Saturday, January 10, 2009

Visual Wikipedia - Videos and Diagrams to Match Wikipedia

Visual Wikipedia has a great concept and layout that could meet the needs of a variety of learning styles. Visual Wikipedia shows students connections between topics through web diagrams and videos. Visual Wikipedia takes Wikipedia entries and then shows a connections chart or web of related topics. In addition to the web of connections there is a video (often many videos) connected to each topic. Below you will see the connections web for Martin Luther King, Jr.

Each item on the connections web is linked to more information about that particular topic. Clicking on each link in the connections web also generates a new web about the link clicked.

The video below demonstrates Visual Wikipedia in action. The video does not have sound.

Applications for Education
Visual Wikipedia could be a great reference source for students in elementary school through high school and beyond. The connections web is a good tool for students to narrow their research from a general topic to a more specific and focused topic. The videos connected to the Wikipedia entries could be very helpful for students that comprehend information better when they can see and hear it.

Thanks to SkipZ for sharing Visual Wikipedia with me on Twitter.

The Crunchies Award Winners and Nominees

Last night TechCrunch hosted the Crunchies Awards. The Crunchies are awards given out to web companies in a variety of categories. I was happy to see a few of the companies that I really like, Animoto, Slide Rocket, and Kiva, be recognized. I saw some companies on the list of nominees that I had not heard of prior to the Crunchies. Take a look at the list of nominees to see if there are websites on the list that you can use in your professional or personal life, I'll bet that you find at least one website of use to you.

Use Google Maps to Read the News

MetaCarta is one of the Google Maps mashups listed in Mashable's 100+ Google Maps Mashups list. MetaCarta is a mashup of Reuters news stories and Google Maps. Using MetaCarta you can search for new stories by location, by topic, or by date/time. On the left side of the screen a list of stories is displayed and on the right side a Google Map displays the location of each news story in the list.

Applications for Education
MetaCarta provides all of the current news stories that a Social Studies/ Current Events teacher needs along with a geographic context for each story. You could use the idea of MetaCarta to have your students create their own mashup of news stories that they read in class.

If you're not familiar with creating content on Google Maps or would like an easy-to-understand tutorial for your students, check out the Google Maps YouTube Channel. On the Google Maps YouTube Channel you will videos like the one below.