I noticed a post on FreeTech4Teachers about 7 places to find copyright free photos and the first entry was my personal favorite, Morguefile. Others on the list were also sites I have on my graphics resource list located on my website. But there was one site mentioned that I was not familiar with, Photos 8, which had some incredible pictures for download. They do ask that Photos 8 be credited with the pictures, but they are copyright free. So, if you are needing great photographs for student projects, presentations, websites, or blogs, I would suggest Photos 8...you won't be hungry for pictures again.

Additional Photo Resources:
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I had a teacher ask about alternatives to using Voki to aid students with their French. When you record directly into Voki, it only allows you 30 seconds. You can squeeze a little more time out of Voki if you use the other two options available. You can make recordings using tools like Garageband or Audacity, or online tools such as Vocaroo, or Myna from Aviary but you won't get much more than a minute. Another option is clicking on the phone icon and entering your cell phone for a call back from Voki. It will let you leave a recorded message. Depending on your cell phone, this is a great option and in most cases produces good results. But, if you would like a little more time, another option is Photoface Dashboard. This site allows you to upload pictures to use for your avatar and has you place the animation points for proper perspective. While students really like Voki, they LOVE Photoface Dashboard. There are so many uses for avatars within the classroom, bringing historical characters to life, practicing reading fluency or foreign language fluency/pronunciation, content review, to name a few. So when you find yourself shorthanded, go digital.
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I was at a technology conference back in May when I first learned about DoveWhisper. This site is basically a clearinghouse of fabulous interactive websites for K-5th covering all core subjects. DoveWhisper was developed by K.L. Evans who is a Technology Integration Specialist for Frisco ISD. Because this site was compiled by a Texas teacher, all of the sites meet the TEKS at the different grade levels. So every elementary teacher in Texas needs this site! I say this is the fabulous site with the strange name, but shhhh...don't tell K.L. I said that, just try it, you'll like it!
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In case you haven't noticed, Ning is now charging for their site. But have no fear, a replacement is here...WackWall. You need to check this out. You can create a social networking site that allows you to share photos and videos, blog, comment, and collaborate. A couple of components, wikis and video conferencing, are advertised as "coming soon." They have some great templates and it has that look of Facebook that everyone likes because of familiarity to that format. So check out WackWall, I promise it is anything BUT wacky.
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Okay, in all of my training sessions I have been touting Delicious as the way to go for bookmarking favorite sites online. Back in 2006, a site was launched that takes online bookmarking to another level...yes I am behind the times! Diigo (Digest of Internet Information, Groups and Other Stuff) takes online bookmarking to another level. It also provides users with the ability to save images to their account as well as notes taken about any site. Another feature that I love about Diigo is that you can create lists to categorize your links...so if you are looking for a link that pertains to say, Language Arts, you go directly to that list. ANOTHER feature allows you to highlight information on a web page to save. This website is a great productivity tool that every teacher needs to embrace. So let's all do the Diigo Dance...
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Wanting to have a back channel? Think you might benefit from an online social media platform, but don't know how to make that work in your classroom? I have found something that completely sheds the look of Twitter and takes on the look of a ... timeline?...that's it Twitter on a timeline and it's called Plurk, a social journal for your life! Can't even really describe this, you've just got to see it to believe it. This would be an excellent choice for elementary classrooms, but secondary could make this work as well. It's time to socialize in the classroom; get busy!
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I just received Tammy's Tip of the Week from Tammy Worcester and I wanted to share her latest find, Tagxedo. This Web 2.0 tool takes Wordle to the next level by taking the word cloud generated and putting it into a shape. Imagine the possibilities here. That additional dimension to the word cloud can serve to provide a visual clue for attaching meaning to the topic of the word cloud. So I think it's time to soar to new heights with word clouds; enjoy the flight.
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I don't know about you, but I've been so busy, I haven't had time to read. Don't get me wrong...I'm reading, just not for pleasure. In fact, I would have never been able to finish the Twilight series if it had not been for our public library and their great selection of audio books. I would have never been able to find out if Bella wound up with Edward or Jacob...imagine the ramifications! All this to say, I was on a blog yesterday that posted the top 10 free sites for audio books, MakeUseof.com. I have added a couple of other sites as well. So...go forth and READ...by listening.

Free Audio Book Websites
OpenCulture This is a great blog with a multitude of information.
ProjectGutenberg Awesome wiki that has a variety of resources.
StoryNory Great children's site
LightUpYourBrain Another children's site
FreeMP3AudioBooks 
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Have you been looking for a tool to generate graphic organizers and just haven't found the right one? TCEA Technotes came out today and they posted a list of online graphic organizers. I am sharing these with you in hopes that you will be able to find just the right tool that suits your needs. As you can see, there are many to choose from, so check them and start organizing information...your students' brains will appreciate providing order to the data you are sending their way...so...go forth and organize.

Online Graphic Organizers:
·  BBC Pinball (four tools)
·  Cacoo
·  Mind42
·  Think
·  Webbing Tool


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As we have been playing with all of the new LadyBugs and learning some of its advanced features, I came across a list of lesson ideas for various grade levels. I thought I would share these for you to check out. These LadyBugs are great tools for facilitating meaningful learning experiences in your classroom as well as to post to your website for those who missed the lessons. Check out some of the lesson ideas and catch the LadyBug fever!



Interactive Lesson Ideas Using a Document Camera


Grade Levels: Elementary School / Primary School



Grade Levels: Middle School / High School



Grade Level: Any



These lists came from the Document Camera Experts website which also have a great list of tutorials you can check out as well.
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This morning I had a chance to play with LifeYo and I love it! This is a VERY user friendly tool to create a static web page and blog all under one URL address. There are some great designs to choose from and it is very easy to manipulate. You can add pictures, videos, embed codes, you name it...and it has a super sleek look to it all. This would be an excellent choice for student generated web page projects as well. Life doesn't get much easier than this...check it out...LifeYo.
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Getting back to school means updating our classroom websites. A great tool I recently found resizes your photos for the web. It is incredibly easy to use. All you have to do is upload the picture, decide if you want a border or not, figure out what size you would like it to be as well as the resolution you need, then click "Apply Changes." It doesn't take long and then you can click on the link to download the graphic. This will ensure your photos are not exceeding district guidelines for your web pages. Check it out...you'll like it!
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The Differentiator by Brydseed
About a month ago I was doing research for a presentation, The Technology Infused G/T Classroom, I came across a fabulous blog, Byrdseed Gifted. This blog focuses on gifted education even though the author has a background in computer programming. Combining the two, he developed a Web 2.0 tool called the Differentiator that generates student objectives with higher level thinking skills in mind. He has also developed a couple of other tools as well. This blog is one I would definitely subscribe to; his posts provide great resources for differentiating instruction in the classroom. Check him out!
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I have been reading a lot about back channeling lately. Since this was a term I was unfamiliar with, I immediately decided to check it out. A back channel is a conversation taking place, usually online, at the same time a presentation is occurring. It is, you might say, a parallel conversation and can provide a very rich learning experience if utilized properly. There are several websites that can be used; however, TodaysMeet is the site I have been using. We been discussing possible implications within the classroom. Using a back channel during a video presentation in lieu of a video viewing guide, for a brainstorming session, to pose questions or comments during a presentation, the possibilities are endless. TodaysMeet generates a transcript that can be printed when done. I was thinking this would provide a great tool to use in parent conferences. Several teachers issue aliases so students will feel free to respond or participate when they normally wouldn't in the regular classroom setting. My one observation when I utilized a back channel in a training session was how critical it was to have someone monitoring the back channel. Being able to address questions immediately provided a level of interaction I haven't observed in a while. Try it and see; I think you'll like it. Back channel...TodaysMeet...student interaction guaranteed.
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