fluco toolbox

Fluco Toolbox: The Noun Project

Welcome to Fluco Toolbox, a series of posts that showcases potential edtech tools for the Fluvanna County classroom. Each post will discuss the tool, the type of problems it can help solve, and how it can be used in the classroom. If you’re a Fluvanna County staff member and want to learn more about using the tool in your own classroom, please schedule to see your ITRT and we will develop professional development based around your needs. If you’ve stumbled upon this post and you’re not part of the district, no worries! Feel free to use the information provided to jumpstart your own research.

Have you ever needed to find a simple icon to visually show something, whether it’s for a website, lesson, or project?

Today’s Fluco Toolbox tool is: The Noun Project

First, the basics:

Name: The Noun Project
URL: http://www.thenounproject.com
Cost: FREE (must give attribution for images) OR $20 per year (EDU license- unlimited; no attribution required) OR $2 per icon
Problem this tool solves: Provides icons for just about any noun you can think of. Icons are created by other users. Simply search for a noun and explore the icons that appear.

This Fluco Toolbox tool is quite easy to explain. Teachers who need quick visual pictures or icons can easily search the many collections on The Noun Project, which are contributed by global users. First, create an account. This gives access to your icon history, which makes it easy to download an icon that has been used in the past, or look up attribution information.

Once an account has been created, simply search in the box for an icon. Below the search box, the site also gives some sample icons. This sampling often changes.

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For this tutorial I searched for Pokemon. My search results page looked like the following:

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At the top of the results are collections of images, usually from one of the icon creators. Below that are simply icons fitting the noun I searched for in the beginning. I simply search the icons and select the one I would like to use.

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The image is now shown in a large format, along with the option to download. I can also see what the image looks like in different colors, but as a free user I cannot download the image in color. This is a paid only option.

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Clicking on download gives me two file type options for the icon. For classroom purposes, the PNG format is the easiest to use in any program. SVGs can be downloaded with most programs, but may not work for everything.

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Next, I must choose whether I want a royalty free image, or a creative commons one. Choosing Royalty Free means I must pay $1.99 for the icon (unless I have a Pro account). Choosing Creative Commons means I will need to provide attribution each time I use the icon. Free accounts must choose Creative Commons.

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Once the image is downloaded, the screen will immediately let me copy the attribution text. This downloaded icon is also stored in the Icon History section of my account, should I ever need to find it again. I don’t have to worry about remembering the attribution text because it is also printed below the image. I can crop this off when I use the image, as long as I give credit in some fashion when I use the image. Credit must be given under the Creative Commons licensing used for these icons. Unsure of how to credit icons in different mediums? TheNounProject has created this guide to assist with this task.

Resources

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Fluco Toolbox: Canva

Welcome to Fluco Toolbox, a series of posts that showcases potential edtech tools for the Fluvanna County classroom. Each post will discuss the tool, the type of problems it can help solve, and how it can be used in the classroom. If you’re a Fluvanna County staff member and want to learn more about using the tool in your own classroom, please schedule to see your ITRT and we will develop professional development based around your needs. If you’ve stumbled upon this post and you’re not part of the district, no worries! Feel free to use the information provided to jumpstart your own research.

Have you ever wanted to design quick and easy flyers, posters, or postcards? Have you wanted to have the design process to be simple, and easy to understand?

Today’s Fluco Toolbox tool is: Canva

First, the basics:

Name: Canva
URL: http://www.canva.com
Cost: Free OR $120 per year for Canva for Work
Problem this tool solves: Allows the user to create beautifully designed posters, flyers, and more. Templates for social media, documents, blogging, and more are also available.

If you need to create flyers or posters for an event, look no further than Canva. With this tool, you can design professional looking media within minutes. Simply choose a design template, add your own text and images, and then download the result.

It’s easy to log into Canva if you’re part of a Google district. When logging in, choose the Google option and you’ll be set. Once you’ve logged in, you’re taken to your dashboard, where all created designs will be housed. From here, you have the option to create a new design as well. First, click the Create a Design button to the left of your screen.

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You’ll be taken to a new screen with different templates. Many of these are formatted to a correct size for various websites. For example, the Facebook ad and Twitter post are sized perfectly for those sites. The same goes for documents. Flyers are sized to 5 x 7 inches, and a magazine cover is 8.5 x 11 inches. Choose the type of design you want to create, but don’t worry about what it looks like at this point.

Once a design is chosen, you’ll be taken to a new page, ready to begin editing. For the purposes of this post, I have chosen to do a flyer. The first step once the page has loaded is to choose a layout design. There are many choices on the left side, but many are not free. Make sure the one you select has a “free” label in the lower right corner. This time I selected a winter themed flyer.

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Now that I have my work selected, I can work on modifying the text and background if I want. To edit text, double click on the words and a text box will appear. You can change font styles, layout, and color. You can also move the textbox to another location on the page.

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Don’t like what you see on the current template? Add it yourself! You can use the Elements feature on the left side of the page to add shapes, lines, and more to the flyer.

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It’s easy to change the background as well. Simply click the background tab on the left side of the screen. Then you can select to use one of Canva’s free backgrounds or upload your own.

In addition to adding elements, text and images can be uploaded as well. Canva does have a small library of free images that can be used on their site.

Perhaps one of the most important things to remember is to save often. Canva will automatically save your work, but don’t always rely on this method. If you need to save, go to File, then Save in the upper left corner.

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When the design is finished, download the result. Choose Download in the upper right area, and then choose the file type. PDF is going to be your best option, but you can download the design as an image as well.

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A tip to remember with Canva: template size matters. If you want to make a flyer, but want it to be bigger than 5 x 7, you’ll need to choose a different design template. Canva will not let you resize any template unless you are a paid member. Try to find the template size you want to work with first. Everything else can be modified and changed later on.

Resources

Fluco Toolbox: GoSoapbox

Welcome to Fluco Toolbox, a series of posts that showcases potential edtech tools for the Fluvanna County classroom. Each post will discuss the tool, the type of problems it can help solve, and how it can be used in the classroom. If you’re a Fluvanna County staff member and want to learn more about using the tool in your own classroom, please schedule to see your ITRT and we will develop professional development based around your needs. If you’ve stumbled upon this post and you’re not part of the district, no worries! Feel free to use the information provided to jumpstart your own research.

Have you ever wished to have a way to communicate with students during lessons? A place where you can create polls, easily gauge student confusion at any point in the lesson, create quick quizzes for feedback (with a downloadable gradesheet), AND not have to worry about students needing accounts?

Today’s Fluco Toolbox tool is: GoSoapBox

First, the basics:

Name: GoSoapBox
URL: http://www.gosoapbox.com
Cost: FREE with paid options for classes larger than 30 students
Problem this tool solves: This tool lets you create an event for students to join where you can easily gauge confusion, create quizzes, polls, and discussions, and get feedback, with no need for students to have accounts.

GoSoapBox combines the ease of use of multiple tools/websites into one. If you are looking for a tool that combines the likes of PollEverywhere, Google Forms Quizzes, TodaysMeet, and Google Classroom Questions, then this is the tool for you. While it may not share the robust variety of features that some of these tools have individually, it manages to combine them into one large tool, that’s easy to use in a classroom.

Teachers using GoSoapBox are able to have students participate in an “Event” by entering a code to join. Students never need to create an account. Once the students are signed into the event, teachers can easily do a multitude of things. They will be able to gauge overall student confusion at any time during the lesson. Teachers can create a quiz that will collect student answers for teachers to grade later. They can also create a simple poll, or open a discussion question to be answered. Social Q & A is another feature where students can ask questions, and others can upvote them if they also share the same question.

Perhaps one of the nicest features of running an event on GoSoapBox is that multiple activities can be running at a time. Teachers can have a quiz open and a poll at the same time. Activities within an event can be locked and unlocked, and changed at will. Events are saved in the teacher’s dashboard, so they can set up activities for an event in advance. Activities can also be disabled. Social Q & A may be a tricky feature to teach students to use properly, so teachers are free to disable this option.

GoSoapBox is free for the basic account. The basic account lets you have up to 30 students signed into an event at one time. For most teachers, this is perfect. Upgrades are available, but the cheapest starts at $99 for 6 months, and allows teachers to have up to 75 students in a class at a time. Larger upgrades are also available, but these are better suited for large college classrooms.

Getting started on GoSoapBox is easy. Teachers will need to create an account and make sure all information is verified once they sign up. They’ll then be taken to their dashboard, which will look similar to the image below, minus the already created event:

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To create an event, simply select “Create” in the Your Events box. A new screen loads, and simply asks for a name for the new event.

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Give the event a name, and that’s it! The new event is created.

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Once the event has been created, teachers will be able to configure the event through the “Moderation Portal”, as well as copy down the join code for their class. The code will still be available once teachers leave this page, so teachers don’t have to worry about copying the code right away if they’d prefer not to do so.

Speaking of the Moderation Portal, teachers can complete a variety of tasks. Features for the event can be enabled or disabled as needed. Teachers can invite another teacher to moderate the event, or change the event details. The event can be archived and deleted from this screen. Teachers can also export data.

 

Events are never “closed” (unless archived). To open an event, simply click on the event name on the dashboard. The teacher’s screen appears as so:

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Teachers can now create any of the activities. This can be done in advance or on the fly. Activities are locked and unlocked by the teacher as needed when it’s time for students to give a reply. If teachers need the join code for students, all they have to do is click “Moderate This Event” at the bottom of the screen and the access code will appear at the top of the page that loads.

The possibilities for this tool are large, and if you’ve used it in your classroom, let me know in the comments! I would love some ideas to pass along to others.

Resources

Fluco Toolbox: Resizeimage.net

Welcome to Fluco Toolbox, a series of posts that showcases potential edtech tools for the Fluvanna County classroom. Each post will discuss the tool, the type of problems it can help solve, and how it can be used in the classroom. If you’re a Fluvanna County staff member and want to learn more about using the tool in your own classroom, please schedule to see your ITRT and we will develop professional development based around your needs. If you’ve stumbled upon this post and you’re not part of the district, no worries! Feel free to use the information provided to jumpstart your own research.

Have you ever had students on Chromebooks who needed to modify the size of an image, rotate it, or crop one? You might have noticed that it’s not so easy to do, but thankfully, there are many programs out there online that can take care of this.

Today’s Fluco Toolbox tool is: Resizeimage.net

First, the basics:

Name: Resizeimage.net
URL: http://www.resizeimage.net
Cost: FREE
Problem this tool solves: Easily upload photos that need to be cropped, resized, or rotated. Edit the image, and download the new file. Please note, this tool should not be used for images that are not your own, or that don’t fall under Creative Commons licensing that allows editing.

Resizeimage.net is one of many tools of its kind available online. The reason this tool is being featured is because it was very quick and easy to use, which is what I needed for students. Please feel free to use any other tool out there that accomplishes this goal. When I needed to edit images on my Chromebook for a recent blog post, this website did so quickly, and I was off and on my way to posting my blog.

This simple editing website walks you through the various steps to edit your image. Users simply upload the image from their computer, and then move on to step 2. Step 2 allows the user to crop an image. You can either specify specifics, or simply drag the mouse over the part of the image that you want to keep. Step 3 provides options to rotate the image, if one so prefers. Step 4 lets one resize the image. Users can do so based on a percentage, a width/height numerical input, or a slider bar. By default, “Keep Aspect Ratio” is selected. You’ll want to leave this selected. Step 5 will allow you to make the background transparent, but in most cases, you’ll probably skip over this. Step 6 allows the user to select an image type to output. For highest quality, select PNG. Finally, step 7 asks about the image quality. “Best Quality” is selected by default. Select the “Resize Image” button below Step 7 to implement all changes.

When all of the above steps have been completed, users can chose to download their image by clicking “Download Image” in the blue box at the bottom of the screen. The image will download, and can then be added to whatever project the user is currently working on completing.

Resources

Fluco Toolbox: Poll Everywhere

Welcome to Fluco Toolbox, a series of posts that showcases potential edtech tools for the Fluvanna County classroom. Each post will discuss the tool, the type of problems it can help solve, and how it can be used in the classroom. If you’re a Fluvanna County staff member and want to learn more about using the tool in your own classroom, please schedule to see your ITRT and we will develop professional development based around your needs. If you’ve stumbled upon this post and you’re not part of the district, no worries! Feel free to use the information provided to jumpstart your own research.

Have you ever wanted a quick way to assess students on their learning with a survey, poll, a word cloud, or an open-ended question? How about assess them on their learning with a poll embedded into a Slides presentation?

Today’s Fluco Toolbox tool is: Poll Everywhere

First, the basics:

Name: Poll Everywhere
URL: http://www.polleverywhere.com
Cost: FREE (K-12 Basic), $50 per year (K-12 premium), OR $1,000+ (Entire institution)
Problem this tool solves: Access to quick digital assessment options for classroom lessons and activities

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Poll Everywhere is a digital tool that lets teachers have students participate in quick assessments with the use of a device. Students can use their mobile phones to send a text message response, or they can use any device to access a link to the poll. Teachers can easily see the results of the poll as they are returned in real-time. Poll Everywhere offers a variety of poll types, and educators can choose the one that best fits the current set of activities.

When teachers sign up for the first time, they’ll need to make sure that they select that they will be using their account in a K-12 setting. If you forget to do this, or you set up an account long ago, you can still change to a K12 account. Simply click “Pricing” at the top of the screen, and find the options for K-12. Under K-12 Basic, click the “Upgrade” button. You’ll confirm that you’re changing plans.

Educators should use the K-12 Basic plan instead of the default free plan because educators get a few more items for free. Instead of just 25 responses per poll, educators will be able to receive up to 40 responses per poll. The K-12 plan also lets educators implement Poll Everywhere with PowerPoint/Google Slides, have full screen presentations, and access to many question types.

Once logged in, there are 2 ways to create a new poll activity. One is by clicking the button with the + inside in the upper left corner. The other is to click the red “Create” button. Both options will then show the user different available question types.

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Teachers can create different polls to suit different activity needs. Poll Everywhere provides polls for multiple choice, word cloud, Q&A, ranking, survey, open ended, and so many more. In fact, Poll Everywhere currently has 23 different polling options! We aren’t going to explore every single option in this post, but the image below shows the current options:

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Each option has its own tools and layout, so today we’ll start with creating a simple multiple choice poll. First, make sure to click on multiple choice. For this poll, I simply type the question, and then my answer choices. I can use text, or I can use an image. I can add more answer choices if needed. When I’m finished, I click the blue “Create” button at the bottom of the page. I created a simple question in the image below:

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I am taken to a new screen. This screen will display my results once the poll is active, and I can make further adjustments to my poll as well. Here I can customize how people respond, how many times they can respond, if they can change their answer, create a custom reply message, and if I want my poll to activate/deactivate at a certain time.

To manually activate/deactivate a poll, click the image of a phone with arrows shooting off to other devices. This same button deactivates a poll. Only one poll can be activate at a time.

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Once a poll is active, live updates will appear almost immediately as the question is answered. In the image below, you can see the live updates screen, side by side with the mobile view of the question. In this case, the user has typed the web address for the poll into their phone browser.

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With so many options, Poll Everywhere makes a great exit ticket, or a polling system built into a presentation. This is a simple, yet complex tool, and with so many options, there’s sure to be a poll to suit your needs!

Resources

Fluco Toolbox: Symbaloo

 

Welcome to Fluco Toolbox, a series of posts that showcases potential edtech tools for the Fluvanna County classroom. Each post will discuss the tool, the type of problems it can help solve, and how it can be used in the classroom. If you’re a Fluvanna County staff member and want to learn more about using the tool in your own classroom, please schedule to see your ITRT and we will develop professional development based around your needs. If you’ve stumbled upon this post and you’re not part of the district, no worries! Feel free to use the information provided to jumpstart your own research.

Have you ever wished that you could set your Internet bookmarks up so that they were visual icons, instead of walls of text? Wished you could create different pages for different bookmarks so you could keep home and school stuff separate? What about wished it was easy to share all of your bookmarks with your students?

Today’s Fluco Toolbox tool is: Symbaloo

First, the basics:

Name: Symbaloo
URL: http://www.symbaloo.com
Cost: FREE or $49 per year for Symbaloo PRO for Education
Problem this tool solves: Allows users to create visual bookmarks such as they’d see on a tablet. Can be embedded into their Google homepage or shared with students.

Symbaloo is a visual bookmarking tool that resembles apps on a tablet screen. Many folks prefer this method of bookmarking over the traditional text-based system, and this visual system is easier to use with younger students who have yet learned to read. Teachers (or anyone!) can create themed webmixes of bookmarks and then share the webmix with others.

Once a teacher has signed up for an account (and if you’re a Google teacher, it’s easy to connect your account to Symbaloo!), it’s time to create your first webmix. Users have two options – they can create an empty webmix, or they can add an existing one from the gallery. For the sake of today’s post, we’re going to focus on creating a webmix from scratch.

When you first create an account, some default webmixes will appear. These can be deleted or customized if you would like. More often than not, you’re ready to set up your own webmix. You do this by clicking the + sign to the far right of your webmix tabs, as shown in the image below:

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You’ll be asked if you’d like to create one from scratch or find one in the gallery to use. We’re going to focus on the left side, where we can create our own webmix. Give the webmix a name, and then click the green “Add” button. Now, your webmix will appear in your tabs on the page.

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With our blank webmix in place, we’re ready to begin building our bookmarks! There are a couple of ways to do this.

One way is to already know the website address. Click any blank tile, and a new window will pop onto the screen. You can create the tile yourself, by providing the website address, the name on the time, and the color of the tile itself. If you want a certain image for the tile, you can also upload one at this time. Finally, click save to add the tile to the webmix. Now, you can click and drag the tile to any location on the webmix.

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The second option is a little easier, especially if you know what you’re looking for. You can either click anywhere on the webmix to get the same pop-up window as before, or you can click search in the upper right corner. The search option defaults to tiles, but you can also search for other webmixes or someone’s profile.

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If searching for tiles, simply type the name of the site or service. For example, typing Kahoot or Khan Academy will bring up the tile that is already created for those sites. Click on the tile from search automatically adds it to your webmix. It can then be moved anywhere on the screen.

Webmixes can be shared by clicking the “Share” button at the top of the screen. A new window pops up and asks for a webmix name, description, and keywords. Users have the option to share the webmix publicly in the gallery or privately with friends. You’ll notice that the right side of the screen is hidden. This is only until the webmix has been shared. Click the green “Share my Webmix” button. You’ll be taken back to the webmix screen, and you’ll now see that the share icon at the top of the page is also green.

Clicking the Share button again will now open a window on the left side of the screen. If you click the webmix info and sharing options, you’ll again see the same share window as before, except now the right side is no longer hidden. Retrieve a link to share with others, share to Facebook, or even embed directly into Google Classroom.

Symbaloo has many other neat tricks and features, but the above will get you started. Once you are comfortable with the tool and using it, then feel free to check out the other things Symbaloo can do, such as become your homepage, add bookmarks as you browse the web, and create learning paths!

Resources

 

Fluco Toolbox image created by Stephanie King (Fan) for this series. Please do not use without permission.

Fluco Toolbox: Prezi

Welcome to Fluco Toolbox, a series of posts that showcases potential edtech tools for the Fluvanna County classroom. Each post will discuss the tool, the type of problems it can help solve, and how it can be used in the classroom. If you’re a Fluvanna County staff member and want to learn more about using the tool in your own classroom, please schedule to see your ITRT and we will develop professional development based around your needs. If you’ve stumbled upon this post and you’re not part of the district, no worries! Feel free to use the information provided to jumpstart your own research.

Have you ever found that students tend to always use Google Slides or PowerPoint for presentations? Are you tired of the same old thing for presentations all of the time?

Today’s Fluco Toolbox tool is: Prezi

First, the basics:

Name: Prezi
URL: http://www.prezi.com
Cost: FREE (with paid options)
Problem this tool solves: Provides another option to create visual presentations without using a slide deck format.

Prezi is a presentation tool that can bring more of the “ummph!” to your students’ work and projects. Students can create presentations that are visually connected and intriguing. While Prezi is offered to the business community with a limited free option and some paid options, Prezi for Education is much cheaper. The standard education version is free for teachers and students, and the paid option is $7 per month. In most cases, the free option will suit teachers and students just fine, but a comparison of features and prices can be found here.

In terms of what makes it different from PowerPoint and Slides, Prezi provides a different visual layout that transitions from one idea to the next. Ideas can be nested within each other, and the start of a Prezi can show all parts of the topic on one screen without overwhelming the audience with text. Prezi is an online only tool, much like Google Slides. Presentations cannot be downloaded for offline viewing with the free version.

Prezi does not limit users to a slide deck, but allows ideas to be connected and branched out, much like a concept map. Users need to plan the flow of their presentation still, just as they would with a Slide or PowerPoint. Ideas that just randomly flow into others does not help the audience to understand the topic or content. It is also helpful to note that with the latest version of Prezi, there is no blank template to work from. Users must choose an existing template and modify it to suit their needs.

Prezi is also now divided into Prezi Classic and Prezi Next. In the spring of 2017, Prezi launched Prezi Next, which is the newest version of the tool. All previous presentations became Prezi Classic. Prezi has no plans to develop Prezi Classic any further, but they will continue to provide support for it. If you signed up for Prezi after April 25, 2017, you only have the option to use Prezi Next.

No matter what tool is used, whether it’s Prezi or PowerPoint or Slides, the real key to a great presentation is going to be the presenter. If the presenter cannot deliver an engaging and memorable presentation, then the digital presentation tool becomes nearly worthless. Choose the tool that works best for the situation and use it wisely.

Resources

  • Here is a sample presentation I created for a conference about branding our district.
  • Prezi has created a playlist of tutorials for Prezi Next
  • If you prefer Prezi Classic, they have a playlist for that as well

 

Fluco Toolbox image created by Stephanie King (Fan) for this series. Please do not use without permission.