Saturday, March 01, 2014

Web-ulous tools

I have gotten so caught up in all the wonderful mobile learning apps, I have been neglecting the new crop of Web tools. Here are some of my current favorites. (Some of these also have apps that can be used with them, too, but for this post, I will be concentrating on the Web-based version of the tool.)

Google Docs Story Builder (

Google Docs Story Builder is brilliant! Users simply log-in to the site, chose their characters and type a dialog between/among the characters. It is a great way for students to collaborate and conduct a question and answer session, an online interview, or a debate. Users can put music behind the story and the entire thing is recorded and can be played back in real-time!  You cannot download the finished product, but, if you need to capture it, you can use Screen-cast-o-matic, SnagIt, or Seencastify or any of the screencasting apps here.)
It is much easier to understand how it works by watching a Google Docs Story. Deb has created a Google Story about Google Docs Story Builder!

Magisto (

Magisto is an online movie creation tool that is similar to Animoto. However, the no-cost version allows students to create clips up to 15 minutes in length.. Students log-in with a Google, Facebook, or email address. The movies live on the Magisto site unless students pay to subscribe, in which case they get unlimited download privileges. There is a Chrome plug-in as well as both an iOS and Android app, too.
Magisto analyzes the uploaded videos and images and picks various components and puts it all together in an engaging video based on the theme the student selects. This would not be the tool to use if students need to have items appear in a certain order, but it does create a compelling visual story!
Here is a cute overview of Magisto created by the company.

Pixiclip (

Pixiclip is an online interactive whiteboard that allows students or teachers to record their voice and/or video, import images and mark them up, or simply draw or type on the blank screen.  Each item added to the board can be moved or deleted easily. The entire clip is recorded and hosted on the Pixiclip site with the option to embed anywhere.
Larry Ferlazzo has a sample project (below) he created as an exemplar of what he might expect his English Language Learners to create. The students were studying the theme of “home”.

Thinglink (

Thinglink is a tool that allows students and teachers to upload an image and then add “hotspots” to make the image interactive. The images can be uploaded from the computer or imported from the Web, Flickr, or Facebook. The hotspot links can lead to almost every site imaginable– from commerce sites like Ebay and Etsy, to video sites such as YouTube and Vimeo, social sites like Twitter, audio sites such as Spotify,  and other useful sites like Google Maps and Slideshare. Thinglink has been gracious enough to provide a no-cost ThinglinkEDU account teachers can sign up for.
The completed Thinglink presentations are hosted on their site, and other users can add comments, share, and edit (if permitted) and remix the presentations. Below is a sample of an old photo in which I tagged the people and added some Oktoberfest music from Soundcloud. (This was taken at the Rock Oak Lodge, in Sparta, NJ, sometime in the 1970’s or early 80’s.)

Made with

Teachers and students are doing amazing things with Thinglink, and here are some links.

Narrable (

Narrable is an easy-to-use, digital online digital storytelling tool. Students upload photos from their computer or Facebook account, resize them, change their order, and then record audio for each image. The audio can be added via phone, uploaded audio files, or recording with the microphone.
The completed narrables are hosted on the Narrable site and may be viewed by those that have the unique link. In addition, the narrable can be shared via FB, Twitter, Pinterest, email, or embedded or not even shared at all.
If a narrable is upgraded to a group narrable (for a fee), users can invite anyone via email to add a narration to a single photo without seeing the entire narrable.