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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Free Technology For Teachers: Google Ocean and Google Earth for Marine Visualizations

CNET had a story last night about Google's development of a yet to be released product tentatively called Google Ocean. Today, Mashable and Webware ran articles based on the CNET article. This evening I set out to do a little more digging about the idea for Google Ocean. I didn't get very far because I found justmagic.com's list of uses for using Google Earth to examine marine data.

Just Magic.com has a huge list of kml and kmz files (the ones Google Earth uses) mapping all types of marine features. The list includes maps of shipwrecks, ocean currents, submarine lines, shipping lines, beach erosion overlays, fish spawning runs, and much more.

Applications for Education
The collection maps and overlays of marine related topics on Just Magic.com is comprehensive enough that it includes resources that can be used in marine science, meteorology, and history. The marine science and meteorology resources are easy to find. The history resources are buried toward the bottom of the list but they're worth searching for if you're a history teacher. The history resources include maps of naval battles and shipwrecks.

Creating Google Earth files is a great activity for high school students. Students can create tours of significant sites or movements of marine life. JustMagic.com provides a great model for students to follow.

Technology Teacher Live Podcast Has Great Virtual Field Trips

I've been Twittering about virtual field trips for the last two days and I posted a couple of virtual field resources yesterday on this blog. Today, I checked out Ron Kroetz's Tech Teacher Live podcast to see what he has been up to. Sure enough Ron's found a couple of great virtual field trip resources. Visit Ron's website techteacherlive.com to listen to his podcast or listen by using the widget below. If you have friends and or colleagues looking for some great educational podcasts be sure to tell them about Tech Teacher Live and Wicked Decent Learning, neither one will disappoint.

Free Technology For Teachers: Number Nut - Games and Word Problems for Math

NumberNut.com is a part of the Rader's family of educational games and activities that I learned about via Twitter (follow me here). Number Nut provides some great games with which students can practice and develop their math skills. Unlike many other Math game websites, Number Nut includes some word problems that force students to problem solve rather than just recall information from rote memorization.

Applications for Education
Number Nut's categorization makes it easy for teachers to differentiate and select the games or activities most appropriate for each student. The games and activities on Number Nut range from very simple things like recognizing shapes and colors to more complex concepts like calculating ratios. The math glossary available on Number Nut is helpful for students unfamiliar with a term or concept to problem solve on their own.

Free Technology For Teachers: Xtimeline Updates

Xtimeline, one of the best timeline creation tools I've used, has just added some great new features. Some the new features include faster upload times, improved embedding capabilities, and new wiki style public editing options. The new feature that I like best is option of displaying your timeline in a traditional linear view or in a flip card view. To read more about Xtimeline and read my original ideas for using Xtimeline in the classroom click here.

Some of the highlights of Xtimeline are the ability to create timelines collaboratively. Xtimelines can include multiple types of media. The user interface on Xtimline is very intuitive and easy to learn.

Zentation - Combine Video and Slideshows

Zentation is a new website with a new take on video and slide show presentation. Zentation allows users to upload slide shows and videos and sync them together. With Zentation you can share a video of yourself presenting and include an accompanying slide show. The slide shows and videos uploaded to Zentation can easily be shared via email or embedding.

Below is an example of how Zentation works.


Applications for Education
Zentation presentations would be a nice addition to an online classroom environment. A video explaining the key points of a slide show increase the value of the slide show.
Another way Zentation could be used in education is to have students create slide shows explaining the background knowledge for a video or movie. For example, my students watched The Ghosts of Rwanda a few months ago then I had groups of students investigate and explain various issues within the documentary. My students could have used Zentation to present a part of the documentary alongside of their Power Point presentations.

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