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5 FREE Computer Tools for Every 21st Century Teacher

One of the questions I was asked in my interview for ICT co-ordinator was: ‘With the current budget in schools and little money available, how could you ensure that progression was taking place with technology and there was quality ICT provision in school?’ This was a gift of a question – I was able to draw on my fabulous experiences with the world of Twitter and the amazing sharing of ideas on a daily basis. What schools don’t realise, is that when teachers actively collaborate, even outside of departments on a whole-school basis, amazing things can be discovered! With an array of free software and websites available, here are 5 free computer tools I think are fantastic for every 21st Century Teacher:

1. YouBlisher

YoublisherThis is the latest FREE ICT tool I have discovered thanks to connecting to other teachers via twitter and have used within my school for the first time recently. I created an ICT News magazine for staff – first designed in Word to the way I wanted it,  saved as a PDF and uploaded to YouBlisher. This site creates a real looking glossy, page-flipping magazine using your PDF! You can send the link of the magazine to anybody via email. I absolutely love this tool – makes a document come to life! I next want to try this with pupils – instead of stopping at creating a brochure in Publisher, I want them to save their work as a PDF and transform their efforts into an eZine! The links to their final projects can be placed in a VLE, emailed to teachers or emailed to peers for peer assessment. Opportunities are plentiful! Check out YouBlisher for a free, creative eZine generator! (Image source: http://dnacdn.despachocreativo.com)

2. Cool Text

I can’t believe I only recently found out about this fabulous logo generator! I was told about it at a recent Fronter VLE training course and once I started using it, I have been addicted since! It is a FREE ICT tool that lets you create an array of titles for PowerPoints, Word etc that are more unusual and appealing than the standard fonts available. They also offer gif. amimations that will flash in PowerPoint when you start the slideshow! Have a go with Cool Text and see the brilliant free titles you can create with ease! (Image source: http://ct.mob0.com)

3. VoiceThread

voicethreadVoiceThread is a wonderful free site that I discovered when doing my Online Learning & Teaching for Educators course. It is a web-based application that allows you to place collections of media such as images, videos, documents, and presentations at the center of an asynchronous conversation. A VoiceThread allows people to have conversations on the work and to make comments using any mix of text, a microphone, a web cam, a telephone, or uploaded audio file. Pupils can log on from home and leave feedback via typing, audio or video cam or they can leave an opinion on a certain picture or scenario. This is something I wish to use more! I have used it with my GCSE class – getting them to record their practicals and post them on a collective screen for comments from the class. Worked a treat! Have a look at the VoiceThread site to read more about it! (Image source: http://www.library.illinois.edu)

 4. iSpring

This is an amazing FREE tool that I use soooo much!! Teaching a GCSE class in twilight in another school means that I have to deliver lessons all over the place and email resources to pupils quite a lot. Teaching music means I use an array of audio and video clips and as you know, it is a pain to email a presentation that has these media elements as all the media has to be emailed with the powerpoint in order for it to work properly! With iSpring, it means the PowerPoint with audio and video clips is converted into a flash presentation – so only ONE file needs sent or saved onto memory pen! If you have a presentation that you wish to add video and audio to, and would like to condense it down into one compact file that can be uploaded to a VLE or emailed – use ispring! It is one of my most used tools! (Image source: http://img.creativemark.co.uk)

 5. Prezi

Prezi is really taking off as the latest presentation tool! It works a treat on the interactive whiteboards and makes a fresh change from the standard PowerPoint presentation. It does take a little longer to create a Prezi – perhaps that’s just me, as I’m so familiar with PowerPoint – however, the finished product does look amazing! Prezi is a zoomable canvas that lets you create a map of ideas in the form of text, audio, images & videos! Rather than click from slide to slide, Prezi zooms in the motion you set it to, making a flowing visual experience! As Prezi quote: ‘The result is a visually captivating presentation that leads your audience down a path of discovery!’ Pupils love discovery – this tool is worth taking the time to discover yourself! Check out the Prezi website to start using this cloud based application. (Image source: http://a1037.phobos.apple.com)

 

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