Monday, June 22, 2009

Five Ways to Visually Explore Wikipedia

When used properly, Wikipedia can be a good place for students to start researching and exploring a topic. But, not every student enjoys reading and clicking on links embedded in an article. Fortunately, there are some good tools that those students can use to visually explore Wikipedia's contents. Here are five ways that students can visually explore Wikipedia.

Nibipedia is the result of matching Wikipedia entries to YouTube videos. Here is how it works, search for a video and while you're watching that video you will see links to related Wikipedia content as well as more related videos.

Navify is a mash-up of Wikipedia, Flickr, and YouTube. Like Nibipedia, Navify attempts to match videos and images to Wikipedia articles. To use Navify, simply enter a search term just as you would on Wikipedia. The results of your search will be shown in a three tab display of Wikipedia article, related images, and related videos.

Fotopedia is a service that matches photos to Wikipedia articles. The matching aspect is similar to that of Navify. What makes Fotopedia different is all of the images are contributed by the community of users and matched to articles by users of Fotopedia. To contribute to Fotopedia you have to register, but to just browse the images and articles doesn't require registration.

EyePlorer is a reference search engine that takes your original search term then displays related terms in a circle around your original search term. Clicking on each related term reveals more information from Wikipedia about that term. If the information is something that you want to save for later use, you can drag the information onto your EyePlorer notebook.

Placeopedia is a website that provides additional context for Wikipedia entries through Google Maps. Placeopedia connects Wikipedia articles with their locations. Click on any placemark on Placeopedia's map and you will be linked to a Wikipedia article about that place.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Wikimapia - Wikipedia on a Map
Concharto - Atlas Meets Wiki
Googlepedia - Google and Wikipedia Side by Side
Simple English Wikipedia

Where I'm Presenting...

I get asked about once a week if I do any presentations and or where am I presenting. At the moment I have two workshop sessions scheduled for two conferences this summer and fall. In July I will be conducting a workshop at the MLTI Summer Institute in Castine, Maine. In October I will be conducting a workshop at the ACTEM Conference.

My MLTI workshop will be about tools for helping students demonstrate through video their knowledge of Social Studies and the Arts. The workshop will focus on using tools like Animoto, PhotoPeach, and Remix America. The session will also explore how to locate images in the Public Domain and images with a Creative Commons license. Registration is open now.

My ACTEM workshop is titled 24/7 Learning. The session will focus on ways to make your classroom blog or website a place that students and parents will want to visit instead of a place they have to visit. At the time of this writing, registration is not open, but should be soon.

I'm always open to speaking invitations from other conferences and from schools. If you're interested in having me conduct a workshop for your staff, please contact me via email at richardbyrne (at)

As this post goes live, I will be away from an Internet connection until Wednesday. I will begin replying to all emails on June 25.

Zoho Challenge - Conduct Tests Online

I'm away on my annual "school's out for summer" fishing trip. A few of the blog posts this week will take a look back at some resources that I wrote about in the early days of this blog before it had much of a following. I'll be back online on Wednesday evening at which time I'll be moderating comments.

Zoho provides a great, free, suite of online collaboration services including document creation, presenation creation, spreadsheets, and conferencing. Zoho Challenge allows users to create customized tests for students to take online. Zoho Challenge tests can be written with multiple choice or open-ended questions or a combination of both. Tests created with Zoho Challenge can have a time limit imposed or be given without a time limit. Each test can be individually assigned to test takers. Finally, when a test is created with Zoho Challenge the test creator can decide whether or not the test taker can see the results.

Applications for Education
Zoho Challenge is a great tool for teachers. The flexibility to include multiple choice and open-ended questions in the same test is a nice advantage over many online testing tools. Teachers can give tests online to their students through Zoho Challenge. The tests could be given in a supervised setting for tests that count toward a semester grade. Or the students can take the tests on their own as a practice activity. The time limit feature is a good way to impose a strict time limit for tests like an end of the year exam or in cases where someone other than the classroom teacher is proctoring an exam.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Fluid Surveys - Create Surveys With Multiple Response Formats
Moodle Tutorials and Other Moodle Resources
Vizzual Forms - Collect Feedback from Students