Literacy ShopTalk

"Prepare self-directed learners to think critically about the messages received and created by media.”


Written By: Paula Neidlinger


Engage students in blended learning through reading and writing media formats, which enable students to create and share their ideas and insights.

 *  Thinglink (
Overview:  Every image tells a story.  Begin by uploading an image.  Next, add links to every site imaginable inside a ThingLink image.  This can include websites, videos, music, poetry … endless possibilities.
Finally, comment, embed, and share. 
My first Thinglink that I used as a demo for students:  I linked video, poetry, websites, music, and pictures into the image.  As you place your cursor over the images, icons will appear.  These icons are direct links to my information.  A viewer can also touch the page, similar to a like in Facebook.


Piktochart (
Overview:  Piktochart is among the first applications to autonomize the creation of infographics. Why should students sit and read passively, when they can actively interact with information? The ultimate key is simplicity. All you need is to drag, drop and you’re finished. You can create stunning
visuals with just a few clicks. Piktochart allows you to share the
created infographics via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+ with just a click away.  Additionally, there is a presentation mode when sharing your product live.

Meet Haiku Deck from Haiku Deck on Vimeo.

Overview:  HaikuDeck makes telling your story simple, beautiful, and fun.  Start with a few ideas and add images.  Select images from millions of free, high-quality photos plus premium imagery from Getty Images. You can also use your own images or easily create charts and graphs.  Next, choose your fonts, colors, and style.  You’re ready to publish to social media, websites, blogs, etc.  HaikuDecks can be embedded into your website or presentation.  Check out my first HaikuDeck.


Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app

*  Smore  (  At Smore’s heart is the flyer editor. The editor creates beautiful, compelling and effective flyers for many purposes easily and for free.  Smore has templates to help you get started. Once you click on “New Flyer” you will see a wizard, which helps you start making flyers, newsletters, and infographics right away. Pick one of the templates or just start from a blank flyer.  All finished infographics can be shared with social media, linked, or embedded into websites and blogs.  Check out my first Smore, which was used to post LA goals for the school.  

Overview:   This site creates animated presentations. 
Their vision is to effect the way people communicate in a profound way: “If a picture speaks a thousand words, an animation conveys an idea.”  Powtoon has defined their mission as: PowToon will create the world’s most minimalist, user friendly and intuitive presentation software that allows someone with no technical or design skills to create engaging professional “look and feel” animated presentations. Our aim is to establish a new presentation category called “powtoon” – a combination
of presentation and animated cartoon – as the industry standard for evolved (animated) presentations.” 
Powtoon’s styles answer the questions, who? what? and why?  Check out my Powtoon-

*  emaze Amazing Presentations… AS EASY AS 1,2,3

Emaze is the next generation of online presentation software. Select professionally designed free presentation templates and create an amazing visual product for your audience. Emaze features a HTML5 presentation maker that will create the slideshows, video presentations and even 3D presentations.

*  pick a template
*  create a presentation
*  emaze everyone
*  Blogger/ ePortfolios/BloggingBlogger*  Blogger    (— Google’s Blogger is an easy blog platform, as you can literally be registered and blogging in minutes. Blogger is so easy to use, that any teacher new to the digital classroom can be registered for Blogger and blogging in minutes. Blogger is a Hosted Blog: A hosted blog is one whose software is maintained by a company for its users. The advantage of using a hosted service is that you don’t have to worry about installing software, software updates, server maintenance, or bandwidth capacity. Blogger is Google’s free blogging service. It takes just a minute to start a blog through Blogger. Blogger offers a wide selection of colorful themes and templates to choose from. Customizing the layout of your blog is as easy as dragging and dropping elements into place. You can add additional authors to your blogs. If you have a Gmail account you already have a Blogger account. Just sign into your Gmail account and in the top menu select Blogger from the “more” drop-down menu.My students use Blogger as the platform for their ePortfolios/blogs.  Students blog on a weekly basis and update their ePortfolio in all classes.  My student websites are linked through ThingLink on our class website.   Student ePortfolios

 KidblogKidblog ( — Kidblog is a robust student blogging site. Create a class and individual blogs for every student. Then students have their own web space to journal, respond to writing prompts or just express themselves. Commenting on each others’ blogs is half the value of student blogging! Teachers have lots of control of blog privacy (public or private blogs) and comment privacy (public/private comments and previewing incoming comments before they’re seen by students).


Weebly ( — Weebly is a website creation tool. It creates a site for you for free (using its own URLs — and gives you a powerful drag-and-drop user interface. Pages can be quickly created and updated with a variety of content, including embedded content from other sites, images, videos, maps, contact forms and more. If you like what you’ve created and want to buy a .com domain for it, Weebly helps you. It’s simple enough to create a class website and elegant enough to make a serious professional-looking site.


 ePortfolio Classroom Journey

Digital Portfolio in the simplest terms…’s never too early to begin the journey!!! (watch this video)


What is an ePortfolio?

An ePortfolio is an organized, purposeful collection of work that displays knowledge, understanding, skills, accomplishments, interests, and achievements over a specified time.  An electronic portfolio uses digital technologies, allowing you to collect and organize portfolio artifacts in many media types- (audio, video, graphics, text, etc….)

What is the purpose of an ePortfolio?

Digital portfolios offer you the opportunity to showcase skills and kinds of intelligence that often are not measured on standardized tests.  Additionally, it provides an opportunity to demonstrate your technology skills, such as how to import pictures, re-size images, take screen shots, use a digital camera, or produce screen-casts.

What are the objectives? 

*  Interactivity & Collaborationcollecting, selecting, reflecting, directing/goals, and presenting
*  Social Networking– connecting (“friending”), sharing (posting/linking/tagging), listening (reading), and responding (commenting).
*  Technologyarchiving, linking/thinking, digital storytelling, collaborating, and publishing.   

What will you learn……….

from the PROCESS:

YOU will discover a valuable exercise in self assessment through the reflection process.
YOUR self esteem and self-confidence will be enhanced as YOU take control of YOUR learning.
YOU may develop YOUR own goals for YOUR learning.
YOU will receive more recognition for individual learning abilities and preferences.
YOU will learn and begin to practice a process that will be used in life-long and life-wide learning pursuits.

from the PRODUCT:

YOU will have a tool for personal development.
YOU will have a personal learning record.
YOU will have a tool for feedback from teachers and peers; feedback in the form of comments, as opposed to marks.
YOU will have a concrete way of showcasing strengths to teachers or future employers.
YOU will have an extremely portable tool to use no matter where YOU are in the world.

What should your ePortfolio say about you?
*Does your e-portfolio have voice?
*Incorporate audio and video into your portfolio, both as rich artifacts and facilitate reflection through digital storytelling.

Does your portfolio represent-

a.  individual identity?
b.  include reflection?
c.  provide an opportunity to make meaning? ……….ePortfolios are essential for 21st Century Literacy, because they give you the opportunity to build a positive digital identity and establish your own online, unique self.

Creating a Blog:  Students begin to learn from each other as they make connections, ask questions, and draw conclusions while blogging and reflecting.  As students communicate in the blog, they question and challenge each others’ thinking, leading to deeper and more meaningful interaction, and begin reflecting on their own learning.

Blog as Portfolio-  

*  Emphasis on literacy
*  The opportunity to write
*  Promote continuous learning and discussion
*  Learning center for communication
*  Promote and model digital citizenship 
** It is not a place to post homework

Jigsaw Planet



Create your own music score- This tool has numerous tutorials to help you get started.  It’s a very simple program to use.



There are several tools that can be used for audio podcasts- however, it’s an art-form that is many times left out of the classroom.  Consider using the following tools:

*  QuickTime

*  GarageBand





Croak It


How to Integrate Podcasts in the Classroom

Here are some specific ideas for integrating audio recording:

  • Students interview relatives about their life histories, and then combine the audio interview with family photos in a video project.
  • Students write a radio drama based on an historical event and record their show (complete with commercials).
  • Students learn about a different country by interviewing a recent traveler.  They record the interview and then create a digital travel album.
  • Students create a faux advertising campaign to convince immigrants to settle the new American colonies.
  • Students use audio recording to interview sources for articles for a class newspaper.
  • Students write and record short stories and add music and sound effects.
  • Teacher records a tutorial that students listen to on their own
  • Present student writing through a class radio drama or a poetry slam.
  • Teacher records and broadcasts group discussions.
  • Teachers might record students reading a story as a fluency assessment, or as a foreign language pronunciation activity, or as a check for understanding
  • Students can record themselves summarizing a novel or passage

Example Lesson:  This year, I embarked on a new project- a student-led school radio station.  The station is one element of a new class – Interactive Media.  I am using the station in my Humanities classroom as well.  Read more about students’ historical podcasts at Rebellion Road.

This podcast and more, can be heard on Storm Radio– a 24/7 Internet-based radio station.  You can also download the TuneIn app on your phone.  This station is 100 percent student run.  I used Backbone Radio for the On-Air Studio and On-Air Display components.  Read more about our school radio station- Storm Radio-“Ride the Waves.”

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