Dropbox – File sharing and collaboration in a click!

This post is cross-posted from my contribution to WWW on Technology Integration in Education. Enjoy!

Dropbox

Between my job, school and home, I find myself working on 4 to 5 computers per week.  I also have an iPhone and iPad that I use pretty regularly.  One of my largest frustrations is to get ready to work on a computer and realize that the file I need is saved on a different computer!  When I started using Dropbox, it helped me solve that problem!

Dropbox allows you to save files to a folder and access it from your account on any computer via the Internet.  You can also download it as a folder on your computer that you can save directly to and access from the other computers and/or the Internet.  One of my favorite components is the ability to share a folder with other Dropbox users.  For example, you could share a variety of file types pertaining to a lesson with other teachers in your component.

Dropbox is a great, free way to save your files and have them backed up automatically! You can also send referrals to friends and colleagues.  Then you can gain extra space in your Dropbox when they create their account.  If you have a smart phone (such as iPhone) or other device (such as an iPad), I recommend you taking a look at the apps that will interact with Dropbox!  They also enhance the options and usability of Dropbox!

Please share how you do or plan on using Dropbox for education!

Open Educational Resources

This post is cross-posted from my contribution to WWW on Technology Integration in Education. Enjoy!

Blog

Image source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/opensourceway/4383230458/

As the Internet weaves its way into most homes and schools venture into the 1-to-1 arena, there is a hot topic that keeps coming up. That topic is textbooks! Will they stay? Better yet, should they stay? I, personally, am not a big fan of traditional textbooks. They take too long to publish and print, they often contain errors, and they are always out of date! However, I do think it is important for teachers and students to have reliable text to access for their academic work. This brings me to this week’s topic – Open Educational Resources.

According to Wikipedia, Open Educational Resources are “materials that are freely available for use, remixing and distribution.” While this is a very broad definition and I always recommend reviewing the terms of use on any site, it gives you the big picture. Open Educational Resources are free resources, typically on the Internet, that are available to the end user. The benefit for you as a teacher is the ability to bring in up-to-date information from around the world with the click of a button.

There are many examples out there as this trend continues to grow, but I want to focus on a couple of my favorite for you to check out!

HippoCampus claims to be “Your Free One-Stop Educational Resource.” It is full of content, problems, quizzes, electronic textbooks and much more. It covers Algebra (English and Spanish), American Government, Biology, Calculus (English and Spanish), Environmental Science, Physics, Psychology, Religion, Statistics, and US History. Academic Earth states that it contains “Online degrees and video courses from leading universities.” Imagine showing your students an overview or segment of a topic explained by an MIT Physics professor. With a shift in pushing College Reading Standards, I think this is a definite must see!

MERLOT (Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Education) and OER Commons (Open Educational Resources) are both great resources for searching for ideas, lessons, and online resources to cover specific topics. I will say that these two sites can be overwhelming if you visit them without a specific topic in mind. For example, if I search for Astronomy at OER Commons, I will receive 2, 267 options to work through. However, if I search for stars, it narrows down to 101 options. You can continue to narrow the search with keywords and by choosing material types.

The four sites featured this week, will definitely help you find new content, material, and/or lessons for your classroom! I challenge you to visit at least one of the sites and look for new information for your classroom! As you explore and learn more about Open Educational Resources, I hope you will leave us a comment and share your finds!

Animoto – No more ordinary slideshows!

This post is cross-posted from my contribution to WWW on Technology Integration in Education. Enjoy!

Welcome to Weekly Website Write-Up for High School Teachers! I am excited to bring you a variety of websites to use in your classroom! I thought it would only be fitting to start this series with one of my favorite sites – Animoto!

Images:
Then and Now by langwitches
http://www.flickr.com/photos/langwitches/sets/72157605083562304/

Animoto is a great site for student projects, digital storytelling, and organization slideshows! It comes with a great selection of music from all genres and adds the outstanding transitions and effects for you. I have been extremely impressed with the amount of support and forums available to help answer your questions, and I love the high quality videos you are able to create in a short amount of time. Since it is a web-based application, Animoto works on both PC and Mac.

Best of all, Animoto for Education allows you to provide and monitor student accounts. Once your education account is approved, you have all access upgrade for free. This provides free, unlimited full-length videos, downloadable video files, and greeting cards. Your students are granted the same upgrade through the classroom referral code.

Once in Animoto, you follow a simple 1, 2, 3 step process. First you upload your photos and apply the appropriate settings, then choose your music, and then finalize your video. See this easy process below:

Animoto pic

If you haven’t used Animoto before or don’t have an educator account, I recommend you check it out this week! If you do have an account and use Animoto, I challenge you to create a fun video and share with your colleagues this fun and extraordinary way to share photos and content with others! Enjoy!