Free web tools can save time and effort for teachers

Another Google search function is the “wonder wheel,” which allows users to search a category by its many specified sub-categories. For instance, by typing in “iPhone,” then “search,” and then “wonder wheel,” users would see the word iPhone, surrounded by its many sub-categories, such as “3G,” “applications,” or “accessories.” The user then could click on any of these more specific categories within the topic “iPhone” to further hone results.

Finally, Google’s search engine can help educators find PowerPoint presentations for the classroom.

By clicking “advanced search” next to the Google toolbar, users can enter a search topic and then filter by file formats, one choice being PowerPoint. Users also can filter by including the word “Jeopardy” after their subject to generate Jeopardy-style PowerPoint quizzes to use for the classroom.

Beyond Google

It’s not just the search powerhouse Google that can save teachers time and make a difference in the classroom, Worcester said.

One tool that caused attendees to gasp was a free-with-registration bibliography generator called BibMe.

With BibMe, users type in the name of the book in question and can choose which edition they would like to cite.

After you choose the correct edition, the free online tool adds that citation to the bibliography builder. Once users have chosen all their books or resources, they can select their preferred style format, such as ALA or Chicago.

The generator then puts the user’s bibliography into Word, or any other word-processing program, in the selected style format.

Another tool, called Vocaroo, helps educators create simple podcasts through voice recordings.

All you need is a computer with a microphone. By clicking on the web site’s “record” button, you can record any message–a useful tool for language classes in particular. You then can send the recording to the eMail addresses of your choice with the click of a button, and you can ask for the recording’s embed code to add the message to any web site or blog.

File Dropper is another free and easy tool for educators. With File Dropper, you can upload any file up to five gigabytes in size, and the tool will generate a link you can send to people so they can access the file.

Perhaps one of the simplest tools, said Worcester, is using the word “kick” to download YouTube videos.

After clicking on the desired video, you insert the word “kick” in front of the word “youtube” in the YouTube link (for example, “”). After doing this, you’ll be taken to a site that will ask what format you’d like to download the video in, such as MP4 or Flash.

Another tool, called, helps educators compile the various links they’d like their students to visit into one compact link. When students click on this single link, the web sites will appear in the order they were entered on, and at the top of the page is a navigation bar that allows students to navigate between these specified links.

These, and many more tools, can be found on Worcester’s web site.




Tammy’s Technology Tips for Teachers

Meris Stansbury

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