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Monday, March 11, 2013

A Map of Nearly 100,000 Historic Places

Historic Places offers a Google Map of nearly 100,000 historic places in North America. Browse the map and click on the placemarks to discover historic sites all over the continent. Or use the search box to look for historic places in a specific area. Clicking on the placemarks in Historic Places will take you to more information about the location of the site and a link to learn more (links not included for all places).

Applications for Education
Social Studies students researching different areas of North America may find the Historic Places map to be useful in starting a search about the local history of an area. You might also find that your students will discover new-to-them historic places in their own backyards. If that's the case, plan a field trip to go learn more about those places.

H/T to Google Maps Mania.

WordPress for Beginners

Hosted blogging services like Blogger and WordPress.com can be great for teachers who want to quickly create classroom blogs. Through a hosted service you can have a blog up and running in minutes. Hosted services also manage all of the back-end things like software updates that most teachers don't want to spend time fussing with. But if you blog long enough there may come a time when you want to have more customization options on your blog. That's when you might turn to self-hosting a WordPress blog. In fact, that's what I'm doing with iPad Apps for School, Android 4 Schools, and Practical Ed Tech.

When I started self-hosting WordPress blogs I learned a lot by trial and error. I also learned a ton from consulting WPBeginner. WPBeginner offer free video and written tutorials for all of the basics and then some. On WP Beginner you can find everything from how to change your default font size to the pros and cons of theme frameworks to how to create a forum within your WordPress blog.

Applications for Education
If you've been looking to take your classroom blog to the next level by including a classroom discussion forum within it or by creating better-looking portfolio pages, WPBeginner is a good resource to keep bookmarked. 

5 Resource for Learning About the History of Conflict on the Korean Peninsula

A few hours ago CNN and every other major news outlet reported that North Korea has declared invalid the 1953 armistice that ended the Korean War. Part of the CNN article included a short video about the history of conflict on the Korean peninsula. That video is embedded below.


For a longer explanation of the Korean War, Keith Hughes has a sixteen minute overview for high school students.


This video gives us just the facts about the Korean War in three minutes.


The Guardian offers a short, interactive slideshow about North Korea's weapons testing. The slideshow is two years old, but the graphics on how the tests are conducted are still useful.

The BBC's country profile on North Korea is a resource that students can use to get a quick overview of history of North Korea in a timeline format. Teachers who have students that have read Lois Lowry's The Giver may want to ask students for their thoughts on the media section of the BBC's profile of North Korea.

How to Create Placemarks and Tours in Google Earth

This evening Jim Wells and I will be teaching the first installment of To Geography and Beyond With Google Earth and Google Maps. One of the first topics that we'll be talking about is having students create digital stories in Google Earth and Google Maps. We'll be showing some of the tricks and nuances of the processes, as well as sharing some of our mistakes so that participants don't have to experience them too. If you can't join us for our webinar and just want some basic directions on how to create placemarks and tours, check out the slides below.


13 Good Chrome Extensions and Apps for Students and Teachers

Later this week I am going to be a virtual guest in a class at the University of the Philippines, Diliman. The topic I've been invited to speak about is using Google Chrome extensions and apps in education. In preparation for my virtual visit I've created this list of some of my favorite apps and extensions.

The Daum Equation Editor is a free, online tool for quickly writing equations that you can save as text or images to use in documents. You can use the equation editor by typing on your keyboard and or selecting symbols from the Daum Equation Editor's menu.

Magic Scroll is a Chrome web app that you can use to read ePub files on your desktop or laptop even if you do not have an internet connection.

Select and Speak is a simple text to speech browser extension. Select and Speak installs with just one click and does not require a browser re-start. Once Select and Speak is installed just highlight any text on a webpage, click the Select and Speak icon in your browser, and listen to the reading of the text.

Announcify is a free text to speech application that is available as a Chrome browser extension. With Announcify installed in your browser any time you're viewing a webpage you can simply click on the Announcify icon in your browser and have that page read to you. A bonus aspect of using Announcify is that in order to make a webpage easier to read it enlarges the text of the webpage and removes all sidebar content.

Webpage Screenshot is another good one to add to the list. Webpage Screenshot is a Chrome extension that you can use to capture all or part of webpage. You can draw and type on screenshots you make with Webpage Screenshot. One feature of Webpage Screenshot that is quite helpful is the option to capture the entire content of webpage even if it doesn't appear in your current view of the webpage. Webpage Screenshot images can be saved in your Google Drive account.

The EasyBib Chrome extension serves two purposes. The first purpose is to evaluate webpages for credibility. The credibility ranking is based on criteria outlined in this guide. The extension simply says whether the site is credible, has credibility issues, or if the source has not been evaluated. The second purpose of the EasyBib Chrome extension is to provide a quick way to add citations to your bibliographies. Click the bookmarklet to create a properly formatted citation and add it to your EasyBib account.

A Cleaner Internet is an extension for Chrome, Safari, and Firefox. The extension allows you to search YouTube and view YouTube videos without viewing the "related" content, advertisements, and comments that appear on YouTube.

QRreader (beta) is a Google Chrome extension that allows you to use your browser to decode QR codes. With QRreader installed when you come to a QR code on the web you can simply right-click on it to decode it. If the QR code is for a webpage, the page will open in a new tab. If the QR code is for text, it will open in a text dialogue box.

You can search Google using your voice, but once you get to a site then you're back to typing. Oweb Voice Input is a free Chrome extension that enables you to use your voice to search on websites. With Oweb Voice Input installed anytime that you see a search box on a website you can speak your query. On some sites Oweb Voice Input can be used to complete forms too. 

Read & Write is a free Google Chrome Web App that increases the accessibility of the text of documents in your Google Drive account. After installing the app you will see a Read & Write tab appear at the top of your browser window whenever you have a document open in Google Drive. Clicking that Read & Write tab will open a menu of accessibility options. Some of the accessibility options include a picture dictionary and a talking dictionary. To use either dictionary just highlight a word then click on the dictionary that you want to use. The dictionary that you select will pop-up in your document. Read & Write will also read the text of your documents aloud. In the settings menu you can select from nine voices and three playback speeds.

Using the Chrome Remote Desktop App you can grant access to your computer to another person who also has the Chrome Remote Desktop App installed. If you want to share your desktop just click "share now" and Chrome Remote Desktop will generate an access code to give to the person who will access your computer. To access and control another person's computer you just need to enter the access code that they provide to you.

Printliminator is a handy little bookmarklet for Firefox, Chrome, and Safari. Printliminator allows you to highlight a webpage and select only the elements which you wish to print. You can install Printliminator in seconds by just clicking and dragging it into your browser's toolbar.

Clearly comes to us from the producers of Evernote. Clearly strips the sidebar content of a webpage. You can send the cleaned-up version directly to your Evernote account for easy reading whenever you open your Evernote account. You can print the cleaned-up article from your Evernote account.

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