The Easiest Way to Expand your Vocabulary!

Today, we’re sharing an innovative and extremely helpful tool that just may become one of your new favorites! The tool is Professor Word, and it’s meant for anyone who is interested in expanding their vocabulary and learning new words and their meanings. Studying vocabulary can be difficult—whether it’s for an exam like the GRE, to better write papers, or to develop yourself, learning the meaning of new words can be a tedious task. That’s why we love Professor Word—this tool integrates with your browser, so when you are surfing the web and reading articles and other information on websites, you can look up the meaning of the word in a simple click. What’s even neater, is all vocabulary words appearing on the ACT or SAT are highlighted on the page—mPWaking it easy to pick them out and learn their meanings! Professor Word is free and also available for iPad—simply save Professor Word as a bookmark, and when you are at a website and want to use Professor Word, open the bookmark and it automatically launches to help identify the meanings of the words on the page!

Speed Up your Favorite Moments and Movies

We love a good app, and this week we’re sharing one that you might have seen a lot of lately! The app is called Lapse It, and it allows both iOS and Android users to create time lapse and stop motion videos.

Watch the sunset, watch the stars move, and watch a 3 hour drive in minutes! Lapse It allows users to get creative and put the video recording feature on their mobile devices to great use! Speed videos up to 240x, add a song to the video from your library, choose from over 50 filters, share directly on Instagram, Facebook, and more! The tool is free and can be downloaded from the Apple iTunes or Google Play.

Besides being a fun way to capture videos daily, Lapse It is a great tool to share with students to integrate into their multimedia projects!

Unlimited Cloud Storage? It is not too good to be true!

Have you heard? Google recently announced the news of providing unlimited Google Drive storage for Apps for Education! Google is rolling out this change at no charge to the users. So, for all you UIS Google Apps for Education users out there, this is great news! And for those of you who have not yet accessed your Google Apps for Education account, perhaps you should soon!

Google-Drive

A Great Resource for Creating your Apps: App Inventor

If our post last week about creating your own apps sparked your interest, then this week’s post is meant for you! You can never have enough learning resources about creating your own apps if that is something that sparks your interest—it can be a very complex and intimidating process. So, this week, we wanted to share another great resource out there that helps answer your questions, spark ideas, and get you started creating your own apps!

The website is App Inventor by MIT. This website is full of tools to get you started—everything from guides to tutorials to forums! App Inventor has great resources to get your questions answered while you’re using the product including a multitude of troubleshooting guides and FAQ.

What do you think? Are you going to try out creating your own app? We’d love to hear!

Develop your Own Apps–with a Tool that Makes it Simple!

Often times, technology presents exciting, yet intimidating ideas. Ideas that allow us to make our own creations, and learn how to use a new program. With all the apps out there, perhaps you’ve wondered how they are created…and maybe even how you can create your own!

TouchDevelop is a tool that now only allows individuals to create their own apps through coding, but also offers “Hour of Code”—lessons where users can follow a tutorial to learn to write and create an app! The “Hour of Code” program is a nationwide initiative to help students better understand and become involved with Computer Science and Programming—and it’s a great webspace to share with your students to help them explore their interests and learn something new!

We highly encourage you to check out TouchDevelop’s website and navigate through the scripts, tutorials, and discover the ideas of people all over the world just like you!

 

Engage your students with this new tools!

We always love sharing tool that get students involved in lectures and convert a regular lecture into an interactive discussion. Today, we’re sharing a great tool that turns mobile devices into interactive responders, and gets students answering questions and responding to discussions at any point during lecture!

GoSoapBox is a tool that works similarly to InfuseLearning—instructors can create their own space, also known as an “event”, where they can create polls, discussions, quizzes and q&a for responders. Students then will join the event with an access code from their device—the instructor can choose to have students enter their name (so only they can see them) or students may remain anonymous.Capture2

A great feature of GoSoapBox is the Confusion Barometer—insert a simple toggle asking students if they simply “get it” or don’t understand—you will then get instant feedback and are able to identify which areas need to be discussed further!

Be sure to check out GoSoapBox, and let us know what you think! If you have questions about using this tool, let us know and we can help you get started!

The Best Music Resources for your Projects

We’re always blogging about places where students and educators can find free for use images for their websites, blogs, projects and more. Today, we thought we would share some places where users can find music for the same purposes. We do not always recognize music the same way as images when it comes to multimedia projects, but music can be very impactful and offer a unique effect.

As with images, it is important to ensure the music used in projects is used appropriately, with permission. Check out a few of our favorite resources to find music to use with permission.

  • Freeplay Music: Free access to over 15,000 music files for students and educators!
  • Musopen: If classical music is what you are looking for, check out Musopen, where users can download up to 5 recordings each day, or stream music for free.
  • The Free Music Archive: Search for tons of music across many genres and types—The Free Music Archive is a hub of creative and unique content that can be used in multimedia projects.
  • Soundbible: If your audio needs consist of sound clips, specific noises or various effects, then Soundbible is the place to check out and explore—you’ll be sure to find something to fit your needs!

It is important that when you obtain music from any of these websites or others that you are familiar with the specific licensing for the music you are using—licensing differs for projects posted publicly on YouTube vs. those that remain in the confines of school. If you question whether it is safe to use your particular piece of music, feel free to reach out to us to better understand your permissions.

Pictures for your every need!

We have definitely touched on the topic of free use images in the past, and thought it would be a great topic to blog about at the beginning of the year. Finding Public Domain images is important in higher education–pictures are often an essential part of presentations, projects, and other forms of multimedia we create. But, it’s equally as important that we understand what images are appropriate to use and where we can find them.

We wanted to share Pixabay, a great resource that has recently been improved, making the searching process for images seamless and even offering different sizes of the same image to fit your needs!

This is a great tool to not only utilize as an educator but to share with your students for all of their future projects throughout this school year.

The Easiest, Quickest way to Record Voice!

Quick recordings added to blogs, pins, class websites, and emails are great additions to connect to the audience and share information that cannot simply be shared through text. If creating recordings quickly with a simple online tool is something you’ve been wanting to do, check out Vocaroo!

vocarooSimply go to Vocaroo’s website, click to record, create your recording, and then choose how you wish to share it—email, Facebook, Pinterest, and more! Or, choose to instantly download it. No sign in, no registration—just instant, easy recording!

This is one of the simplest tools to use, with so many applications. One of our favorites is that you can create your recording, and then it can be instantly transformed into a QR code. You can use this QR code in activities, and create various recording to associate with them. This would be so neat for scavenger hunts, student projects, etc.

How do you want to use Vocaroo in your class this year?

Enhance your website, blog, or even Blackboard site with ThingLink!

ThingLink isn’t a new topic we’ve posted on before—check out our past posts here and here.

We thought we’d revisit it today, because ThingLink can be a great “conversation starter” prior to lecture. Post a ThingLink to your Blackboard site, class website, or blog, and initiate further thinking, exploration, and interest in a photo of the class topic. ThingLink allows users to add so many other resources to a picture, making it more of an interactive experience than simply a photograph. Add comments, links, YouTube videos, and more to give students more of a complete picture!

Let us know if you have an interest or any questions on using ThingLink on your class site or blog!

Tap into your “Visual Senses” with this Android App!

We love sharing apps, and while we typically are sharing iOS compatible apps, today we’re sharing an Android app that is so easy to use, and has so many potential applications in education.

Clarisketch allows users to take a picture with their phone, and then add voice audio and draw over the picture, and share it with others. It’s so easy to use, and is a great way to take pictures and describe them—think geographical locations, art, diagrams, etc. Describe processes, diagrams, work-through problems, and more. After you share Clarisketch, users only need an internet connection and web browser to view—viewing the photo/audio does not require the Clarisketch app.

This app is great to have on your Android device and to keep in mind, as it can be useful in many situations—particularly in education!

On-Demand Learning with FutureLearn

 

In the past, we’ve shared webtools that provide wonderful opportunities for learning outside the classroom. Webtools like Khan Academy, Carnegie-Mellon University, and YouTubeEDU make it possible for students to watch lectures from professors from other schools, other subjects, and other countries.

CaptureToday, we’re sharing a similar, great tool to add to your list to share with students—FutureLearn. Not only does FutureLearn offer courses on subjects like History, Political Science and Literature, but users can also explore courses related to development such as writing resumes, public speaking, and more. It’s a great tool for learners of all ages, in all stages of life.

Be sure to share this tool with your students this fall! It’s a great way for them to explore subjects they are interested outside of school or even enhance the material they are learning in their current courses.

The Smartest Pocket Translator

Learning a new language is not always the easiest challenge to take on, but is a very valuable learning experience. All the new technologies, apps, and tools available today can make learning a new language a little less daunting and a little more fun! Today we’re sharing one of our favorite apps that help with translations and learning a new language! Google Translator is a free app available for both iOS devices and Android.

Translate by voice, by handwriting, by typing, and even translate entire websites by simply entering the website URL. Our favorite feature of this app that makes it so functional for everyday use is the ability to take a picture of the text, highlight what you want to be translated, and then it will be translated to your desired language!

Google Translator is an absolute must-have tool for all your translation needs!

A Unique Way to Stay Up-to-Date with Current Events

As educators, we are always focusing on ways to enrich the minds of our students. Most of the time, we are focusing primarily on our own curriculum and class material. However, its important for students to enjoy reading—enjoy learning—in ways outside of the classroom and outside of our syllabi.

9-11-2014 8-18-12 AMShare this awesome tool with your students today—Ten By Ten. It’s a website that presents the top news stories with photographs—100 to be exact, forming a 10×10 cube. Roll your cursor over the various photographs to see the top topics, and view various headlines linked to the photos to read more about these events.

Staying abreast on current events and news is an important aspect of learning, and this is the perfect tool to help your students easily do just that!

Conquer your Communication Needs with this Tool!

This week, we wanted to focus on Microsoft Lync, a tool for UIS faculty and staff that is definitely a favorite in our campus community.

Lync is a tool for communication—allowing users to message chat, audio and video chat, and even desktop share. This tool is great for communicating with colleagues across campus, across town, or even across the hall!

One of the best additional features of Lync is web conferencing. With web conferencing, faculty and staff are able to communicate with online students, making it a perfect solution for integrating interaction with students from a distance. With the Lync Web App, students can participate in meetings, chatting, desktop sharing, and more. Even more of a bonus—Lync is fully functional on mobile devices—simply download the app and start communicating right away.

We have tons of tools and resources for using Lync—check them out here!