Create PDF forms for free, online. Go paperless with documents you already have

I had this extension installed in Chrome for awhile, PDFescape, but today was the first time I ‘ve really had a chance to look at it. It allows you to type on PDFs or create forms out of PDFs.

Once created, these PDFs can be filled out by students online through the PDFescape website, Apple Preview, or with the Adobe Acrobat Reader app on iOS devices (iPod touch/iPhone/iPad) or Android devices.


Websites to create newsletters, brochures, albums, and cards

From the NCS-Tech blog: Meet your “Maker” – Newsletters, Brochures, Albums and Postcards

Thanks to a tip from my friend and colleague Nancy Sharoff, I am pleased to tell you about these VERY cool and FREE of course services offering fast and easy creation of professional looking newsletters, brochures, photo albums and postcards Who needs Microsoft Publisher??

Google for Educators

Google, at Google For Educators, is now offering educational resources for using Google products in the classroom:

Google recognizes the central role that teachers play in breaking down the barriers between people and information, and we support educators who work each day to empower their students and expand the frontiers of human knowledge. This website is one of the ways we’re working to bolster that support and explore how Google and educators can work together.As a start, we’re inviting you to share your best ideas for using technology to innovate in the classroom. To your left, you’ll find a teacher’s guide to 12 Google products, including basic information about each tool, examples of how educators are using them, and lesson ideas. You’ll also find lesson plans and videos from our partners at Discovery Education focusing on two of our most popular teaching tools: Google Earth and Google SketchUp.

When I first read it I was expecting a more general view of Internet resources that may be used in the classroom, but limiting it to Google products still gives teachers and students some very cool software they can use. Google Earth is talked about a lot, but I think a lot of people are missing out learning opportunities that can take place with Google SketchUp.

Students and communication

The ‘millennials’ usher in a new era brings up some interesting points in the education of the next generation.

For their grandparents, the bicycle was a symbol of childhood independence.

Today, for many kids and young adults, it is the Internet. “It consumes my life,” said Andrea Thomas, a senior at Miami University. “If I’m not texting my friends over the cell phone, I have my laptop with me and I’m IM’ing them. Or I’m doing research on Google. Honestly, the only reason any one of my college friends use the library is for group meetings.”

Does this just enhance the shorter attention span, or is it the root of a deeper problem? Teachers will need to learn to adapt to this new type of student, and bring in lesson plans that not only strive to be engaging, but also use different types of media. The teacher who complains about how bad their classroom behaves is the teacher that only uses the textbook and worksheets.

Create a graph

Example GraphNeed a way to easily create a graph? The National Center for Education Statistics, a division of the U.S. Department of Education has put together an easy to use tool to create bar, line, area, pie, and XY graphs. Users can email the graph to themselves, which will also give a link to save the graph for 30 days. – Connecting Wikipedia articles with their locations allows users to connect Wikipedia entries with their geographical location. What a great way to see what landmarks/historical entries are located near your home town. It allows anyone one to place entries on the map, so if your area is blank you can search Wikipedia for local landmarks and place them on the map yourself. And if the local landmarks are not in Wikipedia, it would be a great start for your students to research, edit, and then publish their entry on the landmark in Wikipedia.

Cool search site

We’ve all come to love and rely on Google, but I was alerted to a new site today, Clusty. This search engine takes your search query, and “clusters” the results into different search topics. For example, I did a search on “volcano”, and not only did it give me a list of websites for volcanoes, it gave me some categories to help me refine my search. These categories included:
⇨Hawaii (36)
⇨Volcano Observatory (20)
⇨Volcano information (16)
⇨Geological, Survey (12)
⇨Earth (16)
⇨Movie, Review (16)
⇨Kids (15)
⇨Flows (11)
⇨Mount St. Helens (9)
⇨Safety, Images

I could then click on any of those to see URLs in that category. Try it out at