Friday, June 6, 2008

For Your Weekend Listening Enjoyment

Here are four podcasts worth listening to over the weekend. Wicked Decent Learning has a special guest, Mark Spahr, in studio in their most recent podcast. This week the guys discussed team teaching. As always the podcast is an entertaining and thought provoking hour-long podcast.

Ron Kroetz's most recent podcast on Tech Teacher Live is a short episode about some of NASA's most recent efforts to get schools and students excited about space exploration.

On Tech Talk 4 Teachers, Tom Grissom, discusses developments in the low-cost computing market specifically the ASUS Eee PC. Tom also reviews a cool new service called Text 2 Mind Map that allows users to create mind maps from text messages displayed on manipulated on a SMART board.

Finally, a podcast that I've followed for months, but never shared here is WebbAlert. Webb Alert is a daily podcast that discusses developments in the Internet industry. There is something new every day and each episode, in five to six minutes, covers a wide range of Internet and technology developments.

A New Look from Google Earth Panoramio

Panoramio is photo uploading site connected to Google. For the last year or so Google Earth and Google Maps users have been able to see images from around plotted on Google Earth and Google Maps. This week Google announced a new feature of Panoramio, 3D views. With the new "Look Around" option visitors can get panoramic views of popular places geotagged on Google Earth and Google Maps.
This video from the Google Earth Blog demonstrates the new features.

Applications for Education
The new panoramic option makes Google Earth and Google Maps an even better resource for creating virtual tours. Students can create their own virtual tours or just explore the panoramic images that are now available.

National Anthems Mapped

I found this neat Social Studies resource on Kevin Jarrett's blog. All National Anthems is a map, built on Yahoo Maps, that makes it easy to find the national anthem of almost every country in the world. Along with each country's national anthem, users will find some basic almanac-style information. Each national anthem is played via a Youtube video.

Applications for Education
The fact that the anthems found on All National Anthems are played via Youtube limits the utility of the website for schools where Youtube is blocked. If you're in a school where Youtube is blocked then I recommend visiting the BBC News website where you can find country profiles that include a short audio recording of each country's national anthem. (My students love it when I play the national anthem of Mongolia).
All National Anthems is a good example of how maps can display information. If you're looking to try a similar project with your students try having them create a map of state or province anthems.

Making Open Office Better

Open Office and its Mac equivalent, Neo Office, are great examples of open source software that can save schools a lot of money. In some cases licensing fees can be the equivalent of a teacher's salary. Open Office and Neo Office can do the very same things that name brand proprietary word processing software do. In some cases students and teachers might notice some differences. To address these differences head over the the Open Office Extension Page.

On the Open Office Extension Page you will find numerous features to add to and enhance Open Office. If you've never looked at the Open Office Extension Page, I encourage you to explore it. You might be surprised at the many things Open Office can do that you may have never heard of or thought of before. Did you know that there is a flashcard extension for Open Office? The flashcard extension is easy to install and is a powerful tool for students to use as a study tool.

Applications for Education
The Open Office Extension Library is a great resource for schools that are using Open Office. The extensions can make your's and your students' experiences with Open Office even better. If you're trying to convince your school to switch to Open Office show them the extensions page and all of the things they can do for free with Open Office.