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Monday, May 28, 2012

ScienceFix - Videos of Middle School Science Lessons

In March I shared 7 Useful YouTube Channels for Science Students and Teachers. This morning as I browsed YouTube I found ScienceFix. ScienceFix is the blog and YouTube channel of middle school science teacher Darren Fix. On both the blog and the YouTube channel you will find more than 100 videos demonstrating various science experiments, demonstrations, and middle school science lessons. Watch a sample below.



Applications for Education
If you're a middle school science teacher, ScienceFix could be a good source of ideas that you can apply to your classroom. If you use the ideas presented on ScienceFix, embed the corresponding video into your classroom blog to remind students of the lesson when they visit your blog.

7 Tools for Collaboratively Creating Image Galleries

This morning I received an email from a reader who had taken a group on a tour of historic places in Boston and was looking for some suggestions for ways to create a collaborative image gallery. Writing a response to that email got me thinking about some ways to collaboratively create image galleries. The following tools could be used by you and your students to create galleries of images captured while on a field trip. These tools could also be used to collaboratively create galleries of Creative Commons and Public Domain images.

ZangZing is a free service for creating collaborative online photo albums. There are many services that allow you to do this now, but what makes ZangZing different is that you can pull in the photos you already have on other photo sharing sites. You can pull in photos from Facebook, Picasa, Flickr, Instagram, and other popular photo sharing sites. You can also email photos directly to the album(s) you create on ZangZing. Each collaborative album you create on ZangZing has its own privacy setting so that you can create a combination of public and private albums within your account.

Drop Event is a free service for creating public and private group photo albums. To create a group photo album you do need to register for the service, but contributors to your photo album don't need to register. When you create your photo album it is assigned an email address that contributors can send photos to through email. To invite people to contribute to your album, just give them the email address assigned to your album.

If there is such a thing as "old and reliable" in Web 2.0 tools, Flickr qualifies. Using Flickr you can create public and private image sharing groups. There are two public group settings. You can create a public group that anyone can join, contribute to, and view. You can also create a public group that anyone can view, but only invited members can contribute to. Finally, you can create a private group that only invited members can contribute to and only invited members can view the images. Of course, all contributors will need to have a Flickr/ Yahoo account (Yahoo owns Flickr) to contribute to the group galleries.

Drop Mocks just might be the simplest tool for constructing an image gallery and slideshow that I've come across. To create an image gallery with Drop Mocks just go to their site and drag images from your desktop onto the Drop Mocks canvas. Then click on an image to have it featured while the other images are blurred in the background. Click another image and it will come into clear view while the previously featured image fades back into the background. You can share your Drop Mocks gallery by giving people the url assigned to it. To create and save multiple galleries sign into Drop Mocks by using your Google Account. You do need to be using a WebGL compliant browser for Drop Mocks to function correctly.

If you want to create a small gallery to which each student contributes his or her favorite picture from a field trip or favorite picture to represent something they learned online, have them add those pictures to a Wallwisher wall. Have students use the 160 character text box to add descriptions or discussion prompts to the images that they add to the wall.

Create a collaborative Google Map and have students geo-locate images on the map. If you're teaching something like the Civil War have students find images of important people and places and add those images to the map. If you're students are reading a novel or other work that mentions a lot of location, have students add images of those places to the map. And if you're taking students on a field trip that will stop at multiple locations, have them geo-locate the images that they capture.

Even though it was bought by Twitter a few months ago and it's future is uncertain, for now Posterous Spaces provides the simplest way to build group blogs. You could use Posterous Spaces to have students contribute images to a blog organized around an event or a theme. You can create a blog and allow your students to contribute to it by simply sending emails with image attachments to the blog's name. For example, I could create a blog titled fieldtriptoportland.posterous.com and allow students to contribute to it via email by sending a message to fieldtriptoportland@posterous.com. To contribute my students won't have to register on Posterous at all if I allow email contributions.

Historypin Presents Pinning the Queen's History

This year marks Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee. To mark the occasion Historypin has created a map of the Queen's official visits over the last sixty years. Historypin is designed for displaying historical photographs on Google Maps. Each pin on the Historypin map provides photographs from the Queen's visits to each location. You can browse the map to view photographs or simply use the list of official visits to find photographs. If you have photographs from one of the Queen's official visits you can pin them to the Historypin map too.

Applications for Education
Exploring Historypin's map of the Queen's official visits could be a good way for students to explore and ask questions about different parts of the world.

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