siberian Railway
Byrne Free Technology for Teachers

Oh, this is fantastic - a video of the entire Trans-Siberian railway trip. I have checked it out and tried a bunch of different spots, and yes, it's every bit of the trip. So of course I'm going to do the entire video, from Moscow to Vladivostok. How? When? Not sure. The scope of it is immense. Today: Total:243 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Virtual 3D Tours of the Winter Olympics
Byrne (No first name, apparently) Free Technology for Teachers

We have been just inundated with Olympic hype here, so you won't hear much about them from me. I remember the Calgary Olympics in 1988 - I was living in the city when they won the bid, and came down from Edmonton during the games to watch some hockey. They were boisterous and exuberant, but very friendly and not at all in-your-face. The Vancouver games are being marketed (heavily marketed) the Opposite way. Forget friendliness. Now we're going to "own the podium" and shout with almost militaristic national pride. That's not for me, and actually, I'm embarrassed about the whole CTV 'Believe' campaign. But I do want to share this link to a 3D version of the Olympics. Vancouver is a wonderful city and I know it well and enjoy sharing that. Meanwhile, so far as the Olympics are concerned, I'm seriously considering cheering for France. Or Andorra. Or... Today: Total:136 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Five Platforms for a Classroom Back-channel Chat
Byrne (No first name, apparently) Free Technology for Teachers

Many people use Twitter as a backchannel, but there are some people (like me) who would prefer a different solution - because, otherwise, audience members must obtain Twitter accounts participate, which they may not want to do, and the conversation may be more public (i.e., broadcast to the entire universe) than some people might like. Also, it's really annoying to read one half of a conversation through an individual's tweets (whch is what hashtags address, of course, provided people use them correctly, or consistently, and... sigh.) anyhow, here are five alternatives for a classroom back-channel (and I know, I know, you love twitter and thing everyone should - but you'll have to get past that and realize that the world has more than one religion). Today: Total:165 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Vokle - Host an Online Show or Video Conference
Richard Byrne Free Technology for Teachers

"Vokle is a free service for hosting and recording live web conferences." (Can't say it much clearer than that). "Using Vokle you can host a live conference in which participants can chat with text while you broadcast yourself. You can also broadcast a conversation of yourself and another person who has their webcam enabled... I can see Vokle being used in a classroom to bring in an author, scientist, or other person of interest to your content area." Here's more on Vokle. Today: Total:84 [Comment] [Direct Link]


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