Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Notable Notebook and Slide Show Partner

The American Association of School Librarians publication, Standards for the 21st-Century Learner, is the basis for their selection of The Top Websites for Teaching and Learning .  This is the third year that this selection has been made at the annual convention.   It is my goal to highlight those sites, that have not been done so yet in this blog, prior to the beginning of the new school year, 2011-2012, that I believe will be useful to my students, staff and parents.

Under the Media Sharing standards, 3.1.4 Use technology and other information tools to organize and display knowledge and understanding in ways that others can view, use and assess.  3.3.4 Create products that apply to authentic, real-world context.Nota is a web 2.0 application
that is more than deserving of recognition. 

In a nutshell this is what the creators of this free online tool say about it:  Nota is a unique, cutting-edge collaborative web platform that allows users to create, share and collaborate on presentations and virtually any other form of online material. Using Nota’s proprietary toolset, users can instantly integrate text, video, maps, clip art, photos from web album or on the local computer, or license-free images from Flickr, and material from an ever-expanding array of sources. Users can then instantly embed their work in Facebook or blogs, and can share and collaborate with friends.

Having spent several hours exploring and working on a Nota page(s) of my own this morning, I can say that it is easy to use and will have multiple uses in the classroom.

Registration is as simple as selecting a username, submitting an email address and choosing a password.  If users are under the age of 13, parents are asked to complete this process with them.  Log in and the option of editing a Nota page or creating a new notebook will appear.  After a name for a new notebook is typed in and the selection of making it Public or Private is determined, click the create button.  Please note that by choosing Private it means that only you and invited users can view the Nota pages.  Also be aware that multiple pages can be placed in a notebook.

On the right is a series of icons representing  tools to use on the page:  select, pen, erase, text, shapes, undo and redo.

 On the left is a large array of items that can be added:  Upload (from your computer or from a URL), FontArt (typing in text and have the font changed), Photo (a large database), Movie (upload from YouTube), Clipart, iSummit Clipart (more to be explored because I believe that the founders are Japanese), Notalink (link to other Notas), Wikipedia (embed search results), Map (Google) and a series of web albums, Flickr, Picasa and Facebook.  Gadgets such as a message board, access counter and web cam can be included on a Nota.

At the top of the work space the background color can be altered, users can choose whether the page is altered or comments can be left.  The page can be discarded from this point or a new page can be added.  When working on a specific Nota with multiple pages, the user is able to toggle between those pages to change or update.

I am currently working on a Nota, Graphic Novels, which is a work in progress.  It will be a listing of all those graphic novels, as single books or in a series, that we currently have in either the elementary or middle school collections.  Here is the link to Graphic Novels .

Photo Peach is a sister web site that features a web 2.0 application that is one of the most sophisticated in its simplicity.  The same username and password for Nota can be used here.

After log in simply upload photos from your computer, Facebook or Picasa.  The next screen that appears allows you to drag and drop to change their order, pull them to the right to delete them from the show or double-click on an individual photo to enlarge it.  Photos can be swapped from the delete side back to the original side.  When you have uploaded all the images that you desire a title, description and music can be added. 

Even after the slide show is completed the user can edit captions/photos, music/title, add photos, manage comments, delete the show or download it.  By clicking on icons on the side when previewing it can be shared on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, emailed or embedded in a blog or web site. 

Spring Beauty on PhotoPeach

Nota and PhotoPeach are two online tools whose ease of use and polished end results make them valuable to educators, their students and parents alike.

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