Fluco Toolbox: FreeImages

Welcome to Fluco Toolbox, a series of posts that showcases potential edtech tools for the Fluvanna County classroom. Each post will discuss the tool, the type of problems it can help solve, and how it can be used in the classroom. If you’re a Fluvanna County staff member and want to learn more about using the tool in your own classroom, please schedule to see your ITRT and we will develop professional development based on your needs. If you’ve stumbled upon this post and you’re not part of the district, no worries! Feel free to use the information provided to jumpstart your own research.

Have you ever needed free images for a project or design? Just needed another free image site to add to your bookmarks, just in case?

Today’s Fluco Toolbox tool is: FreeImages

First, the basics:

Name: FreeImages
URL: http://www.freeimages.co.uk
Cost: FREE
Problem this tool solves: Provides free stock photography images, taken by site photographers. Unlike some other sites, this website does not allow users to upload their work, so all images have been vetted. Free to use as long as credit is given.

If you’re like me, you can never have enough resources for free image websites. Having a wealth of libraries at one’s fingertips is a godsend, especially when the need arises for a particular image.

FreeImages is a UK site that hosts a library of over 16,000 stock photos. It’s similar to other sites, where a simple search is performed and a host of photos matching the search criteria are returned. Though this site is curated by the webmasters, they do have a sister site where the community can contribute photos for use.

FreeImages allows users to use their photography for free, as long as credit is given. Detailed information can be found here on the website. Basically, if an image is used, credit must be given as a link back to the website.

To simply search for a photo, go to the web address listed above. On the home page, locate the magnifying glass in the upper right area of the screen. Type in the keyword/s. For mine, I decided to search for “cat”

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A list of search results will load, and small thumbnail images will appear. As you can see from my search, not everything tended to match “cat”.

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Find the desired image, and click the thumbnail to see an enlarged version. The page will load an image description and information about the file. Right below that (but not pictured here) is a blue “Download” button.

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Click the blue “Download” button to open the image in a new tab. Right click on the image to save it. Since this website requires credit in the form of a website link, I would include the website in the filename. Save the file, and you’ve got a new picture for that project!

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There is one other way to search the free images on this site, and that’s via the Gallery. The gallery can be accessed by going to the homepage and clicking the link of the same name, or “Browse Image Collection” if that ad is on the screen at the time.

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The site has created many categories for their images. Click on one of the collection titles to see all of the grouped sub-collections in that category. Browsing this way might bring up images that would have never been found otherwise.

Make sure to add this free image site to your list! It’s always good to have a lot because you never know which site will have that perfect image!

New Journey Ahead in 2019

“When I left Queen’s my future seemed to stretch out before me like a straight road. I thought I could see along it for many a milestone. Now there is a bend in it. I don’t know what lies around the bend, but I’m going to believe that the best does.” – Anne Shirley, Anne of Green Gables

It’s been awhile since I’ve sat and written a post that wasn’t meant for Fluco Toolbox, but I needed to sit down and write this out. It has been on my mind for some time, and I’ve known for a bit, but it’s time to let all of my readers and followers know as well.

I will be resigning from my position as an Instructional Technology Resource Teacher for my district at the end of this school year. I cannot go into too many details, as it’s military related, but my wife and I should be embarking on a new adventure at some point this year. We don’t know specifics yet, but we do know a general timeline.

With the new adventure comes new opportunities, and I have no idea what those will be just yet. I may stay in the educational field, I may branch out and try something new, I may try something remote… I’m not sure yet, and I can’t look too much until we have our specifics. The prospect is very exciting to me though, and I am hoping to begin my search after school ends for the year.

In terms of how this site will continue to function, I plan to keep it running and available because I have a great little section of resources that have been helpful to many folks. I currently pay for the site and the site address, and I’m not sure if I’ll renew the fee at the end of 2019 or not. It would simply revert the site back to having advertising, as well as putting “wordpress.” in front of my current URL again. I will be changing the Fluco Toolbox name to something else since I will no longer be representing the district. It may simply become Tech Toolbox. This will require me to go back through all of the posts so it may be a slower process.

Though this is my third and final year here in Fluvanna, I have been grateful for all of the opportunities that I have been afforded in my position. I have greatly enjoyed building working relationships with the staff at my schools. I have loved being able to attend and present at conferences. I have loved meeting new faces and learning new ideas along the way. It is a chapter soon to be closing, but it was a good chapter.

Like Anne in the quote at the beginning of this post, I don’t know what lies around the bend in the road, but I’m going to believe that the best does!

Fluco Toolbox: Audionautix

Welcome to Fluco Toolbox, a series of posts that showcases potential edtech tools for the Fluvanna County classroom. Each post will discuss the tool, the type of problems it can help solve, and how it can be used in the classroom. If you’re a Fluvanna County staff member and want to learn more about using the tool in your own classroom, please schedule to see your ITRT and we will develop professional development based on your needs. If you’ve stumbled upon this post and you’re not part of the district, no worries! Feel free to use the information provided to jumpstart your own research.

Have you ever created a presentation, only to find that you needed to incorporate some royalty-free music? Tired of finding sites where a fee is required, or copyright issues are present?

Today’s Fluco Toolbox tool is: Audionautix

First, the basics:

Name: Audionautix
URL: https://audionautix.com/
Cost: FREE
Problem this tool solves: Browse a variety of genres to find royalty-free audio tracks licensed under Creative Commons 3.0 Unported. Easily sample files on the website, and download the full version as an mp3 audio track

Just as we need free images from time to time, we also find a need for free music tracks as well. As much as our students would love to use the latest top hit track streaming on Spotify in their presentation, we have to send them in another direction that doesn’t violate copyright laws. That’s where Audionautix comes into play.

Audionautix was created by Jason Shaw, who composes the majority of the songs listed on the website. The goal is to provide audio tracks from a variety of genres for free. This even includes if the user plans to use the track to make money commercially. All tracks are licensed under Creative Commons 3.0 Unported. All tracks should be credited with “music by Audionautix”.

Using the website is very simple and easy. Simply go to the website listed above and scroll down. The search parameters will then appear. Search by genre, or use the mood and/or tempo parameters to narrow down searches. If the title is known, type it in.

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Click “Find Music”. A list of results will appear. Listen to a sample of the song, or download the mp3.

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Once downloaded, have fun! Just don’t forget to credit the work. Make sure to bookmark this site because you never know when you’ll need some background music for a project!

Resources

None today! This one’s pretty self-explanatory.

Fluco Toolbox: Draftback

Welcome to Fluco Toolbox, a series of posts that showcases potential edtech tools for the Fluvanna County classroom. Each post will discuss the tool, the type of problems it can help solve, and how it can be used in the classroom. If you’re a Fluvanna County staff member and want to learn more about using the tool in your own classroom, please schedule to see your ITRT and we will develop professional development based on your needs. If you’ve stumbled upon this post and you’re not part of the district, no worries! Feel free to use the information provided to jumpstart your own research.

Have you ever wanted to view revision to a document over time? Review changes students have made to documents to check for plagiarism or cheating?

Today’s Fluco Toolbox tool is: Draftback

First, the basics:

Name: Draftback
URL: bit.ly/2R95NBK
Cost: FREE
Problem this tool solves: Play back the revision history of a document from its creation to the final state. A great way to check for cheating/copying in students, but also a great way to check progress over time.

Draftback is an extension that can be added to the Chrome browser. This extension will then appear as a button in Google Docs. It can also be disabled from Docs and activated only by clicking on the extension’s button in the browser. Draftback will show a video history of all revisions that have been made to a document. It also will create revision video snippets that can be viewed as well.

I found this extension while browsing r/Teachers on Reddit and immediately saw that it would have use for any teacher that assigns essays or research papers. Teachers would be able to easily see the revision history played back to them, as long as they have access to edit the file. For some, this may be easier than viewing the document’s version history. Plus, it creates a more fluid visual aid for checking the history.

To get started, use the link above to install Draftback as an extension. Give any necessary permissions. A button will now appear in any loaded Google Docs file

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Clicking this button will create a visual rendering of all changes to the document since its creation. As you can see in the image above, the document I selected has gone through quite a bit, more than I would have expected!

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Once rendering is complete, the option to view the finished rendering becomes available. Take some time to watch one…it’s fascinating to see the document being created! The visual view makes it very easy to see the sections that were copy and pasted. The document I selected had pieces I’d copied over from an older document, and I could easily pinpoint those changes.

Need a visual snippet of the changes to share with others? In the upper left of the screen is a blue link to “Begin Extraction for Embed”

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Click this link, and then press play. The link will update as the video history plays. Pause at any time to stop recording. Then click “Finish and Publish ### Revisions” An embed code will appear. This can be copied and pasted onto a site. However, tucked in the embed code area is a blue link “Preview embed”. Click this to open a new tab. The link can now be copied and used for demonstrations.

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Need even more data about a document’s revision history? In the upper right corner of the original Draftback link, click “Document graphs and statistics”. A new tab will open. Here, a chart showing editing appears, but the information at the bottom of the page is even more valuable. A listing of all revision sessions is available, along with the length of each session, the revisions made, and who made the changes. If changes are made later on, make sure to re-render the visual by clicking the button in the document.

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Hopefully, this will be helpful to a lot of teachers! It really has a lot of potential, and is a great way to check student workflow on documents.

Resources

Fluco Toolbox: Tall Tweets

Welcome to Fluco Toolbox, a series of posts that showcases potential edtech tools for the Fluvanna County classroom. Each post will discuss the tool, the type of problems it can help solve, and how it can be used in the classroom. If you’re a Fluvanna County staff member and want to learn more about using the tool in your own classroom, please schedule to see your ITRT and we will develop professional development based on your needs. If you’ve stumbled upon this post and you’re not part of the district, no worries! Feel free to use the information provided to jumpstart your own research.

Have you ever wanted to make a GIF of your Slides presentation? Ever wished you had a few sample images to advertise your upcoming workshop? Just like GIFs?

Today’s Fluco Toolbox tool is: Tall Tweets

First, the basics:

Name: Tall Tweets
URL: http://www.talltweets.com
Cost: FREE
Problem this tool solves: Create GIFs of a Google Slides presentation. Use these GIFs for auto-running presentations, to advertise a presentation, or even to highlight the key points of a presentation. This tool also allows the user to tweet high quality images of individual slides.

Despite its name, Tall Tweets does more than just work with Twitter. It’s a handy tool that can be utilized to create a GIF from a Google Slides presentation. Choose to highlight key slides, or create a GIF of the entire presentation.

To begin, go to the website listed above. The first step is to connect a Google account to the website. This allows Tall Tweets to access Slides presentations stored in Drive. Then click the “Select Presentation” button.

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Search Drive for the desired presentation. Tall Tweets includes all presentations that have been shared with the user, so it’s a good idea to have the name of the Slides file in mind when searching.

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Click the desired presentation and then “Select”. Tall Tweets will import the presentation to the website. This may take some time, especially if the presentation file is large in size.

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Once the presentation has been loaded, the user has two options – Create a GIF and Tweet Slides. To create a GIF, fill in the information in the Create a GIF box. Choose the image width for the GIF, what slides to feature, and how long each slide appears. Then click “Create GIF”. A preview of the GIF will appear just to the right, where it can be saved to the computer or tweeted. There is also an option to select a different presentation with the “Change” button.

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Users can also tweet individual slides at high quality. Switch to “Tweet Slides” by clicking the gray box just below the “Make a GIF” one. Each individual slide will be loaded as an image, and can be saved or tweeted directly from the page. To use Twitter, permission must be given to connect the site to a Twitter account. The only part I did not like about the tweeting section was that it did not pull any info from Twitter, such as alerting if a user was correctly tagged. If you are tagging individuals, make sure to know their handles, as Tall Tweets does not auto-predict.

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If you often present or share ideas with others, this is a great tool to try. Try it the next time you are sharing conference or presentation information.

Resources

Fluco Toolbox: StockSnap

Welcome to Fluco Toolbox, a series of posts that showcases potential edtech tools for the Fluvanna County classroom. Each post will discuss the tool, the type of problems it can help solve, and how it can be used in the classroom. If you’re a Fluvanna County staff member and want to learn more about using the tool in your own classroom, please schedule to see your ITRT and we will develop professional development based on your needs. If you’ve stumbled upon this post and you’re not part of the district, no worries! Feel free to use the information provided to jumpstart your own research.

Have you ever needed more free images for use in projects or presentations? Wanted a second option for your students to use?

Today’s Fluco Toolbox tool is: StockSnap.io

First, the basics:

Name: StockSnap.io
URL: https://stocksnap.io/
Cost: FREE
Problem this tool solves: Website that hosts a free collection of images for download. All images fall under CC0 licensing and do not require attribution.

I love browsing the r/Teachers forum on Reddit, mostly because I can usually find new ideas or tools for my teachers. Last week was no different. I happened to be reading a thread about copyright and images when a user pointed out StockSnap. Like Pixabay, it’s another image site to search for images that fall under CC0 licensing. Always handy to have more than one image website!

First, visit the website listed above. Enter the keywords for the desired image. I decided to search for cats.

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Browse through the results. The first images shown are sponsored through Shutterstock. Ignore these and scroll down. Select the desired image.

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The image will load. Scroll down and select the red “Free Download” button. The difference between Stocksnap and Pixabay in terms of downloading images is that Stocksnap does not offer different image sizes for download. It only downloads as one large, high-quality image.

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Up to this point, no account has been needed. Users only need to create an account if planning to a) submit photos to the website or b) favorite images to find later. If creating an account on Stocksnap, all that is required is an email and password. An email will be sent to the email used to confirm the account.

Enjoy this free photo resource!

Resources

How to Create Goal Trackers & Behavior Plans in Google Forms

Recently I’ve been tasked with helping special education teachers and case managers create behavior plans and goal trackers for students. It’s a process that has always been done via paper and pencil, or by collecting data via emailed questions. The process has its flaws of course. Students lose papers given to them, teachers don’t always email back, and it’s hard to track all of the data in one place.

One teacher asked if there was any way to turn this into a digital process so the data could be stored and gathered in one location. Through our collaborative effort, we began playing with Google Forms, and thus, created a behavior form that would work for the student. After working out the kinks, and training the teacher to analyze the collected data, we were rolling. And now she’d never go back to the old way.

Word got out about the process, and I was soon approached by case managers at the high school needing to track data on student IEP goals from teachers. These case managers didn’t see the students and relied on the information from teachers to help track student progress. I began helping these teachers create goal trackers in Forms, using the same process.

I’ve finally had a chance to create a series of tutorial videos for those teachers needing to know how to make them, but that I may not have a chance to see. I wanted to share this series with everyone else as well because I believe it’s very helpful. The tutorial series is broken down into sections so that viewers can easily skip to the part needed, rather than watching one long video.

Creating Goal Trackers & Behavior Forms Video Tutorials