So, this week we were asked to use and describe some online sites that could be used in an educational setting. Only one was familiar to me, and it was a lot of fun (even if occasionally frustrating) to check out the ones that were new to me. Things certainly could have gone a lot quicker if everything had worked easily, but it always seems that there are (small) glitches.
Bubbl.us- This site allows you to create a concept map. We'd already used this for an assignment last week, so there wasn't much difficulty in using it this week, save for a few minutes when for some reason I could not type into the bubbles at the very end of my project. I even changed the batteries in my keyboard, thinking that was the problem. It wasn't. So I switched out of Safari (I was informed that FireFox, my first choice, doesn't work so well with Bubbl.) and back to FireFox, and it worked just fine, no problems at all. I discovered at the end, when I was rearranging and resizing all of my bubbles, that one can make smaller bubbles disappear behind the larger idea bubble and then have them pop out when you want. I like that, and I know that I will be using this with my students, and will especially teach them how to use it themselves. It is a fantastic way to organize one's thoughts and a great study tool that I think they'll like using, and maybe actually study!
Glogster- I am familiar with Glogster, but haven't used it since last year. I guess absence makes the heart grow fonder! No, I really do like Glogster, but I had forgotten some of the maddening unexplainable problems I'd run into before, like not having certain pictures show up in the final product. Right now I am trying to work on my background photo, which I uploaded myself and it showed up in the first few times I viewed my Glogster as a visitor. It'll show, then it won't show, then it'll show again. Maddening, and lots of time wasted. That said, I really do like the whole idea. The site seems faster at loading videos and pictures than the last time I used it, and this time I even uploaded the sound of thunder to go along with my Thunderstorm bit. I still have to go back and tweak the background photo and one other photo that refuses to show up in the final product. Hopefully they're working on those problems and it won't be an issue in the future.
Animoto- This site allows you to create your own 30-second film (no voice-over) for free, or you can pay a monthly fee to create a longer one. I uploaded 8 pictures about weather, sorted through their library of free songs to choose from for background music (choosing one called summer sunshine) and created my "Weather" video. It was pretty boring, but I do see how it could be a great tool if you subscribe for a longer length. However, if I wanted to make a movie for class, I'll just use my computer's iMovie program. Lots easier and looks much better.
Voki- I don't know about this one. I created one voki, which is essentially a talking head that you can create (down to lips, even). You talk into your computer's microphone and the voki speaks, using your voice, of whatever topic you want your students to get information about. I am going to play around with this one a little more, but I do think that I am going to check out one of the other sites that we can chose from, especially the one where you can create games. I am always looking for sites to create games for review. I think a game would keep my students' interest more than a voki would, except if they were the ones creating the Voki. Then they really may be into it. Sounds good to me, let them create!