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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Create Webpages in Minutes With Pagefin

Pagefin is a free service for creating simple webpages without the need to register for an account. To create a webpage with Pagefin just click "create and share," enter the captcha code, and start designing your webpage. Pagefin does not offer any fancy template to widgets to add to your pages, just a blank slate to design on. You can add text boxes, images, and videos to your webpages. When you're happy with your page click on the share button to have a URL generated for your page. The share button will also provide you with an editing link (don't share that one).

Applications for Education
Pagefin could be a good tool for students to use to create and share a page of their best writings, video productions, or favorite images. Pagefin's blank slate approach allows you to add as many text boxes, images, and video elements as you like. Looking at it from that perspective, Pagefin could be a good platform to have students use to create online collages of media arranged around a research topic.

Click here for 11 more ways to create websites and simple webpages.

Turn Your Students into Solar Storm Watchers

Solar Storm Watch is a website on which anyone can become a solar storm watcher. The site uses imagery from STEREO Spacecraft to present users with information that they can use to try to spot solar storms.

Solar Storm Watch provides registered users with training on spotting and tracking solar storms. Once you have completed the training you can move on to contributing your observations to the community. The overall goal of the Solar Storm Watch is to help scientists identify and track solar storms. Watch the video below to learn about some of the questions the scientists hope to answer through the use of the information recorded on Solar Storm Watch.



Applications for Education
Solar Storm Watch offers some lesson plans for teachers who are interested in using the site in their classrooms. Even if you don't use the lesson plans or register on the site, you can still view some excellent interactive graphics that explain parts of the solar system and the role of satellites in monitoring solar activities.

A Quick Review of the New Chromebooks and Chrome OS

I realize that Chromebooks aren't free, but I think that a good chunk of my readers will be interested in this information anyway. 

This afternoon Google announced the release of new Chromebooks. Part of that announcement was a list of updates to the Chrome operating system. So far Read Write Web has the most complete review of the new Chromebooks and I encourage you to read it. The Reader's Digest version is this: the new Chrome OS will support native support for Microsoft Office files and will provide better support for multitasking. The new hardware includes a product called a Chromebox which is a desktop version of a Chromebook. The Chromebox concept reminds me of the Mac Mini.

Take a tour of the new Chrome OS user interface in the video below.



Applications for Education
In addition to the announcement of support for native support for Microsoft Office files, Google's announcement also promised offline support for Google Documents will start in the next few weeks. Those two factors remove a hurdle to Chromebook use that many teachers and tech administrators have pointed to since Chromebooks were launched last year. For a good run-down of Chromebook use in an elementary school, visit Kevin Jarrett's Project Chromebook blog.

Infographic - The History of Memorial Day

This is a day late, but I still want to share it. On Cool Infographics I found The History of Memorial Day which is an infographic outlining the basic history of Memorial Day and how Americans celebrate the day. The infographic is missing one important thing, links to the sources of the information presented. I would take that flaw and turn it into a quick research activity. Have your students attempt to verify the information presented in the infographic. For more resources for teaching about Memorial Day, visit Larry Ferlazzo's list of resources.



Simple Sticky Notes in Google Chrome

I love sticky notes. I have them all over the desktops of my computers and tablets. I also love Google Chrome. Therefore, I was happy to discover a simple Sticky Note application for Google Chrome. Sticky Notes for Google Chrome is a free Chrome web app for taking notes in your browser whether you're connected to the web or not. To arrange and sort your notes you can title each note, tag it, star it, and assign it a color. You can search for your notes by tag and title.

Applications for Education
For schools using Chromebooks, Sticky Notes for Google Chrome could prove to be very useful for creating and maintaing simple to-do lists. I like sticky notes because they're great for making simple lists without the need to sign into a service. Sticky Notes for Google Chrome meets that criteria for me.


Transfer Files With Just a Bump

Bump is a free app for Android and iOS devices that makes it very easy to transfer pictures and contacts between devices. Bump can also be used to transfer photos and contacts from your mobile device to your laptop or desktop computer. To transfer photos and contacts between mobile devices just gently bump the devices together (both devices need to have Bump installed). To transfer photos and contact between your mobile device and your computer just select files on your device, open Bump on your computer (it's browser based), and press the spacebar on your keyboard. See Bump in action in the video below.



Applications for Education
If you have your students create study groups that meet outside of classroom time, Bump could be a good app to have students use at the beginning of a semester to quickly exchange contact information with classmates. If you're looking for a way to move image files from mobile devices to computers for students to use in multimedia projects, lose the USB cables and Bump.

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