Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Placeopedia - Wikipedia and Google Maps

In the last few months I've found some good mashup uses of Wikipedia including Visual Wikipedia, Nibipedia, and Wikimapia. All three of those services seek to provide additional context and content for Wikipedia entries through media that isn't a part of Wikipedia itself.

Placeopedia is a website that provides additional context for Wikipedia entries through Google Maps. Placeopedia connects Wikipedia articles with their locations. Click on any placemark on Placeopedia's map and you will be linked to a Wikipedia article about that place.

Applications for Education
Placeopedia might be a good tool for students to use to do some quick, general research about a city, state, or country.

CleVR - Make Your Own Panoramic Image Tours

CleVR is an Adobe Air application that allows you to take a set of images and stitch them together to create a panoramic image. The panoramic image you create can be rotated side to side, up and down, and zoomed in and out. To use the image editor you can drag and drop images onto your CleVR clipboard or upload to your clipboard. You select the sequence of the images and CleVR stitches them together to make your panorama. Your finished product can be posted on the CleVR website or embedded into your own website or blog.

I installed CleVR and gave it a try this evening. I noticed, through trial and error, that you do have to have to play around with the sequence of images in order to get a quality product. As with most applications of this type, the larger the image size and higher the quality of the images, the slower your images are processed. CleVR would probably be frustrating to try to use with elementary school students. Most middle school and high school students should be able to create nice panoramic images with CleVR.

Applications for Education
CleVR could be a clever way to have students add panoramic images to virtual tours they build in Google Maps. Students can link to the images or insert the images into placemarks on Google Maps.

Inaugural Addresses - Eisenhower Through Bush

Hulu's collection of inaugural addresses from Eisenhower through George W. Bush is the second educationally valuable item I found on Mashable today. Hulu has each inaugural address in its entirety for you and your students to watch online. I have embedded Jimmy Carter's inaugural address below.

Applications for Education
Watching some of the past inaugural addresses prior to or after Barack Obama's inauguration next week could be a good starting point for students to do a historical comparison assignment. You may want to have students pick a President, watch his inaugural speech and compare the issues of concern in that address with the one that Barack Obama delivers next week.

If you want students to go dig back a little farther and find out how each man came to win the Presidency, check out The Living Room Candidate. The Living Room Candidate is a collection of campaign commercials, debates, and speeches dating back to 1952.

YouTube, Copyright, and Another Reason to Use Animoto

This morning Mashable reported that YouTube has started disabling the audio aspect of videos containing the unauthorized use of copyrighted music. Included in the Mashable article is this example of a video that has had its audio track disabled. I've seen other content removed from YouTube in the past for copyright violations. I understand why YouTube has taken this action and I don't disagree with it at all.

I find this case interesting because the style of video effected is the audio slideshow style, a style of video simlar to those that you can create in Animoto. In the case of videos effected today, the video remains working, but the audio is disabled essentially leaving you with an automated slideshow.

Applications for Education
This case of YouTube disabling audio from video slideshows provides us with a reminder to use Creative Commons licensed music when creating audio slideshows. One way allow your students to creative audio slideshows without worrying about copyright infringement is to use Animoto. Animoto provides a long list of royalty-free music that students can use in their video slideshows.