fluco toolbox

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.

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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.

Fluco Toolbox: VideoNot.es

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 your students to watch and video and take notes at the same time, on the same screen? Before, you had to make sure they had pencil and paper, or were competent in switching between the video tab and the notes tab. Not anymore!

Today’s Fluco Toolbox tool is: VideoNot.es

First, the basics:

Name: VideoNot.es
URL: http://www.videonot.es
Cost: FREE
Problem this tool solves: Allows students to take notes on a video on the same screen as the video, tracking the time in the video where the note is taken, AND syncs the notes to Google Drive for later viewing.

VideoNot.es is a tool that allows users to take notes to a video, and the notes are timed with the video. If you’re a Google Drive user, you have an extra benefit – VideNot.es will save your notes directly to your Google Drive for later viewing. This tool works with videos from Coursera, Udacity, edX, Khan Academy, vimeo, and YouTube.

If you’re a G Suite school or a Google Drive user in general, first you’ll want to sign-in. VideoNot.es will request to connect to your account so that it is able to sync and save notes to your Drive. You’ll need to sign in each time, but after giving those first permissions, it’s just one click of a button and done.

Next, you’ll need to retrieve the URL of the video you wish to take notes on. Paste it into the box on the left side of the screen, and a smaller version of the video will appear. That’s it! Then you can easily take notes on the right side of the screen, and Videonot.es tracks the time in the video where you began to make the note. This makes it a handy reference to refer back to later on.

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Once finished, you can give your notes a title, export them to Evernote (if you’re a user), or save them directly to your Drive. If you have the sync button turned on, everything is saved for you automatically. You can also open previous notes as well. Would you like to share your notes with others? No problem. The share button makes that easy. It will load the same Share screen you see in Drive, and you can input the email addresses that you wish to share the notes with.

Resources

Need a visual? Check out this tutorial from YouTube:

 

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

Fluco Toolbox: Pixabay

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 find free clipart and images for use that didn’t require credit or copyright permissions? Did you ever want to be able to find the images and clipart in various sizes?

Today’s Fluco Toolbox tool is: Pixabay

First, the basics:

Name: Pixabay
URL: http://www.pixabay.com
Cost: FREE
Problem this tool solves: Copyright-free clipart/images to utilize in documents, lessons, social media, and more.

Pixabay is a website that provides images and clipart free of copyright under Creative Commons CC0. The images can be used as one wishes, without having to give any attributions or credit.  Each image is offered in three different sizes for ease of use. An account is free to create for the site. The best reason to create an account is so that when you are logged in, you aren’t asked to always enter a captcha when downloading the larger image sizes.

Screenshot 2017-05-25 at 9.38.10 AM

Pixabay’s homepage. The background image will be different each time the page is loaded.

Searching Pixabay is relatively simple. On the homepage, simply enter the search terms for the images that you are seeking. It is best to keep your terms simple, as results are based on how the artists and photographers have tagged the images.

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Here is an example of a search for “siamese cats”. At the time you’ll see ads for paid images. These have a watermark on them. Simply ignore them and scroll down to view the free images.

Once you find an image that you like, click on it. You’ll be shown the image in a larger size. There will also be information about the author, related images, and detailed technical information about the image itself. You can favorite the image, share it, and provide comments. A green “Free Download” button is visible to the right of the image. When this is clicked on, three different image sizes for download will become available.

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Here’s what your screen will look like once you’ve selected an image. Simply click the “Free Download” button to see the different size options.

Click any of the size options to download. Here is where the difference of having an account comes into play. If you don’t have an account, you will be able to download the small size without any captcha popping up, but anything larger will show a captcha that needs completed before the image can be downloaded. If you have an account, you can click any size and not have to worry about the captcha.

The image downloads to whatever you have set the default location to be on your computer. For many, this is the “Downloads” folder. Once you’ve got the image though, you’re set!

Resources

If you need some visual tutorials, check out these YouTube videos for guidance:

 

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

Fluco Toolbox: ScanQR App

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 your students to be able to scan QR codes for a classroom activity, but had no mobile tablet or smartphones?

Today’s Fluco Toolbox tool is: ScanQR

First, the basics:

Name: ScanQR
URL: App Link
Cost: FREE
Problem this tool solves: ScanQR allows students to use the webcam built into their Chromebooks to read QR codes.

ScanQR is a very simple app addition for the Chrome browser. If your students cannot bring in smartphones, or do not have them, ScanQR will utilize the webcam to read a QR code placed in front of it. It is downloaded from the Chrome Web Store. The webcam does have to be good enough to read the QR code, but with the Chromebooks in Fluvanna County, this should not be an issue.

When the app is launched, the webcam will automatically turn on. If it is your first time launching ScanQR, you may be asked to give the webcam permission to use the program. Your screen will have 2 red bars on it, like the ones in the image below:

Screenshot 2017-07-31 at 2.03.27 PM

Then you only need to hold the QR code up to the screen, lining it up with the 2 red bars. You may have to move your code in and out so that the camera recognizes it. Once recognized, it will beep and change. In the next two images, you can see me holding an example of a code on my smartphone. In the image on the left, I have not lined it up with the bars just yet. In the image to the right, you can see that my screen has changed. I can now see the web address for this QR code, and have the option to copy the address or go to the URL. If the QR code simply shows text, then you would see the text instead of a web link.

ScanQR is a simple tool with a simple solution. There are no extra bells and whistles here. Give it a try and see!

Resources

[NONE]

 

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

Fluco Toolbox: School Video Recorder for Google Drive

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 have your students record video on Chromebook, AND have it save directly to their Google Drive? Well now you can!

Today’s Fluco Toolbox tool is: School Video Recorder for Google Drive.

First, the basics:

Name: School Video Recorder for Google Drive
URL: Link to Webstore
Cost: Free
Problem this tool solves: Record video with a Chromebook webcam and save it directly to Drive.

School Video Recorder for Google Drive was one of my favorite finds at the end of last year. There are already apps in the app store that record video, whether it’s via webcam or the screen itself. However, this particular app lets anyone record video from the webcam, and immediately have it upload to their Drive.

Of course, students will have to place the video in the correct folder once the video has fully uploaded itself. The app itself is very easy to use, and can be done with very young students. The app has a very simple screen setup, without any other distracting factors.

First, open the app. The screen will ask for a name for the recording. This is a good time to remind students to use a file name that will help them find the video later on.

Screenshot 2017-07-27 at 8.12.45 PM

The next screen shows the webcam and an audio test. First time users may be asked to give the webcam and microphone permission to be used with the app. This screen gives a chance to test the audio and video feeds.

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The third screen is the recording screen. Simply click the red button to start recording, and then the blue button when finished and ready to upload to Google Drive.

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The final screen uploads the video to Google Drive. Keep the screen up until the yellow image turns green. Once it does, the video is uploaded to Google Drive. It may take a little time to compress in Drive before it can be opened, but once it has, the video is safe and sound and ready to play!

Screenshot 2017-07-27 at 8.13.57 PM

Resources

Unfortunately, there are no online resources for this app. See your ITRT if you need assistance!

 

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

Fluco Toolbox: PrintFriendly

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 a great article online that you wanted to share with your students, but when you tried to print it, it was hard to read? Worry no more because there’s a tool to fix that!

Today’s Fluco Toolbox tool is: PrintFriendly

First, the basics:

Name: PrintFriendly
URL: http://www.printfriendly.com
Cost: Free
Problem this tool solves: Makes web articles easy to read and print friendly. Provides users with the ability to modify the look of the article, as well as save it as a .PDF, email, or print it directly from the page.

PrintFriendly is a handy little website that you’ll wonder how you did without! It allows you to take an article from a web page and make it print friendly, as the name of the website suggests. I’m sure we’ve all run across the articles that take up too many pages when printed, don’t fit nicely or a page, or copy/paste creates a nightmare of a mess.

printfriendly

PrintFriendly’s homepage. Simply paste the URL of the article into the search box to begin.

All one has to do is find an article from a website. If you simply want to see how PrintFriendly works, then use the “Try it” feature below the search box on the main page. PrintFriendly will pull up an article from one of the sites listed, and allow you to test out their features.

Once you have an article, then the fun begins. PrintFriendly lets you play with the text size, the image size (or remove images completely), and allows you to delete sections of the article that you don’t need. You’ll find that PrintFriendly already gets rid of those pesky ads within the article for you. At any time, you can click

printfriendly2

Check out those editing tools. If you wish to delete text from the article, just hover over the text, and you’ll get an option to delete it.

When the article is modified to your liking, then you may print directly from the page, create a PDF that can be saved, or email a copy of the article to someone. That’s it!

PrintFriendly is a very simply and easy to use tool, and will definitely change how you use articles within your classroom. Give it a try and see what a difference it makes!

Resources

If you need a visual tutorial, check out this video:

 

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