1. Powtoon – Last year, I had my students create graphic novel-esque posters that told the story of 19th-century imperialism. This year, I want to continue to use the graphic novel style with one unit or another, but I will most likely be doing this digitally with Powtoon. Powtoon is currently in its BETA phase, but you can sign up to use the site with an email address. Using various templates you drop in and move around figures and images, add some text and music (mp3 only), and magic – students have created their own cartoon movie or presentation. It’s a nice alternative to iMovies, and it can be used in a variety of disciplines and grade levels, from mathematics to history. I did this presentation in less than 5 minutes just to test it out. I didn’t even tap the surface in terms of the images and choices available on the site nor did I add music, so don’t judge me too much. Still, it was very easy and intuitive. Students can save their work on the site, and share it easily when finished. The site is FREE.
2. The Lower East Side Tenement Museum – This is a fun, simple game for older elementary students and possibly middle school students. Students take on the role of an immigrant coming to America in 1916. They choose their character, travel across the Atlantic, go through Ellis Island, and begin a new life living in the tenements of the lower east side. The site is FREE.
3. Museum of Science + Technology in Chicago – This website allows teachers to search for hands-on activities by grade level and subject area. Obviously, the focus is on science and technology. I gave it a brief glance, and I imagine it’s best used with elementary and middle school students, although they include high school grade levels on the site.