It's summer time and the livin's easy, but that doesn't mean that the learning has to stop--or be boring! Here's a collection of creativity inspiring school tools that fight the brain drain and keep things fun.
Free! BLENDER comes at the recommendation of fellow EduCon-ers from the Mural Arts Program of Philadelphia -- the largest public art project in the U.S. We confess to having a limited knowledge of 3D animation skill sets here on the home front, but for educators needing a cost-effective alternative to the über-expensive, best-in-class animation tools like Maya, LightWave, and modo, this open source project is a great place to start!
Free! FAKEBOOK makes it easy to rip-off social media profiles a la Facebook. The novel tool presents a great way to promote critical thinking by re-creating historical figures from a 21st century perspective. Here's Julius Caesar's profile -- surprisingly Brutus has yet to be un-friended!
Free! TINEYE LABS MULTICOLR SEARCH ranks the aesthetic over application with a nifty way to search over 10 million Creative Commons Flickr images by up to 5 colors. Select a color or two...or five from the right-hand palette and the search engine will return images with those exact colors. Adding to the awesomeness is the ability to specify exactly what percentage of each color you'd like the image to incorporate. What's that you say? Show a collection of images composed of 15% lilac purple, 25% pale yellow, 30% golden yellow, 10% olive green, and 20% fuschia[-ish]? Done and done. Tip of the hat to Chad Sansing!
Free! FILE LAB VIDEO EDITOR is a free, web-based video editing tool with an easy-to-use and intuitive user interface. The layout is similar to Final Cut Pro or any other top-notch video editor, but the functionality is more along the lines of Apple iMovie and Windows Movie Maker -- lots of pre-formatted drag and drop goodies. We were surprised at how quickly a 1-minute HD video clip loaded into the editor, though it may have something to do with the plugin that we had to download and install before playing.
Free! KERPOOF: Aside from the über-cool name, Kerpoof offers a suite of digital media and literacy tools to tell stories, make movies and pictures, or describe images. The award-winning website also provides lesson plans appropriate for grades K-8. Administrators may especially appreciate the mappings for state and national standards.
Free! 46 INFOGRAPHIC TOOLS: Whether it's learning about BYOD, trying to decide which font to use, or seeing which biscuit goes well with which type of tea, infographics can make for some great visual learning. But why sit back and let everyone else have the fun? Here are 46 tools that simplify infographic creation. Shout out to Faisal Khan for creating the list and Cool Cat Teacher for sharing it!