Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Miro 2.0 - More HD Video and Download Options

The open source video player Miro impressed me the first time I saw it and it continues to be one of my favorite ways to download and store videos on my computer. Today, Miro released a bunch of updates and improvements including new HD channels and the ability to add more streaming websites, like Hulu, into your Miro player sidebar. The best improvement is the added ability to browse for videos while watching a video.

To learn more about Miro watch this short overview or visit Get Miro.

Applications for Education
Miro is a great way to download videos to use offline. If you work in a school that blocks most video sites, Miro is a good application to have installed on your laptop. You can download videos within your Miro player in a place where you can get on the Internet and then play them back at any time regardless of Internet availability.

Zunal - Build, Share, and Find Web Quests

Over the weekend someone recently asked me if I knew of any tools for building web quests. At the time I couldn't think of any resources, but then I scoured my Google Notebook and found Zunal. Zunal is a free service that walks you through the process of creating a web quest. If you have never built web quest because you weren't sure how to get started or just saw the process as too overwhelming, give Zunal a try. Zunal offers step-by-step directions that make it possible for even the most technophobic teacher to create a webquest that students will enjoy and learn from.

Once you have registered on Zunal you can get started building your web quest. If you would like to see how other teachers have used Zunal, you can browse the galleries of web quests to get ideas or use one of the web quests if it meets the needs of your curriculum.

Applications for Education
Zunal is a good place for technophobic teachers to build their first web quests. The galleries web quests are handy if you're short on time or short on imagination for creating new web quests.

NASA Quests and Challenges

The NASA Quest page is a great place for teachers to find activities for teaching about space and space exploration. Registration is currently open for classrooms to participate in two NASA Quests. The LCROSS quest is designed for students to learn about navigation in space and will conclude with students being able to make comparisons between navigation methods in space and navigation methods on Earth. The HiRISE quest allows students to learn about Mars and offer input as to the next image target for the HiRISE camera team.

If you can't participate in either of those two quests, there are still great resources for your students on the NASA Quest page. NASA offers one dozen lesson plans, with activities for students, for teaching lessons about space science to elementary school, middle school, and high school students.

Applications for Education
Both of the NASA Quests described above offer students the opportunity to see space science in action. The quests and lesson plans give students to learn about space science through active learning activities.

Simple English Wikipedia

Simple English Wikipedia is Wikipedia designed for children and adults learning English. Just like Wikipedia, the content on Simple English Wikipedia is generated by users. The difference between Wikipedia and Simple English Wikipedia is that articles written using basic English words and phrases.

I learned about Simple English Wikipedia through my Twitter network. The link was passed around a bunch of times, but I think the first person in my network to post it was BudtheTeacher.

Applications for Education
Simple English Wikipedia could be a good reference page for elementary school students or older ESL/EFL students. Many teachers are still reluctant to let their students use Wikipedia, but as I've seen and heard David Warlick point out, Wikipedia articles come with disclaimers while most textbooks and encyclopedias do not. You can read more of my opinion about Wikipedia here.