Thursday, March 28, 2013

30 Hands

30 Hands

This ipad and iphone digital storytelling app will allow users to insert pictures from the camera roll and/or Dropbox or take photos with the camera app.  Simply tap and hold on one of the images to quickly reorder them.  In addition, audio can be recorded over each photo to create a story or presentation.  30 Hands can be used in a variety of curricular areas to explain a concept, place events in order, and more.  Students and teachers will love the ease of skipping the login step and sharing the finished product straight to the camera roll.

30 Hands ipad app - Free as of today - Download soon in case this changes

Other Tips:
  • 30 Hands will allow users to re-record audio on slides

  • As of now, there is no limit to the number of slides

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Google Custom Search Engine

Using a Google Custom Search Engine (Google CSE) can make student research less tedious while still teaching students valuable searching skills.

With a Google CSE, the teacher creates a customized search engine that contains only sites for a specific topic. For example, if students are researching Texas animals and their habitats, the teacher could set up the CSE with sites specific to that topic. This allows the teacher to input sites that are on an appropriate reading level as well as ones that contain relevant information. Once the CSE is created, it can be added to your own website, blog or wiki.

To create a Google CSE:
1. Create a Google account or use one you currently have.
2. Go to to get started.

For a quick tutorial, watch Richard Byrne's (Free Technology for Teachers) video below, or click here if reading this post via email.

This would be a good tool to use when teaching students about searching and determining the validity of webpages. The teacher could add sites to the CSE that are outdated, have incorrect information, are more opinion-based rather than fact-based, etc... Students would then have to determine which sites are the most relevant and appropriate for their search topic.

How do you think a Google CSE can be used in your classroom?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Edmodo in GCISD

If you are an Edmodo user this blog post contains information that is important to you and your students. We are excited to announce our district subdomain within Edmodo!

In the coming days, our Edmodo website access within the district will be redirected to (notice there is no www). When this happens, you will be required to enter a school  code, which you will receive via email on Wednesday, March 27. You will only have to do this one time.

Teachers will need to:
1. Go to

2. If you already have an Edmodo account, log in with your existing username and password. If you do not have an account, sign up by selecting the “I’m a Teacher” button.

3. Enter your school code. (This is different than a group code). Your school code will be sent to you via email on Wednesday, March 27.

4. Communicate to your students that when they are at home, they will need to go to
Note: When you as a teacher enter the school code, your students will automatically join the district subdomain. You do not need to give your students the school code.

Edmodo is a free and secure social networking platform for teachers, students, parents and  administrators.  Our district subdomain will give us access to advanced features that allow us to communicate more effectively across the district as well as providing increased security for our users.

If you have any questions or would like to learn more about Edmodo, contact a digital coach.


Mental is a concept mapping app for the iPad. Concepts are represented as a noun or noun phrase and are connected to other concept boxes by arrows labeled with a verb or conjunction. The arrows and labels define the relationships between the connected concepts. Concept boxes may have relationships to and from several other concept boxes, creating a concept map.

Features include:
  • Editable labels
  • One or more edges connecting the subject concepts to the label
  • One or more edges connecting the object concepts to the label 
  • Users are able to move the label with the edge connections preserved
  • Maps
  • Users can remove relationships as a whole or individual edges while preserving the relationship
  • Export to pdf and save in PDF Free, Evernote, Dropbox, iBooks, WebDav (to name a few). Files can also be saved as 'Mental' files (in WebDav) to be retrieved and worked on at a later time
  • Choose the map style (font, color scheme) 

Sunday, March 24, 2013


Gynzy is a very cool website with lots of activities for elementary teachers to use with interactive projectors or slates.  Start by creating a free account.  Once you're logged in, search for activities by keyword or click a subject area icon to view all available activities for that subject.  Once you've selected a subject, you can narrow the search by grade level or topic.

If you like a particular activity, use the star button in the bottom corner to add it as a favorite.  

Favorites will appear on the Favorites tab on the left hand side for easy access.

GCISD Teachers- For help using your new Boxlight interactive projector, check out the resources on the GCISD Training Wiki page 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


WordItOut is a word cloud generator that can be used on the computer or the iPad. On the iPad it is used in the Safari browser. You can control many settings; it’s free to use and there is no sign up required.

You can:

    • Create word clouds from sentences, whole documents, web addresses or tables
    • Filter the text and choose which words to display/remove, and tweak their importance
    • Choose text colors, fonts and sizes
    • Embed your word cloud on your website
    • Save a copy as an image file

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


iTunes (iPad version):

Mac App store (Mac version):

Baiboard is a zoomable, multi-page, collaborative  whiteboard.

Features include:
  • Easy-to-use drawing interface
  • Includes drawing tools and built-in stencils
  • Live collaboration from an iPad, a Mac computer: screen share from an iPad to a web browser and view the canvas or PDF from any computer or device on same network using a web browser
  • Collaborate with the BaiBoard Mac version 
  • Access photos or screenshots from Photos on the iPad or take and add a picture using the camera
  • Sign and annotate PDF documents in real-time
  • Import and share documents from Dropbox, Google Docs, Email, iTunes and Evernote
    Text chat with participants
  • Publish and share your ongoing or previous BaiBoard sessions via Email, Facebook, Twitter, and Evernote (must be signed into Evernote account)
  • All data (diagrams, chat history, voice, snapshots) of session are permanently stored 
  • No registration and no sign-up required
The BaiBoard client is currently available on the iPad and the Mac. An Android version will be available.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Gooru - A Search Engine for Learning

The Gooru website and app are a well organized collection of multimedia math, science and social studies resources suitable for students in grades 5-12.  All content is checked by teachers for quality and safety.

Students and teachers can:

  • Search for resources just as you would search Google
  • Browse the site via the subjects and topics menus

To learn more about Gooru, watch the video below (or watch the video HERE  if reading this blog post via email)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Write About This Free

Write About This is a neat writing app I learned about from the Kleinspiration blog.  

Students can choose from a variety of categories and are presented with a writing prompt based on an image.  The free version is limited to one image per category.  

The really cool thing is that students (or teachers) can create their own prompts using their own images from the camera or camera roll.  Again, the free version is limited to only 1 "custom" prompt at a time but it can be deleted after you've used it to allow you to create another one.  

After selecting an image, students write their story based on the prompt.

The completed stories can be shared as a PDF via email or take a screenshot to save it to the camera roll.

Learn more about the app in the video below or HERE if you're reading this blog post via email.

Monday, March 4, 2013


Have you ever wished you could quickly and easily share a file without having to have log in to a site or create an account to do so? 

Pastlink may have just granted you your wish. Pastelink is a free file sharing site that allows you to share files through a link that is generated for you. 

How does it work? Simply, go to and drag/drop your file onto the screen. The rest is taken care of for you. Pastelink automatically generates a link for you to copy. It can then be pasted anywhere you like such as onto your webpage, into an email to share with others, or into a QR Code creator. 

Here is what else you get with Pastlink:

  • No account signup
    *For files larger than 250MB, you must signup for a free account. The free account allows you to send files up to 2GB.
  • Links are active for 7 days before disappearing
  • No advertisements
  • No software to install

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