Thursday, July 9, 2009

Jabbster - Create a Private Social Network

Jabbster is a free service that allows families and groups to create private online communication networks. Within your private network you can host discussion boards, share photos, post an event calendar, and share bookmarks. Setting up a Jabbster group is quick and easy. Simply register for an account, name your group, and send invitations to the people you want in the group. If you create the group, you are the group administrator and can delete any content or user from the group at any time.

Applications for Education
Jabbster could be a good tool for creating a communication room for PTAs, for classrooms, or sports teams. As people leave or join your group you can add or delete them from the Jabbster group as needed.

Google Adds License Filter to Image Search

For better or worse, Google Images is the first place that a lot of people go to find images. The problem with this until now has been that you could not easily filter results by licensing rights. Today, Google introduced a new image search filter that will allow you to filter image search results by usage rights. To use the new usage rights filter option, select "advanced image search" on the main Google Images page. Once in the "advanced image search" page, you will find the usage rights options at the bottom of the page. In the usage rights menu you can select one of four options; "labeled for reuse," "labeled for commercial reuse," "labeled for reuse with modification," or "labeled for commercial reuse with modification."

Applications for Education
The new usage rights filter for Google Image search is a great feature to introduce to your students. The filtering options are written in such a way that it is very clear which images students can or cannot use in the creation of their digital presentations.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Find Creative Commons Images on Yahoo Search
Compfight - Creative Commons Image Search
William Vann's EduPic Graphical Resource

Three Tools for Opening Documents

If you've ever had a student or colleague send you a document that you couldn't open because you did have the right software installed on your computer, these tools are for you.

View Docs Online is the simplest way to open a document. Simply upload a document and View Docs Online will open it and display it for you. Even if you can't open the document on your local computer, you can open it on View Docs Online.

TextMaker Viewer is a free program for Windows users. TextMaker Viewer allows you to open, view, and print most document file formats. Although you can open the files, you cannot edit all documents opened using TextMaker Viewer.

Universal Viewer is another free program for Windows users. Universal Viewer allows you to view documents as well as various image formats.

Applications for Education
While it's preferable to have students use Google Docs or Zoho Writer to create documents, sometimes they may send an attachment that can't be opened on school computers. These tools could be helpful in those situations.

Arts Edge - Podcasts and Lesson Plans

Arts Edge, produced by the Kennedy Center, is a collection of podcasts, lesson plans, and links for teaching music and culture. The podcast directory is where you will find an eclectic collection of podcasts featuring music ranging from Jazz in DC to Music from China. The "Teach" section of Arts Edge is a good place to find lesson plans for teaching music and culture. As a teacher of US History, the lesson on Civil War music caught my attention.

Applications for Education
You don't have to be a music teacher to take advantage of the offerings from Arts Edge. Anyone, like Literature or History teachers, that needs to incorporate lessons on culture and or music can use the podcasts and lessons offered by Arts Edge.