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Friday, May 22, 2015

Silk Offers Great Tools for Creating Data Visualizations

Silk is a free tool that I first tried a couple of years ago when it was primarily a digital portfolio and simple web page creation tool. Since then it has evolved to include some fantastic tools for creating and sharing data visualizations.

To create a visualization on Silk you can upload data in a spreadsheet, manually enter data, or use one of data sets that Silk provides in their gallery. Once you've uploaded data or selected it you can use it to create fourteen different visualizations. To create a different visualization of the same data set simply choose a different visualization style from the Silk menu. See my screenshot below for further explanation.
Click to view full size.

Silk visualizations can be made public or kept private. If you keep your visualizations private you can still share them directly to other Silk members by inviting them to your project. Public visualizations can be embedded into blog posts as I have done below.




H/T to The Next Web for the update on Silk.

Google Safety Center - Good Tips for Parents

Google's Safety Center offers parents good advice on keeping their kids safe online. Much of the information provided in the Safety Center is focused on things like privacy settings, search filters, and Android app management. The information on settings and filters is complemented with advice on talking to kids about responsible online behaviors. That advice comes from organizations including Common Sense Media, iKeep Safe, and OnGuard Online.

Applications for Education
As the school year winds-down consider adding some information about Google's Safety Center to a school blog post, library blog post, or newsletter. Even if parents have seen this information before, it's worth remembering as we head into summer when many students will be home alone with lots of time to be on the web.

Getting Started With Canva - A Quick Guide to Creating Visuals

Last week I shared Canva's thirty design tutorials and lesson plans that incorporate designing infographics, comics, and other visuals. Today, Canva released a new video tutorial that covers just the basics of creating designs and downloading them from Canva. If you're the type of person who prefers to just jump into a tool rather than work through a long series of tutorials, this video is for you.


Applications for Education
Canva has some fantastic teachers developing lesson plans for them. Some of the newer lesson plans on Canva's education page include comic book creation, a lesson on sugar in our diets, and a lesson on illustrating ideas with infographics.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Create a Physical Record of Your Blog With BlogBooker

The end of the school year is near for many of us. If your students have been blogging all year, you might want to have a physical copy of what they've written this year. Creating a physical copy of a classroom blog is a great way to show students just how much they wrote in the course of the school year. It's one thing to tell them they wrote 10,000 words it's another to show them how many pages that is when printed.

BlogBooker is a free service that allows you to turn your the contents of your Blogger blog into a PDF. Using BlogBooker is a fairly straight-forward process. BlogBooker walks you through each step of the process except for the very first step which might sound a little too "techy" for some Blogger users, but it's actually quite easy. The first step in using BlogBooker is to export the contents of your blog as an XML file. This is actually easy to do in Blogger. Step one is to open the "settings" menu of your Blogger blog. Step two is to select "export blog" under "basic" menu. Step three is to click "download." Don't worry, exporting the contents of your blog will not remove any content from your blog. After you've completed the export process, jump over to BlogBooker and follow their directions for completing the transition from XML file to PDF.

How Do Batteries Work? - A Nice TED-Ed Lesson

How Batteries Work is a new video lesson from TED-Ed. In this lesson students learn about the origins of batteries, how batteries work, the differences between disposable and rechargeable batteries, and why rechargeable batteries eventually cannot be recharged any more. Students watching the video will also see the difference between dry cell and wet cell batteries.


Applications for Education
To extend the lesson on batteries consider using one of the seven resources featured here including the Blobz Guide to Electric Circuits and Squishy Circuits.

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