Friday, November 19, 2010

Google Apps for Education Demonstration Video

Earlier today I shared the news that Google Apps for Education now offers ten times more features than it did before. At the risk of appearing like a total Google fanboy (that ship has probably sailed), I'd like to share with you a new video from the Google Apps team that demonstrates Google Apps for Education from a teacher's perspective. The demonstration video is a thirteen minute overview of useful features in Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Forms, Spreadsheets, and Google Sites.

20 Things About Browsers and the Web - Free Ebook

20 Things I Learned About Browsers and the Web is a new free 61 page ebook from Google about browsers and the Internet. Through the ebook readers will learn about things like plug-ins, malware, phishing scams, HTML and HTML 5, cloud computing, Javascript, and much more. The book includes nice Dr. Seuss-like illustrations and clear explanations. The explanations are put into terms that non-techie people can understand. 20 Things I Learned About Browsers and the Web can be read online or printed using the print button at the bottom of the site's screen (it's kind of hard to see if you're not looking for it).

Applications for Education
For technology integration specialists, 20 Things I Learned About Browsers and the Web could be a great resources to distribute to teachers you support. Likewise, the ebook could be useful for anyone that teaches courses about the web and online safety.

Udemy Blog - Good Interviews with Educators

This evening I learned that Udemy nominated Free Technology for Teachers for an Edublog Award. Udemy's nomination got me to look at their blog which I had never done before (I have reviewed Udemy and made a course on their service). The Udemy Blog has some superb interviews with educators like Jeff Utecht and Richard Baraniuk. The Udemy Blog also features many interviews with the founders and leaders of companies producing educational content and offering services for the education market. You'll find interviews with people from Quizlet, Wordnik, and Mind Snacks.

From a previous post about Udemy.
Udemy is a free platform for teaching courses online. Anyone can sign-up for Udemy and start creating courses in minutes. Udemy offers a variety of tools for delivering content online. Course creators can publish slideshows, publish videos, and create mash-ups of slideshows and videos synched together. Course creators can also hold live online sessions through Udemy's virtual classroom platform.

Google Apps Now Has 10 Times More Features!

And now for something Google Apps for Education users have been waiting for... Blogger can now be integrated into Google Apps for Education! In fact, as they announced last night, nearly all of Google's tools can now be integrated into your Google Apps for Education account. This means that if there is a Google tool that you want the users in your Google Apps for Education domain to use, you can add it in.

As with existing Google Apps services, administrators of  Google Apps for Education domains can give access to a service to a subset of users and or restrict access to particular service for a subset of users. Existing Google Apps for Education users can begin adding services now (you need to have administrative rights to the domain) or wait for the transition to happen automatically over the next couple of months. New Google Apps for Education domains will be set-up in the new style. Learn more about this in the video below.

Applications for Education
I'm particularly excited about the integration if Blogger into Google Apps for Education. This means that students in Google Apps for Education schools, can now blog without having to create an additional account. Picassa Web Albums can now be added to your Google Apps for Education domain. This could be used by students or teachers to create albums of public domain and Creative Commons images that can be reused in multimedia projects. Schools could integrate Google Groups to create school message boards.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Google for Teachers
Twenty Google Tools Tutorials for Teachers
Google for Teachers II

Resources for Teaching & Learning About Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving, in the US, is less than a week away. If you have school next week and you are looking for some resources for teaching and learning about Thanksgiving, I have some things for you.

Where Does Thanksgiving Grow? is a neat data set produced by Linda Zellmer at Western Illinois State University. The data sets contain information about where the main ingredients in Thanksgiving meal come from. The data sets are displayed on maps showing you which states produce the most and least of each ingredient. For example, click on the turkey production data set and you will see that in 2007 Minnesota and North Carolina were the leading producers of turkeys. You can access the data sets individually or as a comprehensive PDF poster.

If you're looking for a writing activity to do with the students in advance of Thanksgiving, National Geographic Kids offers a Mad Libs-like story writing activity. Funny Fill-In generates a funny Thanksgiving story based on the words that kids write in response to Thanksgiving prompts.

James Hollis at Teachers Love SMART Boards has developed an excellent list of Thanksgiving lessons that can be done using a SMART Board or other interactive whiteboard.

ABC Teach has numerous free lesson plans, coloring pages, and offline games that are designed for elementary school use. has a dozen videos related to the origins and history of Thanksgiving as well as video about current Thanksgiving traditions. Below I've embedded History of Thanksgiving, but I also recommend watching Mayflower Deconstructed.

Last, but certainly not least, Larry Ferlazzo has an extensive list of Thanksgiving lesson resources. In general, if there is a holiday in the US, Larry has a list for it.

What Are Earmarks?

If discussion about the news, particularly political news, is a part of your classroom, the term "earmarks" might be something your students have questions about. Charles Osgood from CBS Sunday Morning has a simple and clear explanation of earmarks. Watch the video below.