Friday, December 11, 2009

Google Earth Adds More Mars Imagery

Google recently announced the addition of some new imagery for viewing Mars in Google Earth. The new imagery offers more detail for the Mars layer. You will now be able to view features such as lava flows and glacier-like geological features. You can view the highlights of the new imagery by downloading this KMZ file.

Applications for Education
The update Mars imagery in Google Earth could be useful for anyone that teaches space science and exploration.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Restored Videos of the First Moon Landing
Solar Eclipse Simulation in Google Earth

NASA Images - Embed Galleries of Images & Videos

The "Yeti" and Digital Storytelling in Google Earth

Yesterday, the National Archives' RSS feed contained a neat document from 1959. The document was a letter from the government of Nepal sent to the United States. The letter outlined the regulations for any American expeditions searching for the mysterious "Yeti" in Nepal. The document got me thinking about a possible lesson combining fiction writing, geography, and Google Earth.

Applications for Education
The Yeti expedition regulation document could be the basis for an activity in which students create a digital story in Google Earth. The students could write a story in which they design a fictional story of searching for the Yeti. The students could account for elevation, weather, and traveling difficulties. After writing the story the students could then plot the places in their story on Google Earth. After plotting the places, the students could then narrate a flyover tour of their original story.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Great Google Earth/ Maps How-to Videos
How to Enable Google Earth Flight Simulator
Presentation Storytelling 101

Edublog Awards Voting and How Old Am I?

The Edublog Awards voting is now live, I was honored to be nominated in three categories; Best Resource Sharing Blog, Best Individual Blog, and Lifetime Achievement. While I am very flattered to have been nominated for a lifetime achievement award, I haven't been blogging long enough (just over two years) to merit winning that category. There are many people who have given more to the ed tech community than I have. I nominated Karl Fisch and Scott McLeod for Lifetime Achievement awards (Scott is encouraging people not to vote for him too). Besides that I haven't been blogging long enough, I'm not old enough to get a lifetime achievement award. :-) So while I'd love to have your vote in either of the other two categories, I'd prefer that you vote for someone else in the Lifetime Achievement category.

The voting can be a little confusing at first so I'll try to explain as best as I can.
1. Visit the list of categories.
2. Click on a category.
3. Vote once in that category.
4. Repeat until you've voted for all of your favorite blogs.
5. Voting is limited to one vote per category per IP address.

Embedding Books Into Your Blogger Blog or Google Site

After my post earlier this morning about Google Books I received a couple of questions about how to embed public domain book into a blog. Locating the embed code for the books is not as obvious as on a site like YouTube. The embed could is actually located under the "link" link at the top of the book's page. See the screen captures below for more direction.

Make sure you adjust the height and width of the display in your html editor. If you don't make these adjustments the book may not fully display.

The directions above apply to Blogger. If you have a WordPress blog such as those hosted by Edublogs, you may need to find a plug-in to handle iframes. (Don't quote me on that, I'm by no means an authority on WordPress. In fact, if someone knows for sure, please leave a comment).

For those of you using Google Sites. There is a gadget for Google Books that you can select from the "more gadgets" menu.

Thousands of Free Books

In one of the first sessions of my day at the Google Teacher Academy, we looked at some of the lesser known search options. One such option is the Google Books Advanced Search. In Google Books Advanced Search you can search for full-length books that are in the public domain and available for free download and printing. Those same books can also be embedded into your blog or website. To find full-length, public domain books, go to then select public domain in the advanced search options menu. See my screen captures below for more instruction.

Enter your search term then select the public domain button.

Applications for Education
I've recently gave my US History students an assignment in which they have to read and analyze a book about about the Civil War. As I have more students than our school's library has books about the Civil War, the huge listing of books about the Civil War that are in the public domain is very handy for my students.