Monday, January 23, 2012

Using Online Tools for All Kinds of Writing

 I'm having a great time in the twenty-one day comment challenge at Mother Reader, but my reader is still filling up.  Check out the challenge here.  Tomorrow is the final day!

The Slice of Life posts are hosted every Tuesday by Stacey and Ruth at Two Writing Teachers

After reading the New York Times article concerning future changes in education, and discovering that February 1st is Digital Learning Day, a specific day set aside for adding to your digital learning expertise in order to apply it to education, I thought I’d recommend a few sites that I recently used in an online tools class.  Here are some things that happened:

I used Diigo, a bookmarking site (like Delicious if you use that) that you can use with a group or class by acquiring an educator account.   Each student has access to the personal ‘library’ set up online of the pages and sites I wanted them to explore, plus they could also recommend other tools they found and/or had already used to tell the rest of us about.  You can bookmark, sticky note and highlight specific portions of text.  You can add as many tags as you wish.  You can give assignments as to the approach of the link given. 
I found that the group loved it and looked forward to checking their account to see what had been recently added.  I imagine that students could send poems to share & to comment on within the site, or other kinds of text could be shared with a group, or a partner.  One project done:  I sent several articles of current interest to the students, and we had an online discussion of them with all of us sending comments.  One other idea is that students could send a review of a book read and others could agree or disagree with the review after reading the book.   

Here are other sites used that might be good for writing workshop: 

Make Beliefs Comix—Students can create their own stories & then make a comic of them. 

WhenInTime—A timeline building site-impressive, for non-fiction research & communication of the discoveries.

Popplet—for organizing information, for presenting photos, perhaps with short poems.   It’s a great visual site.

Glogster—A ‘teacherlight’ account is $29.95 for a year, & you can have up to 50 accounts, perhaps share with another teacher?  You can also, like many sites, sign up for a free trial account.  It’s a way for students to create posters of their information online, & they are also printable.

Wikispaces—You can create a free educator account and there is an easy way to create individual student accounts with passwords without using real e-mail addresses.  We created a Wiki with each student writing a page of tips for good research displays.  Each took a part of the ‘how-to’s’, wrote their ideas, then everyone added to the original.  My next project is for my memoir writing class.  They’ll be able to write their text as a page on the Wiki, and receive feedback for it. 

 If you like Wordle, you’ll love Tagxedo

When you use photos or other media for writing inspiration or illustration, it’s good to have less worry about copyright.  Here is a site giving numerous links for copyright free images. 

Finally, for all bloggers, a free photo site for blogs called Photo Pin.  Here's a beautiful photo I found there.  It looks like a mystery story to me.  What do you think?  

I’m having fun finding new ways to invite creativity with words online.  There is so much out there, and students may be embracing new things faster than we are.  I hope you’ll find something of interest here!
photo credit: *clairity* via photopin cc


  1. Thank you so much for sharing the tools you use to support literacy learning. I have never heard of Photo Pin before and it looks spectacular!

  2. Thanks so much for these great tools/ideas! I have been recommending your blog to my teacher friends!

  3. Love these tools and I am in love with that picture. What a good writing prompt that would be!

  4. Great timing Linda. I am working with teachers who asked about copyright free sites. Perfect. I love Diigo...and my diigolet on my tool bar. I just added three new tools.
    Great morning,

  5. Thanks for the resources and how you've used them. Sometimes my mind feels like it will explode as I try to navigate through new tools and concepts. You've helped to make that explosion less likely to happen. :)

  6. Thanks for all these resources! I love it. I'm always looking for sites to use and there are a couple here I haven't heard of!

  7. Linda,

    Great post! There are so many wonderful tools. Have you read ilearn technology, or Richard Byrne's Free Technology for Teachers. These are two of my favorites for learning about new tools.

  8. Thanks for sharing! I love the Popplet. Such a clean, easy way to present a little bit of writing with images. And you know I like to use images to tell my stories!

  9. Thanks for sharing! I'm going to try "when in time" first....can't wait!,,

  10. Thanks for sharing! PhotoPin looks awesome! I used to love Popplet for student projects but it keeps glitching on our school servers this year. :-( Now my kids are using Wallwisher & SpiderScribe (both similar) instead!

  11. It's always fun to hear what everyone else is using. I always think that if I am using it, everyone must know about it. However, other people always have new ideas to share that I haven't heard of!

  12. Teachers are such a great resource to each other - thank you.

  13. Some new great tools to utilize! Thanks for sharing. Now I just need some time to play around!

  14. I love learning about great tech tools. Thank you so much for sharing. Now I need to figure out what to share with my class before the beginning of next month. Hmmm?

  15. Through the mist she could make out branches on one tree cut into what seemed to be a stepladder. Creeping, ever so quietly, she made her way up, testing each rung for creaks before ascending. When she reached the top, her breath caught. This was a whole other world up here...

  16. Thanks for sharing! I have used MakeBeliefs Comix with students and myself for sharing events in my life with fellow teachers. It's a great resource. I'll be checking out Popplet and Photo Pin.

  17. Linda, I have so much to learn, and your post is a filling technology meal! I have pinned it on Pinterest, and I'll be back to learn more from you. Thank you for all of your generous comments through this chalenge; it's been so good to get to know you over the past bunch of time. a.

  18. Thanks for sharing all of these sites. I also noticed that you have the OLW 2012 class button on your blog. I am also taking the class, but have not utilized the class discussion board yet. I was just getting excited today realizing that February and a new prompt is almost here!


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