During last year’s inspirational meeting, a group of sweet people put together door prizes filled with many of the treats unavailable or very expensive in our international countries. Winning one of those door prizes positively overwhelmed the whole family.
Today, I feel overwhelmed with a huge basket of digital treats. What’s more is that most of these treats are free and don’t need to be downloaded to a computer. They are hosted in the digital clouds all around us.
If you don’t know there are digital clouds, don’t feel in the dark quite yet. People all around us, especially our children and our grandchildren, are here to help shed a light from some digital sunshine on our daily tasks.
Here are a few I randomly pulled from the cloud for a quick inspection:
Twitter: Last night I sent out my first tweet. That is way behind time as a result of my children telling me I had no business on Twitter. I bit the Twitter worm last night because I needed to join an educational chat room at 7:00 p.m. central time with educators around the world who wanted to chat about how to use Wordles in the classroom. I’ll admit I was frustrated because I couldn’t get properly signed onto the chat board. Tweets were flying about two-hundred a minute. I wrote a responding tweet and kept getting an error message until I realized that I could get my tweet out by opening up another virtual window and sending out a tweet! It worked. My head was spinning. My tweets were heard, and I was being bombarded with new ways to educate children using a fun tool I’ve used privately in the past.
Go ahead and send out your first tweet. If you haven’t started yet, get an account here at Twitter.com. You’ll follow friends or groups that interest you. You’ll limit your tweets to 140 characters and join a flock, based out of San Francisco, that flies in almost every country around the world. You don’t even have to tweet to learn from the collaborative conversations taking place. Go ahead and bite that Twitter worm.
Glogster: One of my favorite tools to use on my digital projector is Glogster EDU. A Glogster is a free-for-all digital poster. If you find yourself making posters, it’s just better to go green, save money, and let others see your fancy work in the process. Students, teachers, and just regular folks can begin an online poster right away. For educators, go a head and sign on here at Glogster EDU. Others can join Glogster as well. The free basic edition gives you what you need to start glogging today. You can connect what you want to say along with digital pictures and links to sites that pertain to your topic. You can even include a recorded message using Audacity or one of the other free sites that make audio files.
Wordle: You’ve seen this beautiful text around for years, but did you know that you could produce one in a matter of seconds? The great news is that it’s free, you don’t even need to register, and it’s yours to use however you like.
Here’s a Sustaining Community Wordle someone created with related words.
Try it very simply right now. Go to Wordle.net and hit “Create Your Own.” Either paste or write in a bunch of related words. Hit go and you have your own Wordle to use as you wish. It’s simple and free.
Wallwisher: If you love sticky notes, you’ll love Wallwisher. I’ll admit that Wallwisher is a new program I’ll use next year in my classroom. Wallwisher is great if you want to gather information just for yourself or from a group of people. Let’s say you plan a party and want to know what people will bring. You could simply make a “wall” that says, what will you bring to the party. Send the link to the party goers. Each person just needs to open the link and post a sticky note. They don’t even have to sign-in. They’ll put their name in place of the word “anonymous” and there everyone will know who’s bringing what. It has a high potential in education to gather feedback and reflections from students, but is also very usable in our every day tasks.
If you’re in education and haven’t used these, now is the time to join the summer boot-camp for new teachers (even if you’re an oldie like me). Otherwise, sign up for a free account and have a little fun in the digital sun.