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Twine

2 min read

Twine is a framework for building digital stories along the lines of those old choose your own adventure books.  It has a lot of power and customizability.  You can incorporate HTML, CSS, and JavaScript as well as use the built in coding language in order to make it much more than just a word based story.  

On the SAMR Model Twine lies somewhere between Redefination and Modification.  The tool greatly modifies the writing experience.  Adding branching storylines, gamification elements, and RPG elements.  The tool would be great for secondary school age students to show their writing skills along side other skills such as: coding, art, and storytelling.  

Twine 2 is the newest iteration of the site, utilizing a browser based system which removes the need to download twine.  

Twine 2 Visual Representation of the story.

A playlist of 28 videos that goes deeper into the possibilities of Twine and teaches some of the more technical pieces very well.  

Twine 2 also has a Wiki that covers a lot of the functionality of the tool.  However as of right now I have found some parts of the wiki are still incomplete, so the videos might be a better place to look

Alternatively if you are having problems with the coding portions of the tool, there is a much better Coding Language Manual that covers the ins and outs of the language.

 

There are many examples of projects made in twine and other similar projects on the Interactive Fiction Database.  

One of my favorites from the database is this RPG like story.  It has a lot of game elements and basic RPG elements as well. 

 

Timeline

2 min read

Timeline JS is an open source tool which allows you to create visual timelines. It is pretty simple to use, and basically requires entering data into a Google spreadsheet which is then published online. You can also input pictures, videos, audio clips, Tweets, and Google maps to enhance the timeline. Material can be pulled from Wikipedia, YouTube, Google Maps, Twitter, Flickr, and other sources. It is a nice visual tool to enhance a PowerPoint lecture, or to serve as a piece in a student project. Below is a screen shot from a timeline I created using this program.

 

 

While it is easy to see how Timeline serves as a simple substitution, standing in for a written timeline on a chalkboard, there could concievably be more advanced purposes for it as well. Alluding to the SAMR model, students could augment their timeline with more rich media, including audio clips, videos, and maps. They could also modify it by creating a larger, multimedia presentation, integrating it into a slideshow with narration. Finally, students could redefine it by sharing their respective timelines with each other online, where they could take notes and leave comments. Timeline could be a useful tool for visual learners, as well as students who are afraid of speaking up in front of the class.

A brief introduction to using Timeline:

 

 

Here is a video  of a more detailed walk-through tutorial.

 

Here is a review  of Timeline JS:

 

Here is a link  with more detailed ways to use Timeline JS along with some other timeline programs:

 

                                                          

 

Doceri

2 min read

Doceri is an interactive whiteboard for the iPad. The tool can also be used for screencasting lessons. You have two choices for creation. When using your iPad alone you are doing what is called screencasting. You are creating something on the screen and then recording your voice over the top of it. This is a great way to go about teaching especially if you are using the flipped classroom model (only works with the iPad version), where lessons are recorded and watched by students at home. By no means though is this transforming our education. Using it this way you are at best substituting.

Where I believe that it starts to move up the SAMR model is when you use it with a computer. I have to be perfectly honest and upfront with you at this point though. The highest level that  I believe this tech allows us to reach is augmentation. The reason for this is that while it allows you to be mobile in your classroom while presenting, I see no higher level of transformation taking place. 

Essentially it does allow you to move freely around the classroom which is a huge positive. I also think it allows students to present in front of the class without being in front of the class. Howeverm, my students can do that now with their own non-technological whiteboard. 

As it should Doceri costs money, but it looks like it is just a one time charge of $30 for a desktop liscense. It comes with a 30 day free trial so that you can try it out prior to buying it. 

 

From the Doceri blog an example of Minecraft math.

Penn State article about Doceri being used in a cemistry class.

A review of the app can be found here.

 

This tech is similar to Reflector 2, which is an mac based desktop application that allows you to project your iPad screen onto your white board. Doceri is a little bit more fluid in my opinion, and allows for you to use your desktop as your primary base. It also allows you to do more with lesson development as seen above.