Much has been written about how Internet has evolved from a storehouse of information into a place to do work. With no special training, using only a web browser, in just a few minutes, a professor can create a fake newspaper clipping for a history class, design a poster to publicize a student event, take a poll of students using cell phones, or create a visual representation of the most commonly used words in a student’s assignment for a writing class. As a bonus, professors can do these things for free!
To create a fake newspaper clipping for a history class, browse to http://www.fodey.com/generators/newspaper/snippet.asp and enter the name of the newspaper, date, headline, and story. About 75 words or less works well. Click the GENERATE button, then right-click on the “download your image” link to save to your computer. You can print the image, insert it into another document, or email it.
To design a poster, browse to http://rome.adobe.com/ and click LAUNCH WEB APP. Move your mouse pointer over the CREATE NEW icon, then choose EDUCATION…FLYERS and POSTERS, click the one you like, then click CHOOSE. Edit the text, change and insert graphics. Click FILE, then SAVE AS… to save to your computer. You can print the image, insert it into another document, or email it.
To take a poll of students using their cell phones, browse to http://www.polleverywhere.com/ and click CREATE YOUR FIRST POLL. Click a second time, type in the question and possible answers, then click CREATE. Have your students text their responses. The screen will show the results in real time.
To create a visual representation of the most commonly used words in a document, browse to http://www.wordle.net/ and click on the link “Create your own.” Type or paste in your text, then click GO. If you don’t like the first design, click RANDOMIZE until you find a design you like.
Finally, to create a quick movie to illustrate a point, browse to www.xtranormal.com and sign up for a free account. After establishing a new account and signing in, click CREATE, choose and click on the style you like, click to choose the number of actors in your movie, choose the location, script, and actions, then click PUBLISH. You can control the scenes, camera angles, and actions, or simply type in the script and let the website do it for you.