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Welcome to the seventh step in our free professional learning series on personal blogging 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.  We’ve embedded examples of each tool in this post to help you work out how the tool could be used with your students.


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Why enhance posts with interactive tools

Cool tools

If you look closely at blogs you’ll notice many of have cool interactive tools embedded in posts and pages.  Educators do this because things like slides, videos, comic strips, quizzes, polls grab attention, engage and create opportunities for interaction in ways not achievable using plain text or images.

There’s a gazillion online tools nowadays and most of them provide code that you can use to embed what you’ve found or created into your posts or pages.

Below are popular tools used by educators by activity type to help get you started.  We’ve included a brief explanation of why they are used, and embedded examples of each so you can check how they work.

Tools were chosen on the basis of their popularity, easy of use and being able to be embedded into posts/pages.

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Audio Hosting Websites

Audio is used for a wide range of purpose including: grammar and fluency reading practices; delivering content; and engaging auditory learners.

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.  Audio Boo and SoundCloud are the most commonly used audio hosting websites.

AudioBoo

AudioBoo is a website, and a smartphone and tablet app, which allows users to post and share sound files.

The AudioBoo embedded below was used by the teacher to help students practice learning about nouns and naming words.  You can see how the teacher used Audio boo with her students in her Audioboo – Time for Grammar – Nouns and Naming Words post.

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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Audio Presentation Tools

Audio is used for a wide range of purpose including: grammar and fluency reading practices; delivering content; and engaging auditory learners.

Audio presentation tools allow you to combine images (or videos) with audio.  Popular audio presentation tools include: FotobabbleVoiceThreads; and Voki.

The following websites include an extensive range of audio tools and how to use with students:

  1. 50+ Web 2.0 Ways to Tell a Story Audio Tools
  2. WebTools4U2Use Audio & Podcasting tools

Fotobabble

Fotobabble enables you to create a talking photo.  This is excellent for speaking practice and students find it engaging.

The Fotobabble embedded below was created by an ESL student.  Their task was to choose a photo from a field trip and use Fotobabble to talk about what they like about the trip and what they learnt.  You”ll find links to all their fotobabble’s in the comments here.

Another tasks the students did was to make one minute Fotobabble review of a book using a book image sourced from Amazon.  You can read more about the process of creating the Fotobabble and check out all their book reviews here.

Voicethreads

VoiceThreads is an online media album that can contain any type of media and it allows other people to make comments in 5 different ways (voice using a microphone or telephone, text, audio or video).

Embedded below is a Voicethread created by Michael Graffin’s PLN Voicethread Project.

You can read more about using Voicethreads with students here.

Voki

Voki allows you to create talking avatars which is excellent for speaking practice and engaging students.   Teachers and students also like to add them to their blog sidebar to welcome visitors to their blogs. You can embed Vokis in posts and pages.


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Brainstorming Tools

Brainstorming tools help students think up new and creative ideas quickly and easily.  Brainstorming allows students to comprehend connections between concepts and helps them with their thinking process.

Popplet

Popplet is a popular 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.  Students can create popplets on their computers or using the iOS app.

The popplet embedded below shows how it can be used for maths.

Watch this video on how to use the Popplet lite app.

Padlet

Padlet, originally known as Wallwisher, is an online notice board creator.  Padlet’s popularity is how fast and easy it is to create engaging activities to use with students.

You can read more about using Padlet with students here.


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Comic and Cartoon Tools

Comic and cartoons tools can be very engaging for students, especially visual learners, and are another way that students can enhance their posts with images.

Bitstrips

Bitstrips web-based resource that enables any student to create their own great-looking, original comic strips without having to draw.

Learn more about Bitstrips with students here.

ToonDoo

ToonDoo is a comic strip and comic book creation tool. We’ve embedded examples of a Toondoo comic strip and comic book below. Learn more about using ToonDoo with students here.

BLOOM


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Curation tools

Curation tools allows 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.

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 is used by the teacher to share resources from classes.

Check out the following for more information:

  1. Using livebinders with students
  2. Using Livebinders on iPads

Scoop.it!

Scoop.it! is a curation platform that enable users to collect news, articles, and other sources found on the Internet, and share them on their own custom-themed Scoop.it! site.  Scop.it! is like a social bookmarking website but with a visual, online magazine-like format.

Some bloggers set up their Scoop.it! account to autopost their scoops to their blog.  You can also embed a link to your Scoop.it site in a post or page.

Storify 

Storify allows you to curate your own stories from photos, video, tweets, what people post on social media sites and your own narration.

Read more about using Storify with students here.

The Storify embedded below demonstrates how you can incorporate a wide range of media into your stories.

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Poll, Survey and quizz tools

Online polling and survey tools help you gather opinions, collect votes, and see and share results immediately.  Some of these tools can also be used to create quizzes.

Google Forms

Google Forms 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 collect 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.  

You’ll find an example of a more extensive Google Form embedded in this post.  Graphs and data generated from this form were compiled into our State of Educational Blogging 2013 post.

Watch this video to learn more about using Google Forms.

PollDaddy

PollDaddy allows you to quickly create online surveys, polls and quizzes.


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Presentation tools

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

Animoto

Animoto is a great site for quickly creating professional looking videos from your images.  It is a great tool to use with students because it allows them to focus on content creation rather than trying to learn an editing or manipulation tool. In the school context, Animoto For Education is ideal tool for students to create their own booktrailers, digital stories or music videos.

Below is an example of a student created animito.  Check out more student work here and learn more about using Animoto with students here!

Make a video of your own at Animoto.

AuthorStream

authorSTREAM is a web-based PowerPoint presentation sharing platform which also allows you to add audio to your presentation.

3.3 Estimating Decimals Audio

More PowerPoint presentations from Joseph Williams

Glogster

Glogster allows you to combine images, video, music, photos and audio to create interactive posters.  Glogster encourages students to gather their information, synthesize it, remix it and then create their original presentation. It is an excellent alternative to the traditional classroom poster project by providing an online tool that is fun to use (and it’s not messy or bulky).

Learn more about using Glogster with students here.

Prezi

Prez 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.

Below is an example of a Prezzi created by a student.

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.

Scribd

Scribd allows you to upload your MS Word documents, PDFs, PowerPoints and then share them within an embedded viewer on your blog.

10 Internet SafetyTips for Students Poster November 2012


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Slideshow Tools

Slideshow tools allow you to create and share slideshows.

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

Adding embed code to posts or pages is as simple as:

1.   Completely write your post including adding title, text, images, tags and categories.

Write post

2.  Click on Save Draft.

Preview post

3.  Click on Preview to previewed your post.

4.  Check your post and make all necessary edits.

5.  Locate the embed code for the media you created or want to embed.

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

Copy embed code

7.  Place your cursor in the post where you want you it to be embedded and click on Add Media button.

Click an Add Media

8.  Click on Insert Embed Code.

Insert Embed code

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

Paste embed code

10.  When you have finished writing click Publish.

Click Publish

11.  You should now see your embedded media when you view your post on your blog!


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Your Task

We’d like you to 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 that you like to use with students?  Tell us about it!  Write a post on the tool to explain why do you use it with students and include examples of how you used it with your students.  Leave a comment with a link to your post.
  2. Choose one or more of the cool tools embedded in this post, grab the embed code and try adding it to a post on your blog.  Here are the instructions for embedding it into a post.  You will find the embed code by either clicking on the link that takes you to the original website that is hosting the media or it will have a share option on the embed.  Leave a comment with a link to where you’ve embedded the tool so we can check out how you went.
  3. Choose one or more of the cool tools embedded in this post and try using the tool with your students or try creating something using it.  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 leave any questions you are having (or tips/advice) as well.

 

33 Comments

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  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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
  4. 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

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

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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!!

  9. 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.

  10. 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/

  11. 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 🙂

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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
  15. 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/