Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Free Webinar - Structuring a Research Project

Tomorrow, February 11, at 3:15 pm and again at 7:15 pm (EST) I will co-hosting a webinar with MLTI trainer Jim Wells. The title of the webinar is Structuring a Research Project. Jim will be talking about creating the structure of a research project. I'll be sharing some free tools to help students carry-out the research and organize their findings. The webinar is part of a series being offered by the Maine Learning Technology Initiative and is free to anyone who wants to attend. Click here to learn more about how to join us for the webinar.

YouTube Safety Mode Filters Objectionable Videos

Earlier today YouTube announced a new option for filtering out objectionable content. YouTube Safety Mode allows you to set your preferences to block the content you don't want children to see. You choose Safety Mode by clicking the link found at the bottom of any YouTube page. The video below demonstrates how to activate Safety Mode.

Applications for Education
If you work in a school that blocks YouTube access, hopefully the new safety mode is a step in the right direction toward being able to access YouTube for classroom use.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Vidque - Create a Library of Educational Videos
Safe Share TV - Safe YouTube Viewing
30+ Alternatives to YouTube

Will Google Make Classrooms Buzz?

Yesterday, all of the big tech blogs were buzzing about the release of Google Buzz. TechCrunch, Mashable, and Read Write Web all had live coverage of the announcement and, of course, had follow-up analysis. If you're interested in the technical aspects of Google Buzz, I recommend visiting those blogs. In a nutshell, Buzz is going to be an integrated element of GMail that will allow you to selectively share links, images, and Tweets with those people already in your GMail contacts. The items you share can be the start of a threaded conversation. On my first impression I likened Buzz to a stripped-down and less chaotic version of Google Wave.

What I'm interested in is how Google Buzz can be leveraged for learning opportunities. In yesterday's announcement Google stated that Buzz will be an integrated aspect of Gmail which means you won't have to create a new account or password to use it. This should make Buzz easily accessible to students and teachers that are using GMail through Google Apps for Education. It appears that Buzz could be used to create group discussions with students about a news article. Buzz might also be useful for collaborative planning activities.

What are your thoughts about Google Buzz? Will you try it in your classroom?

News Map - Visual Display of Trending News

Through a comment left on this post earlier today, I was reminded of a great news resource called News Map. I wrote about News Map in 2008, this is an update of that 2008 post. News Map organizes and displays news stories from around the world. News Map uses Google News to source the stories displayed in the grid so the content is frequently updated. The stories are displayed in a color coded grid reflective of how popular or important a story is at any given time. You can select the country or countries from which you would like to see the news. You may also select which type of news stories, (world news, national news, sports, etc) you want to see displayed. By selecting multiple countries you can discover patterns in the news across the world.

Applications for Education
News Map provides a good way for students to recognize similarities and differences between how a news story is covered in one country versus another. It is also a good tool for showing students how a story that is popular in one country may be insignificant in another. This is particular true if you select the entertainment news option.

New from Common Craft - Recognizing Secure Websites

Common Craft has released another installment in their ever-expanding In Plain English series of videos. Secure Websites in Plain English is designed to educate viewers on how to recognize websites that are secure for entering transactions and personal information. As with all of the more recent Common Craft videos it's only available on the Common Craft website.

Applications for Education
Secure Websites in Plain English could be a useful video for anyone responsible for teaching online safety. Secure Websites goes well with Phishing Scams in Plain English and Protecting Reputations Online.

Review the News With the CNN Challenge

CNN Challenge is a news game based upon leading news stories of the week. The game offers you a series of multiple choice questions based on the news. There are three rounds to each game. Your score is based upon not only answering correctly but also how quickly you answer each question. At the end of each game, CNN Challenge provides links to the stories the questions were based on.

Applications for Education
The questions in the CNN Challenge are updated often enough that you could use the game on a weekly basis as a fun review of recent news. You could have students play the game and then search for the answers to the questions they got wrong by using the links provided by CNN. My only complaint about CNN Challenge is that it runs a 15 second pop-up ad before the game starts.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
The Week in Rap - Fun News Summaries
Ten by Ten - Visual Links to World News