Sunday, February 28, 2010

OMG, NO Wordle!!! Don't Panic.

Knowing how popular Wordle is in the community, and in view of the current "crisis" which may or may not be resolved quickly, I thought I should pull together some alternatives to share with you. They are presented in no particular order. Some are very good and offer more features than Wordle. Some are quite simple and easy to use.

I have used the text of Franklin D. Roosevelt's "Day of Infamy" speech with each tool to compare the output. I mostly used default setting where available.

Tagul clouds are designed to be used on blogs, web pages or any kind of site as a replacement for ordinary tag clouds. Each tag in Tagul cloud is linked with an URL and is “clickable” that enables visitors to use it for navigation. Tagul has some features that Wordle doesn’t, like custom shapes selection and multiple font usage in one cloud.

TagCrowd is a web application for visualizing word frequencies in any user-supplied text by creating what is popularly known as a tag cloud or text cloud.

WordItOut is a word cloud generator that gives you some control with custom settings. Create word clouds from sentences, whole documents, web addresses or tables. Decide how to filter that text, which words to display or remove, and tweak their importance with ease. Design your word cloud as you like, find that perfect layout, choose your own colours and sizes, or let WordItOut find a random look. You can embed the word cloud on your website in any size you like.

ABCya is very simple and yields Wordle-like results. (Note: Doesn't seem to work smoothly in Firefox 3)

Image Chef seems to work only on very short phrases. It wouldn't process the text from the sample I used. Still, it may serve your needs.

VocabGrabber analyzes any text, generating lists of the most useful vocabulary words and showing you how those words are used in context. Just copy text from a document and paste it. VocabGrabber will automatically create a list of vocabulary from your text, which you can then sort, filter, and save. Click on the word map or the highlighted word in the example to see the Visual Thesaurus in action.

WordSift helps anyone easily sift through texts. Cut and paste any text into WordSift. The program helps to quickly identify important words that appear in the text. This function is widely available in various Tag Cloud programs on the web, but WordSift adds the ability to mark and sort different lists of words important to educators. Other functions are also integrated, such as visualization of word thesaurus relationships and Google® searches of images and videos. With just a click on any word in the Tag Cloud, the program displays instances of sentences in which that word is used in the text.

The Tag Cloud tool generates the cloud by removing punctuation, calculating term frequencies, and selecting the font sizes to display. The terms are presented alphabetically in a paragraph-style display. The tool provides options for grouping similar terms and for ignoring common words. You can also control the font colors and the number of terms to display.

These last two entries generate code to embed in your site, but as you can see, I did NOT have success using the generated code from either.

Tag Cloud Generator creates animated tag clouds in html and flash online with just a few steps. (Note: Input must be a URL, text cannot be pasted.)

united states deliberately attacked

Tag Cloud Generator
. Just enter a URL (no text entry) and create a tag clouds easily. Generate the HTML source code, copy it, and paste it into your website. (Note: NO PREVIEW is created.)


Friday, February 26, 2010

Catch of the Day - Note-A-Lator - 26 Feb 10

Note-A-Lator, tool for music teachers, is today's catch

Note-A-Lator is a music reading quiz program for students and teachers.

Note-A-Lator Pro enables teachers to create printable quizzes that test note and rhythm identification for students to take home or to use in a classroom. Each randomly generated quiz comes with an answer sheet.

Note-A-Lator for students lets them practice reading music with quizzes tailored to suit individual needs. If a student gets an answer wrong, Note-A-Lator will immediately draw it on a staff so that he can compare it to the correct answer.

Note-A-Lator Short Demo

Note-A-Lator is available in English, Italian, and French. Note-A-Lator for students is $9.95, Pro for teachers is $19.95, however free trial downloads of each are available. Note-A-Lator requires Mac OS X 10.5+.


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Tuesday, February 23, 2010


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As you can see, fishing has been suspended for a few days while I try to attend PETE & C in Hershey, PA, weather permitting. Fresh fish should be on the menu again Friday, 26 February.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Teaching St Patrick's Day

Teaching St Patrick's Day is a LiveBinder collection of resources for teaching about the popular March holiday.

Catch of the Day - Center for Technology and Teacher Education - 22 Feb 10

Center for Technology and Teacher Education is today's tasty catch

Center for Technology and Teacher Education is a cross-disciplinary group of faculty working together at the University of Virginia.

Center for Technology and Teacher Education Home Page

Center for Technology and Teacher Education faculty and graduate fellows identify and explore innovative technologies with the following goals: to develop the next generation of educational technology leaders; prepare K-12 teachers to effectively integrate technology in their content areas; develop, implement, and assess procedures to help teacher educators appropriately integrate educational technologies; assist corporate partners in developing products for the K-12 classroom; and contribute to state and national policies related to integration of technology in the teacher preparation process.

Digital Images in the School Curriculum

Center for Technology and Teacher Education staff write and apply for grants throughout each academic year. There are numerous initiatives currently in progress, such as …
  • Primary Access which allows teachers and students to tap into original material archived on the Internet through institutions such as the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
  • The Impact Project to develop resources to facilitate appropriate uses of technology in teacher preparation programs. This initiative has addressed secondary mathematics, science, English, and social studies education.
  • Digital Images in the School Curriculum to aid educators in taking advantage of the utility of digital cameras in the classroom to help students better visualize abstract concepts and communicate with images.
Content Areas Resources

One of the goals of the Center for Technology and Teacher Education is to prepare K-12 teachers to integrate technology effectively in their content areas. Each content area represented includes lesson plans and other resources.


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Friday, February 19, 2010

Catch of the Day - ReadPal - 19 Feb 10

Today I reeled in ReadPal, a tool to make reading easier

ReadPal will take the text from your Outlook, Microsoft Word, Notepad, or Internet Explorer document and display it to you in a customizable format that is both easier and faster to read.

ReadPal Home Page

At the click of a button, ReadPal will extract the text from a document and display it to you in any of three customizable formats that are both easier and faster to read.

ReadPal has three reading modes…
  • Banner Reader - text comes to your eyes so they do not have to waste time finding the next word and refocusing.
  • Sentence Reader - only one sentence is displayed at a time so the text can be very large and clear
  • Column Reader - rearranges the text into newspaper-like columns for comfortable reading

Full Screen View can be used for any of the reading modes. It presents just the text you are currently reading on a black background.

ReadPal offers AutoSkim technology to remove less important words so you can skim through documents more quickly. AutoSkim is perfect for previewing and reviewing material. With this patented technology you can choose to remove 10% to 50% of the words in a document.

ReadPal is free for personal use. A business license is available for $39.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Why Spy?

By now I'm sure you're aware of the story alleging administrators at a Pennsylvania high school were able to view images from inside students' homes using the web cams on the students' take-home laptops.

Should these allegations prove to be true, and right now indications point that way, I can only ask WHY did anyone think this was a good idea? What were these administrators thinking? The impropriety of such activity should be obvious to anyone.

How many school district employees engaged in this heinous practice? Who knew this was going on? Why did no one step up and put a stop to it?

That anyone whose job it is to educate and care for children could deem this as appropriate behavior is shocking to me!

I can't help but wonder what the short and long term implications of this event will be for the students in that school. Will these kids ever be able to trust any school official ever again?

As educators, we are constantly working to win the support and confidence of students, parents, and the entire community we serve. The egregious conduct of these apparently half-witted school officials only makes that already hard job even more difficult.

Can there be any sufficient penalty for these people should these allegations be accurate?

- Posted from my iPhone using BlogPress

Catch of the Day - Arithmaroo 1 - 18 Feb 10

Arithmaroo 1, an iPhone/iPod Touch learning game, is today's catch

Arithmaroo 1 is a math counting game for young children ages 4+ and can help young children develop "number sense," a feel for the meaning of numbers and their relationships.

Arithmaroo 1 is a very simple math game. There are four levels of difficulty…
  • Counting 1-5
  • Counting 6-10
  • Counting 11-20
  • Counting 1-50

Dots and hand prints on cave walls form patterns that represent numbers. Kids have to count the number of items in these visual representations. However, because the items are arranged in patterns, that should make the counting quicker. Rather than counting the items one-by-one, the student can count by twos, fives, and so on. Arithmaroo 1 lays the foundation for adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing.

Demo of Arithmaroo 1: A Counting Math Game for Kids

I tried Arithmaroo 1 out with actual second graders. No explanation was needed, the kids intuitively knew what to do. I watched kids quickly progress from 1-by-1 counting to counting by grouping. They seemed to have fun with the game, and I thought it was adequately challenging.

Arithmaroo 1 is $1.99 from the iTunes app store. A portion of the purchase price for all Arithmeroo apps will go to the Paia Youth and Cultural Center, Maui, Hawaii.


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Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Image by Wordle Images of Wordles are licensed Creative  Commons License.

PI Day Resources, a LiveBinders collection to help you celebrate PI DAY, March 14.

Catch of the Day - - 17 Feb 10 is today's fresh-from-the-sea catch is dedicated to sharing newer emerging learning tools of science education. These tools include things such as real-time data collection, simulations, inquiry based lessons, interactive web lessons, micro-worlds, and imaging. Home Page

These tools can help make teaching science an exciting and engaging endeavor and can connect students with science in ways that were previously impossible.

Even though's main emphasis is on students, teachers, and parents, anyone interested in science education will find the site useful and informative.

Tools to Do Science! Page

Most of the learning tools you'll find at are web-based and free. This means that most of these tools are accessible to teachers, students, and parents who have access to the Internet. Featured tools go through a review process. Once a learning tool is submitted it is analyzed by an editorial panel of science educators and scientists for content and design.

Science Education Hall of Fame Page plans to remain a totally free online learning community that researches, reviews, and recommends the best of internet science education interactives.

Science & Society Page is a collaborative project of the Central Bucks (PA) School District, the teachers of the Central Bucks School District, The College of Education at Temple University, and George Mehler Ed.D.


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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Catch of the Day - edWeb - 16 Feb 10

Today's trawling netted, an educators' community

edWeb is a social networking site that makes is easy for anyone in the education community to connect with other educators, share information, best practices, innovative ideas, and develop professionally.

Personalized Home Page provides an easy to use and intuitive platform that includes...
  • Blogs
  • Discussions
  • File-sharing
  • Shared calendars
  • Wikis
  • Live chat and messaging
  • Polling
  • Shared links

Communities Page

The edWeb community welcomes all education professionals and creates a communication channel for educators, as well as associations, legislators, community leaders, and companies to transcend traditional barriers to communication and promote collaboration.

WebLinks Page

edWeb is free for education professionals and institutions. Education-related businesses may join edWeb as sponsors.


Monday, February 15, 2010

Catch of the Day - inkpop - 15 Feb 10

inkpop, a site for young writers, is today's fresh haul

inkpop is an online community that connects teen writers seeking to publish their work with talent-spotting readers and professional publishers.

inkpop Home Page

The inkpop social networking forum features aspiring young authors and the readers who provide the feedback. inkpop members play a vital part in deciding who is offered a publishing contract with HarperCollins.

inkpop Sample Page

“What does the community think?” inkpop takes a unique approach to identifying and developing teen talent. Young writers are invited to submit their books, short stories, essays, and poetry for the whole world to see. Then, inkpop members select and rank their favorite works and post their feedback and criticism.

Each month inkpop compiles a list of the top five projects, handing over the work for their Editorial Board to read. The Editorial Board, consisting of HarperCollins editors, provides the final critique in the review process.

inkpop Profile Page

Visit the inkpop blog for more information and writing advice and tips.


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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Somebody is really doing it!

It was exciting to see this group of college women actually doing real-time online collaboration in the local Panera Bread this afternoon.

I asked if I could take their photo to prove it really does happen!

- Posted from my iPhone using BlogPress

Friday, February 12, 2010

Catch of the Day - - 12 Feb 10, an online mind mapping tool, is today's catch

mind42 is a collaborative browser-based online mind mapping tool. It allows you to manage all your ideas, on your own or working together with the whole world.

mind42 Home Page

mind42 runs inside your browser, so installing desktop mind mapping tools is no longer needed. Open the browser, navigate to, and launch the application when needed. It behaves like a regular desktop application.

mind42 Application Window

Features of mind42...
  • No software installation
  • Accessable everywhere there's an internet connection
  • Intuitive interface
  • Many node attributes
    • icons
    • colors
    • images
    • text styles
    • links
  • Collaboration with simultaneous editing
  • Easy publishing and sharing of maps
Your mind42 maps can be exported in a number of formats including Freemind, RTF, PDF, PNG, and JPG. Import Freemind, mind 42, and MindManager formatted maps, including XML.

mind42 - An Introduction

Mind42: Introduction from Stefan Schuster on Vimeo.

mind42 is a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) mind map editor supporting keyboard shortcuts, drag and drop, zooming and much more. Extensive help is available.


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