Photosynth from the Miro Museum

Sorry it took so long to get this out to you guys!  The final version of our collective storytelling experience had over 700 images, but it´s only 9% “synthy” — this means that only 9% of the images matched up with each other.  With that said, the final version is fairly cool – feel free to check it out below!

Also note that you can switch between “locations” in the experience by switching between 2D mode and 3D mode.  In 2D mode look for groupings of images that are close to one another – then switch into 3D mode.  You will then be able to explore that grouping as a 3D walkthrough.

Thanks for a great class!

Hi everyone!  Just wanted to say “thank you” to all of you for a great class.  Best of luck to everyone and I’m looking forward to seeing you all at graduation!  -Craig

PS: The quick presentation I gave on the last day of class (“Leaving the (blogging) nest”) is available under the “Slides” page above.  But I’m not kicking you out!  Your globalblogs portfolio sites are yours for as long as you want to keep them. 🙂

Mobile Tools for the Classroom

Here’s an overview of some mobile apps for education that we discussed in class:

Productivity Tools

  • Notability: Notability is a note taking and annotation tool for the iPad.  It offers a wide range of features, including text input, handwriting, figure drawing, image & audio integration and “web snapshots”. You can export your Notability creations to a PDF file which can be shared via e-mail or a cloud-based file sharing site (Dropbox, etc)
  • Explain Everything: Explain everything is a “screen casting” tool that lets you construct presentations in “real time”. Using this app, teachers can create tutorials and “walkthroughs” of difficult concepts which can then be saved as video files and shared with their classes or with individual students


Classroom Administration

  • Teacher Kit: Visually take attendance and create seating charts, record notes for each student and keep track of behavior issues with a simple tap. Gee Whiz factor – take a photo of your students and create a roster by using face detection!
  • Easy Portfolio: Collect digital assets (images, video, audio, text based notes, etc) on behalf of students. Organize assets by student and by class and easily export assets off of your iPad to a Dropbox account.
  • Dropbox: Synchronize documents between your iPad and your desktop computer. Does not require iTunes or a USB cable – everything is done via WiFi and the cloud.


Multimedia Production & Digital Storytelling

  • Camera App: The iPad camera app can be used to interface with one or both of the iPad’s built in cameras. Both the forward-facing and rear-facing cameras can be used to capture still images as well as video content. Images and videos captured in this way will be stored on the device’s Camera Roll and can be used by other applications.
  • Taking a Screenshot: You can also capture anything that is being displayed on your iPad’s screen as a static image. To do this simply hold down the button on the top of your iPad and then press the round “home” button – you will hear a shutter click, and whatever is on your screen will appear in your Camera Roll.
  • Photosynth: Photosynth is a free app created by Microsoft that lets you easily capture 3D “walkthroughs” of a given space using your iPad’s camera.  Simply launch the app and snap a few photos – Photosynth will automatically figure out where each image “overlaps” and will stitch them together into one cohesive image.
  • Scrap Pad: Scrap Pad is a simple collaging app that lets you arrange images and clip art together to create a digital scrapbook. Scrapbooks can be saved as images on your device or emailed to friends and family.
  • Comics Head Lite: Comics Head Lite is designed to make it easy to make multi-paneled comics using your own artwork
  • Paper + Sensu Brush: Paper is an iPad app that lets you draw using a variety of brushes to help you create “watercolor-esque” storybooks. Paper projects can be exported as PDF files which can be shared via e-mail. Paper works great with an external stylus or brush, such as the Sensu paintbrush.


Presentation Technologies

  • Doceri: Doceri is a free tool that lets you control your desktop computer using your iPad. Doceri is often used by teachers who want to present material to their class without being tied to the computer at the front of the room. It requires that you install a small piece of software on your classroom computer so that you can connect to it via your iPad
  • Nearpod: Nearpod is a synchronous presentation application that lets you run “live” presentations to other Nearpod users. The Nearpod app supports slides, quizzes, surveys and collaborative whiteboard units. The app is free and allows you to present to up to 50 students at a time.


iBooks Author and iTunes University

  • iBooks: iBooks is the iPad’s built in eBook reader application. Books can be downloaded from the iTunes books store. Just like with apps, many books are free, while some are not. iBooks can contain a number of different types of multimedia elements, including text, images, video, quizzes, and 3D models.
  • iBooks Author: iBooks Author is a Mac-based software package that lets you build your own interactive books that can be viewed via the iBooks app on your iPad. iBooks author is free, but it only runs on Macs running the Lion operating system.
  • iTunes University: iTunes University (iTunes U) is a virtual clearinghouse where educators can organize and distribute digitized course content to students around the world. Originally used mostly by colleges and universities, iTunes U has recently been opened up to K-12 educators who wish to use Apple’s distribution platform for their own content.


Subject Specific Applications

  • Khan Academy: The Khan Academy is a vast video tutorial repository that is used by students around the world as a powerful study resource. Originally built to explain Math concepts, the Khan Academy has expanded to include a number of additional disciplines. Teachers can sign up with the Khan academy as a “coach” in order to track the progress of their students in the app.
  • Watch Know: Watch Know is an app (and website) that categorizes video content for teachers based on subject matter and age appropriateness
  • Video Physics: Video Physics is a video analysis app that lets you analyze the movement of objects in a video file. Often used in Physics and Physical Education classes to track motion and explore concepts such as speed, acceleration and accuracy of sports plays.
  • Vital Signs: The Vital Signs app uses the iPad’s forward facing camera to look for subtle changes in your body’s movement and skin coloring. It can then use this information to provide a fairly reliable gauge of your heart rate and breathing pattern.
  • Popplet: Popplet is a simple mind mapping tool that lets you arrange your ideas on a two dimensional canvas. Popplets can contain images, text and free-form sketches.
  • History Maps: History Maps is a historical map archive that lets you browse maps based on location or time period.
  • 5-0 Radio: 5-0 Radio is a free app that lets you listen to police scanners from around the world.
  • Tap to Talk: Tap to Talk is an augmented communication board application that is often used to facilitate communication for people with physical or cognitive disabilities. The free version lets you set up a basic menu system which can trigger a range of audio cues. The full version is customizable and can be used to create tailored augmented communication boards for a particular student.


Augmented Reality

  • QR Codes: Used to create physical “hyperlinks” into the digital world. QR codes allow you to connect virtual content to physical objects through the use of a mobile phone or device. You can create QR codes by visiting
  • ZooBurst (website) / ZooBurst (iPad App): ZooBurst is a digital storytelling tool that lets you create your own 3D Pop-Up books. The system is designed to allow you to use 2D images and photos from your computer to construct rich-media scenes that can be used to tell stories and illustrate concepts. In addition, ZooBurst lets you record your voice into your book, embed your book on your own website, blog, CMS or wiki and even “attach” your books to physical objects using an augmented reality marker.
  • ZooBurst Story Codes: A ZooBurst Story Code is a special printed symbol that uniquely identifies a ZooBurst book, much like how a barcode uniquely identifies a product in a grocery store. Once created, a Story Code lets you “attach” your book to a physical object, such as a class bulletin board, printed newsletter or even a printed version of your book. For example, if you have an iPad go ahead and launch the free ZooBurst app and point it at the code below to see what happens!Enlarge this image and follow the directions to see a ZooBurst Story Code in action!

    Enlarge this image and follow the directions to see a ZooBurst Story Code in action!

  • Aurasma: Aurasma is an augmented reality application that lets you tie videos and images to physical objects.  It’s an easy to use app that allows you to build and experience augmented reality content from within a single app (no computer required!)


Create a Podcast using your blog

You can create a podcast using your WordPress blog by doing the following:

  • Create a post for each episode you wish to publish
  • Attach your audio file (mp3 format) to each post using the “Add Media” button when writing the post
  • Distribute your blog’s “feed” address to people who want to subscribe to your podcast.  You can get your feed address by adding the suffix “/feed” to your blog’s address. For example, if your address is “” your feed address would be “”
  • Uses can subscribe to your podcast by opening up their podcasting software and pasting in your feed address.  For example, in iTunes you can click on File -> Subscribe to Podcast and then past in the feed address to subscribe.

Create a Podcast using Podomatic

It’s sometimes easier (and cleaner) to use an external service to host your podcast.  A nice free one is Podomatic which lets you upload your mp3 files to their service – they will then create a podcast for you and give you your own feed address.  You can distribute your feed address to let people subscribe to your site, and you can also embed your podcast onto your blog (see below)

Audio Slideshows

Podomatic Minicast

A “minicast” is a short audio visual experience that you can build using your own images and sound file.  Minicasts can be linked or embedded from your blog.  Here’s an example:

Sample Podomatic Minicast

Animoto Slideshow

Animoto slideshows are slick looking image slideshows that put your pictures to music.  The free version of the site lets you build 30 second slideshows – you can construct longer ones if you upgrade to their premium service.



Try our slideshow maker at Animoto.

QR Codes

What is a QR Code?

QR, or “Quick Response”, codes are 2-dimensional “barcodes” that are used to store information.  Originally used as a way to keep track of inventory in the automotive industry, QR codes have evolved into a technology that lets you easily “tag” physical objects to virtual content.

Reading a QR Code

It’s easy to read a QR code using a mobile device (iPhone, Android, iPad, etc).  All you need to get started is a device that has a camera and a free QR code reader application.  Here’s a quick list of apps that you can use to get started:

iPhone / iPad

  1. Scan
  2. ScanLife
  3. QR Reader for iPhone
  4. QR Scanner
  5. TapReader


  1. Google Goggles
  2. Scan Life
  3. QR Droid
  4. BeeTagg
  5. codeREADr

Mac / PC (with an attached webcam)


Once you have a QR reader app installed all you need to do launch it and point it at a QR code.  The app will take a moment to decode the pattern, and once the code is recognized you will be able to view the content that it contains.  For example, if you scan the code below your mobile device will be redirected to the Statue of Liberty homepage.

Creating your own QR Codes

It’s surprisingly easy to create your own QR codes – here’s how!

  1. Decide what you want to encode.  QR codes can store text, links to websites, and shortcut commands (such as “text this number” or “call this number”).  Most people use QR codes to create links to websites and store small text based messages.
  2. Next, visit a QR code creator – my favorite QR code creation sites are and
  3. Select what you want to encode using the buttons provided and then paste in your message in the blank labeled “content”.  Then click the “Generate” button create your code.  You can copy and paste your code into a Word document, print it out on a standard laser printer, or place a copy of it on your class website or blog.

Some QR Code Projects for Teachers

Using Audacity to Record and Edit Sounds

Audacity is an audio editing program that allows you to record, mix, and add special effects to your sound files. It is completely open-source, and is available at Here’s how you can get started with a new audacity project:

  1. Open up Audacity. A screen simliar to the following will appear:Audacity startup screenAudacity startup screen
  2. Make sure that you have a microphone installed. You can use the built-in microphone on your laptop if need be, but a USB powered external microphone will really help to make your audio come out crisp and clear.
  3. Click on the record button (#1) and begin speaking. A waveform will begin to appear (#2) as your voice is detected by the microphone.
  4. Click on the stop button (#3) in order to stop the recording.
  5. Click the rewind button (#4) and play button (#5) to listen to your recording.
  6. To trim your recording make sure that the selection tool is clicked (#6) – then highlight the portion of the audio that you would like to cut. Click on Edit->Cut to extract the selected area.
  7. To record a second clip, click the record button (#2) – a second waveform will appear beneath the first.
  8. To reposition a clip, click on the slider tool (#7) and slide the desired clip back and forth.
  9. Using the volume adjustment tool (#8) you can increase or decrease the volume of a specific clip.
  10. Your can import other audio files (WAV, MP3) by clicking on Project -> Import Audio. The audio file will appear as a new waveform. Here is a small collection of sound effect files to get you started.
  11. You can also apply special effects to your audio clips – this can be accomplished by selecting a portion of a clip using the selection tool (#6) and then using the Effect menu.
  12. When you are finished working on your clip you should save your project by clicking on File -> Save.
  13. You can export your project as an MP3 file by clicking on File -> Export as MP3. Note that Audacity does not come pre-loaded with MP3 export capabilities – you can add this feature into the system by installing the free LAME MP3 Conversion Library (available here).

With your newly created MP3 file you can create a soundtrack to a video, remix a song or even create your own podcast.

Cloud-based Productivity Tools

As we’ve discussed, the web is a big place, and it can be hard to keep yourself organized online. Here are a few tools that we discussed in class that can help make your digital life a little less cluttered and facilitate collaboration with colleagues and your students.


Evernote is a cloud-based note taking tool that lets you access your documents on any computer or device.  In addition, Evernote also has a “web clipper” tool that you can use to save permanant copies of a website for later reading.  This can be incredibly useful as these clips can be viewed “offline” allowing you to read your materials on your schedule without the need for an active Internet connection.

To use Evernote you need to download the program to your computer (Mac, PC, iPad and Android versions are available) – you will also need to install the “web clipper” tool into your browser in order to save websites for later use.


Pocket is like Evernote, but it doesn’t have note taking abilities – it’s simply a web clipper and offline viewer for online content. I personally use pocket since it has done a great job for me of saving offline versions of websites that I care about and formatting them in a clean, straighforward manner.

In order to use Pocket you need to download the app (available in the Mac app store – sorry PC users!) as well as install the Pocket web clipper.


Dropbox is a cloud-based file sharing service.  When you install Dropbox it will create a folder on your computer – you can then drop files into this folder and “share” them with other users via their e-mail address.  Dropbox will then sync the file in question to the cloud and deliver it to your co-collaborator behind the scenes.  It’s kind of like magic 🙂


IFTTT (IF This Then That) is a web tool that lets you “rewire” information on the web by creating “recipes”.  For example, with IFTTT you could create a “recipe” that says “whenever this blog posts new content send it to my Pocket account”.  It’s an amazing free service and it works with all of the productivity tools that are mentioned on this page.

Help! I’m missing the “Log In” link on my blog!

If you can’t find the “log in” link on your portfolio homepage you can access it directly by adding “/wp-admin” as a suffix to your portfolio URL.  For example, if your blog address is “” your login page can be found at “

Once you’ve been able to log in you can add the login link back to your homepage by enabling the “meta” widget for your site.  You can do this by clicking on Appearance -> Widgets and making sure that the Meta widget is added to one of your sidebars.

Digital Storytelling Tools

“Digital storytelling refers to a short form of digital media production that allows everyday people to share aspects of their life story. “Media” may include the digital equivalent of film techniques (full-motion video with sound), animation, stills, audio only, or any of the other forms of non-physical media (material that exists only as electronic files as opposed to actual paintings or photographs on paper, sounds stored on tape or disc, movies stored on film) which individuals can use to tell a story or present an idea.”  (Wikipedia)

Here’s a great article to get you started with digital storytelling in your own classroom:  8 Steps to Great Digital Storytelling.

… and here are some tools that you can use to start telling your own digital stories.  Note that this is far from an exhaustive list.  For more tools check out this wiki:  50+ ways to tell a digital story.


Storybird lets you create web-based and printed books using a gallery of high-quality artwork. Books can be embedded on a website, downloaded as PDF files or ordered as hard-cover books from the company. Creating web-based books is free, and teachers can use a built-in classroom management tool to create anonymous usernames and passwords on behalf of their students.

Note that only teacher accounts can embed books, so you’ll want to sign up for one before you get started.  You can do that by filling out this quick and easy registration form.

Pic Lits

Pic Lits is a simple image captioning program that is useful for creating simple one image stories with your students.  You can use a pre-set list of words to drag and drop captions onto a series of pre-selected photos.  Great for practicing ESL and ELL. lets you create comic-style bubbles on top of images and then save them to your computer.  It’s probably the simplest tool on this list, and it doesn’t require you to register for an account.



Kerpoof is a web-based storytelling tool that lets you create “comic book” style stories. You can view your stories online, print them out and author your stories with a fairly large library of free characters and backgrounds. Kerpoof also allows you to create short animated movies and greeting cards. Teachers can requests access to a classroom management tool to create accounts on behalf of their students.

Sample Kerpoof movie: Panda vs. Bunny


ZooBurst is a digital storytelling tool that lets anyone create their own 3D pop-up books. Books can be viewed online, embedded on your website or experienced in Augmented Reality. The site offers a basic user account that lets you create up to 10 3D pop-up books that can be viewed online and embedded onto your own website or blog. In addition, ZooBurst offers a paid premium account that allows you to set up accounts on behalf of your students, record audio into your books as well as access member only content, such as holiday-themed templates.


Prezi is a “zooming” presentation tool that lets you organize text, images and video in a fun, flowing way. Prezis can be viewed online and embedded onto your website or blog.

Example Prezi: Alice in Wonderland


Create your own 3D animated movies by writing your own script and “directing” a series of virtual characters.

Example movie: Danka’s Debrief

Zimmer Twins

Zimmer Twins is a fun video creation website that lets you create simple movies using pre-rendered cartoon footage.  Students can construct timelines that use a wide range of scenes that can be customized with their own text.  Stories can be published online and linked from your website or blog.

Example:  Prime Numbers


iStopMotion is a desktop based tool that lets you take a series of “snapshots” to construct a stop motion animation. The package is not free, but a single license starts at $12.99 on the Mac App Store. Stop Motion animation is time consuming, but the end result can be pretty spectacular. Here are a few examples:

The Arctic Race

The Arctic Race from Elif Atali on Vimeo.


An extremely simple slideshow tool that lets you make professional looking videos out of your own digital photographs.  Their free version lets you make 30 second videos, but you can upgrade to their premium package to construct longer projects.