Tools for Educators

Virtual Training

Level 1

Logging On and Working with Accounts, Choosing a focus & Getting Started
  • What is this thing called “MOUSE”?
  • MOUSE structures
  • Creating an MS Coordinator Account on mousesquad.org
  • Log On Area
  • Public Squad page
  • Approving a Student Account
  • Creating school account activity
  • Approving student account activity
  • Using Curriculum Roadmaps & Project Lesson Plans
  • Creating student email accounts
  • Kbase

First Tuesday of month at 9-11 am.

First Thursday of month at 10am-12 pm.

Third Tuesday of month at 6pm-8pm

First Friday of month at 3pm-5pm

Mouse Question & Answer Session for new and experienced MS Coordinators to share best practices, ideas, successes and challenges, or just get inspired and re-energized!

Level 2

Exploring the MS Website, Choosing Project Types & Making Lesson Modifications
  • Your Squad Area
  • MOUSE Certifications
  • Badges and Wins
  • Squad Blogs/Directory Areas
  • General Roles and Responsibilities (all squads)
  • The Student Dashboard and Common Core
  • Reviewing Blog Responses
  • Tracking certifications
  • Project Types: Research, Design, Hands-on
  • Different Squad Focus Areas/Resources in Kbase
  • Expanding the Scope of the Lesson
  • Changing the Difficulty of the Lesson
  • Lesson Modification

Second Tuesday of month 9-11 am.

Second Thursday of month at 10am-12 pm.

Third Thursday of month at 6pm-8pm

Second Friday of month at 3pm-5pm

Fourth Tuesday of month from 7pm-8pm

Third Friday of month from 3pm-4pm


To reserve a class, email your request including date, time, level and school to tracy@mousesquadca.org. Your class is reserved when you receive an email invite with a link to the class and is confirmed when you reply to the invite. Classes not reserved at least 5 days in advance may be canceled at the discretion of the instructor.

You will need to be at a computer with internet access (audio and web-cam highly recommended but not required. You can dial in on a phone if you have no computer audio).

Please test your audio, mic and video settings 24 hours ahead of class. Call Webex support 1-866-863-3905 for assistance.

**Classes are subject to cancellation if no one has logged in within 15 minutes of the scheduled class start time.

***Individual, group and custom classes are also available upon request. Make your request to tracy@mousesquadca.org including date and time requested.

Web Resources

Free Tools for Projects

Audio

  • Audacity: Free, open source software for recording and editing sounds Platform: Mac, PC, Linux
  • Soundation: Allows anyone to create and remix sound tracks online. Soundation provides five tracks on which you can place music clips and sound effects to mix together. To create your original work you can select from Soundation’s gallery of 400 free sounds, upload your own sounds, or record new sounds using the instruments and keyboard built into Soundation. When you’ve created a product you like, you can download it or share it in Soundation’s gallery. Platform: Any browser
  • Vimeo Music Store: Offers more than 45,000 music tracks. Not all of the tracks are free or Creative Commons licensed, but roughly one-third or more of them are. You can search for music by genre, license type, price, and length. Platform: Any browser
  • Vocarro: Free service that allows users to create audio recordings without the need to install any software or create an account. Just provide a microphone and go! Platform: Any browser

Imaging

  • Awesome Screenshot: Great browser extension (works in Firefox, Chrome and Safari) for capturing, annotating, and sharing screenshots. Once you’ve installed Awesome Screenshot you activate it from your browser to capture a page or region on a page, draw boxes, draw lines, blur out information, and add text to your screenshot. Platform: Browser extension
  • Draw Island: Online tool for creating drawings and simple GIF animations. To use Draw Island just head to the site and select a drawing tool. You can draw free hand (or should I say free mouse?) or select pre-defined shapes to use in your images. When you’re done drawing just click the save button to download your drawing or animation. Platform: Any browser
  • GIMP: A freely distributed piece of software for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring Platform: Mac, PC, Linux
  • Inkscape: An Open Source vector graphics editor, with capabilities similar to Illustrator, CorelDraw, or Xara X, using the W3C standard Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) file format. Platform: Mac, PC, Linux
  • Paint.net: Free image and photo editing software. It has been compared to other digital photo editing software packages such as Adobe Photoshop, Corel Paint Shop, Microsoft Photo Editor, and The GIMP. Platform: PC
  • Pixlr: Pixlr offers advanced web-based image editing tools as well as image editing tools to use on Android phones and on iPhones. Pixlr also has Firefox and Chrome browser extensions for creating screen captures. Platform: Any browser
  • PosteRazor: The PosteRazor cuts a raster image into pieces which can afterwards be printed out and assembled to a poster. Platform: Mac, PC, Linux
  • Sumo Paint: Full featured photo editing / painting application, which works right in your favorite web browser. The only requirement is Flash Player (which usually comes preinstalled in any OS). Platform: Any browser
  • Tux Paint: Tux Paint is a free, award-winning drawing program for children ages 3 to 12. It combines an easy-to-use interface, fun sound effects, and an encouraging cartoon mascot who guides children as they use the program. Platform: Mac, PC, Linux

Productivity

  • Google Docs: Use for creating and sharing documents, spreadsheets, presentations Platform: Any browser
  • Kwik Surveys: Eleven different types of questions. Can post survey on a blog, website, or discussion forum or email survey and track who has completed it. Platform: Any browser
  • Neo Office: Full-featured set of office applications (including word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation programs) Platform: Mac
  • Open Office: The leading open-source office software suite for word processing,spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases and more. Platform: Mac, PC, Linux
  • Survey Monkey: Create online surveys Platform: Any browser
  • Sweet Search: Searches only web sites that their staff of research experts, librarians and teachers have evaluated and approved as high-quality content appropriate for young users. Only the best sites directed at elementary school students are included, and many of the results on the first page were created exclusively for kids. Platform: Any browser
  • SweetSearch4Me: Search engine for emerging learners Platform: Any browser
  • Sync.in: Sync.in provides a place for anyone to start a collaborative document without registering for the service. Once you’ve started your document it is assigned a unique URL that you can share with anyone with whom you want to collaborate. Sync.in gives each person his or her own text color so that you can keep track of who wrote what. If you want to go back in time to see how the document developed, you can do that with the time slider on Sync.in. Documents on Sync.in can be exported and downloaded to your local computer. Platform: Any browser
  • Tildee: A good site for creating, sharing, and locating tutorials for all kinds of technology-related things. Tildee provides a template and platform for sharing tutorials with others. Each tutorial you create is assigned a specific url that you can share with anyone. Your tutorials can include any combination of text, screen captures, and videos. Each tutorial that you create on Tildee is assigned a unique URL that you can share wherever you like. Platform: Any browser
  • Wix: Free service for creating and hosting websites with great templates Platform: Any browser
  • Zoho Writer: Easy online word processor Platform: Any browser

Programming

  • Alice: Innovative 3D programming environment that makes it easy to create an animation for telling a story, playing an interactive game, or a video to share on the web. Alice is a teaching tool for introductory computing. It uses 3D graphics and a drag-and-drop interface to facilitate a more engaging, less frustrating first programming experience. Platform: Mac, PC
  • Gamemaker: Make computer games without the need to write a single line of code. Using easy-to-learn, drag-and-drop actions, you can make professional-looking games in no time. Games can have backgrounds, animated graphics, music, and sound effects, and once you get more experienced there’s a built-in programming language that gives you full flexibility. Platform: PC
  • Gamestar Mechanic: Game-based digital learning platform designed to teach the guiding principles of game design and systems thinking in a highly engaging and creative environment. Fosters critical 21st century skills such as systems thinking, problem solving, creativity, collaboration, digital media literacies and a motivation for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) learning. Platform: Any browser
  • Scratch: A programming language that makes it easy to create your own interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art – and share your creations on the web. Platform: Mac, PC
  • Sploder: Create video games is as easy as drag and drop. You can select as many elements as like for each scene of your game. Use the Sploder game tester to try your game and see how it actually works. Sploder has a YouTube channel containing some tutorials to walk you through creating games. Platform: Any browser (need Flash plugin)

Utilities

  • Darik’s Boot and Nuke: Self-contained boot floppy that securely wipes the hard disks of most computers. DBAN is appropriate for bulk or emergency data destruction. Platform: PC, Linux, Mac PowerPC
  • Dictionary Toolbar: Look up words right from your browser toolbar. Platform: Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari
  • Netspeed Monitor: NetSpeed Monitor is a free program that you can use to monitor the network activity of your computer. Learn more about it in the episode of TekZilla Daily. Platform: Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista or Windows 7
  • Spybot – Search & Destroy: Detects and removes spyware, a relatively new kind of threat not yet covered by common anti-virus applications Platform: PC

Video and Animation

  • Animoto: Animoto automatically produces beautifully orchestrated, completely unique video pieces from your photos, video clips and music. Fast, free and shockingly easy.
  • GoAnimate: Make animated videos with ease
  • Jing: Screen capture program
  • Justin TV: The largest online community for people to broadcast, watch and interact around live video
  • Pixorial: Create a video in Pixorial by uploading pictures and raw video footage then sequence, insert transitions, text, add a soundtrack using the Pixorial gallery or upload your own audio files. Pixorial also makes it easy to add text to each picture or video that you upload. Apply for the free plan for educators which provides a free pro account for teachers in addition to the 7GB free accounts for students. Platform: Any browser
  • Pixton: Click-n-Drag Comics™ from fully posable characters to dynamic panels, props, and speech bubbles, every aspect of a comic can be controlled in an intuitive click-n-drag motion.
  • Powtoon: Create Common Craft style videos by dragging and dropping pre-drawn elements into each scene.
  • Screen-O-Matic: The original free and easy way to create a video recording of your screen (aka screencast) and upload it for free hosting – all from your browser with no install
  • Screenpresso: Screen capture software
  • Super Hero MOUSE Show: Create Your own comics
  • ToonDoo: Create comic strips and books in this easy, engaging, and collaborative environment
  • UStream: Live interactive video broadcast platform that enables anyone with a camera and an Internet connection to quickly and easily broadcast to a global audience of unlimited size
  • Voicethread: Amazing site that lets you import all sorts of media, record comments (both voice and text) and doodle (draw) over media, then share it
  • We Video: Collaborative online video creation tool. You can upload your own media clips or use stock media clips to produce your video. What makes We Video collaborative is that you can invite other people to create and edit with you. We Video offers four different user plans. The free plan allows you to upload your videos to YouTube and Vimeo but does not allow local downloads.
  • Wideo: An online animation tool to create Common Craft style videos. The platform allows you to choose (or upload) the images, fonts, animations, and videos you want to use in order to create your own online video and then share. Platform: Any browser

Web Design

  • School Rack: For teachers to build and host their own classroom websites. Unlike other free website solutions that are targeted toward a general audience, School Rack has features designed specifically for teachers. You can post assignments with full descriptions, expectations, and deadlines. This is an integrated feature, not an add-on page that you have to create yourself. School Rack offers students and parents free accounts to communicate with teachers. Once your students and parents have activated their accounts, you can directly message individuals or send messages to groups that you have created. Platform: Any browser
  • Tackk: Create simple webpages. Using Tackk you can create a page to announce an important event, to advertise an event, or to show off your best digital works. To create a Tackk page you do not need to register for an account, but unregistered Tackk pages expire after seven days. If you register for the service your Tackk pages stay up indefinitely. Tackk pages can accommodate videos, audio files, and maps. Platform: Any browser
  • Weebly: Weebly is perfect for creating classroom websites, student e-portfolios, and websites for assigned projects. The drag & drop website editor is simple to use, and appropriate for use with students of all ages. Weebly enables your students to express themselves creatively using a variety of multimedia features, all within a protected environment that you control. Platform: Any browser

Help Desk Resources

Appstronaut

Digital Citizenship

  • BrainPop Jr. Video: Internet Safety: How to be safe on the Internet
  • BrainPop Video: Digital Etiquette: Shares netiquette (net etiquitte) for the digital environment
  • BrainPop Video: Online Safety: How to be safe online
  • Internet Safety Game: Simple Internet safety quiz by KidsCom Jr. After reading through the list of Internet safety and etiquette rules students can take the quiz. The quiz is read to students by the animated characters Iggey and Rasper.
  • NetSmartzKids: Videos, activities and games that explain how to be safe online.
  • Taking the Mystery Out of Copyright: Great resource from the Library of Congress for introducing elementary school students to the regulations and rights associated with copyright.

Dr. Troubleshooter

Hardware Hero

Help Deskula

  • BrainPop Video: Ada Lovelace: All about the First Computer Programmer, Ada Lovelace and her work on the Babbage Engine. Includes quiz, Q & A, and activities.
  • Cisco’s Penny Packet Search: A game about careers in technology -Control Penny as she dodges hackers in space, hops through multiple networks and swims in a data stream full of electromagnetic eels. So help Penny carry the data packets to their destination and learn about careers in technology!

Network Ninja

Official Squad Member

Supportasaurus

  • Broken Computer: Northwestern University Sketch Comedy video on troubleshooting (2006)

Tech-Cessorista

Wizard of OS

  • Computer Software in Plain English:: A short explanation of how operating systems and software programs work together to make computers useful and customizable (by Common Craft)
  • OS Tutorials: Tutorials that simplify everything about the operating system and how to maintain it.
  • Stuff Happens: The Backup & Restore Guide: Guide to backing up and restoring your Windows computer – shows how to locate files, differentiate between system and personal files, and how to back up and restore
  • Stuxnet: Anatomy of a Virus: Infographic video dissecting the nature and ramifications of Stuxnet, the first weapon made entirely out of code
  • Windows 7 Tutorials: A series of tutorials on Windows 7 Operating System features