Monday, April 28, 2008

Free Technology For Teachers: Viewzi - Visual Search Engine

Viewzi is a fun and exciting new search engine. Viewzi is good search tool because it allows users to see their search results without having to click on any links. Viewzi search results are displayed in multiple forms in what are essentially small screen shot images. Clicking on the screen shot enlarges the image where users can read the search results and click on active links. I tried out Viewzi by entering the search term "Battle of Gettysburg" and received results displayed in twelve small screen shots categorizing results as "images", "list view", "video", "weather", "mp3", "books," etc.
Viewzi is still in beta, but they are adding more users every day. I received my beta invite the same day I requested it.

Here is a short video explaining the Viewzi concept.

Applications for Education
Viewzi could be a good way for students to access and compare search results for one topic. The search results are displayed in a manner that makes it easy and intuitive for students to explore text, video, image, and mp3 results in one place.

Free Technology For Teachers: Super Maths World

Super Maths World is a great website of activities and games for learning and practicing mathematics skills. Super Maths World has some great interactive visual depictions of mathematics concepts. For example, the graphing section allows students to instantly see the effects of a change in the value of "x" on the slope of a line.
Super Maths World produces many games in which students can test their mathematics skills. The games appear to be flash based and have the feel of playing a "real" video game. Each game gives instant feedback and students can track their progress with the progress tracker.

Applications for Education
Super Maths World is great tool for differentiated math classrooms. The activities offered on Super Maths World are suitable for students in elementary, middle, and high school. The progress tracker is a good way for self-directed learners to measure their progress. The progress tracker and scores could also be used by teachers as a means of measuring a student's development.

Free Technology For Teachers: Another New Zoho Feature

Zoho's suite of web-based productivity products keeps getting better. I don't use spread sheets that often, but I know some teachers that use them quite frequently which makes it worth while to pass along this update. Zoho Sheet, the spreadsheet application from Zoho, now supports Visual Basic Macros (the type of macros found in Microsoft's Excel product) making it the only web-based spreadsheet application to run VB Macros. Why should anyone care about this update? This update makes it easier to transition from a proprietary software product (MS Excel in this case) to a web-based productivity product as almost all spreadsheet users are familiar with the use of VB Macros.

Below is a video from Zoho explaining the new features of Zoho Sheet.

Free Technology For Teachers: Online Resource for Visual Arts

VADS (Visual Arts Data Service) is project at the University College for the Creative Arts. The VADS project provides thousands of high quality images categorized thematically. Some of the collections are comprised of images of historical significance while other collections are comprised of images of more contemporary art. VADS provides more than just images, it also provides background information about each collection and links to investigate for further study. One of the really nice services VADS provides is a free light box service that users can use to save images into collections of their own and then share with others.

Applications for Education
The light box service VADS provides is a nice tool teachers and students can use to create their own collection of images for study. Under the "services" section of VADS teachers will find some great guides to using digital resources for teaching art. Also in the services section of VADS teachers will find case studies of digital resources being used as teaching tools.

Free Technology For Teachers: A Challenge for Twitterholics

Allen Stern at Center Networks has put out a challenge to tech bloggers, can you go a week without mentioning Twitter? (I'm not sure I can). One of his readers responded with a challenge of going a week without using Twitter. Can you go a week without using Twitter?
I was unplugged from the Internet and social networking for the afternoon and evening yesterday and it was kind of a nice feeling to take a break. I had almost forgotten what it felt like not to be multitasking.

Update: I broke down and used Twitter today. It's hard to stay away when you're always looking for the next great tech development.

SlideBoom - Share Your Slide Shows

Slide Boom is a new slide show sharing tool. Slide Boom, like Slide Share, allow users to upload their slide show presentations and share the slide shows publicly or privately. Slide Boom quickly converts your slide shows (my 17 slides about India uploaded in less than five minutes) for use on the Slide Boom website and provides the html code for use on other websites or blogs. One of Slide Boom's best features is the ability to add slide show transcriptions in place of audio voice over. Probably the best aspect of Slide Boom is that the transitions you included in your original presentation are preserved when your slide show is uploaded to Slide Boom.

Below is a Slide Boom slide show about Slide Boom.

Applications for Education
Slide Boom is a good way for teachers and students to share presentations over the web. For teachers Slide Boom provides a tool for sharing notes and lectures to students who have been absent. Teachers can use Slide Boom to make a blog post for students to review in preparation for a test or to comment on as part of an ongoing discussion. Click here to read about the day that Slide Share saved my lesson plan.