So for this lab, I visited Karl Gude's Wiki: http://freevisualtools.wikispaces.com/ and spent some time interacting with different visualization tools. At first it was overwhelming, with all the different categories to click on visit. As I started thinking about some things I want to improve on in my classroom, it became easier to narrow down what I might actually use.
One tool I already use and love is Diigo. After seeing it on the list I realized it would be equally beneficial for my students. We do a big research project in Senior English B and having a Diigo would be a great way for students to keep track of their resources. They wouldn't have to copy them down or email them to themselves, they could bookmark it and log-in from anywhere to work on their project. I really think some of my students would love this tool.
I also checked out Bubbl which is allows students to make a bubble chart. I liked it for something like brainstorming, where students could take an idea and break it down into smaller parts. It would also work well for something like a character map where students could make a family tree or just explore characteristics of a character.
I also checked out Animoto, which is a place where students can turn photos and music into videos. I often have students use MovieMaker to create videos based on their "Where I am From" poems. When they use MovieMaker they have to work from one computer or transfer their work around. If they use Animoto, they can work from anywhere and access the project online.
All of the tools I played around with would make a promising addition to my students. I finally decided on Glogster because I could make an interactive assignment for my students and also give them an example so they could later create their own Glogster. One of the novels we read in Senior English B is In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. The novel is long and is based on a true story, so it's often challenging to find assignments that students find engaging. I decided for this exact reason a Glogster would be perfect. It was fairly easy to use and put together. It took me awhile to get a hang of the features, but once I did it was fun to put together.
In Cold Blood Glogster