Monday, July 18, 2011

British Invasion 2.0

The future looks bright, by rogiro
Recently, I've come across a few fantastic resources from the UK that deserve mentioning.  They're newer toys on the market and definitely note- and play-worthy.

Spotify: This one's taken the geek world by storm.  Search for your fave music.  Play your fave music.  Share your fave music.  Crowd-source playlists and generally have a whole lot of fun.  Spotify is only recently in the United States (but Europe loves it!), and at the date of this post, still appears to have a waiting list for invites.  Premium features include the ability to listen to your jams offline or send them to your mobile device.  The rest is free ... and you know you're ready to try the newest music web 2.0 out there.

Primary Wall: Think sticky notes 2.0 and absolutely the perfect collaborative tool for elementary students.  Primary Wall is a space that allows you to create walls and post sticky notes.  Make a private wall just for you, a password-protected wall for you and your students, or a public wall for all to comment.  While a login is needed to create a wall, absolutely anyone with the link (and a password if necessary) can post on a wall.  Primary Wall works in a similar fashion as Wallwisher, another great sticky notes 2.0 worth looking into.

Adding a new wall only takes seconds and your very own Primary Wall domain adds a nice touch.  My favorite feature is the Sort button, which sorts out the notes into an easy-to-read format.  The biggest drawback (traditionally) on sticky note 2.0 sites is the click-and-stick feature ... ultimately everyone always clicks the center.  The result is a jumbled up pile of notes for one to sort through ... exceptionally exasperating when all you have is a laptop touch pad or worse! those dumb little scrolling buttons (Blackberry folks know what I'm talking about).  The Sort feature is sure to appeal to a wide array of students (and teachers) who need text organized in a linear fashion.

So, what would you use Primary Wall for in your classroom?  I'd love to know.

Searchypants: Finally a kid-friendly safe search engine I actually like.  Powered by Google and built by the ingenious Primary Technology (yup the incredible company responsible for Primary Wall), Searchypants allows kids to search for websites, images, videos, and games!  Large text makes the search bar and links easy for little hands to select and Google's voice search option makes Searchypants accessible to all learners.

Yes, it gets better.  Besides again being free, Searchypants will build you a custom safe search site for your school, home, or classroom.  Yes, free.  Again, Primary Technology will gladly give you your own customized domain and options to add additional links, messages, and images to the search engine, all on the canvas of some beautiful artwork.  Want to start using it now?  Send kids here and they get the same great tools, but the work's been done for you.

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