Friday, November 14, 2008

Want to Go to Antarctica With Me?

I found out today that my trip to China as part of a teacher exchange program was officially canceled due to severe budget issues that my school district is facing. I still would love to go to China someday and I still have wanderlust therefore I'm looking for other exciting opportunities to combine teaching and traveling. Less than eight hours after finding out that my trip to China was canceled I found, through The Adventure Blog, an exciting opportunity to travel to Antarctica.

The Fuchs Foundation is planning to take four geography and science teachers on an expedition to Antarctica. The Fuchs Foundation wants four adventurous teachers to come on the expedition and produce teaching materials to be published on the web. The trip is by no means free, the teachers selected are expected to raise a five figure sum to help fund the expedition. There are not too many details available on the Fuchs Foundation website, but I'm going to apply for the opportunity anyway.

I'm going to apply for the opportunity. Is there anyone else that thinks spending days on end at -40F sounds like fun and wants to apply?

The Friday Five - Week in Review

This week was an exciting week for Free Technology for Teachers. On Tuesday, Larry Ferlazzo nominated this blog for an Edublog Eddy Award. Then on Thursday, Free Technology for Teachers surpassed the 1000 subscriber mark for the first time. Thank you to everyone who has subscribed. Sharing the things I find on the web is fun for me and I am glad that so many people find the things I write useful in some way.

Every week I share the five most popular items of the week. This week there were three blog posts that were tied for the fifth position so this week there are seven items in the list.

1. 34 Ways to Use RSS
2. View Ancient Rome in Google Earth... A Chance to Win Stuff Too
3. My Nominations for the 2008 Edublog Awards
4. Five Great Grammar Resources
5. Create a National Parks Virtual Tour
5. The Tell Tale Heart Narrated by James Mason
5. Middle Spot - Visualize and Share Search Results

In celebration of passing 1000 subscribers I am listing some of the people that have helped grow Free Technology for Teachers. I'm always nervous making a list like this because I'm afraid of leaving someone out. If I forgot to add your name to the list, I sincerely apologize.
Larry Ferlazzo
Wicked Decent Learning (The most entertaining hour of ed tech talk on the web)
Mark Spahr
Skip Z
Jim Burke
Mindy Stevens
Tom Grissom
Harold Shaw, Jr.
Angela Maiers
Karen B -Teaching and Learning Spanish

If you're not subscribed to Free Technology for Teachers, please consider subscribing in your favorite RSS reader or via email. Subscribing just takes a minute yet it can save you time throughout the week. Subscribing in an RSS reader or via email is like having the newspaper delivered to your doorstep instead of going to the newsstand everyday.

Geo Greeting - A Fun Way to Introduce Google Maps

Geo Greeting is a simple and fun way to send a message to your favorite geography buff. Here's what it does, it spells out your greetings using satellite images of buildings found in the Google Maps satellite view. Simply type in a message and Geo Greeting finds the images and spells out your greeting. I have created a message that you can view here.

Applications for Education
Geo Greeting could be an easy way to introduce to new users the capabilities of the satellite views of Google Maps.
Another way to use Geo Greeting would be to have students create messages then explore and research the areas from which the buildings that created their message came.

Search Cube - Six Sided Visual Search

Search Cube is a search engine that displays results as a cube of screen shots that can be enlarged for a preview before visiting each website returned by your search query. The general concept is similar to that of Viewzi and Middle Spot. The difference between Search Cube and Viewzi or Middle Spot is in the format of display. Search Cube displays results as a cube that users can spin and rotate using the arrow keys on a keyboard.

Applications for Education
One of the challenges I have when students are doing web research is getting them to look beyond the first two or three pages of results. Search Cube could be one way to get students to look at search engine results that they might otherwise avoid if those results were displayed in a list. By spinning the cube students can quickly scan six pages of search results.

One Riot - Find What's Relevant Now

I am frequently asked about how I find so many resources for teachers to use in the classroom. Besides scanning through thousands of RSS feeds each week, one of the things I do is search through social bookmarking services for public bookmarks to see what people are interested in now. One Riot is a new service that I will now be using to find new and exciting content.

One Riot is a search engine that not only indexes websites, it ranks them by their current popularity. What this does is put the websites that currently popular at the top of the search results rather than the websites that are historically the most visited. In some cases the currently popular websites are also the historically visited websites. In other cases there is quite a disparity between what is currently popular and what is historically popular.

Applications for Education
One Riot
could be useful for students and teachers tracking the development of new stories to keep abreast of what people are saying about a topic.
If you have searched for a topic and found that the first links returned contain content that hasn't been updated in a while, One Riot could be a good alternative place to search. One Riot will put the more current and relevant links at the top of the search results.