Web Tool Roundup

               It’s been a while since I last shared information about online tools. I am an avid user of Open Office, Audacity and GIMP, all of which are free software available online and comparable to their commercial counterparts. I also mentioned CeltX, a writing tool that helps you organize larger works like books, plays, and screenplays, but which truthfully, I haven’t used much since downloading.

               My interest in finding out what else is available now was piqued by a clever version of Bloom’s Taxonomy that I happened to find thru Google Images. While I am familiar with a few of the tools pictured, such as YouTube and wikispaces, there are a number of others that I have never heard of, but look promising as classroom tools. What follows, is my quick tour of six of these tools, beginning at the bottom of the pyramid and climbing upwards. Of course, I also provide a link so that you may explore them for yourself. 

REMEMBERING/ Wordnik: As online dictionaries go, wordnik is an interesting version which includes definitions from five other sources, including the American Heritage Dictionary and Wiktionary. It also offers examples of the word defined, used in sentences from various quotes including contemporary uses.

UNDERSTANDING/ Bubbl.us: As a student I always loved graphic organizers. Anything that could make note taking more entertaining was a plus as far as I was concerned. Even today I occasionally rely on a good Pro/ Con list, an outline or a web map. Bubbl.us is easy to learn, easy to use and like the best tools on this list, does not require you to register for anything. I was able to learn how to customize my graphic organizer in about ten minutes, and best of all, you can export the final image as a  JPEG.

APPLYING/ Scribble Maps: As its name suggests, this online tool allows you to add your own “scribbles” to any map. Using Google’s mapping tool as the background, scribble map gives the option of drawing over a geographic, satellite or hybrid map. You can add symbols and notes, and can even upload your own images to personalize any map. There’s nothing to download and you don’t have to register to use the tool, unless you want to save your creation. You can, however, print without saving, which is a plus. 

ANALYZING/ Create a Graph: This online tool, which is hosted by the National Center for Education Statistics, has been around since 2005 and it really is pretty elementary in its presentation and capabilities. With that said, it is still a wonderful introduction to the main types of graphs and charts used to illustrate and analyze data. No registration is required to use the tool, and the information can be printed or saved in a variety of formats, including the familiar PDF and JPEG.

EVALUATING/ GapMinder: Hans Rosling made a fascinating presentation of just this kind of information mining technology in one of the TED Talks recommended on this blog. Now this is available online for teachers and students to be able to look through and make sense for themselves. All kinds of information such as, Adults with HIV, Causes of Death, Foreign Aid Received and more, is available for use in many ways. Students can view the information in Spreadsheet form, download the data or “visualize” the data online.

CREATING/ Make Belief Comix: Illustrations don’t come easy for everyone, and this little program allows those less artistically inclined to be able to create a “comic” strip. Easy to learn and simple to master, this online tool is not a high end creation tool, and will not make anyone the next Seth MacFarlane or South Park creators. I could imagine it being used to create political cartoons for social studies classes or as a way of illustrating foreign language exercises. Entiende?

 Thank you for your time and for stopping by. Have a great Sunday and enjoy the game.

 Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2012. All rights reserved.


About htwilson

born in brooklyn, raised in queens, massachusetts, that's where I be.
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2 Responses to Web Tool Roundup

  1. NK says:

    We attended a seminar this weekend and discussed among other things some favorite apps and tools that might make the classroom more effective.
    I’d like to avoid any thing that requires logins and registrations.

    Your quick review of a few of these is great and will save time trying to find and evaluate these on my own.

  2. htwilson says:

    Thank you for the feedback … Wish I had more time to play with all of them. Maybe I’ll do six more next week 🙂

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