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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

VIDquik Offers Quick Web and Video Conferencing

VIDquik is a service that I tried out five months ago. At that time it offered video calling. Today, I gave it another look because it now provides web conferencing too. The web conferencing option allows you to present slides while video conferencing and text chatting at the same time. To host a web conference you have to register for the service, but your participants do not. Participants join your conference by simply clicking on the link that comes in the invitation email that you send to them.

Applications for Education
Using VIDquik could be a good way to host an online tutorial session or to deliver a short lecture over the web. When I tested VIDquik this afternoon I saw what looked like an option for screensharing, but it wasn't quite working the way that I expected it to. Hopefully, this feature becomes live soon.

Join.me Offers an iPad App for Virtual Conferences

Join.me is a web conferencing service that makes it easy to share your screen and talk with others in realtime. I first gave it a try in 2010. Since then Join.me's list of features has expanded. The latest feature is a new iPad app that you can use to host or join virtual conferences on Join.me. The iPad app is free to download and use to join conferences hosted by others. To host your own conference through the iPad app you will have to be a subscriber to Join.me pro. There is a still a free hosting option for the desktop version of Join.me.

Applications for Education
Join.me takes just a few minutes to set-up on your desktop. Once it's set up you can share your screen and invite others to join your conference. Joining a Join.me conference doesn't require anything other than entering the room number assigned to the conference. This ease of joining a conference makes Join.me a convenient tool for students to use to get some virtual assistance from you.

H/T to TechCrunch.

500+ Cool Infographics

Earlier today I was on Randy Krum's Cool Infographics blog. Cool Infographics always has neat infographics and commentary about what makes an effective infographic. As I was browsing the blog I noticed that Randy Krum now has a substantial collection of infographics pinned on Pinterest. The Cool Infographics Pinterest page has more than 500 infographics pinned to it.

Applications for Education
Infographics can be a good source of discussion and research prompts in a classroom. Creating infographics can be a good way for students to try to organize data and other information that they have gathered. If you're looking for infographics to use as prompts or as models for your students' work, take a look at the Cool Infographics Pinterest page.

For ideas on teaching with infographics visit The New York Times Learning Network's Teaching With Infographics page. I also recommend looking at the extensive page of resources about teaching with infographics that Kathy Schrock has created.

A Timeline of the History of the Christmas Tradition

History of the Christmas Tradition is an infographic laid out in a timeline format. The infographic actually has four timelines on it dating as far back as the 4th Century A.D. The four timelines are arranged labeled as culture, traditions, figures, and decorations. I put the infographic into a Zoom.it frame so that it will fit in this post. Visit Balsam Hill the infographic's creator to view the full size graphic.

Applications for Education
History of the Christmas Tradition could be a good discussion and research prompt in a lesson about culture. You could have your students select items from the timeline to research in more depth and share their findings with each other.


H/T to Cool Infographics.

Word Mover Helps Students Start Poems

Word Mover is another nice, free iPad app from Read Write Think. The app is designed to help students develop poems and short stories. When students open the Word Mover app they are shown a selection of words that they can drag onto a canvas to construct a poem or story. Word Mover provides students with eight canvas backgrounds on which they can construct their poems. If the word bank provided by Word Mover doesn’t offer enough words they can add their own words to the word bank.

Applications for Education 
Word Mover could be a great app for students to use to as a story or poem starter. The app reminds me a bit of those refrigerator magnets that were popular for a while. You know, the ones that had individual words on them that you dragged around to create funny sentences. The same idea can be applied to Word Mover.

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