My Top Ten Free Web Apps to Add Value to Your Creative Blog

Actually, it’s eleven, but ten sounds better. I’ve been batting on about some of these for ages, but I just thought I’d do a quick post to pull them all together in one place and maybe introduce some of them to more recent bloggers.

In no particular order:

Voicethread

www.voicethread.com

A brilliant idea. You upload an image, slideshow or video to Voicethread and invite your audience to comment either by voice using a microphone; text, or now they even have a web cam comment feature. Not tried this last one yet. Fantastic for PSHE, Art, History, Global Issues etc. Here’s an example: http://voicethread.com/share/20302/

Photobucket

www.photobucket.com

Photobucket is my new favourite image bank now that Phanfare has gone subscription only. Great place to hunt for image resources for your whiteboard and PowerPoints, but also great to upload your own photos as well. It automatically generates the HTML link code for you to link to your blog. Simply copy the code from the HTML box under the image and paste into your blog post using the Code tab. Alternatively, try Flickr.

Slideshare

www.slideshare.net

Fantastic collection of PowerPoints on every subject imaginable. Easy to embed in a blog post, and very easy to upload your own PowerPoints for sharing on your blog. Next time your class are doing a PowerPoint pressie, tell them that the top three are going on to the class blog and see if that impacts on the standard of work. Here’s my Slideshare page

Teachertube

www.teachertube.com

An educational version of Youtube. Much of Teachertube’s content is aimed at KS3 and up, but there is still some great content to share with your class and it’s really easy to upload your own videos and embed them in your blog.

Voki

www.voki.com

Next time your class are writing poetry, get thenm to record the poem on the pc and retell it via a Voki. Super customisable characters and backgrounds to choose from and embed the result in your blog. Wicked.

Del.icio.us

http://del.icio.us

Why every school in the country doesn’t use this fantastic free service is beyond me (as are the local authorities who block it (for the most bizarre of reasons, in one NW LA’s case). Every time you find a useful website, instead of saving it in your web faourites on your PC, save it and tag it in del.icio.us. Your favourites are then available wherever you can find a web connection. Here’s my del.icio.us page.

Bubbl.us

http://bubbl.us

Online mind mapping and concept mapping. Get good at using this on your whiteboard, then everytime you have finished your map publish it on your blog for the class to base their homework on, refer to again or simply for you to pull up next time you revisit the subject to remind them of prior learning.

Twitter

http://www.twitter.com

Twitter answers the question, “What are you doing right now”. To many people it seems like an endless stream of pointless text messages, however, if you start to follow like-minded educationalists, you can soon build a very effective personal learning network who can answer your questions, collaborate in projects and teach you all sorts of new ideas. Give it a go, it’s addictive. Oh, and you can embed your Tweets into your blog, too.

Follow me on Twitter: HGjohn

Widgetbox

www.widgetbox.com

Many of the classes blogging through the Creative Blogs community have virtual class pets, educational games, countdown clocks, local weather, maps and loads of fun stuff on their blogs courtesy of Widgetbox, a collection of tens of thousands of widgets specifically designed to embed in blogs. It’s all about engagment, and Widgetbox provides it in spades.

Solidcasts

www.solidcasts.com

Probably the easiest site I’ve seen to use for creating podcasts. The first 100mb of hosting is free, thereafter you pay (it’s still cheap, though). Simply edit your podcast in school, upload to Solidcasts and put a link in your blog Easy.

Rockyou

www.rockyou.com

Rockyou allows you to upload digital images and then incorporate them into some really cool slideshows. There are loads of themes and transitions to choose from, and you can even add copyright free music to your show. The resulting slideshow is simplicity itself to embed into your blog. Mystifyingly, some authorities choose to block this, but usually not the alternative: Bubbleshare which is pretty good, and just as easy to embed, if not quite as cool as Rockyou. Nothing like a consistent web-filtering policy!

So there you have it, my top eleven free services to add value to your blog site. For instructions on embedding most of these into a WordPress MU blog, go to http://support.creativeblogs.net. For those that I haven’t done a “How to” yet will be added during half-term.

I’m hoping that, through the magic of web 2.0, teachers who’ve come across other equally great resources might care to comment and add them to this post.

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About john sutton

Founder of Creative Blogs.

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Creative Blogs are the UK's leading educational blogging specialists. We build Wordpress Multisite blog platforms for schools.

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