connecting educators & enhancing learning
If you are looking for a creative presentation or new way to lecture to students, try http://www.xtranormal.com/. Essentially you pick a character and a setting ( a number are accessible for free without purchasing an upgrade, and type in the dialogue you would like them to say. You can then pick body movements and gestures to make the character seem more lifelike. It is great for an intro into a new assignment to idea. I would suggest this use for teachers as well as having students create mini lectures that they could use to teach their peers. This program requires an email address. Since there are some suggestive movements that students could choose to manipulate their character, I would recommend using this program with high school students. Although it would certainly appeal to a younger age, I would not have younger students creating movies.
Another website similar to this is www.woordle.com. On this site, users enter words and the words that are entered most frequently appear larger. It is interesting to post a chapter of a unit and have students analyze what words are the largest. Typically, this helps them grasp what terms are most important in the section in focus. Yet, I like the idea of the words forming a shape on www.tagxedo.com. This would be interesting for students to do when reading literature. What I visualize is students picking words they read in the writing that reflect a metaphor or symbol. They could add all the words in the site then design an icon that represents this symbol. If students presented these in front of the class, this would be a way to target visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learning styles.
I am sure some of you may have already heard about a new project that seeks to put every book online. Well I just learned about it a few weeks ago. The project is called open library and is an open source project with, as they describe it on the site, "a wiki like interface." The sites allows users to access, add, edit, and remove content from their libraries. So far they have over 20 million records and counting. I hope you have a moment to check it out.