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Thursday, June 5, 2014

Use SlideRule to Find an Online Course This Summer

SlideRule is a search tool designed to help you find an online course. SlideRule has indexed instructional offerings from nearly one hundred content providers including MIT, Yale, and Stanford. You can search for courses according to subject, topic, and content providers. You can filter results to display only free content. Results can also be filtered to include only the courses that offer video instruction.

Applications for Education
There is not a shortage of institutions offering various online courses this summer. Finding the course that is right for you can take a lot of time if you're just jumping from site to site looking for a course. SlideRule could be helpful in finding a course that you want to take or for finding a course to recommend to your students.

H/T to Lifehacker.

Shutterfly Offers Tips for Taking Perfect Pictures - Interactive Guide

From graduation ceremonies to end-of-year field trips to summer vacation trips, this time of year presents many opportunities to take pictures of friends, family, and students. To help you take better pictures, Shutterfly offers an interactive guide to taking the perfect photo.

Shutterfly's guide to taking the perfect photo begins by having you select the type of camera that you are using. Choose either DSLR or smartphone or point-and-shoot. From there you can select a photo type, there are twelve to choose from, to receive a set of tips on taking the perfect photo. Some of the photo types include selfie, portrait, candid, and action.

Here's one of Shutterfly's tips for taking action photos with a smartphone:
Place your finger on the screen where you expect the action to occur. This will lock in focus so that you can take a photo quickly by removing your finger once your subject is visible in the frame.


Applications for Education
I often encourage teachers to have their students collaborate on the development of a picture gallery that they can use whenever they need images for slideshow and video projects. That gallery isn't terribly useful if the pictures aren't good. Shutterfly's guide to taking the perfect photo could be a good resource to review with students before sending them off to take pictures to use in slideshow and video projects.

YouTube Tools, Blogger Directions, and Keynote Slides for Trinity Valley School and Others

This morning I had the privilege to speak to teachers at Trinity Valley School in Fort Worth, TX. The topic of my presentation was one that I've presented many times over the last year, Discovery, Discussion, and Demonstration. During my presentation I mentioned some of the neat features of the YouTube video editor and I mentioned the need for teachers to create classroom blogs or websites.

Directions for using the YouTube editor tools can be found through this post.  Directions for creating blogs through Blogger can be found here.

The slides from my presentation are embedded below.

Living With the Railroads - Maps, Images, and Videos of U.S. Railroad Development

The development of railroads across the United States is included in every US History textbook that I've come across. The following three resources provide excellent visuals to help students understand the expansion and contraction of railroads in the United States.

Historypin offers a great resource that can help students see the development of railroad in the United States. On Living With the Railroads students can explore a Google Map laden with nearly 1,700 historical images of various railroad stations across the United States. At the bottom of the map students will find a timeline slider that they can move. Moving the timeline slider will reveal images specific to the time frame selected on the timeline.

Living With the Railroads was developed in partnership with the Spatial History Project at Stanford University. The Spatial History Project features even more maps and interactive visuals about the history of railroads.

The following video, U.S. Railroad Map History Map 1830-1990s, provides a concise overview of the expansion and contraction of railroads in the United States.


PD Opportunities With Me This Summer

Clouds in the valley in
western Maine.
Summer weather has arrived here in the northern hemisphere and with that we start to think about summer activities. For many of us that means professional development activities mixed in with vacation activities. I am fortunate to be asked by many people about professional development opportunities with me.

Here are the PD opportunities that I am hosting this summer:

  • The Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp is the two day workshop that I host at the Sunday River Resort. Due to some cancellations, five four seats are available. July 14-15
  • Getting Ready for GAFE is a five week course covering everything you need to know to be ready to integrate Google Drive, Google Calendar, and Google Sites into your practice in the new school year. I'm offering the course in June, July, and August. 
  • Blogs and Social Media for Teachers and School Leaders is a three week webinar series that I am offering in June. Blogs and Social Media for Teachers and School Leaders is designed to help teachers and school leaders develop an understanding of the many ways they can use blogs and social media (Twitter, Google+, Instagram, and more) to enhance communication between school and home. 

Here are the places at which I will be speaking this summer:

I will be speaking at a handful of conferences in the fall. A list of those events will be published later this summer. 

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