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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

United Classrooms - Connect Your Classroom With the World

United Classrooms is a service connecting classrooms across the world. The service allows teachers to create classroom profile pages. On their classroom profile pages teachers can post assignments, projects, messages for students, and announcements for parents and students. Teachers can monitor and manage all of the communications between students on the classroom profile page.

United Classrooms allows teachers to share their classroom profile pages with the world. Teachers can search for other classrooms and connect with them. When classrooms are connected students can post messages for each other on the classroom profile pages.

Applications for Education
Using United Classrooms could be a good way for teachers to connect their classrooms to work on collaborative projects. On a smaller scale you could just connect your classrooms to create virtual penpal relationships. And if you don't connect your classroom to another you could use United Classrooms just as a way to share classroom news with the parents of your students.


United Classrooms from United Classrooms on Vimeo.

My Link Cloud - A Beautiful iGoogle Alternative

My Link Cloud is a new service that could fill the space being left behind by the impending closure of iGoogle. My Link Cloud allows you to create start pages with your favorite links. There are other services that fill the same niche, but My Link Cloud is the most visually appealing of those that I have tried.

My Link Cloud allows you to create multiple start pages within your account. Each start page can have a different color scheme. Organizing the links on your pages is a simple drag and drop process. To delete a link just right click on it then confirm that you want to delete it from your start page.

My Link Cloud is still in beta so there are some aspects of it that are still in development that when finished could make it outstanding. Right now the only way to add links to your start pages in My Link Cloud is by using the browser extension. The other aspect that needs improvement is the collaboration option which is advertised as "coming soon" but is not available yet.

Applications for Education
If you're looking for an iGoogle alternative for you or your students, My Link Cloud is a promising service to check out. Your students could use My Link Cloud to create visual collections of links organized around topics they're researching.

Explore the Ocean With Google Maps

Google Earth has had ocean imagery and tours for a while now. You can see a list of ocean tours here. Now you can see underwater ocean imagery in Google Maps too. Yesterday, Google released new underwater ocean imagery for Google Maps. There is not a lot of imagery yet, but what Google has published is quite impressive. Get started by taking a look at the sea turtle and fish below.


View Larger Map


Applications for Education
The underwater Google Maps imagery is limited right now, but what imagery Google has published could be good for students to explore coral reefs in clear detail.

Pinside - Collaborative Sticky Notes

Pinside is a free online sticky note service. Pinside can be used to create boards of notes for yourself or boards to share with others. You can create a mix of private and shared notes within one account. Sticky notes on shared Pinside boards are designed for creating to-do lists. As each item on the the notes is completed you and or your collaborators can delete completed items.

Applications for Education
Pinside could be a good little tool for students working on group projects to assign tasks to each other and check them off as they go. Pinside could also be used by students to create a board of action items for each of the courses that they are taking.

Use Box to Share Files and Folders

About a month ago I posted an informal Twitter survey asking people if they preferred Dropbox or Box for file storage and sharing. Quite a few people replied that they had not heard of Box. Therefore, I'd like to point out what I like about Box.

Both services offer online file storage, sharing, and synchronization from multiple devices (iOS, Android, and desktop apps). But since Dropbox discontinued support for folder sharing for new users, Box has an advantage in the file sharing department. On Box you can create a shared folder that enables all of the people you share with to access the files contained within it. Whenever you update that folder all of the people you have shared it with automatically see the new files in the folder. If you allow downloading of the files within your Box folder you will be able to see who downloaded files and when they downloaded the files. If you make your folders public anyone with the link can access the files too.

Applications for Education
Creating a public Box folder could be a good way to share files with your students. If you create a public folder and share the link with your students, you can gradually update it over time and your students will always have the latest files without having to visit a new link. Create your folder(s) and have your students bookmark it or place a link to it on your class blog so that your students always have access to the latest important files for your class.

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