Muddling through the blogosphere

Favorite Free Online Tools for Educators – Stepping up to “the challenge”


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If you’re not following Edublogs’ Teacher Challenge: 30 days to using the best of the web’s free tools for educators, I think it’s a discussion you’ll want to join! The Challenge format is a great way to organize, archive, and share the many ways teachers are using web tools to engage students and extend learning.

Having stepped up to the challenge when there are already 17 fabulous challenges posted, with many of my favorite tools (e.g., VoiceThread, LiveBinders, Skype, Glogster, Wall Wisher, etc.) already listed, has me reflecting on tools not yet listed that I see being used in powerful ways.  I’ve decided against posting on tools that are platform specific, such as PhotoStory 3 (Windows) or iMovie/Movie Maker 2. I’m also going to pass on tools I think look fantastic, but I haven’t personally used yet with students, such as Museum Box.

I’m going with Audacity.  Audacity is one of my favorite free cross-platform tools. Students love Audacity, especially ELLs (English Language Learners). I posted a tribute to Audacity back in February. Ironically, I haven’t been able to interest many teachers in this great tool.  I’m guessing the fact that I typically present Audacity as part of a web tool series and that teachers are initially swept away with more visual tools, such as VoiceThread, PhotoStory 3, etc., explains why they, consequently,  often do not find the time to return to and really explore the power of Audacity.

To me Audacity is all about the power of the human voice – and the ability to easily edit that voice. Combine Audacity with blogging and you can catapult student voices out to the world.

OK, I’m heading into the 30 Day Challenge to begin working on my post.  Do you have any Audacity stories, samples, resources you recommend I include in my challenge piece?


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