Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Add Voice Narration to Slide Shows - Slide Six

Slide Six is a slide show sharing site similar to Slide Share or Slide Boom with a couple of added features. Just as on Slide Share and Slide Boom users can upload and share slide show presentations privately or publicly. What makes Slide Six better than and easier to use than Slide Share or Slide Boom is that Slide Six users can add narration to their slide show directly on the Slide Six website. Slide Share doesn't support audio narration and Slide Boom requires that the narration be added before the upload.

Here is Slide Six creator Todd Sharp explaining the features of Slide Six.

Applications for Education
As Todd Sharp points out in the slide cast above, adding audio narration to a slide show increases that ability of a slide show to deliver a message. If you have students creating slide shows that are going to end up in a wiki or on a blog consider having them add audio narration to their presentations before embedding them into a blog or wiki.

Free Posters, Free Maps

World Mapper is a unique way to look at data sets. World Mapper is a collection of over 500 maps displaying all types of scientific, economic, historical, and demographic data. World Mapper uses density-equalizing maps to display each country and continent differently based on each data set. For example the birthrate map displays countries with a higher birthrates as larger than normal (standard projection) when compared to countries with a lower birthrate which displayed smaller than normal.

World Mapper
makes 366 of the maps available pdf files that can be used to create posters for your classroom (click here for a land area map). World Mapper also makes available, as pdf files, the data sets used in the creation of each map.

Applications for Education
A brief conversation I had on Twitter today revealed that it's not just history teachers that are fascinated by maps. For teachers looking for something to display in the classroom that might spark academic curiosity, World Mapper could be a great resource.
World Mapper maps provide students with a different way to look at data. Raw data sets alone don't tell a story nearly as well as a visual representation of the data

Selling Administrators on Social Media

Last week Read Write Web ran an article titled 5 Ways to Sell Social Media to Your Boss. The article is clearly targeted to those working in the sales and marketing business, but some of the concepts shared in the article can be applied to academic settings.

The first idea in the article by DJ Francis is "keeping up with the Joneses." Francis makes the point that no boss wants to be left behind. Chances are good that your boss, in our case school administrator, has seen some element of social media. Francis then suggests that employees show their bosses examples of how social media can help accomplish the organization's objectives. The lesson for teachers who want to sell administrators on using social media in the classroom is to show, not tell, administrators how social media can help meet the school's objectives. If you're school is trying to improve communication between parents and teachers, show your school administrator how a blog help reach that goal.

Francis also mentions in his article that bosses in business want to see a return on their investment. In my experience, school administrators also want to see a return on their investments. Obviously, school administrators aren't looking for profits, they're looking for increased student engagement and achievement. Any school that has Internet access and computers has already made the material investment necessary to use social media. Remind school administrators that they have already made the financial investment necessary, allowing teachers to use social media like blogs, wikis, Twitter, Edumodo, etc will increase the return on the investment.

If you have a few minutes take a look at 5 Ways to Sell Social Media to Your Boss and see which ideas you can use with your school administrators.

If you don't have time to read the full article then just take a look at this short example of how to impress your boss with web 2.0.

Impress Your Boss With Web 2.0
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: work teachers)

Two Virtual Tours Worth Taking With Your Students

In the last two days I've discovered two virtual tours that should be of interest to history teachers. The Vatican Museums Online provides six virtual tours including a tour of the Sistine Chapel. The imagery of the Vatican Museum tours is of the highest quality. On many parts of the tours visitors can zoom in to see some of the finer details of the displays. Along with great images, the Vatican Museum tours provide historical information and explanations for most aspects of each tour.

Beyond Space and Time offers a great virtual tour of China's Forbidden City. The Forbidden City tour has a similar look and feel to Second Life. In the Forbidden City tour users are assigned an avatar and are free to travel throughout the Forbidden City and complete activities that they come across. The Forbidden City tour does not provide images of real artifacts as the entire tour is animated in a Second Life style. The Forbidden City tour is not web based, you have to download a rather large file containing the Forbidden City tour. The Forbidden City virtual tour is available for Mac, PC, and Linux operating systems.