Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Track This Now - News Stories from Global Perspectives

Track This Now is a fun way and an interesting way to look at news stories from a variety of perspectives. Track This Now is basically a new story search engine attached to a Google Map. Type a search term in the search box and the results are displayed on a Google Map. Each placemark on the Track This Now map is connected to a series of news stories from that country. For example, when I searched for stories about General Motors placemarks appeared all over the map. When I clicked on the placemark for Brazil I found stories from Brazilian news outlets.

Applications for Education
Track This Now could be a useful resource for any teacher using current news in the classroom. Track This Now offers students and teachers an easy way to find differing perspectives on the same stories. Part of lesson using Track This Now could be to have students analyze the reasons for differing perspectives on the same news story.

Ref Seek - Academic Search Engine Filters Advertising

Ref Seek is a new search engine designed for academic use. Ref Seek seems to eliminate the advertising and paid links found on Google, Ask, Yahoo, and other commercial search engines. Ref Seek's intention is to serve only search results that are academic in nature. I did a couple of quick searches using the terms "glacier" and "healthy body fat." What I found is that there wasn't any advertising, but the results were not entirely academic. In the case of searching with the term "glacier," Wikipedia was the first result. Wikipedia is also the first result when searching "glacier" on Google.

The difference between Ref Seek and a generic Google search lies lower than the top results in search returns. As you compare search results between Ref Seek and Google you will find that the second and third pages of search results on Ref Seek contain results that seem to be more "academic" than what is found on the second and third pages of a generic Google search.

My Nominations for the 2008 Edublog Awards

It's time to make nominations for the 2008 Edublog Awards. I am flattered and humbled that Larry Ferlazzo nominated Free Technology for Teachers in the Best Resource Sharing Blog category. To make your own nominations please visit the Edublog Awards nomination page.

Here are my nominations so far:

Best Educational Use of Audio: Wicked Decent Learning

Best Educational Use of a Social Networking Service: Angela Maiers

Best Educational Use of Video/ Visual: Digital Ethnography

Best Resource Sharing Blog: Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day

Growing Up in the White House - Part II

The video embedded below, from CNN Student News, includes a segment about life in the White House. The segment which includes the code names assigned to the Obama children makes a good companion to the video segment and the writing project idea that I posted yesterday.

(If you're reading this in a RSS reader, you may have to visit the blog directly to see the video).

Applications for Education
As I mentioned yesterday, an interesting writing project could be formed around living in the White House. You can have students express how they would feel if their mother or father was elected to the Presidency, have them write about the rooms they would most want to play in in the White House, and ask them what they would choose as their "code name" if they lived in the White House.

An Oral History Project for Veterans Day

Yesterday, I Tweeted that my students were using and to locate primary source documents and images for a project that they're working on. While I was helping one of my students we came across the Veterans History Project. The Veterans History Project is an effort by the American Folklife Center at the US Library of Congress to record the stories of veterans who served in WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Persian Gulf War, and the current Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts. The Library of Congress is asking for volunteers who are willing to conduct and share recorded interviews with Veterans. The project accepts video, audio, images, and transcripts. Please check the Library of Congress website for submission guidelines.

Applications for Education
The Veterans History Project is a project that high school students (grades 10+) can get involved in. The Veterans History Project has high standards for submissions from high school students so be sure to check the guideline page for students and teachers. Getting your students involved in the Veterans History Project could be a great way to have them learn about the people in their community that have served in the military. Having students talk to people that were actually involved in a military conflict can be a very profound experience for high school students, particularly for students that are considering enlisting in a branch of the military.

Google Reader Now Translates RSS Feeds

As I've written before, the Google Translate application can be useful for ESL/EFL students as well as for native English speakers trying to learn a new language. I've personally been using Google Translate as I prepare for my trip to China in April. Yesterday, Google announced that RSS feeds can now be translated inside Google Reader.

Applications for Education
What this announcement from Google means for foreign language and ESL teachers and students is that if there is a website, written in a foreign language, that you follow and translate frequently, you can now subscribe to an RSS feed that is translated for you.

Not sure what RSS is or what it can do for you? Check out this video from Common Craft.

Watch the same video with Chinese subtitles or another language of your choice here.