Page Turning Tool

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I played with a fun new tool this past weekend called Page Flip-Flap.  It turns Word or PDF documents in online booklets, complete with a rustling sound when you turn the pages.  (And we book people sure do love us some paper rustling sounds!) 

Page Flip-Flap

All you do is upload your document and fill in your email address, which is used to email you the link to your online flipbook.  No registration or login necessary, and they promise not to use your email address for spam.  It’s free, so there are ads on your online booklet page, but you can banish them by clicking the “full-screen” button, which is at the bottom of the page next to the printer icon.

I used it to transform the S.C. EdTech Conference summary I created last year into a nice online report that my new principal could view.  (I’m requesting permission to attend as usual this year, and wanted to make sure she understands what a valuable experience it is for me.)  You can view it here.  Maybe. 

Or maybe the site is blocked where you are.  Like it is in my district.  As I found out this morning when I skipped to my school computer ready to copy and paste the link into an email to my principal.  And luckily tested the link first to make sure it was working.  And it wasn’t.  Sigh.

So there go my grand plans for Page Flip-Flap, such as converting our school newsletters into this nice online format for our parents to view, or publishing my policy and procedures manual as an online booklet, or anything else creative I might want to do but can’t because once again I’ve been thwarted by our filters.

Oh wait, this is supposed to be the happy sunshine blog where I celebrate good things.  Well, I guess I could request that the site be unblocked.  It could happen.  No, really, it could.  Right?

EdTech 2010 Session Highlights

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edtech10  I’ve been busy these past few days pulling together all of my notes from this year’s South Carolina EdTech Conference so that I can share the highlights.  I was fortunate to be given professional leave time to attend the conference, and as always I returned refreshed and excited about new tools and ideas to bring back to my school.  Unfortunately not all of the presentations have been posted at the EdTech site yet, but you can click here to see the ones that are available.

In Hallway Hubbub, media specialist Betsy Long explained how her morning news crew is using FLIP cameras to conduct hallway interviews with students and teachers, then remixing them and adding music with either Movie Maker or Animoto

The other video session I attended was Lights, Camera, Action presented by Dennis Duszynski which was full of ways to use video in your school.

Rhonda Edwards shared a collection of eBooks she has written to share the history, geography, and wildlife of South Carolina.  Her website includes extension activities for each of her books.  You can see her presentation info here

I did not get to attend Jeff McCoys session on Free Online Tools and Resources (conflict with another session) but he always has interesting things to share so I made sure to check out his presentation info.

I also sat in on the following four sessions: Web 2.0 Instruction; iPodabilities: Creating iPod Touch Lessons; Twitter for Teachers; and Wikis Glogs, and Gadgets for Empowering Students.  Unfortunately, these presentations are not available at the EdTech site yet.  I’ll have to do more research to see if the presenters have a website, blog, wiki, etc where they may have posted the info.

And finally, how many of you are using Thinkfinity?  There’s nothing posted on the EdTech site by the presenter for this session, but I’ll be doing a separate post on this incredible web resource as a WWW next week, so stay tuned for that!

p.s. By the way, you can view the Keynote speech  and the Awards Presentation online via CloudCaster!

WWW – Animoto

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This week’s WWW (Weekly Wednesday Website) is…

animoto logo

 Animoto is a free video creation web tool that allows you to upload your digital pictures and/or video, add music, and mix a presentation by simply clicking a button.  Use their music, or upload your own (copyright compliant) songs.  No video editing skills needed!  Their motto “fast, free, and shockingly easy” says it all!

 Sign up for a free account and begin creating your own 30-second videos to embed or link to, or become a member for $30 per year and create longer videos which can be downloaded as well as linked and embedded.  You can also apply for a free Education Account and receive some of the paid features for free.  (It may take several weeks for your application to be approved.)   

(**Note: Our school has a subscription to the royalty-free music website SoundzAbound which provides access to hundreds of songs for teacher and student projects.  This music can not only be used in classroom presentations but can also be posted to the Internet without violating copyright law. ) 

  Click this link to my Library page and see the animoto video I created using photos from ADE’s Living Literature Day.  You can see other examples at the animoto website.


A link to this website is posted at along with all of the previous WWW websites.

Hello UTC Participants!

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I hope everyone is enjoying the conference!  You can find the notes for my presentation, Managing Web 2.0 Tools for Today’s Teachers and Learners, by clicking here.  Scroll down for the link to my powerpoint, and while you’re here you can check out some of the other presentations, too!  I definitely left the conference with a few useful items in my bag of technology tricks, and I’m looking forward to playing with some of these new tools and revising some of my lessons to include the things I learned this week.  Feel free to contact me with any questions about the material I presented, or to share your own Web 2.0 tools!

WWW – JMS Technology

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Normally I wouldn’t present a site this full of resources as the WWW (I prefer to dole them out in more manageable chunks, complete with analysis and/or explanation of how to use the tool), but since this is the final WWW for the year I want to leave you with something to keep you going all summer! 

JMS Technology is the place to find every kind of Web 2.0 tool you might possibly need, nicely categorized and annotated, complete with logo icons.  (And you know how I love me some logo icons!)

Decided to store your important documents “in the cloud” in case of a hard drive crash?  Check out the File Storage sites.  Want to experiment with podcasting this summer?  Take a look at the Audio Tools.  Need to add a spark to some tired lesson plans?  The Teacher Resources list includes links to games, lessons, and ideas for every subject.  Or, if none of these float your boat, there are 16 other categories to choose from.

Spend some time exploring here, and you’re guaranteed to find some fun new toys to play with!

Click here to visit the archive of all the WWW sites I’ve shared so far.

WWW – SepiaTown

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septiatown screenshot


This week’s WWW (Weekly Wednesday Website) is SepiaTown, a website which is integrated with Google Maps to allow you to view historical photographs in their geographical context, and then compare them to what the area looks like now. 


sepiatown sanfrancisco


For example, you can click on the thumbnail of a specific location in San Francisco immediately following the great earthquake and fire in 1906, and then use the accompanying Google map to see what the same location looks like now.  Just click on the “then/now” button (see it circled in the screenshot above) in the top right corner above the Google Map.  The screenshot below shows you the comparison.


 sepiatown sanfrancisco then now


Users are encouraged to upload their own photos to expand the database, which might make an interesting history or geography project for your classroom!

Putting Technology In Its Place

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I just read two blog posts yesterday that echo some of the ideas I’ve been wrestling with lately concerning the place of technology in the classroom, and I’d like to share them here.

Background:  As my school’s Library Media Specialist and Technology Coach, I have a responsibility to provide appropriate resources to my students and teachers, and to make sure they know how to use them.  With so many useful (and free) technology tools available out there in cyberspace, I want to make sure I’m keeping up with them, using them appropriately, and sharing them with those who need them. 

However, I don’t want to become so focused on the “coolness” of technology that I lose sight of my ultimate goal, which is student learning.  I also don’t want my attitude regarding the importance of technology to become so overbearing that I alienate teachers who, for various reasons, are hesitant about using a lot of online resources or tech tools.  I need to balance my role as a cheerleader for Web 2.0 with my role as someone who assists users with what’s actually going on in the classroom.

Enter Jennifer Wagner and Joyce Valenza, two educators who are doing wonderful things with technology at their respective schools.  Continue reading