Recently, while doing my tech tools research, I ran across a couple of tools that were easy to use, took little time to create, and were FREE. All of these tools could be used to make impactful statements or promote a good cause. On the web site connectsafely.org , there is a push to promote safer internet day, which is happening February 11th, 2014. Students can raise awareness about internet safety and how they are using technology and the internet to make their world safer. The idea is that students can share one good thing they have done, or seen on this website (more examples are on saferinternetday.us). The following tools shared below are excellent ways you can make a statement, demonstrate social emotional learning or just have great fun.
Recite is a tool that allows you to type your statement right into the quote box, scroll through the templates from the bottom screen, chose one, and preview your creation. If you like it, you can share it through a variety of social medias, email, download or use the link to add to your website or blog. It’s that easy! One note of caution, make sure your permalink links to your photo, as the link takes you to piccsy.com , a site connected to Recite. This site has tons of photo quotes made by others that you can preview. I would caution using the permalink, especially when working with students. Some of the other photo quotes displayed next to your quote on the piccsy site, may be mature in language (nothing X-rated but definitely PG 13 ). Your best choice would be to create it, download it to your computer and then display or share it.
This tool is similar to Recitethis. It’s quick and simple. Write in your quote, give credit to the author, choose a template from the scrolling menu above, push the go button, and your quote is made! Its that simple and it looks great. If you want to save all your quotes to the site, you have to sign up with your email and make a unique password for the site. You don’t have to sign up. You can choose other methods of saving your work such as; email, pinterest, twitter etc. *There is no need to download anything, so be careful of the ads, as they are there for the purpose of directing you to other sites.
This tool has a little more options to be your own creative genius. If you just want to try the tool out you don’t have to sign up, but signing up allows you to save your creations to the site. You have the option under the account tab to make your tackks public or private. With this tool you can do a lot more that just putting in a quote and choosing from templates. With Tackk, you can upload your own photos, videos, add music (they have some for you) ,embed your tackk on your site, and much more. You can use Tackk as a way to create a flyer for your club or event. To add more you just push the big plus sign and this adds another box for you to add more content. You have the capability to re-size your photos and move your ideas around on the page. There are a variety of color schemes, fonts, and background patterns. Tackk even allows you to upload your own background patterns. With Tackk, you have the options of printing your poster/flyer etc., and making copies of it to hang or pass out. This could be great for your counseling office or for a space where you want to show off your students work. This site also has its social side, as you can share, follow other Tackk boards, link it to your social networks and more. Below is the sample Tackk I’ve made which is accessed through twitter .
Canva takes the creativity notch up a little bit more. This tool is also free, but it acts and develops like a purchased tool. Well for the most part its free, but if you would like to use some of the premium photos and backgrounds, you can purchase them for a whopping 99 cents! The free graphics and backgrounds are plentiful and you can do a lot for free. When you begin to make your design, you can choose from ten different layouts and/or themes, or you can make one from scratch if you like. To give you an overview, watch the support clip below.
This tool is actually an App in the iTunes store and is not on the Android market. This App is simple but powerful. It’s named after the major form of Japanese verse (Haiku). What I love about Haiku deck is it gives you photos that relate to the words that you type on your slide. This gives the background photo a connection to your words. The beauty of Haiku deck is that you only have three lines to input your words. You don’t have to say much to get your point across, which is a good technique in teaching students to be concise and to the point. You can add as many slides as you need (I think too many is overkill ) and as with the other creation tools, you can share your creations to various social media, email or save to the site. You should make an account to have your Haiku’s saved to the site, but you don’t have to as you can save them to your tablet or email them to yourself. Below is a very good Haiku about the “Thank you Effect,” in customer service. This message can relate to everyday life just as well. The sample below is a nice example of how Haiku’s can be used as discussion prompts. When using this Haiku with students ask them, “how can you relate each slide to interpersonal relationships?”
Smore is a tool that shares similarities with both Tackk and Canva. It’s promoted as a tool that develops professional looking flyers, but it really can be used to promote whatever you want. You can put as much or as little content on the flyer as you like. This tool is free but you are limited to sending the flyer out to 200 people by email (monthly), but you don’t have custom backgrounds. As with the other free tools discussed, the free version of Smore works quite well. There are paid versions available that offer unlimited emailing, no Smores branding, access to new designs and more. The site also has a price for educators. This tool can be great for your students to promote participation in a service learning projects or for the “One good thing today” movement mentioned in the first part of my blog. Below is a pic of the Smore that was made by a professor at Chicago’s DePaul University, and she also has ties to the counseling center at DePaul. Here is the link to the Smore she made for her Tech Tools tutorials. https://www.smore.com/2wfb