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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Harnessing the Power of Wind - A National Geographic Interactive Lesson

National Geographic has a neat little interactive activity designed to help people understand how wind turbines generate power. Harness the Power of Wind walks viewers through the basics of wind turbine design. After reviewing the design principles you can design and "test" your wind turbine's efficiency. You can adjust the height of your wind turbine, the wind speed, the altitude, and the blade radius.

Applications for Education 
Harness the Power of Wind could be used for teaching a lesson on wind power that incorporates basic physics and mathematics concepts.

Draft - A Simple Collaborative Writing Tool

Draft is a new collaborative writing tool that makes you focus on writing and revising by providing a simple user interface. In Draft you won't find options for inserting images or messing around with font types. In Draft you just write. When you're ready to get feedback about your writing, you can invite someone to read your document by entering that person's email address. The person that reads your document can suggest edits. When the person reading your document is done you can accept or reject the suggested edits.

Applications for Education
For students who don't have Google Documents, Draft could be a nice tool for peer editing online.

Shareor - Another Social Bookmarking Site for Teachers

It seems like at least once a week there is a new social bookmarking site launched. This week's entry into that category is Shareor. Shareor is a free service that looks a heck of a lot like Pinterest. The basics of using the site will remind you a lot of the Pinterest interface. Shareor offers a little more than pinning by providing "workspaces" in which teachers can collaborate. Learn more about Shareor in the video below.


Applications for Education
Shareor has a nice infographic showing sixteen ways that teachers can use the service. That image is pasted below.

Ten Tools for Cropping, Resizing, and Enhancing Images Online

This afternoon as I worked through a backlog of email I replied to a couple of questions about resizing images to make them fit under the size limitation for images in the new Socrative image-based question feature. I have tried a lot of image resizing, cropping, and enhancing tools over the years. Here are ten good ones to try.

Pixlr is a great set of image creation and editing tools. Pixlr offers web-based image editing tools as well as image editing tools to use on Android phones and on iPhones. Pixlr also has Firefox and Chrome browser extensions for creating screen captures.Pixlr Editor is Pixlr's most full-featured image creation and editing tool. You can create drawings from scratch using the pencil and coloring tools that they provide. Pixlr Editor also has options for uploading images or importing images from other places on the web. The selection of creation and editing tools is huge. There are options for making multiple layer images, dozens of filter settings, and of course tools for cropping and resizing images. Your images can be saved to your computer or you can send them to Flickr, Picassa, Facebook, or you can save them in a Pixlr account.

PicMonkey is one of my favorite online image editing tools. To get started using PicMonkey you can upload an image by simply dragging it from your desktop to the PicMonkey editor. From there you can change things like saturation, contrast, size, and sharpness. You can then add custom frames and special effects like "Polaroid style" to your images. Want to add text to your images? PicMonkey provides a slew of font styles for your use. And if you have just one tiny part of an image that you want to enhance or obscure, PicMonkey gives you tools for that too.

GooEdit is a free image editing tool that operates as a Google Chrome extension. GooEdit allows you to edit images without having to leave your browser. You can add outlines, flip images, resize images, and do other basic image editing tasks in GooEdit. If you need a simple image editing tool for your students, give GooEdit a try.

Quick Picture Tools is a free service that offers twelve tools for editing and enhancing your pictures. Some of the things that you can do with Quick Picture Tools include cropping images, combining images, adding text to images, and creating calendar wall paper for your computer. Each of the tools provides the option to resize images and adjust the overall quality of your original image before you use it for a collage, calendar, or mini poster.

Picfull is a free online photo editing service. To use the service just upload a picture and select an effect to add to it.  Picfull offers eighteen basic sets of effects. After you select an effect you can customize it to your liking. When you're finished altering your photo you can download or share it via Twitter, Facebook, or email.

Picozu is a free online image editing tool. Using Picozu you can touch-up existing images or you can create new images from scratch. In the Picozu editor you will find tools for adjusting color saturation and clarity. The editor also includes tools for creating images containing multiple layers. And if you want to include text in your image Picozu has options for that too. Picozu offers the option to register and join their community or you can use the editing tools without creating an account. If you do choose to create an account you can save your images on Picozu and add them to the community albums. If choose not to create a Picozu you can save your images to your computer, send them to your Facebook account, or send them to your Dropbox account.

Cropp.me is a beautifully simple web tool for quickly cropping your images. Cropp.me is a little different than a lot of the other services in this market. What makes Cropp.me different is its smart auto-crop option. If you choose this option, Cropp.me will auto-detect the focal point of your images and crop accordingly. Cropp.me allows you to upload and crop up to five images at the same time. You can crop your images to one of nine predefined sizes or you can specify a custom size.

Fotor is a free image editing tool available in your web browser, as a desktop application for Mac and Windows, as iPad app, as an Android app, and as a Windows 8 application. Fotor can be used without creating an account. With Fotor you can crop images, apply filters, add picture frames, insert clip art, and add text to your images. You can also create image collages on Fotor. All of your work can be saved on your computer or mobile device.

Phrase.it is a simple service that anyone can use to add speech bubbles and some basic Instagram-like effects to your pictures. To use the service just upload a picture and choose a speech bubble. Drag your speech bubble into place then type your text. You can change the font style in your speech bubbles. Click the "add more drama" button to add one of four image shading effects.

Imageoid is a free, simple service for adding a variety of effects to your images. To use Imageoid you just upload an image from your computer then choose the effect(s) you want to apply to it. You can combine effects if you like. If you don't like the way your image looks with a chosen effect, just click "reset" to start again. Imageoid can also be used to resize your image. Imageoid offers twenty-two effects that you can apply to your image.

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