Here's a place to find creative, educational ways for your children and students to use the computer and lots of online tools. They'll have fun and be learning about computers at the same time. Adults will have fun too!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Don't read it - Hear it!

Click on the play button to check out Voki.

Voki is a marvelous site for people ages 7 and up to create a character and bring it to life by making it talk.  I really appreciate all the options Voki gives you.  First you pick a character from anime to animals to historical figures, holiday characters and current political figures. Then you go on to pick from plenty of options for clothing, bling and backgrounds.  You can even "tweak" the skin color, hair, mouth and eyes.  There are so many educational applications for Voki and at home it's a great way to be creative.  For example, would grandma like to hear her grand daughter's voice saying thank you for the Christmas presents?  In the Voki above I typed the script but there is a record option also.

Voki has a classroom option and they have just simplified their login system for students making it easier to use.  At home or at school, Voki is a clever way to explore and create.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Here's a fun, free website great for anyone but especially accessible to creative little people just getting used to a computer.  It's Silk and it uses the mouse to create moving strands of color that are "blowing in the wind."  What a fun way for pre-schoolers to start using a mouse  I haven't tried it on the iPad yet but I bet that's fun too.  And the movement of the strands of "silk" is pretty mesmerizing to watch.

The pictures are more about color and movement than about creating a picture OF something.  There are very few controls and you don't need any of them to make the pictures work.  Here are the few instructions they give you.
  • Hold shift and move your mouse to control the wind.
  • Press S to instantly stop your silk.
  • Press X to start a new silk.
So sally forth and create a silk.  Let me know what you think of it.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Recently while working with first graders on a project about space I came across NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day site and I'm really enjoying checking in on it.  Check out this picture of a crater on the moon.
Image Credit:  NASA
Not only is it really neat picture but I love the single paragraph explanations for the pictures.  I can't claim to understand everything the paragraphs are explaining but for such a technical subject I think they do a good job of putting it in plain language.

So if you or your child loves space and space studies this is a site to bookmark and check back on often.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Star Wars Snow Flakes

In honor of the 3D episode of Phantom Menace this weekend AND because we have no snow on the ground in the northeastern United States maybe you'd like to make some Star Wars snowflakes!  Check out the blog Matters of Grey where they have designed and made available templates for Star Wars snowflakes like this awesome Admiral Ackbar. ("It's a trap!")

Photo Credit: Matters of Grey 2/10/12.
The cutting can be tricky but it's so worth it!