June 24, 2014

9 Powerful (and FREE) Tools to Boost Summer Learning – From Lisa Johnson

This post first appeared on Edudemic.

9 Digital Treasures

Rapidly approaching the dog days of summer (give or take a few days or weeks), I felt a need to share a power packed suitcase of tools that could be used to archive your summer highlights and memories. Many educators never really go on vacation. While they may appear to be leisurely sipping daiquiris on the beach, let’s be realistic… their brains are constantly running, reflecting, and mentally archiving away ideas for the next school year. To meet both the recreational and curricular needs of educators, I have concocted a special blend of FREE web tools and apps, highlighting both extracurricular as well as instructional integrations for each. Hopefully, these tools will exceed your souvenir quota and prove to be true digital treasures for the 2014-2015 school year as well.

Power Packed Tools

iOS Only


Create 360 panoramic bubbles of the sights and sounds of places you visit that others can explore by clicking on a shared link.

  • Recreational: Share 360 views of your favorite destinations in a weekend photo challenge. (Examples)
  • Curricular: Compose a 360 bubble of a classroom remodel to share with parents and the community. (Example)

Photo Mapo

Transform photos into mapped masterpieces.


Create an interactive photo album.

Bill Atkinson PhotoCard

Send a digital postcard with text, photos, and even links.

  • Recreational: Everyone enjoys receiving postcards… whether it be by snail mail or electronic. While most postcard apps allow users to share only one photo, consider sharing additional travel photos with friends and family via a Photo Stream link which can easily be pasted into the text portion of a digital postcard.
  • Curricular: Descriptive Writing, Imaginative Stories, Reflective Writing, and Physics Challenges using digital postcards.

Strip Designer

Create a comic of your adventures.

Device Agnostic

These 4 tools were featured in a recent post, “5 Tools for the Device Agnostic Classroom”. While they clearly have sound curricular connections, they can also be extended to transform and archive your multimedia memories into a digital depot that can be shared with friends and family.


Highlight Each Day of a Trip with a Multimedia Guide.

Haiku Deck

Publish a Slideshow of Trip Pics and Anecdotes


Create a Multimedia Travelogue!


Augment a Photo, Map, or Collage!

As the true intent of these applications is to blend engaging extracurricular artifacts of summer with ideas for integrating these digital gems all year long, let the learning and sharing continue all summer long. Share your digital creations with your social and personal learning network and keep the learning rolling all summer long and beyond.

To learn more from Lisa Johnson, you can hear her at the July 28-30 EdTechTeacher Summit. She will also be teaching a three day iPad Classroom workshop in Austin, TX this August. Lisa Johnson is also the author of the TechChef4u blog and curates multiple ed tech and technology integration resources on her popular Pinterest boards.