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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Google Wave - Initial Impressions

Earlier this week I was given an invite to Google Wave. (I won't say who invited me so that she's not bombarded with invite requests. Sorry, I also don't have any invites to give). Google Wave has been much talked about since Google initially introduced the concept earlier this year. When I got the invite I jumped right on it. I haven't had much time to explore it yet, but I have formed some initial impressions.

So far I like the ability to have threaded conversations with more than one person at a time. It's much like a message board only it can work in real-time. In fact, it's so real-time that you see the other people typing each letter and word. The widgets that you can add to a Wave allow you to have threaded conversations about a map, poll, video, or other media file. In one of my Waves there was a discussion of where to place a placemark on a map that we were looking at.

From a personal learning network standpoint, Google Wave could be a powerful addition to your existing PLN tools. In Google Wave, you can easily add people to a conversation at any time. For example if I start a conversation with person "X" either one of us can add another person from either of our contacts lists. This allows users to make introductions across contact lists.

I'm looking forward to exploring some of the many options in Google Wave, but so far I see it as a powerful networking and conversation platform.

The video below gives a concise explanation of Google Wave.

Science Netlinks - Dozens of Science Lessons

Through Larry Ferlazzo's post about All Systems Go, I learned this morning about Science Netlinks. Science Netlinks offers dozens of lesson plans and online learning activities. The lessons and activities are cover a wide variety of science topics. All of the lesson plans are sorted by grade level, but you can also sort the lesson plans by science benchmark standards. A series of icons also indicates if each lesson plan has a printable worksheet, e-worksheet, or is an interactive experience.

Applications for Education
Science Netlinks provides science teachers with a good collection of lesson plans aligned to the benchmarks for Science Literacy. In addition to lesson plans, Science Netlinks offers a selection of reviewed resource websites for K-12 science teachers.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
The Why Files - The Science Behind the News
Planet Science - Science Games and Lesson Plans
Science Projects and Posters for Elementary Schools

A Lesson Learned from a Small Workshop

Today, I had the opportunity to present at the ACTEM annual conference pre-conference. My workshop was designed to give participants ideas and tools for improving their classroom blogs, websites, and wikis. There were some excellent workshops being offered by the likes of Marco Torres, Wes and Sarah Fryer at the same time as mine as well as an all-day Google Apps seminar. There were nineteen people registered for my session, but only five came. In response to the small number, I altered my plan for the workshop. In hindsight, that was not my best idea.

In altering my plan to try to make it more personal for the attendees, I didn't keep the organization that I had planned. As a result, it felt like (to me anyway) that the workshop did not accomplish the goal of sending everyone away with a new tool to use in their blogs, wikis, and websites. All participants were able to see the tools in action (you can find them here), but my presentation of them was not what I had planned. Every experience can be a learning experience and the next time that I'm in a similar situation, I'll stick closer to my original plan. On the upside, we did have some good conversations about filtering policies in districts across the state of Maine.

Policies and Disclosures

Updated 10/5/2013

1. Free Technology for Teachers is a personal project of Richard Byrne. All views, thoughts, and ideas expressed are solely Richard Byrne's and do not reflect the views or opinions of any organization or business.
2. Except as outlined below Richard Byrne is not paid or in any way compensated by the companies whose products and services are reviewed on Free Technology For Teachers.
3. There are Google AdSense units, Amazon Widgets, on this blog. Those ad units and widgets may contain tracking cookies.
4. Google AdSense does track user interaction with advertising units.
5. When describing books and other physical goods, Amazon affiliate links are used. Amazon tracks user interaction with those links. I do profit when visitors purchase products through the Amazon links.
6. Except where otherwise noted and in the case of trademarked logos used for product reviews all content is copyright Richard Byrne.
7. August 2010 - present ABCya.com is a paying advertiser.
8. April 2010 - September 2011 Simple K12 was a reciprocal marketing partner.
9. August 2010 - September 2011 Edublogs was a paying advertiser.
10. January 2011 Common Craft provided me with free access to the majority of their video library. However, I had previously paid for their services in 2009 and 2010.
11. June 2011 - July 2013 Lesley University was a paying advertiser
12. August 2011 - September 2012 Learn Boost is a paying advertiser.
13. September 2011 - present Mastery Connect is a paying advertiser.
14. September 2011 - December 31, 2011 TenMarks was a paying advertiser.
15. November 2011 - December 31, 2011 - Intel was a paying advertiser.
16. January 1, 2012 - March 1, 2012 - Worth Ave Group was an advertiser
17. February 1, 2012 - April 1, 2012 - Fifty Sneakers was an advertiser
18. In June 2009 VoiceThread paid for part of my trip to NECC.
19. January 2012 - Present University of Maryland Baltimore County is an advertiser
20. August 2012 - Present Discovery is an advertiser
21. October 2012 - Present VocabSpellingCity is an advertiser
22. June 2013 - Present Remind 101 is an advertiser
23. March 2013 - Present Typing Club is an advertiser
24. October 2012 - Present Boise State University is an advertiser.
25. January 2012 - Present EdTechTeacher.org is an advertiser.
26. October 2013 - Present IXL is an advertiser.
27. October 2013 - Metta is an advertiser.
28. I am a shareholder in eduClipper.net. I currently hold 6,000 shares that I received for advisory work.

NOAA Environmental Visualizations

Last night while fumbling around on the NOAA website (looking for snow reports in Rangeley, Maine actually) I came across the NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory. The Environmental Visualization Laboratory provides images, animations, and Google Earth files depicting weather and climate patterns. For example, this visualization depicts the movement of Arctic sea ice.

Applications for Education
NOAA's Environmental Visualization Laboratory provides excellent visualizations that can be used for teaching lessons on weather and climate. For teachers who would like to use Google Earth as a part of their lessons, NOAA provides an excellent guide to using Google Earth for teaching weather and climate lessons.

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