Study Stack

StudyStack 1 StudyStack is a free online flashcard program that helps with content memorization. Unlike Quizlet, StudyStack gives you options to “play” the flashcards as various games. View your stack as a hangman puzzle, crossword puzzle, or even a bug match game. Students and teachers sign up for a free account and can search for various content. You can also create your own content and send the link to students. Teachers of younger children can use the flashcards and games on a SMARTboard as a class study aid. (

Below is a short (1 minute) video that introduces StudyStack.

Cursor Attention

CursorAttention-01Logo Sometimes it’s difficult to see the cursor when you’re showing or demonstrating something in class (from your projector.) Here’s the fix. Cursor Attention is a spiffy little program (free download) that highlights your cursor, making it easier to see when you project your desktop.

1. Download Cursor Attention. (Notice that the website calls it “Pen Attention”. Pen Attention is for tablets. Cursor Attention is for non-tablet devices like laptops or desktops.) If you’re not sure if you need the 32 bit or 64 bit version, download the 32 bit version. Once downloaded, be sure to double click on it to install.

CursorAttention-022. Once Cursor Attention is installed, click on the “Show hidden icons” arrow in the lower right corner of your taskbar.

3. Click on the Cursor Attention icon.

4. If you can’t see your pointer when you have Cursor Attention activated, select “Show Pointer.” (You should only have to select this once.)

CursorAttention045. Click “Highlight Settings”. Move the slider to select the opacity. You can see a preview on the right.

6. Click on the color square to select the color of the highlight you want.

7. Select the shape you want for the highlight. Standard is a circle.

8. Select one of the choices if you want to set a hotkey to toggle Cursor Attention on and off.

9. Be SURE to click “Apply Changes.”

10. Click “Close” to close the dialog box.

You need to keep the Cursor Attention program open in order to toggle the highlight on and off. If you can’t get the cursor to show when you press the hotkeys it may mean the program is not open. To find it, press your windows key and type Cursor Attention. Click on it to open. Nothing appears to happen but there will be an icon in the lower right corner of you taskbar. Now you can toggle the highlighting on and off using your hotkey.



Incredibox Incredibox is a musical website in which you can quickly and easily create a mix by running a band of beatboxers (according to the Incredibox site.)

Uses? introduce rhythm, beat – warm up for choir, band – intro to music composition

Create your own music mix! Free. No sign up. It’s all online using Flash (sorry iPad users!)

Select the type of mix you want to create. (You’ll want to experiment with them all!)


After you open the mix simply drag and drop the various choices (from the bottom) onto each character. Possibilities are endless (okay, math geeks, not endless but a boat load of possibilities!)


PowerPoint, Please….Said No Student Ever


DPowerPointPlease-chokeon’t be the cause of Death by PowerPoint! You know… that presentation that drones on forever so that you want to stick a pencil in your ear and keep pushing? There’s nothing like the boredom of a poorly executed PowerPoint. In fact, PowerPoint has been done so much and so often that it’s a supreme challenge to conjure up any enthusiasm for sitting through one, even a good one. Okay, SmartyPants, what’s the alternative? I’m glad you asked!! Here’s a list….of FREEBIES!!


PowerPointPlease-PowToon PowToon (my current fav!) – animated, fun, EASY, includes music. Here’s one I did to highlight some tech here at school: MOC-FV Tech

PowerPointPlease-HaikuDeckHaiku Deck – nice graphics! You can search for graphics based on key words in your presentation. There’s an iPad app, too!

PowerPointPlease-PhotoshowPhotoShow – turn photos into a presentation along with music and animation

PowerPointPlease-AnimotoAnimoto – add photos, videos and text to create a 30 second video using an Animoto template

PowerPointPlease-Swipe  Swipe – add ANY type of file/document, etc. – Use ANY device to give the presentation – ease of use is its best feature

PowerPointPlease-Prezi  Prezi –  create a map of text, images, etc. (I’m not a fan of Prezi but many are. It makes me dizzy. I’m told that’s because I’m old. Meh…)

There are many others but these PowerPoint alternatives give a different look and/or features so that they aren’t just PowerPoint clones.


Some Ideas for Use:

  • Document a class project with photos and show in a presentation
  • Record class events and make the information available to parents
  • Flip a lesson and use one of the above tools to present information to students outside of class (You can flip a lesson without having to flip a whole classroom)
  • Have students create a step-by-step tutorial – leverage their skills in helping you teach a lesson
  • Book Trailers – summarize books or stories using presentation software


I Fake Text


Generate a fake iPhone text message.

Why, you ask?

Ideas for Use:
Summarize an article (teachers and/or students)
Summarize the plot of a story (teachers and/or students)
Use as a bell ringer to solve a problem
Deliver a math problem in a fun way
Generate discussion
Introduce a unit
Introduce a homework assignment

What is it?

Now that you have ideas for use, here’s a short (very short) screencast I created in order to demonstrate it:


TubeOffline – Video Harvesting

TubeOfflineLogoBefore you even START reading directions for how to harvest online video, please read some information regarding Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video. You must have very specific REASONS for harvesting video, creating mashups, etc. etc. (Okay, seriously, at least click on the link so you have an idea that there IS such a thing as Fair Use. )

Now, with good conscience and confidence that you know everything possible regarding Fair Use, I’ll proceed with this oh-so-cool web 2.0 tool.

Open the video (website) you want to download. (This could be on YouTube or some other site.)

Copy the URL (web address) of the video

Go to:

The TubeOffline site automatically assumes you’re downloading a YouTube video. If so, paste the URL in the appropriate box and click “Get Video.” Read further down if you are NOT on YouTube but some other site. (Hint: you can usually tell what site you’re in by the first part of the web address.)

TubeOffline01PATIENT! It make take 15-20 minutes to download.

If you’re downloading a video from another site, scroll down the page and find the name of the site you’re using. (They’re listed alphabetically.) Click to open the site.


Paste the URL of the video you want to download. You may be warned that it could contain a virus. (If you’re downloading an educational video from a reputable site this should not be a problem.) You may also get a notice that you need to install Java. Go ahead and click “Run”. Then click “Get video”.



BE PATIENT! It may take 15-20 minutes to download your video. You can store your videos in OneDrive if you want to be sure to have them in case of a computer crash. You should now be able to play your videos using Windows Media Player.

Ideas for Use:
Download to use videos later
Download in order to cut or create a mashup
Download to create short video clips
STUDENTS can download video to create their own mashups as commentaries, explanations, etc.


Mapwing – Virtual Tour

Mapwing01Mapwing is free online sofware that lets you use your photos to create a virtual tour using an interactive map. The free version allows you to have 20 interactive points per map and comment areas. There are also other virtual tours you can “visit”. Explore what others have done and then create your own!

Ideas for tours:

Lenny’s Digestive System – map of the digestive system with photos
Catcher in the Rye map – shows various places described in the book
Anne Frank House – map of the house and photos showing the rooms
Digital Fractions – a map of pie graph fractions accompanied by photos showing the fractions
Famous Dams – US map with photos pinpointing the location of the dams
Zucchini the Ribbon Snake – shows a map of the snake eating a fish and its progression inside the snake
Timeline – create a timeline of events with accompanying photos
Town tour – link photos of your town with a Google map

This is Zucchini the Ribbon Snake and what he (she????) looks like swallowing that fish. (BLECHH… but kids will like it!)



Greenshot – Screen Capture

Greenshot icon  Greenshot is free screen capture software that is available at your fingertips … immediately. I’ve been on a screen capture hunt and I think I’ve finally found something that is easy to use, intuitive and full of features. In other words, it thinks like I do.

When you install Greenshot you have the option to launch it at startup. I always deselect that because I don’t want to close out of a bunch of software I don’t need right away. Not so with Greenshot. It sits in your system tray and you don’t even see it, until you need it. When you want to grab the screenshot you hit your Fn key along with the PrntScrn key (End..found on the top row of your keyboard) and you’re ready to go.

I became a fan when I was able to get a screenshot of a dropdown list. I became an even bigger fan when I was able to get a screenshot of the Greenshot dropdown list! Usually that stuff disappears when you have to click on your screen capture software. The choices for screen capture are many. I went to the help section to see an explanation of all my choices. (Go here to for help and explanations.) The only difference is that I click on Fn/PrntScrn to get my screen capture. (They describe it differently.)

Not only do I have choices for capturing the screenshot but I have choices for output (where it goes once I have it.) I can send it to my various accounts: Picasa, Flickr, Dropbox. I can also open it directly in my Office 2013 applications. (All of these options are available as choices at the time of installation.) Here’s what the dropdown list looks like:


You can download Greenshot here.

Citelighter – Capture Notes for Research and Create a Bibliography

Citelighter01Use Citelighter to capture highlighted text for research and automatically create your bibliography entry. It’s a great place to store, organize and share your research.

You’ll (students!) need to create an account and install a toolbar widget to either Chrome or Firefox.

Then, create a project within Citelighter. Every time you highlight content on a webpage, Citelighter will capture the content and create the bibliography entry.

A notepad is available for you to take notes regarding any videos or articles you research for your project.

You can then export your Citelighter notes to Word, Google Docs or email.



Kahoot Logo

Kahoot!( is an online timed, game-based response system that allows you to involve students in questioning, discussing and polling.

Create your account and sign in. The first screen gives you EASY directions (pictures…simple…what a concept!) to create your first Kahoot.




Okay, okay…if you don’t want to dive right in (ya big chicken), you can watch the intro quiz or find a public Kahoot. Click on the “Watch intro video” icon at the top.





You’ll need to decide if you want to create a Quiz (multiple choice quiz with points), Discussion (opinion gather, debate, free-form answers) or Survey (opinion gathering).

Create your questions and answers by following the prompts (easy!) Be sure to set the number of points and time limit.

Here’s an example of the screen your students will see.






Suggestions for Classroom Use:

  • Game style review for tests/quizzes
  • Have students create Kahoots to share with others
  • Identify characters in a novel based on quotations
  • Insert photos/drawings/paintings and quiz students for identification