Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Some Handy Updates to Google Docs

Earlier today Google announced a few updates to Google Docs that should prove to be quite handy. The first update that should be handy is an improved resizing option for tables in documents. Users can now resize columns and rows by simply clicking on a line and dragging it. The other update that students and teachers should appreciate is a new option for adding words to the dictionary. Now whenever a word is marked as misspelled, users can just right click on it to add to the dictionary or correct the spelling.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Google Earth Across the Curriculum
Free 33 Page Guide - Google for Teachers
Beyond Google - Improve Your Search Results

Anthologize - Turn Your Blog Into an Ebook

If you've ever looked at your blog posts or your students' blog posts and thought, "there's a book here," you're right there probably is a book in those posts. Now if you're a WordPress user, you can turn those posts into an ebook. Anthologize is a free WordPress plug-in that allows you to take your posts and arrange them into an ebook. Anthologize features a drag and drop interface for arranging the layout of your ebook.

It's important to note that Anthologize is a brand new product and may contain some bugs. You should also be aware that Anthologize will only work for self-hosted blogs not on blogs.

Applications for Education
Anthologize could be a useful tool for creating an organized, easy to read, ebook from blog posts. If you have a self-hosted blog that your students have contributed to, you can create a record of the school year and what your students have learned.

Update: Carl Anderson made a good comment about Anthologize on Twitter that made me think of another use of Anthologize. Anthologize could be useful for printing a collection of blog posts to send home with students if their parents, grandparents, or other family members don't have Internet access at home. Creating an ebook is also a way to show students how much they have written in the course of a year. Print the ebook and have students compare its size to that of other books in your classroom.

Open Scholar - Free Website Development Software

Open Scholar, produced by Harvard, is a free software package for educators to use to develop scholarly websites. Open Scholar provides an intuitive drag and drop user interface that enables anyone to design and develop a website. Institutions using Open Scholar can develop as many websites as they like using the free software.

Watch the video below to learn more about Open Scholar.

Scholars Web Sites Project Overview from IQSS on Vimeo.

Before you get too excited, Open Scholar does not provide hosting for websites. To use Open Scholar you have to have someone install it on a server. Open Scholar uses Drupal.

Applications for Education
If your institution is looking for a platform to deploy system-wide for instructors to use to develop their own websites, it might be worth your time to investigate Open Scholar.

H/T to Open Culture.

Teachers Connecting - Find a Collaboration Partner

There are numerous informal ways for teachers to connect. Three of the more common places to connect are Classroom 2.0, Twitter, and Facebook. The connections made through those forums can be used to create a global, collaborative, classroom project. However, if you're new to those networks or you're just beginning to form a PLN it's not always easy to find a collaboration partner. Fortunately, Teachers Connecting can help you find a partner for a collaborative project.

Teachers Connecting is a professional network where you can find other teachers who would like to connect their classrooms with your's. On Teachers Connecting you can post a project proposal or search for projects proposed by other teachers.

Applications for Education
Teachers Connecting could have your next global collaborative project just waiting for you and your students. If it doesn't, propose one and find a partner for your next project.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:

My PLN and the Butter Battle Book

Learn Central - A Social Network for Educators

Why Do We Connect?

Scuttle Pad - A Social Network for Kids

Scuttle Pad is a new social network designed for kids ages six through ten. Scuttle Pad provides a safe, supervised, place in which children can communicate with each other. Scuttle Pad requires parents to register their children. Once registered Scuttle Pad continues to protect children by reviewing all images that are uploaded. Scuttle Pad also ensures that children don't share too much by never giving them an opportunity to share any personal information other than first name and their hometown.

Scuttle Pad is focused only on communication practice by students. Therefore, it doesn't offer games or other distractions. To help students structure sentences, Scuttle Pad offers a word bank from which students can select words to use in their communications.

Applications for Education
For parents that are interested in giving their children an opportunity to learn and practice communicating online with friends, Scuttle Pad provides a forum for that.

Nagasaki Archive - Preserving History of Atomic Bomb Survivors

The Nagasaki Archive is a project designed to preserve the history and stories of survivors of the August 9, 1945 atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan. The Nagasaki Archive places the images of survivors and their stories on a Google Earth map. Some of the stories are only available in Japanese while others are available in English. The map also contains images of the destruction caused by the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki. The Nagasaki Archive uses the Google Earth plug-in.

Applications for Education
The Nagasaki Archive could be a great way for history teachers to have students explore and learn about the effect the US bombing of Japan. The Nagasaki Archive is an excellent example of using Google Earth to record local history and to tell a story. You could use the same concept to have students record and preserve the local history of their communities.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
10 Resources for Teaching and Learning About WWII
National Atlas Map Maker
Atlas of World War II