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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Explore the Eiffel Tower With Google Street View

Earlier today Google released the latest addition to the Google Cultural Institute. That addition is all about the Eiffel Tower. The new Eiffel Tower virtual exhibit includes Street View imagery not only around the Eiffel Tower but inside the tower and the views from the Eiffel Tower. In addition to the Street View imagery the exhibit includes lots of historical imagery and drawings of the tower.

To me the most impressive parts of the Google Cultural Institute's Eiffel Tower exhibit are the Birth of the Eiffel Tower and the Construction of the Eiffel Tower interactive displays. Through these interactive displays students learn about the design and construction methods used in assembling the tower.

Applications for Education
The Google Cultural Institute's Eiffel Tower exhibit has potential uses in a variety of classrooms. Obviously, students studying French culture and history can benefit from exploring the exhibit. Students learning about engineering and construction methods can also benefit by exploring the exhibit.

Organize Your Thoughts and Tasks With Thought Boxes

Thought Boxes is a task management service with a hint of mind mapping in its user interface. At its most basic Thought Boxes is a place to create to-do lists. You can organize your to-do lists into groups that Thought Boxes refers to as "trains" as in "trains of thought." Your lists can include basic text notes as well as links to other sites. The trains that you create in Thought Boxes are basically categories for your to-do lists. For example, in the screenshot below you will see that I created a train for tasks related to my teaching responsibilities.

You can rearrange the boxes in each of your trains in your Thought Boxes account by just dragging and dropping them into place. The free version of Thought Boxes does not allow you to share your trains with others.

Applications for Education
Thought Boxes could be useful for managing to-do lists associated with academic projects. Students could also use Thought Boxes to organize all parts of their academic lives. They could create a "train" of to-do lists for their classes, a "train" for extracurricular clubs, and a "train" for responsibilities at home.

Thought Boxes doesn't have to be used for to-do lists. Students could use Thought Boxes to create an outline for essays they're writing or a video they're producing. Being able to drag and drop boxes into a sequence makes it easier for students to quickly rearrange their thoughts to fit the needs of their outlines. 

Create 100 Frame Animations on ABCya Animate

ABCya Animate is a fun new tool from ABCya (disclosure, an advertiser here). ABCya Animate allows students to create animated GIFs containing up to 100 frames. On ABCya Animate students build their animation creations by drawing, typing, and inserting images. Students can change the background of each frame, include new pictures in each frame, and change the text in each frame of their animations.

The feature that I like best about ABCya Animate is that students can see the previous frames of their animations while working on a current frame. This helps students know where to position items in each frame in order to make their animations as smooth as possible. Students do not need to register on ABCya Animate in order to use the tool or to save their animations. When students click "save" on ABCya Animate their creations are downloaded as GIFs.

Applications for Education
ABCya Animate could be a great tool for elementary school and middle school students to use to create animations to use to tell a short story. For example, the animation that I started in the picture above could be the beginning of a short story about flying to visit grandparents. To complete the story I would add some drawings to represent my family and perhaps some text for clarification. Your students might also use short animations as part of larger multimedia project.

How to Create Flipped Classroom Assignments & Videos With Knowmia

Knowmia is a website and an iPad app for creating, sharing, and viewing video lessons. Last month Knowmia introduced a new feature that they call an Assignment Wizard. The Knowmia Assignment Wizard allows teachers to design assignments that their students have to complete after watching a video. Students can check their own Knowmia accounts to see the assignments that their teachers have distributed.

Knowmia's new support blog outlines each step of the process of creating and distributing assignments through the Assignment Wizard. Click here for an introduction to using the Knowmia Assignment Wizard and click here for advanced instructions on using the Assignment Wizard.

Applications for Education
If you're thinking about trying some "flipped" lessons this year, take a look at Knowmia's Assignment Wizard and the Knowmia iPad app. The free iPad app allows you to make your own instructional videos to use in the Assignment Wizard. If you don't have time to create your own videos to use in your lessons the Assignment Wizard will let you import videos from YouTube.

And if you're not using the flipped model, Knowmia can be a good place to find educational videos that your students can use to review or get "on demand" help when they cannot connect with you.

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