Webstuff: Reading & Writing and Virtual College Tour
The following are some new websites and apps that cover a variety of topics that range reading and writing, to the new way to attend a college campus tour.
Kidblog allows K-12 teachers to provide each of their students with an individual blog. Kids often need additional motivation to write beyond that of receiving a passing grade. A blog is a great medium because it naturally draws in an interested audience, and if students know their work will be published, they may be inspired to write with a new purpose. Students can write as freely and often as they choose and with their favourite devices through Kidblog; however, teachers are still the administrators and are the ones who hit the final ‘publish’ button. A blog is not just for writing; Kidblog also allows integration of digital media such as slideshows, podcasts, videos, Google Docs, and other applications like, Storybird, Animoto, and Glogster. Over 4 million blogs have been set up through Kidblog; it’s free and does not require student emails or push any unwanted ads.
Little Red Riding Hood: Read, Listen, & Play
This fun educational app retells the Brothers Grimm tale of Little Riding Hood in a new format for today’s digital reader. Geared for children aged 4-6, the whimsical illustrations come to life through subtle animation while still keeping the reader’s focus on the text. Users can read the book on their own or opt to listen to the spoken text that highlights each word as it is narrated. They can play several interactive games such as, spot the difference between two images, find all the animals hiding in the forest, and create your own original scenes by placing the book’s characters and objects onto a landscape. Little Red Riding Hood: Read, Listen & Play is available for purchase from iTunes and Google Play.
Visual Dictionary Online
This free website by Merriam-Webster is a digital dictionary that provides users with a new point of view. Divided into fifteen major themes, over 6,000 words and concepts are defined with graphics. From the origin and evolution of species that depict the continents and oceans as they appear during different points on the geologic time scale, to a diagram of a variety of percussion instructions, this website is especially useful for all those visual learners. Organized like a dictionary, the definitions are short and concise and offer auditory pronunciations, if needed. With both a description and an image or diagram, there is no need to search elsewhere for supplementary references to a word or concept.
YouVisit is the new way prospective students can take the all-important college or university campus tour. The website offers users a “visit” through 360 degree, high definition panoramas, walking tours (similar to that of Google Streetview), videos, and photos of school campuses around the world. The tours cover the main grounds as well as inside different campus buildings, even dining halls. A peek inside some of the classrooms, studios, and facilities is also beneficial for those attending a technical institution, such as an arts or culinary school. The footage taken often shows the campus when class is in session so “visitors” can see what an actual school day may look like. This website is incredibly useful as the campus visit is often the deciding factor amongst different offers of admission acceptances. Also, for those who cannot attend an in-person visit because their school is out of town or even in another country, YouVisit acts as a handy resource. For Canadian and international tours, find schools by typing the name in the search box, and for American campuses, select by state from a drop down list.