Thursday, December 4, 2008

Voice Thread Updates

Voice Thread is a great service that I have written about in the past. VoiceThread, like Animoto, is one of my favorite companies because it provides a very high quality product at no cost to educators. (Both services charge a non-educators).

Today I found out that VoiceThread has added some more free features. Now VoiceThread users can export their VoiceThreads to iTunes. Duplication of the VoiceThreads you create is now possible. That is a handy feature if you want to reuse a VoiceThread or save a back-up copy. VoiceThread is now looking for great examples of VoiceThread being used in education to add to their digital library. They're not just looking for examples, but for background information on how those examples were created. VoiceThread will throw you $20 worth of archival exports for your work.

For those unfamiliar with VoiceThread, it provides a venue for creating a recorded conversation over the Internet about a visual topic. For example, if I could start a conversation about the history of baseball by inserting pictures of Babe Ruth and Ted Williams then recording myself talking about how great they were. Here is a VoiceThread explanation of VoiceThread.

Applications for Education
I've written about using VoiceThread in the classroom on a few occasions in the past you can see those postings here, here, or here. One of the uses or VoiceThread that I particularly like is using it to create math tutorials. Another use that I like is to create an oral history project in which students interview grandparents, parents, or teachers. The images help the conversation along as students ask their interviewee about each image.

Google Earth Browser Plug-in Now Available to Mac Users

Today Google announced that the Google Earth browser plug-in is now available for use in Mac OS X. You can get the plug-in from the Google code page. The new plug-in makes GIS laden websites like Earth Swoop more user friendly for Mac users. It also means that students now have more flexibility in the type of map content that they can create.

You can check out the introduction to the Google Earth browser plug-in in the video below and grab the plug-in here.

Tizmo - Build a Homepage of Your Favorite Websites

Tizmos is a new company offering customized homepages for your web browser. Using Tizmos you can select the websites that you frequently read and have thumbnails of those websites on your Tizmos homepage. In some ways this is like having visual references of an RSS feed from your favorite websites. See the screen capture below or visit my Tizmos page for an example.

Applications for Education
Having students create personalized Tizmos pages could be a good way for them to keep up with news from around the world. Allowing students to add a website of their own choosing along with your required websites might be one way to encourage students to check the news often.

Deadline Helps You Meet Deadlines

Deadline is a very simple, yet potentially powerful personal organizer. One feature that really stands out about Deadline is its very user friendly interface. To use Deadline simply sign up with an email account and start using it. When entering task reminders you can time in a day of the week or date in just about any format and Deadline will recognize what you mean. For example, when I entered a reminder for myself to post grades on December 7, Deadline recognized that as this Sunday. When I entered a reminder for myself to return essays on Friday, Deadline recognized that as December 5. Just like any good online personal planner, you can receive email and or mobile reminders of your Deadlines.

Applications for Education
Deadline could be a good personal planner for students as it offers just what students need, reminders, and nothing more. The recognition of multiple date input format is convenient for student as it eliminates the possible frustration with other services that may arise from formatting requirements.