Saturday, January 16, 2010

Google Earth Across the Curriculum

Many teachers hear "Google Earth" and think it's only something that social studies teachers can use. But, in fact Google Earth can be used across the curriculum. I put together this quick-start guide to introduce teachers to the basics of using Google Earth across the curriculum. This is part of a much larger document that I am developing.

View the guide in Yudu magazine form.

Click to launch the full edition in a new window

Self Publishing with Yudu

Update: The first time I uploaded to DocStoc it got marked as Copyright and was blocking downloads. I've fixed that problem. It should be okay to download now. My mistake, I apologize for any frustration I may have caused.
For easy download of Google Earth Across the Curriculum try the DocStoc version.

Google Earth Across the Curriculum -

Update #2: I've had a couple of people ask and I'm sure that more people will want to know too if they can embed the document into their school and personal blogs/ websites/ wikis. Yes, go ahead and do that. All I ask is that you don't strip my name or any of my links from the document.

Washington Post's Best Education Blogs for 2010

I mentioned this in the week in review post but at the urging of a few people whose opinions I greatly respect, I'm posting it again. On Friday, Washington Post columnist Jay Mathews posted his list of the best education blogs to read in 2010. Free Technology for Teachers was mentioned in the list along with a number of other excellent blogs many of which are written by a team of writers which probably explains why Mr. Mathews thinks I'm multiple people. :-) Here's what he wrote, "Many readers mentioned these guys, and they seem smart and vivid." Thank you to everyone who nominated this blog for the list.

Avoiding Comment Spam Scams

For every blogger receiving comments from readers can be a feel-good experience. It makes you feel like your writing has reached someone on a level deep enough or important enough that the reader takes time out of his or her day to respond to you. But before you approve the comment and publish it to your blog, take a minute to determine if it's an authentic person leaving the comment or if it's a wolf in sheep's clothing.

Some comments are easy to recognize as spam, comments containing misleading links or the commentator's name is linked to a nefarious website are obviously spam. A less obvious spam comment is something like "great post, thanks for sharing, I'll be sure to visit this blog often." Sure that may be a legitimate comment, but in most cases if you visit the site linked to the commentator's name you'll find a spammy website.

A recent trend I've seen in comment spam is a request for you to send the commentator an email. This is what I'm seeing, "Great articles and it's so helpful. I want to add your blog into my rrs reader but i can't find the rrs address. Would you please send your address to my email? Thanks a lot!" While this comment is obviously trying to appeal to my helpful nature, there are a couple of tell tale signs that is a spam comment,. First of all my RSS feed is pretty easy to spot on my blog, it's a big button with the letter RSS on it. Second, the comment has nothing to do with the blog post. If you receive a comment like this on your blog, DON'T RESPOND TO IT! It is an attempt to capture your email address which at the very least will end up on spammer's list. On a similar note, as I mentioned on Seedlings, posting your complete email address with the "@" symbol is an invitation to spammers.

There are a number of very good plug-ins that you can use to automatically filter comments. As good as some of those filters are the one fool-proof method of protecting yourself from spam is to moderate comments yourself.

Image credit: Thomas Hawk. Image link.

Week in Review - Mentioned in Washington Post

It's Saturday morning and a good time to look back at the most popular blog posts of the week. This week I had the opportunity to join Alice Barr, Bob Sprankle, and Cheryl Oakes on their weekly Ed Tech Talk show Seedlings. It was a fun time talking blogging and teaching. Some of you joined us in the chat room which made the experience great. If you missed it, you can listen to and or download the Seedlings Podcast here.

As I mentioned in the Seedlings podcast, it's knowing that so many people visit Free Technology for Teachers in search of educational resources that makes it fun to write this blog and keeps me looking for the best resources to share with you. This week Free Technology for Teachers passed the 16,000 subscriber mark for the first time. That has been made possible by all of you share blog posts with others via Tweets, emails, and word of mouth. Thank you.

Here are the seven most popular items of the last week:
1. Google Earth Layer About the Earthquake in Haiti
2. Creating Podcasts from Soup to Nuts
3. More than 100 Editorial Cartoons Lesson Plans
4. Need Storage? Get a Google Docs Account
5. Steering Clear of Cyber Tricks
6. ShoutEm - Create Your Own Microblogging Network
7. Biology Animations Library

If you're new to Free Technology for Teachers, welcome, I'm glad you've found this blog. If you like what you see in the links above, please consider subscribing to the blog via RSS or email.
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Update: Kathleen just reminded me via a comment that Free Technology for Teachers was mentioned in yesterday's Washington Post. Interestingly, the author of that column thought that this blog was written by multiple authors, nope it's just me. Thank you Kathleen and thank you to everyone who nominated Free Technology for Teachers for mention in the Washington Post's Best Education Blogs for 2010.