Edtech
Core Resources Series: Language Arts

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What Does Technology Integration Look Like In  Language Arts?

Our new series looks at key online resources that can form the basis of a core resource curriculum to integrate Educational Technology into your programs. These are the sites we keep coming back to in our day to day work with students.  Today we are looking at Language Arts.

Storybird

This is one of our all time favorite sites and works so well at a variety of levels and needs. Though you could definately integrate this into a number of different areas, we use this tool mainly in our Language Arts programs.

Using rich media, easy to use tools and real actual art from illustrators, students create their own stories combining their own text withreal artwork. These stories can be shared with others through email, on the Storybird site itself or embedded on a website or blog. One of the nice features is the ability to collaborate with another person to create stories together.

In the past year, Storybird has also added the ability for teachers to set up class accounts for students so students do not need to enter or have a seperate email account which might restrict teachers from using it with students. Teachers can add in assignments or just have students create stories in an area that teachers have access to read and moderate stories.

Check it out at Storybird

Vocaroo

This is a great tool for easily creating audio files. The site is fairly simply laid out. You just make sure that your mike is set up and connected to your computer, click record and start talking. When you are done, just click to stop recording. You can then listen to your recording, send it to someone, embed it into a website or blog or download it. That’s it! This is a great tool for when you are doing a poetry unit. Students can read their poems into the site which you can then embed o

n your blog. We have also used the site for students who have difficulties writing. They can create their stories orally which you can then save to listen to later. All your student could also do this if you wanted to share stories with families, etc.

Check it out at vocaroo.com

MakeBeliefsComix

Comic strips are coming into popularity in the Language Arts class. Much aligned as an inferior form of literature, students are entranced with the idea of creating stories through this medium. Makebeliefscomix is an easy way to do this. With its easy to use interface and wide variety of graphics, students can quickly create fun and informative comics. The site has lots of resources to help you integrate comic strips into your program with ideas and story starters to get you started. Comics can then be sent by email, embedded into websites or printed. The only problem with the site is that it does not store comics to be worked on at a later time. So students have to be able to create and finish their work in one period. We don’t just use this site to create stories though. It can be used as students review concepts taught in other classes or as a way to teach other people about things they have learned, etc.

Check it out at Makebeliefscomix

Glogster

This is another media rich site that can easily help your students create dynamic presentations. Students can simply upload a variety of media files and customize the look of their “poster” to create stunning, interactive presentations. We have used this a different way to create book reports or as a way to introduce a novel that has a historical context putting up video, pictures and other elements to give some background on the time period.

Check it out at Glogster EDU

Piclits

A more simple site, Piclits is an attractive and fun way to teach students about parts of speech. Students (or the teacher) picks a picture and students then choose words from various parts of speech to describe it. The words are slid up onto the image so that they lay overtop of it. The words can then be changed to reflect various forms of the word or combined with others to create phrases. This can be a great way to get students adding more detail to their story or even use the picture and the words as a story starter with students adding the words into their stories as they go. Pictures with the attached words can then be embedded on a website or emailed to others.

Check it out at Piclits.com

Honourable Mention: Windows Photo Story

While not technically an online site, Windows Photo story is a free download that allows students to create slide presentations with their own pictures and voice. Unlike Voicethreads, which is a similar online service that is very student friendly, it is free to use with all your students though your system admin may have to download it and put it on all the computers.

Check it out at Photostory!

Do you have any essential online resources you keep coming back to in your Language Arts classes? Let us know in the comments!

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