Friday, May 16, 2008

Learn Out Loud - Audio Books and More

Learn Out Loud has gathered together a collection of over 2500 free audio books and other educational audio and video files. Learn Out Loud's collection includes readings of famous literature as well as audio and video files of famous speeches and news reports. The collection is sorted into sixteen categories which can then be sorted alphabetically or by popularity.

Applications for Education
Learn Out Loud's collection of free audio books can be used to make difficult texts more accessible to struggling readers. Learn Out Loud has files suitable for students in every grade from Kindergarten through high school. The Lit2Go selections on Learn Out Loud are specifically targeted toward elementary school and middle school students. Lit2Go features readings of common children's literature.

Learn Out Loud's collection of audio recordings of famous speeches can help to bring history alive for students. Learn Out Loud also features some free videos that history teachers will find make a nice supplement to their instruction.

Wolfram Demonstrations - Powerful Demonstrations of Math Concepts

The Wolfram Demonstrations Project produces some of the best interactive demonstrations of mathematics concepts that I've found on the web. The list of demonstrations is very comprehensive and offers something for every level of mathematics study. The demonstrations can be viewed online, but to make to use the demonstrations interactively you need to download the free Mathematica Player from the Wolfram website. The Mathematica Player is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux environments. Installing the Mathematica Player allows users to download demonstrations and use them interactively on their local computer. The demonstrations available range some very simple concepts like estimating and multiplication of simple numbers to Calculus and beyond.

Applications for Education
The demonstrations available from Wolfram are suitable for upper elementary school students through
collegiate level mathematics students. The interactive demonstrations allow students to experiment with mathematical variables and see the effects of those variables. What is nice about many of the interactive demonstrations is that students can experiment with demonstrations then have the demonstration reveal the answer or rule that applies to the problem.

The image below is linked to an elementary school mathematics demonstration from Wolfram.

Daylight Map - A Simple yet Useful Map

At first glance, Daylight Map doesn't look like much, but upon further evaluation I found a number of interesting uses for it. The basic concept of Daylight is to demonstrate, on a Google Map, the patterns of day and night around the world. The options menu gives users a choice of viewing the map in (near) real-time or view in an alternate day and time. A deeper exploration of Daylight shows that it can be used to view changing cloud cover around the world. Daylight Map also has an interesting map of city lights visible at night across the globe.

Applications for Education
Daylight Map can be used by students and teachers to follow the changes in daylight throughout the world. The Daylight Map is useful for showing the shape of the Earth's shadow on its surface. Teachers and students may also want to look at the Solstice and Equinox plots available on from the Daylight Map. Finally, if your students are building websites or personalized start pages, they may want to add the Daylight Map overlays to their page using the options provided by Daylight

The End of Slide Shows - Animoto

Animoto is a new, free, web tool for making professional quality videos from your images and music. Animoto is similar to PhotoShow in that it uses your images to create a video, but Animoto does not have the additional text options. The advantage Animoto has over other online video creation is that Animoto does the hard work of building transitions and timings for you. Making an Animoto video is a simple two step process, upload your images then select your music, Animoto does the rest for you.

Applications for Education
Animoto is a new twist on slide show presentations. Creating videos with Animoto is a simple way for students to create products that they can be proud of. A couple of my students are planning to build videos about China in which they'll use music from China along with images of China gathered from the Internet.

Here is a sample video I built on Animoto.