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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Insert Google Drive Files Into Your Gmail Messages

If you're a person who like me uses Gmail for the bulk of your email, Google has just made an announcement that you're sure to like. Now you can add a Google Drive file to your Gmail messages without leaving the Gmail message composer. Now next to the attachment icon you will see a Google Drive icon. Click that icon to add a Google Drive file to your email message. Files added to messages can be up to 10MB 10GB (thank you Harry and others for correcting my mistake) in size.

This new feature only works with the latest version of the Gmail message composer so you will have to accept the update if you haven't already done so.  According to Google's announcement this feature is being rolled out over a few days. And in my quick test this afternoon, this feature hasn't been enabled for Google Apps for Domains yet.

On a shameless promotion note, you can learn about many more Google Drive features in my new online course Google Drive and the Common Core.

Create Trading Cards for Historical and Fictional Characters - The Web Version

Yesterday, I wrote a post about Read Write Think's Trading Cards iPad App. That post got reTweeted like crazy and this morning I had a couple of people ask if there is a version of the app that can be used on a computer. The answer to that question is yes.

Read Write Think's Trading Card Creator on the web offers the same creation features that are found in the iPad app. This morning I used the web version of the Trading Card Creator to create an Abraham Lincoln trading card. To create the card I found a public domain image of Lincoln, uploaded it to the template provided by RWT, and completed the fields that asked for information about Lincoln's life. When my card was completed I was able to download it to my computer. I could have also emailed it to myself or to a friend.

Applications for Education
Just like with the iPad app students can use the RWT Trading Card Creator on the Web to create a set of trading cards about characters in a novel, to create a set of cards about people of historical significance, or to create cards about places that they're studying in their geography lessons. If your classroom has a mix of iPads and computers all students can complete the same assignment because the app and the web version offer the same creation features.

Muzy Offers a Neat Way to Blog With Pictures

Muzy is a neat blogging service that offers a neat way to blog with pictures and text. Muzy offers more than two dozen apps for manipulating and displaying your pictures. If you don't have pictures that you want to share you can use the integrated image search to find images to write about and share. Beyond the picture apps Muzy offers text apps that you can use for writing short blog entries. Everything that you create becomes a part of your Muzy blog. Additionally, you can share all of your Muzy creations on Twitter and Facebook.

When you first visit the Muzy website you'll see a pop-up box asking you to sign-in with a Facebook account. If you close that box you can register for the service without using your Facebook account. You can create new posts on the Muzy website, with the Muzy iOS app, and with the Muzy Android app.

Applications for Education
Muzy's integrated image search could be used by students to create a collage of images about a place, person, or event that they're studying. Students could also use the Muzy "thoughts" app to write short blog entries.

Muzy's T.O.S. requires users to be 13 or older. There is a public gallery of posts and while I didn't see anything in appropriate when I browsed through it, I suppose that there is potential for things that you wouldn't want elementary school students to browse through.



Thanks to Jim George for sharing Muzy on Twitter.

myHomework Helps Students Keep Track of Assignments

myHomework is a free app that students can use on the web on iPads, on  iPhones, on Android devices, and on Windows 8 devices to keep track of their school schedules and assignment due dates. myHomework syncs students' schedules and assignments across all of the devices that they use.

On myHomework students can enter their course schedules in day and time format (example: History meets at 10am Monday) or in a block schedule format (example: History meets during block 1 every other day).  Assignments that students enter into myHomework can be assigned a level of priority in addition to the due date and the assignment description.

I tried myHomework on my iPad and one of my older Android tablets that is running Honeycomb (Android 3.0) and it worked fine. That said there are some comments in the Google Play store suggesting that myHomework may not be fully updated for Jellybean (Android 4.0+).

Applications for Education
If you're looking for one schedule and homework reminder service that you can recommend to all of your students regardless of which mobile operating system they use, myHomework is worth trying out.

Woven Together - An Interactive Story About Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest

Woven Together is an interactive story that students can work through to learn about the history and culture of the Nuu-chah-nulth people of the Pacific Northwest. As students move through the story they can click on the Nuu-chah-nulth words to hear them pronounced and to read their definitions. The story is arranged in seven parts based on images associated with the history and culture of the Nuu-chah-nulth people. After finishing the story students can find directions for trying their hands at weaving (with supervision of course).

Applications for Education
Woven Together could be a good interactive resource to use in elementary school or middle school lessons about the traditions and history of various groups of Native Americans. Woven History's inclusion of audio files that play the words makes it useful for introducing students to some new words. 

I learned about Woven Together in Larry Ferlazzo's list of sites for International Day of the Indigenous People.

The U.S. Electoral Compass

The U.S. Electoral Compass is an interactive infographic from The Guardian. The infographic breaks down which political policy issues are most important to the people of each state. Select a state from the list and the compass will show you a list of which issues are discussed most frequently in news articles and in social media in that state. You can get data for every week from July 2 through November 12, 2012.

Applications for Education
The U.S. Electoral Compass could be a good source of conversation and research starters in a social studies class. You could have students discuss and research why some issues are more important in their state than they are in another.

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