Tuesday, April 27, 2010

TitanPad - An EtherPad Clone

When Google purchased real-time document collaboration platform EtherPad's parent company Appjet in December, EtherPad's code was made public. EtherPad itself no longer exists, but some similar services have popped-up. Most notable perhaps is TitanPad. TitanPad uses the EtherPad API to provide a free platform for real-time document collaboration.

TitanPad is essentially a clone of the original EtherPad. With TitanPad anyone can instantly create a collaborative document. You do not have to create an account to use TitanPad, in fact creating an account isn't even an option. To get started just click "create public pad," enter your name, and start typing. To invite people to collaborate, just share the url assigned to your TitanPad. Every collaborator on TitanPad is given a unique color to highlight the text they've added. Try it now on this document that I started.

Applications for Education
TitanPad could be used as a platform for quickly hosting and recording an online brainstorming session with your students. As accounts aren't necessary you won't lose any classroom time to getting students through a registration process. Earlier this year Kristen Swanson wrote a guest post for me in which she shared how she used EtherPad and the Week In Rap with her students, read that post here.

Hubble Telescope Tour in Google Earth

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Hubble Telescope Google released a new Google Earth tour of imagery captured by Hubble. The tour takes place in Google Earth Sky View. You can download the tour here or watch a preview in the video below.

Applications for Education
Space Science is a semester course offered by the science department at my school. This Google Earth tour could be a good visual aid that goes beyond simply looking at static images captured by the Hubble Telescope.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
8 Wonders of the Solar System - Interactive Tour
Northern Lights Time Lapse Video
Google Earth Across the Curriculum

Canvas Mol - 3D Models of Molecules

Canvas Mol is a website that provides 3D, interactive, rotating models of simple and complex molecules. There are 46 models of relatively common molecules like glucose, fructose, and morphine. Each model can be altered to show or not show bonds, to show or not show individual atoms, and to rotate on the X,Y, or Z axis. Canvas Mol works best in Chrome or Opera, but can also be used in Firefox and Safari.

Thanks to Ian Byrd for sharing Canvas Mol with me via email.

Applications for Education
Canvas Mol could be a great resource for chemistry and biology teachers and students. Teachers can manipulate the models to include or not include all parts of the model. Teachers could choose to not display one element of the model and challenge students to identify the molecule.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
The Interactive Periodic Table
The Comic Book Periodic Table of Elements
Video Demonstrations of the Periodic Table of Elements

Update for Email Subscribers

Many email subscribers have reported that they are not receiving regular emails from Free Technology for Teachers. This appears to be a problem with FeedBurner that they have not addressed yet. Other bloggers are reporting the same problem with FeedBurner. I am looking into other options for delivering email updates, but with more than 3,000 email subscribers there does not appear to be another free option. Therefore, I am evaluating paid services for delivering emails. When I decide on a service, I will let you know. In the meantime, this might be a good time to consider switching your subscription from email to RSS.

An RSS reader is a great way to read updates from all of your favorite blogs in one place. Rather than opening numerous emails every day or going directly to all of your favorite sites everyday, all of your favorite sites come to you in one place. I have content from roughly 300 blogs delivered to my RSS reader (Google Reader) every day. I couldn't write this blog without using Google Reader.

Learn more about RSS in this Common Craft video.

Learn more about Google Reader in this Common Craft video.

Supreme Court Case to Grab Your Students' Attention

Yesterday, the US Supreme Court announced that it is going to hear a case this fall regarding California's ban on the sale of violent video games to minors. At issue in the case is whether or not the ban on sale of violent video games to minors is a violation of First Amendment freedom of speech rights. Learn more about this story in today's episode of CNN Student News and in this article from Reuters.

Applications for Education
As many students will may have some passionate feelings about this case, it could be a great conversation starter in a Civics class or be used in a debate competition.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Our Courts - Interactive Lessons on US Civics
EL Civics - Civics Lessons for ESL Students
Connecting Social Studies and Art Through Video