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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Virtual Tour on the Trans Siberian Railway

Google and the Russian Railways have partnered to create a virtual tour on the Trans Siberian Railway. The tour has a dedicated page on which you can explore the Trans Siberian Railway by clicking placemarks on a Google Map or by selecting place names from a list. Either way, clicking on a place name will advance a video shot from the railroad cars. The tour page also includes recordings of sounds, music, and audio books to accompany stops along the virtual trip.
The video below comes from the Trans Siberian Railway virtual tour.


Applications for Education
Beyond the uses in a history class, the Trans Siberian Tour could be useful for literature teachers to offer visual perspectives to students reading works of Russian literature.

A Thin Line - Digital Safety Education for Teens

A Thin Line is a digital safety education resource produced by MTV in collaboration with other media partners. The purpose of the site is to educate teenagers and young adults about the possible repercussions of their digital activities. A Thin Line offers a series of fact sheets about topics like sexting, digital spying, and excessive text messaging and instant messaging. A Thin Line gives students advice on how to recognize those behaviors, the dangers of those behaviors, and how to protect your digital identity. Students can also take a short quiz to practice identifying risky digital behaviors.

Applications for Education
A Thin Line could be a great resource for anyone responsible for teaching safe digital behaviors. The quiz for practicing identifying risky digital behaviors can be embedded into your classroom blog or website.

Seven Tools for Organizing Web Research

Today at 3:15 pm (EST) and again at 7:15 pm (EST) MLTI trainer Jim Wells and I are hosting a webinar about the online research process. Jim will be sharing some tools that are specific to the Mac laptops issued to teachers by the Maine DOE. I'll be focusing on tools that are more universally accessible. I'll be sharing some of the tools from the following list during that webinar.

Update: The recording of the webinar should be available at some point next week on Maine121.org

iCyte is a fantastic browser extension available for Firefox 3 and Internet Explorer 7 and 8. iCyte gives you the ability to highlight and save sections of websites for later reference. When you save an item in iCyte an archive of the website is saved in your iCyte account. To organize your findings, you can create folders within your iCyte account.

Memonic is a relatively new tool for curating collections of information from the web. Memonic's key function is to give users the power to clip sections of websites and build them into a personal collection. Along with the clipping of information, users can add commentary to each item they place into their personal accounts. For example, if I clipped a paragraph from iLearnTechnology I could also add some notes for myself about that paragraph.

There are a couple of ways to add content to the folders within a Memonic account. The easiest way add content to a Memonic account is to use the Memonic bookmarklet for Firefox. After the bookmarklet is installed, users can click it at anytime while they're browsing the web to add content to their Memonic folders. Alternatively, users can add content by typing the url of a desired page into the Memonic "web clipper" that is present within every Memonic user's account page

Lumifi is a collaborative research tool. With Lumifi students and teachers can collaboratively share, evaluate, and organize information found online and off-line. What makes Lumifi different from other online collaboration tools is the ability to upload documents then extract only the relevant information to share with others. Often while researching a topic students only need part of a document or web page, Lumifi gives users the option to weed through peripherals and get right to the information they need.

Wet Mount is a website designed to organize findings from the Internet. The organization process is based on a simple number-line concept. When users find information (text, image, or video) that information is placed in a chart. As more information is found the chart can be reorganized to accommodate more information and place it based on relevance to the original search terms. Watch a screencast here.

Zoho offers a suite of collaborative tools that in many ways are similar to the Google Docs suite. Zoho Notebook is an excellent tool to introduce to your students at the beginning of the school year. Students can use Zoho Notebook to keep track of the web resources that they find while researching a topic. One of the selling points of Zoho Notebook over similar services is that your students can log-in using a Zoho ID, Google ID, or Yahoo ID.

Reframe It is a handy browser extension for Firefox and Internet Explorer. Reframe It is best described as social bookmarking (like Delicious) meets team white boarding (think Twiddla). The social bookmarking aspect of Reframe It is bookmarking and sharing links. The white boarding aspect of Reframe It is the ability to frame or crop a section of page and comment on it. The comments appear in a side margin so that you can continue to look at the web page.

Webnotes is a service that makes it easy to highlight, annotate, and organize your web research. WebNotes has free and paid versions of its service. The free version allows you to highlight, annotate, and organize the information that you find on websites. The paid version allows you to highlight, annotate, and organize information from PDFs as well as websites. There are two options for installing WebNotes. WebNotes can be installed by downloading the full toolbar. The other option for installing WebNotes is to use the install bookmarklet that when clicked displays the toolbar on the webpage that you're viewing.

As I was reminded a couple of times in the comments. Diigo is also a great tool for organizing the findings of your web research. I use it, yet somehow I've only written on post about Diigo. You can read that post here.

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