Monthly Archive for July, 2010

Image Manipulation Tools

There are many image manipulation tools available for teachers, or their pupils, to use.  Many of these for free. Some require software to be downloaded and many are able to be used online. Schools use images in so many ways – both in print form and for use on websites, blogs, or elsewhere.

Here are some of the free online tools which, depending on the task, might be found to be useful.  As with all online tools if thinking of using with pupils a teacher should check out these tools to ensure their suitability.  Some tools have online galleries of created work and so caution would always be required:

- create your own images from scratch (painting, drawing or using shapes) or use the effects filters with existing photographs – site includes tutorial video.  Also has neat variable symmetrical lines to use when creating images. image editor – make collages online from your photographs

AnyMakingapply a series of effects to your photographs or use one of the editing tools, all online.

www.dumpr.netupload a photograph or use from an online source and then apply many effects.

Photoshop Express Editor is an image editor with a comprehensive suite of tools and effects. Just upload your image and get started. there are tutorials on the site too. Embed your text in an image of your choice with

- choose from a bank of images and add your own text to make it look like it is part of the original image

Word Mosaic created using

Make a Gif – upload a few of your own pictures to create an animated image

GifMagic is a site which lets you upload an existing animated gif (or add a link from one already online) and then edit it or apply various effects/add text.

FotoTricks – Upload photo and add comic bubble and many effects

Pizap Add fun effects to your photographs

ROFLBOT is for adding text to a picture – do it all in your browser

PicMonkey has a whole host of tools for editing images, all online, for free. You can also apply a wide range of effects and borders.

Create and embed Flickr slideshows in blog, website or Glow page in 3 steps

Online Image Generators for creating website/blog buttons, backgrounds, images, etc.

Pixisnap – create mosaics or collages images from your pictures – Phoenix image editor from Aviary suite of tools – includes extensive video tutorials Pixlr has two different online versions, Express (which quickly lets you resize an uploaded image, crop it, and apply any number of effects – including kaleidoscope illustrated here), and Pixlr Editor which is fully featured including multi-layers (so you can edit each layer independently). – upload your photograph and enter how big you wish to print your image, and blockposter will divide the poster up into segments to print out one segment at a time and join together – any size – great for classroom walls. can be used to create animated slideshows with a variety of transitions from your own images, or animations sich as rolling dice or rippling water.  And it has an image editor to let you vary animations and edit images further. Juxio – upload your photographs, choose a template, then create a poster of your images Fun Photbox lets you add many effects to your photographs as well as create an animated gif image for uploading onto webpage or blog. Festisite – create images from text – rebus, spiral, heart, maze and more. – Animated Gif Maker from MySpaceGens lets users upload up to 50 photographs, control the speed, the length of time  individual images are displayed, the overal size.  User caution is advised for classroom use as there is pop-up advertising in creating the animated gif, but there is no advertsiing on the finished animation. Loupe is a free online tool which lets you create a collage of several images in a shape chosen from templates. The images can either be selected from your PC or can be from a website, an online storage space or from images which appear when you enter a search term in the serach box. When the images chosen appear on the list you can then de-select those not required. Collage images created can then be downloaded.

PhotoFunia – has a wealth of choices for manipulating your images. You can choose from a range of imaginative backgrounds into which your image will be automatically inserted (e.g. as part of a painting, wall display, book cover, television screen, shop front and many, many more). Many of these are animated. In addition there is a wide range of filters to apply to each image from jigsaw, broken glass, sepia and many more. There is also an animated gif created where you can upload a series of images to make an animated image. This site also has apps for mobile phones with seveal of these features.

Here are some of the programs installed on all PCs in all Falkirk primary schools:

Free downloads:

• Picassa 3 – free from
• Microsoft Windows 7 Paint – included with Windows 7 operating system
• Microsoft Windows 7 Snipping Tool – included with Windows 7 operating system

Commercial products:

Microsoft Office Picture Manager – included as part of Microsoft Office – useful to resize an image or to crop an image.
RM Colour Magic
ComicLife  –

Networked PCs setup for all Falkirk Primary Schools

Every primary school in Falkirk Council is provided with networked PCs which are refreshed every 3 or 4 years.  The number provided centrally is based on the size of the school.  Schools can also add to this number but the central provision provides the core for every primary school.

When this process was begun it was decided that a core range of open-ended software would be provided with the PCs.  This ensured all schools had a wide selection of tools to support teaching and learning in the classrooms.  And this also meant a common core image could be created by ICT Support Engineers to be able to provide more efficient support to schools by the central team of ICT Support Engineers.  Likewise centrally provided staff CPD courses could focus on the same software.  The software was chosen after consulations with schools and after evaluations of software in pilot schools.   The software chosen then was deliberately selected to be open-ended, in that it could be used across the curriculum, while also meeting the needs of the curriculum for primary schools.  Schools could also purchase curricular-specific or other software to be added to their own PCs if they wished.

So a wide range of software was selected, some purchased and some freely available.  This was arranged on each desktop in 5 folders to match the type of tool against the curricular requirements as follows:

  1. Creating and Presenting
  2. Collecting and Analysing
  3. Searching and Researching
  4. Communicating and Collaborating
  5. Controlling and Modelling

In 2010, based on feedback from school staff over the lifespan of the previous primary network and consultations with ICT Co-ordinators and members of the Primary ICT Consultative Group the following is the resulting specification from 2010 for the next few years.  With the introduction of Glow, providing the tools previously included in the Communicating and Collaborating folder, this folder was removed altogether.  And the Creating and Presenting folder (which contains the greatest number of software titles) has been subdivided into text, audio, video, typing tutors and learning resources.

1. Creating and Presenting
• Clicker 5 
• Co-writer 4000
• Inspiration
• Kidspiration
• Microsoft Windows Notepad text editor
• Windows Character Map 
• Microsoft Powerpoint 2007
• Microsoft Publisher 2007
Microsoft Word 2007
– with the addition of WordTalk from Edinburgh University including “Heather” Scottish voice (click here for support material).   The primary font Sassoon is installed in the fonts folder to be able to be used with Word and other programs.

Click on the link below for an interactive tool for using Word 2007 when you have been used to using Word 2003

 Graphics
• Microsoft Office Picture Manager
• RM Colour Magic
• Picassa 3 free from
• Microsoft Windows 7 Paint
• Microsoft Windows 7 Snipping Tool

Click here for resources relating to supporting use of image manipulation tools

• ComicLife –

Click here for resources supporting the use of Comic Life and other comic-creation tools in the primary classroom.
 Audio
• Audacity – free from 

Click here for resources supporting use of Audacity and similar tools.
• Compose World Play music sequencer

Click here for resources supporting the use of music sequencers in the primary classroom.
• Sound Recorder from Microsoft Windows accessories
• Finale Notepad 2008 free version from

Click here fore resources supporting the use of Finale Notepad and other music notation tools.
 Typing Tutors
• Kidtype – free from
• Typing Tutor – free from

Click here for resources supporting the use of typing tutors in the primary classroom.
 Video
• Microsoft Photo Story 3 – free from

Click here for resources supporting the use of Microsoft Photostory 3 in the primary classroom.
• Flash Slideshow Maker – free from
• Microsoft Windows Live Movie Maker

Click here fore resources supporting the use of Microsoft Windoes Live Movie Maker in the classroom.

• SAM animation software free demo version from

Click here for resources supporting the use of SAM Animation software and other animation tools for use in the primary classroom.
• Windows Media Player
• Real Player
• Quicktime
• DVD Player
• 2DIY flash animation creator from 2Simple

Click here for resources to support the use of 2DIY software in the primary classroom.

• Easi-View visualiser software and drivers

Click here for resources supporting the use of this visualiser and others in the primary classroom.

 Learning Resources
• MyWorld 3
• Google Earth free from

Click on this link for resources supporting the use of Google earth in the primary classroom.

2. Collecting and Analysing
• RM Information Magic database program

Click on this link for resources supporting the use of databases in the primary classroom
• Microsoft Excel 2007
• RM Starting Graph
• RM Number Magic spreadsheet program

Click here for resources supporting the use of Starting Graph, Number Magic and other spreadsheet toolsin the primary classroom.
• Windows 7 Calculator
• 2Simple Infant Video Toolkit data handling software from 2Simple

Click here for resources supporting the use of Infant Video Toolkit data handling software in the primary classroom.
• LogIT Explorer Data-logging device software –

Click here for resources to support the use of this data logger in the primary classroom

3. Communicating and Collaborating
• Internet Explorer

4. Controlling and Modelling
• Yenka Technology Basic Circuits (was Crocodile Clips 3 Elementary)free  from
• Crocodile ICT Control Free from 
• Stepmania dancemat software – free from

Click here for resources to support the use of Stepmania dancemat software in the primary classroom.
• Google SketchUp free from

Click here for resources supporting the use of Google Sketchup in the primary classroom
• Roamerworld
• MSW Logo from

Click herefore resources to support the use of Roamerworld, MSW Logo and other programming and robot tools for use in the primary classroom

• Teacher Tools
o iTalc ICT suite teacher management tool (free from
o SMART Notebook with SMART Response
o Windows DVD Maker
o Microsoft Research Auto Collage 2008

Click here for resources to support the use of Microsoft Research AutoCollage Creator
o SEEMIS Click + Goo
o Format Factory – for converting a variety of file types (image, audio and video)

Click here for resources to support the use of Format Factory and other file conversion tools.
o Windows Media Encoder for screen recording free from
o Hot Potatoes (interactive material creator) free from

Click here for resources to support the use of Hot Potatoes and other quiz-creation tools in the primary classroom.

Other functionality included for users:
1. CutePdf Writer for pdf creation as printer driver free from from
2. Acrobat Reader
3. Flash Player free from
4. Shockwave player 
5. Browsealoud internet webpage reader from

There are shortcut links on the desktop to report ICT issues to ICT Support engineers via the central Service desk, the council intranet, My Documents, Pupil Shared area and staff Shared area.
The school name appears on the desktop.

SAM Animation for creating stop-motion animations in the classroom

SAM Animation stop-motion-animation software (demo-version) from Tufts University is great to create stop-motion animations.   It has a free to download version and the SAM Animation site has online help-guides.

What is SAM Animation?

SAM Animation provides a tool for pupils to make stop-action movies using a USB camera or webcam.  SAM originally stood for “Stop-Action Movies.”

Features of SAM Animation:

Snap images from a live web-cam feed or import pictures

Add narration of import audio files

Onion-skinning for easy frame-to-frame alignment (means you can see where your previous image was)

Add text and shape overlays to each frame

Import movie files

Export your project into a variety of movie formats

Here’s a short video introduction to the free demo version of SAM Animation:

For a range of video tutorials on using SAM Animation software in the classroom click here.

The video below is an introduction to how SAM Animation can be used in the classroom to support the curriculum and give some ideas as to how it might be used.

For pupil-created examples of animations created using SAM Animation, grouped according to curricular area, click here. – for a very helpful guide to creating stop-motion animations in the primary classroom. This step by step guide can be applied to other software.

Click here for a useful blog posting from the Langwitches Blog with resources and tips for using storyboarding in stop-motion animations.

ACMI has produced a free online interactive storyboard tool which would be useful for pupils planning their animations.

eMints Stop Motion Animation Made Easy from the University of Missouri is a post which provides examples of how animation creation can be incorporated in learning in a variety of curricular areas.

The Teaching Ideas site has a great collection of resources to support film-making and animation production in the classroom, including lesson plans, posters, display material and more.

Just Picture My Words – Wordclouds in the Classroom

There are now a number of online tools which are free to use to create wordclouds (images made from words) from your own text. These wordcloud images create a visual representation of the chosen text, with the frequency of the words in the text determining the relative sizes of each word in the image.

Below you will find links to some of these online tools and examples of how they can be used in the classroom.

Wordle can be used to produce wordcloud pictures from text – either by typing it directly into the text box or by copying and pasting from a document.  As well as producing an image to accompany a text-based document (providing a visual summary of the contents of that document) Wordle has many classroom applications.

Ways to Use Word Clouds in the Classroom

48 Interesting ways and tips to use Wordle in the classroom:

Twenty Top Uses for Wordle: Jonathn Wylie’s Top 10 Ways to Use Wordle’s Word Clouds for Classroom Lessons Guess the Wordle (by Jennifer Wagner) provides many ideas for classroom use including a host of pre-created wordcloud images which can be used as lesson starters for pupils to guess the topic of the wordcloud image.

There is a group for users of Wordle and here is a link to a posting of 10 classroom ideas for using Wordle by Andy Fisher

108 Ways to Use Word Clouds in the Classroom is a collection of ideas collated and described by Michael Gorman , grouped in categories for different curricular areas (as well as some which will work across all areas).

Click here to see how Images using lyrics of songs have been made into films. Shambles site page of resources for using Wordle in the classroom.

From the blog by Tony Borash comes the description of how he used Wordle as a pre-topic evaluation of the understanding of a topic by a class, compared to that post-lessons.

Tools and Tips for Creating Word Clouds

Here is a trick shared by @joycevalenza for where you wish to keep words together as phrases or sentences in the Wordle imag: all you need to do is use the symbol ~ (called tilde) between the words you require to keep together.

Creating Silhouettes and design elements using Wordle and Powerpoint is a step-by-step guide by David Anderson to combining the graphic design tools within Powerpoint with the Worlde’s wordcloud creator in order to make an image in the shape of any object, including the silhouette of a person – which could be words used by a pupil writing about themselves, or a historical figure or character from a novel – all superimposed inside the outline of that person.

12 Valuable Wordle Tips – a post of helpful tips by Michael Gorman to getting more out of Wordle – including how to get Wordle to use capitals, to present a wordcount of frequnecy of each word, to keep words together, and much more. Word Mosaic from ImageChef is an alternative online tool to let you create shapes made from your words. These can be created from pre-set shapes from which you can choose, or from 1 or two letter shapes at a time (which can be combined at a later stage to form words). Another alternative to Wordle is Tagxedo wordcloud creator – For a helpful video introduction by Mark Brumley on how to use Tagxedo click this link:

For 101 Ways to use Tagxedo Wordcloud creator click on this link

Tagxedo lets users quickly create wordcloud images from their own uploaded text, or by entering a website or blog address, or by entering a search term, or by entering the username of online tools such as Twitter or Delicious.  The user then can choose the style, colour, font, and much more, including the shape. Users can choose from a set of provided shapes or can upload their own image to use (though this is listed as a premium feature).  Once a user has created their wordcloud they are given several choices for saving their image.

Jason Davies Wordcloud Creator – just enter text or a web address and the wordcloud creator will generate a wordcloud. You can specify the range of angles of the words, the fonts to be used, and whether one word per line or not. Output can be in SVG or image PNG format works in some but not all web browsers (so will not work in Internet Explorer versions prior to version 9). It also lets users add their own text or a website address to create a picture from the text.
Your Are Your Words is designed to let users upload a picture of a face and then their own text, and the tool then creates an image based on the text forming an image from that text in the shape of the uploaded photograph.  This could be used as a classroom tool for images of authors, poets and historical characters merged with their texts or quotations. An example shown here is an image of Robert Burns with the text of one of his most famous poems.
Worditout WordItOut is a word cloud generator that gives you control with many custom settings. Free to use and no sign up required. Customise settings. Create word clouds from sentences, whole documents, web addresses or tables. Decide how to filter that text, which words to display or remove, and tweak their importance with ease. Design your word cloud as you like, your layout, choose your own colours, fonts and sizes (and how to mix them), or let WordItOut find a random look for you. Either embed them on your own website or download your own copy as an image file. BIGsmall from NeoFormix is a tool where you can choose a word to form an image (and enter that in the BIG box), then enter other words which perhaps describe that word (and put them in the small words box). Then BIGsmall automatically generates an images where the words you entered in the samll words box form the letters you entered in the big word box.

Tagul - lets you create wordclouds in specific outline shapes. Signup is required to use this free service.,0 FestiSite Text-Layout tool lets you create quite unusual images from your own text.  Just copy and paste your text from another source (there is a maximum limit), then choose the layout you wish.  You can choose from Valentine (your text wraps around a heart); Waves (where your text forms the shape of layers of wavy lines); Spiral (where your text forms the shape of a spiral); Banner (where each letter of your text fills one page of your chosen paper size so that when printed it will join together to make a huge banner for classroom displays); and two more styles called Rebus and Maze.  Rebus creates a fun word puzzle graphic where the reader has to de-code the text – key letters are replaced with images and very simple mathematical statements (telling the reader to add or subtract a specified letter or sound). Maze creates a maze graphic as a puzzle for readers to follow. Each of the text layout choices generates a pdf of the size of paper you choose.  If you wish to create an image then simply use a facility like PrintScreen to copy the image on screen, paste into a paint package and crop, then save (or use the Snipping tool on your PC). Each of the images below use the same text “ICT for Learning and Teaching” so that you can see the effect using each of the tools. is a wordcloud creator aimed specifically at use by pimary school pupils.  The menus are visual (so, for example, the direction of text, whether vertical or horizontal or a mixture, can be chosen from a shape icon) .  Users can enter the text either by typing or by copying and pasting from another source. Any word which is not required can be removed simply by right-clicking on the word and selecting to remove it. There is a save icon for easy saving (though this may require the addition of .jpg to the filename). The wordclouds can include circles and rectangles if desired simply by including several dash characters or bullet points in the text.

TagCrowd -  create wordclouds where you can specify various features, exclude words, and choose whether or not to include the wordcount for each word on the resulting image

If you are using a mobile device then there are mobile apps like WordFoto which can use your own photographs and create text-based pictures from the image.

Videos of songs for singing along to in class has videos grouped according to age group for use in primary school.  Some of these help support teaching concepts (such as the photosynthesis song), or or reinforce vocabulary.

Create animated images online

To quickly and easily create animated images for use on webpage, blog, wiki or Glow group the following free online tools can be used.  Users upload images, specify the speed of animation and size of image, and then, once created, save the image for use elsewhere.

Make a Gif –

Create a Gif –

Fun Photobox Fun Photobox lets you add many effects to your photographs as well as create an animated gif image for uploading onto webpage or blog.

Online Music Resources for Primary School

Click here for a presentation about free online resources to support music teaching in the primary school.

Blabberize can be used to create a speaking image in Monty Python-esque animation style.  Pupils can choose an image of an animal’s head of their choice (from website with permission to use and royalty-free) .  They then use a microphone to add their voice with their their own message to the picture.

Click on the video below for a step-by-step guide to using Blabberize to create an animated “Blabber”

ChatterPix Kids is a post by Richard Byrne which describes how an app for a mobile tablet device can produce images to which learners can add their voice, and with the image mouth moving in tandem with the spoken word. 

Timeline Tools in Teaching and Learning

Timelines can be useful across the curriculum in classroom contexts – such to show the progression of events, whether as a sequential record of major developments in real historical events, or for pupils to create a fictional sequence in creative writing, or for documenting the steps involved in practical scientific enquiry.

Timeline Tools from the Cybraryman - Jerry Blumengarten’s collection of tools which can be used to create timelines, as well as links to how these can be used across the curriculum in classrooms at different ages and stages.

Timelines and Diaries for Writing Skills is a collection of tools collected and described by Ana Cristina which support the teaching of writing skills by using a range of prompt tools, or online diary recording tools, or timeline creators.

When Falkirk schools were being introduced to Glow, Scotland’s national intranet for schools, the timeline below was created using Dipity Timeline Creator to provide a picture of the sequence of rolling Glow out to all users (click on “Glow in Falkirk” below):

Glow in Falkirk