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Welcome to the seventh step in our free self-paced course to help you set up your own personal or professional educator blog!

The aim of this step is to introduce you to a range of easy to use online tools that you can embed into posts and pages.


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Why Enhance Posts With Interactive Tools?

Originally, blogs used to be all about text but now the web is a much more visual place; blogs that contain only text are less likely to stand out or be shared.

From time to time, bloggers use cool interactive tools embedded in posts and pages. These tools might include slides, videos, comic strips, quizzes, or polls. Educators use these in posts because they grab attention, engage, and create opportunities for interaction in ways not achievable using plain text or images.

Most online tools provide embed code. You use this code to embed what you’ve found or created into posts. Don’t worry, you don’t need to know anything about coding to do this!

Below are popular tools used by educators by activity type to help get you started.  We’ve included so you can check how they work.

The examples we’ve included are far from exhaustive and we encourage you to share your own favorite tools in a comment.

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Audio Tools

Audio is used for a wide range of purposes in the classroom including grammar and fluency reading practices; delivering content; and engaging auditory learners.

Outside of the classroom, audio consumption is becoming more popular than ever — think of how much growth there has been with things like podcasts and voice searches (Google Home, Alexa, Siri etc.).

Educators use audio hosting websites when they want to embed their audio within embedded players rather than uploading them directly to posts as a link. Anchor.fm and SoundCloud are the most commonly used audio tools.

Anchor.fm

Anchor.fm is an excellent free service for recording, hosting, and distributing podcasts.

You can create and edit recordings on your computer or on the mobile app.

Richard Byrne has created a short screencast to demonstrate how to embed an Anchor podcast into an Edublogs blog.

Note: If you don’t want to work with the text editor as demonstrated above, you can just click on Add Media > Insert Embed Code > Insert Into Post. If you need more help with embedding an HTML code, check out these instructions.

SoundCloud

SoundCloud is an online audio distribution platform that allows users to upload, record, promote and share their own sounds.

The Soundcloud embedded below was used by the teacher to engage the students, showcase their creativity while summarizing the essence of a story into something memorable. You can read more about the activity and check out more of their Soundclouds here.


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Brainstorming Tools

Brainstorming tools help generate new and creative ideas quickly and easily. There are a number of brainstorming tools that can be embedded in blog posts.

Popplet

Popplet is a collaborative brainstorming tool that can be used to create graphic organizers, timelines, and many other visual organization forms.  Popplet is also a powerful presentation tool. Popplets can be created on computers or using the iOS app.

Check out Mr. Tompkins guide to using Popplet.

Padlet

Padlet is a popular tool that can be as simple or as complex as you like. It’s basically an online bulletin board where you add ‘notes’.

Years ago, Padlet was called Wallwisher and you could only add text and images. Padlet has evolved a lot and you can now add notes containing audio recordings, video, maps, drawings, files etc.

It can be used collaboratively. You might like to ask other educators to contribute to a Padlet that you embed in your blog post.

Shannon McClintock Miller created this Padlet to share books for International Dot Day with other educators.

Made with Padlet


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Comic and Cartoon Tools

Comic and cartoons tools can be very engaging for readers and may make your post more shareable.

ToonDoo

ToonDoo is a comic strip and comic book creation tool. Here’s an example of a Toondoo comic strip from What Ed Said. 

BLOOM


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Curation Tools

Curation tools allow you to collect, preserve, maintain, archive, and share information. The goal of content curation is to find the most relevant content pertaining to a specific category and funneling this information for yourself and your readers in a very targeted way.

If you’re interested in finding out more about content curation, check out our guide in the Building Your PLN free course.

LiveBinders

LiveBinders allows you to curate webpages, PDF, document, image, or video into a digital 3 ring binder. Content can be curated by tab and subtabs within tabs.

The LiveBinder below was used to curate all the resources shared during ISTE 2018.

Click here to open this binder in a new window.

Wakelet

Wakelet allows you to save, organize, and tell stories with content from around the web.

You can sign up for free or create a quick collection without signing up. There’s also a browser extension to save links from the web.

Your collections can be public or private. You can also embed collections on any blog or website.

Here’s a simple example of an embedded Wakelet so you can see what it looks like. You’ll get a clearer idea of what it looks like if you view the example on the Wakelet website. 

Read more about getting started with Wakelet.

4 steps to getting started with Wakelet by Kathleen Morris

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Google Forms: Poll, Survey, And Quizzes

Online polling and survey tools help you gather opinions, collect votes, and see and share results immediately.

Google Forms allows you to do all this. It is part of the freeware web-based office suite offered by Google within Google Drive.

Google Forms can be used for planning events, surveys, student quizzes, and collecting other information in an easy, streamlined way.

The Google Form embedded below is an example of how you can use it for a simple poll.

Check out how Dan Gallagher uses Google Forms for quizzes.

Watch Chad Brandt’s video What Are Google Forms? (for Teachers).


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Presentation Tools

Presentation tools allow you to create, publish, and share presentations in a range of formats online.

Animoto

This is a popular tool for businesses or individuals to create a video slideshow using your own images and videos. There is a range of templates to drop your content into, and lots of music to choose from as well.

The good news is, educators can apply for a free Animoto Classroom account (you get accounts for 50 students as well).

Merry Beau is an Irish teacher with a great blog called If Only The Best Birds Sang…

Merry uses Animoto a lot in a variety of ways. Here are a few examples.

The Viking Longship

HELLO from some new friends in Ireland

Prezi

Prezi is an online presentation and story telling tool that uses a single canvas instead of traditional series of slides. The images, text, videos and other objects are placed on the canvas and users can zoom in and out.

Here is an example from Laura Randazzo which explains Joseph Campbell’s archetypal Hero’s Journey.

SlideShare

SlideShare is a site where you can host your presentations and share with others. Slideshare is ideal for those who want to embed presentations in their posts and websites rather than upload their PowerPoints directly and insert as a link.

It’s also an excellent site for locating presentations created by others.

Here’s an example from Gwyneth Jones. She has used Slideshare a lot for presentations that she embeds on her blog. 

Shell Terrell is another teacher who regularly embeds Slideshare presentations on her blog. Here is an example:


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Google Slides

Google Slides is a presentation tool that lets you present your work in a visual way. It forms part of the Google Drive suite of online office applications.

It’s similar to PowerPoint or keynote but you don’t need to download any software and can build presentations straight from your web browser.

Here’s an example of a Google Slides presentation I put together as a challenge for students.

PhotoPeach

PhotoPeach allows you to quickly upload photos to create great looking slideshows and even simple quizzes. Refer to these instructions for creating PhotoPeach quizzes.


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How To Embed In Posts

Once you’ve created your content using one of the above online tools, you embed into a post as follows:

1. Copy the embed code.

  • Websites use a range of different icons to represent embed code.
  • Look for icons like </>, the word Embed, Share, the share icon, HTML or hover your mouse over icons until you see the word Embed.

For example, if you created a Biteable video the embed code is located in the control panel when you view your video:

Biteaable embed code

2.  Go to Posts > Add New

Add New

3.  Place your cursor where you want the video to appear and then click on the Add Media button.

Click an Add Media

4.  In the Add Media window click on the Insert Embed Code tab.

Click on Embed code

5.  Paste the embed code into the Insert Embed code box and click Insert into post.

Paste embed code

6.  When you have finished writing your post click Publish.

7.  You should see your embedded content when you view the published post.


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How To Embed Cheat Sheet

If you’d like to save some instructions on how to embed to your computer, just scroll down and look for the ‘download’ button under this document.

Where To Find More Tools

If you’re keen to keep up to date with online tools, here are three blogs you might like to check out and/or subscribe to:

Your Task

Add your voice and ideas to our ongoing conversation about blogging by undertaking one or more of these challenges:

  1. Have we missed one of your favorite tools? Tell us about it! Write a post on the tool to explain how and why you use it. Don’t forget to include the URL of the tool. Leave a comment with a link to your post.
  2. Choose one or more of the cool tools embedded in this post, copy the embed code, and try adding it to a post on your blog. Here are the instructions for embedding it into a post. Leave a comment with a link to where you’ve embedded the tool so we can check out how you went.

Also feel free to comment with any questions, tips, or advice.

Remember, embedding isn’t enabled on free blogs to prevent misuse by spammers. If you have a free blog, you’re welcome to just use one of the tools and share the link, or accept a complimentary upgrade to complete the course and try embedding.


How to leave a comment: Scroll down to find the comment box. Write your comment, then enter your name and email address (email addresses are not published). Enter the anti-spam word. Press submit and we will moderate your comment ASAP.

36 Comments

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  1. I have a free Edublog. Does this mean I will be unable to complete this step and consequently the PD course?

    • Heidi Atchison
    • Definitely not, Heidi. We want you to continue 🙂

      Regarding the lack of embedding on free blogs, we don’t want to, but we must restrict embedding on free because people use embedding to add inappropriate content that we can’t control. Keeping it to paid users limits the problems with fighting spammers. Hopefully that makes sense?

      In order to complete this step, you’re welcome to just use one of the tools mentioned in the post share the link to your creation, or accept a complimentary upgrade to complete the course and try embedding. If you’d like us to upgrade your blog to Pro, please just send us an email with your URL etc and we can arrange it support@edublogs.org

      Hope that helps!

      • Kathleen Morris
  2. Since I have a free Edublog I was not able to embed content in a post. But I think that if some of these tools would be very beneficial to use in a classroom setting. I am currently in college to become a teacher. I could see myself using a blog once I have a classroom of my own to organize all things within my classroom. One tool I could use would be google forms. This is an easy way to have parents complete forms, whether a permission slip or even feedback from parents. I could see myself enjoying that tool. Another tool that I think would be beneficial would be the Prezi tool. I could see myself using this as a way to teach different content at my school and then afterward be able to embed the presentation so that students and parents are able to access it at home. This step was great to look and reference different tools that would for sure make a difference with a blog that I might use with my future classroom.

  3. For this step I have included SlideShares in two posts. I was able to embed these without any problem.
    However I had problems with embedding some other tools which I created.
    By following the instructions I could make a link appear but the program was not embedded. I am wondering whether it is to do with something in the settings of my blog?
    I created a Fotobabble of Bearnice, a Voicethread and a Padlet to connect with teachers and practitioners asking for feedback about how they would use this particular set of persona dolls and a Voki introducing the blog which I was not able to embed.
    My blog post for Step 7 can be read at https://jofreitag.wordpress.com/2015/06/26/2015-edublogs-teacher-challenge-step-7/

    • Hi Jo, I loved embedding slideshare in my blog so my students could easily find what we covered in class. Your blog is really coming on nicely. I love that you have unpacked each step in a blog post. The effort you are putting in to this challenge is commendable.
      Eugene Brown, Edublogs Support

      • Thank you, Eugene. I am really enjoying this challenge and it has been very helpful with getting this new blog set up. I am really curious to know why I can embed some things and not others. Could it be to do with my privacy settings either within the blog or with Chrome or security programs on my computer?

        • Hi Jo, the main issue I find when embedding is that text formatting is applied; or the link is pasted in as a url. If you remove this formatting, the embed should show. Other tricks are to first paste the url in to a text editor like notepad (windows) or paste the link in the text editor in WordPress.
          Eugene Brown, Edublogs Support

          • Hi again Eugene,
            I have had a play with these suggestions. Some things seem to display as ready to play with a click on the arrow but others even if they are embedded just display as a link.

            • Jo Freitag
    • Hi Michelle, your headlines are slightly too long, but I wouldn’t change the existing ones now. Having said that, attention grabbing headlines are more important than the headline length. So for future headlines, try and grab the site visitor’s attention, by asking a question, for example.
      Eugene Brown, Edublogs Support

  4. Step 7, Cool Tools, is like a theme park for bloggers! I didn’t spend as much time here as I did on Step 6, only because I have an online school news site and have watched this area of Web 2.0 tools evolve for the past few years, and have tried many of them already: Storify, PollDaddy, VoiceThread, and so on. I did post a very rudimentary Voki, with a female Australian accent on my blog as a test. It is cute, and I can see lots of possibilities for this. Thank you for all the cool resources.

    http://idsja.edublogs.org/2015/06/07/first-voki-deserves-place-on-my-virtual-refrigerator/

    • Well put, Michelle! Cool Tools, is indeed like a theme park for bloggers.
      Eugene Brown, Edublogs Support

  5. I am part of the free teacher challenge but am finding that I cannot embed any files without paying for a different subscription, which I will not be doing. I guess I am at a stand still now and unless there is a way to get my badge, I am sadly done and badgeless. This is the link would have put on my blog entry.

    • blogforstudentsuccess
    • Hi blogforstudentsuccess, I hope you don’t mind, but I took the liberty of creating a post for you with a youtube link pasted in. This works the same way as using an embed code, just with less options available for editing. For more information and platforms that allow their media to be shown by pasting the url, please see http://help.edublogs.org/embedding-with-a-url/
      Eugene Brown, Edublogs Support

      • Thank you Eugene Brown. I did find the URL and was able to take the hyper link out of it but the blog subscription I have still does not allow it. Please advise. Or refer me to a free site that lets me do more. Thank you!

        This is the TED Talk that I used to supplement the textbook in teaching my class about diversity. The video is both relevant and inspiring!

        When I showed the above mentioned video in class, my students really enjoyed it. I do not tend to show many videos but this one impressed me.

        As educators we need to be comfortable embracing diversity in the classroom and opening up meaningful dialog with our students. I hope you enjoy it!

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=oKtALHe3Y9Q

        • blogforstudentsuccess
        • ​Hi blogforstudentsuccess. The issue is a WordPress issue. If the link is pasted with any formatting associated with it, it does not show as a video. If the video does not show, remove it the link and paste it in to the text formatting tab. I took the liberty of fixing it for you.
          Eugene Brown, Edublogs Support

          • Thank you; it looks great! 🙂

            • Sheriann
  6. I use a variety of tools embedded in posts at times. One of my pages is dedicated to past presentations I have conducted which are all embedded google slides. I offer a guest submission section where individuals can fill out the embedded google form. One tool missing from this step is ThingLink. I love to embed ThingLinks into my posts to give my audience an interactive experience.

    • Dan Gallagher
    • Hi Dan, I found your google slices very informative! (http://gallaghertech.edublogs.org/past-presentations/)
      I suggest you divide your presentations up in to separate posts/pages as, on some slower internet connections, the presentations may take some time to download.
      Eugene Brown, Edublogs Support

  7. Hi Sue! So glad I landed on your blog! Valuable post! Just what I was looking for a the moment!
    Thanks for sharing!

  8. I really enjoy the embed feature and use it often. I was disappointed that you must have the paid blog to use it here, but the post gave me some great suggestions that I can use on my teacher website. I already explored sound cloud and made a playlist which I embedded on my teacher site. Unfortunately, a lot of these other options are blocked at my school so I was unable to explore many of them.

  9. Hi All

    Thanks for sharing links to all your great links to the different tools you’ve tried. I’ve schedule tweets to share some of them via our Twitter accounts.

    Mrs Scharf – your AudioBoo looks different because they’ve just renamed and rebranded AudioBoo to AudioBoom.

    Sue Waters
    Support Manager
    Edublogs | CampusPress

  10. http://teachingandlearning.global2.vic.edu.au/2014/10/12/some-cool-tools-for-school/

    I shared how I am using Padlet for connecting with students and how I plan on having my class try out BitStrips, which I felt was a fairly easy way to make a comic for presentation. I’m looking forward to seeing some of their creations!

    I have used voki before and have enjoyed using this with senior primary students in the past – we always get some great voices and comments!

    Thanks for the great information on these tools – I’ll again be bookmarking this page for future reference!!

  11. I am slowly catching up and I have to say that this free professional development opportunity is very well done. I will use this as a resource as I do not have time to do eveything right now, but just knowing that I can refer back to this resource time and time again is very reassuring.

  12. yr5sk.edublogs.org/2014/09/21/new-blogging-buddy-class/
    Global connection

    techbrekkiesbowen.edublogs.org/2014/07/21/powtoon/
    I really like Powtoon. My spelling data was amazing during this block. Very simple to do but effective.

    techbrekkiesbowen.edublogs.org/2014/07/07/thinglink/
    How we have used ThingLink in the classroom

    I have used AudioBoo but I think I may have set it up incorrectly. My version looks a little different to others.
    yr5sk.edublogs.org/category/2014-technology/audioboo/

    One program I really like is Write About This. We have used it a few times for assessment. It is easy to embed and has the necessary text, visuals and audio.
    yr5sk.edublogs.org/2014/03/10/flying-foxes-must-be-relocated/

  13. Hi Everyone this is not really a tool to embed as such but have been playing with the app Paper Camera with the students. It’s a fun way to add a bit of a different flair to your pictures. The students have really loved experimenting with it check out our latest blog post here
    http://leahsharp.global2.vic.edu.au/2014/09/15/fun-photography-app/
    lots more cool photos to be added to the post shortly 🙂 Great app highly recommend it 🙂

  14. I had a busy week but finally got my post done for this week. I added a Prezi to my blog. Normally, I don’t see myself doing the same thing in my Prezi as my blog but it was a good effort. I had used Prezi previously but not that much. I can see on a blog where it would be more beneficial.

    I foresee myself using a few of the picture tools as I go forward and create some more tutorials.

    Thanks!

    A Quick Byte: http://billpratt23.blogspot.com/2014/09/starting-11-rollout.html
    @billpratt23

    • Hi Lisa,

      The animoto video looks great from my end! No pausing here, so it must have just been a network/loading issue.

      Nice job!

      Dan Leeman, Edublogs Support

  15. In assignments for my classes, I have used Prezi, Animoto; I have used Poll Everywhere with “students” when I was teaching a mock lesson to my classmates. It is similar to Poll Daddy mentioned in the article, yet students can respond via text or web. Questions can be multiple choice, true/false, images, free response, contain formulas, and foreign languages. It is found at http://www.polleverywhere.com/.

    Since I have a free blog, I cannot embed tools, which is very disheartening. I believe other platforms allow free users to embed content. Any way, I have linked a Prezi to my “About the Author” page. Here’s that link http://readlearngrow.edublogs.org/about-the-author/.

    Happy blogging everyone,
    Sarah

    • Hi Sarah

      We can appreciate that it is disheartening that you can’t embed. We would love to allow all our users to be able to embed but can’t because how misuse by spam blog creators on free blogs. Edublogs Pro blogs and all student blogs attached a Pro blog via My Class can add embed code. Spam blog creators are people who create blogs to promote products and websites.

      Ability to embed varies considerably. For example, you can’t embed at all in WordPress.com and can only add media if they include a shortcode or embed option for that service. WordPress.com blogs can embed considerably less than Pro blogs and student blogs attached to My Class.

      You are able to embed using the URL option – http://www.theedublogger.com/2014/08/15/blogging-tip-embed-content-with-just-a-url/

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

  16. I wrote a post on another tool I think could be added. I am currently obsessed with Symbaloo. I have it set up be subject area for those websites I intend to use with my kiddos. Digital natives they may be; however, they have a tough time at this age navigating around a keyboard/URL bar. I’m a special ed teacher, so many of my students have difficulty following directions, and many need extra processing time. With all that we need to pack in to a day, time is a luxury we often don’t have. Setting up the webmix and having the kids log on to their Chromebooks will save time. I can’t wait to try this out with them! Here’s the short link to my post: http://thissideofthird.edublogs.org/?p=223

    • Hi Cyndi, I love Symbaloo as well. I use it and it is one of the tools I’ve been considering when I revamp my School Library Webpage. Several of the pages are just links for different content areas and some are redirects to Scoop.it pages. He just started on the GAFE platform and I’m trying to re-think how I am managing all of the resources I put out.

      • Donna Gehring
  17. I used a Google Form for a new page. This form is going to be used to collect Guest Post submissions. I teach a Grad Course and sometimes have my students attempt blogging. I usually give them the option to either start their own blog or guest post on mine. This form will streamline, for me, the process of collecting their post. It is now available for anyone of my followers to be able to guest post. My thought is sometimes we have a theme or topic which we focus on for our blog, but a post idea comes to us which would be outside what the blog’s typical articles are about. By allowing others to guest post, we give each other a means to share those thoughts which don’t fit our site but still can be shared with others. Here is my page: http://gallaghertech.edublogs.org/guest-post-submission/