Thursday, 13 February 2014

Digital Storytelling #1: 10 useful web-based sites for publishing student writing online

A very popular global outlook today is that instead of keeping your students’ writing confined to exercise books in the classroom it's a good idea to let them use free web based tools to make the most beautiful online creations. This keeps students engaged and give them a sense of achievement as they can easily share their work with their families and friends. Studies have shown that publishing student work beyond the classroom encourages authentically engaged students who create high-quality work, and that the integration of writing and visual content increases cognitive retention.

The question is - how does one go about discovering these tools for publishing student work online? In this post I'm going to touch on a few useful tools I have come across, from primary level and going up to high school level, that are great for displaying student work. These tools are simple to use and have friendly interfaces. I won’t touch on digital storytelling tools this time around.
 
1. Blogs

Blogging is a high interest method of getting students to write. Using technology is a motivator for many of our students. Blogging is a great way to teach digital citizenship in a classroom and students can continue their blogs at home or from any place where they have an internet connection such as a cell phone. My three favourite blog sites for school use are:

  • Kidblogs for the younger students
  • Edublogs (a Wordpress site) for Primary School students 
  • Blogger for older students and classroom blogs 

2. Glossi
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Visit Glossi at www.glossi.com. Glossi is a free, online digital magazine creation tool that enables one to create professional-looking yet simple digital magazines. Choose a theme, topic, interest, hobby or passion to write about and then add images from your computer, a URL, or Google. Publish your digital magazine in an engaging e-book format. Here is a great example of a Glossi magazine created by Kelly Walsh from EmergingEdTech called ‘Awesome digital mash-up tools for creating online learning content’.

Glossi.com - Awesome Digital Mash Up Tools for Creating Digital Learning Content

3. Youblisher.com


Visit Youblisher at http://www.youblisher.com. This is a free application that turns your PDFs into beautiful, easy-to-read online magazines complete with page-turning effects. The documents you upload to your Youblisher account can be embedded into a blog or website. 

Here is an example of an online book created from a PDF using Youblisher.com. (Click on the link below the image. )


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4. Isuu.com

Issuu is another tool that students can use to upload almost any document format and create a virtual flipping book. Once uploaded you can share or embed your documents online. 


Here is an example of a Youblisher publication created by Martin Burett’s Class M – Seahore Poetry.


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5. SlideShare


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Visit Slideshare at http://www.slideshare.net/ Slideshare is a free, online community created for users to upload, download, and share slideshows with each other.  The slide shows are created in PowerPoint or in a rpogramme that can be saved as a PDF, and hey are then uploaded to Slideshare.After that, you are free to share your file with the world through a URL, an embed code, or an email!

Here is an example of a SlideShare that shows how to create a a Glossi. SchoolNet’s Slideshare collection can be viewed at. http://www.slideshare.net/Schoolnetsa11


6. AuthorSTREAM



Visit AuthorSTREAM at http://www.authorstream.com/. AuthorSTREAM, like SlideShare, is a free, online community created for users to upload, download, and share slideshows with each other.  The slide shows are created in PowerPoint or in a programme that can be saved as a PDF, and they are then uploaded to SlideShare. Notice how you can add voice to an AuthorStream publication such as in this presentation called ‘Digital Storytelling’.

7. Google Drive


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Google Drive (https://drive.google.com) lets you store up to 15GB of your stuff for free, access your files from anywhere, and collaborate with others. It also allows you to create documents, spreadsheets, presentations and forms.  Add files by downloading Google Drive for your PC or using the red upload button.


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8. Slideboom


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Visit Slideboom at http://www.slideboom.com/ SlideBoom is a place for sharing PowerPoint presentations and slideshows on the web. It converts your presentation to Flash for quick and easy viewing. You don't have to worry whether someone has the right version of PowerPoint. You can upload PowerPoint presentations, tag them, include them in your blog or web site, and receive comments on them. Keynote presentations can be exported as PowerPoints and uploaded to Slideboom.

9. Microsoft Photostory 3


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This is a lovely free application from Microsoft for creating photostories with words and pictures. With Photostory 3  you can add and rearrange photos, write on photos, choose transitions, narrate voice, and create your own music using their tools or add your own music. Photostory 3 is not a publsihing site as such but it can be saved as a movie and uploaded to YouTube, blog, wiki, etc. Ideas that show how Photostory 3 can be used in a classroom can be found here

10. FlipsnackEdu
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Visit Flipsnack Edu at http://edu.flipsnack.com/.  FlipSnack is a flipping book software that lets you convert PDF documents into Flash page flip digital publications that you can embed into your blog or website. FlipSnack Edu is an online teaching software for schools, a safe network for teachers and students. Great tool for flip teaching and flipped classrooms.

Why not try out some of these tools for publishing your students’ work? You’ll be amazed at how easy it all is to use and how effective online publishing can be.

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