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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Bubbl.us - Free Mind Mapping Tool

Bubbl.us was one of the very first services that I reviewed on this blog. I just took a look back at that post and was amazed at how much my blogging style has changed since then. In other words, the first time I reviewed it, I did a lousy job. Therefore, I'm featuring it again.

Bubbl.us is a free mind mapping/ graphic organization tool that allows users to collaboratively create and edit mind maps. Bubbl.us takes just seconds to figure out and you can try it before registering for an account. With Bubbl.us users can use their keyboard or use the drag and drop interface to arrange elements in their mind maps. Publishing work created with Bubbl.us can be done by exporting the file to a JPEG, PNG, or as an XML or HTML file. Any mind map created using Bubbl.us can be embedded into a blog or website.

Applications for Education
A collaborative mind mapping tool like Bubbl.us is great for conducting a brainstorming session with your students. Students working on collaborative projects can use Bubbl.us to develop and share ideas of their visions for a project. Tools like Bubbl.us can also be great in a history classroom for having students outline the connections between various events that happened concurrently during a given era.

Snag Films Now Offers More Than 800 Free Films

Snag Films, a website that is a true service to the education community, now offers more than 800 free documentary films for online viewing. This represents an almost 33% expansion of the collection in the last six months. As I've mentioned in the past, Snag Films solves two real problems for the classroom teacher that shows documentary films.

Applications for Education
Snag Films is great for teachers because it makes many documentaries available for free and on demand. You don't have to go searching through your school library, rummaging through your department's storage closet, or spend any of your limited budget on a film that you may only use a few times per year.

Snag Films presents a solution to a problem that I always run into when showing a documentary in class. The problem is every time I show a documentary in class, there seems to be one or two absent students who then need to watch the film either after school or in the viewing room in the library. By embedding the documentary into your class blog or website those students who were absent the day the class watched the film can now watch it any time from any computer.

Food for Thought...

Acer is giving away a computer lab or a set of netbooks to three randomly selected schoosl that participates in its Seed program. The Seed program allows schools to evaluate an Acer netbook for free for 30 days. After 30 days you can return the computer or purchase it at a discounted price. One condition of participation in the program is participating in two conference calls with Acer sales staff. Read all of the details of the Seed program and the drawing for the free computer lab here. All applications for the Seed program must be received by August 30.

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