Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Gaga Post - Group Blogging

Gaga Post is a brand new blogging platform that was demonstrated this week at DEMO 09. At first glance Gaga Post didn't seem like much, but as I explored it I learned that it does have a couple of unique features. Two of the features unique to Gaga Post is the option to have each blog entry displayed on a timeline instead of the typical vertical blog style (like this blog). Gaga Post has an integrated Google Map that can display the location of where each blog post is written or the location each blog post references.

The primary purpose of Gaga Post is to make it easy to create group blogs and it does that well. Setting up a Gaga Post blog is very quick and simple. Simply register for an account, confirm your registration, and begin posting. Making your blog a group blog is as simple as typing in the user name or email address of those people that you would like to have contribute to the blog. Each blog post can be made public or private.

Applications for Education
Gaga Post is a simple blogging tool that teachers could use to create a group blog for a class. The integrated blog post map option could be used to have students in a geography class write about various places and have those places displayed on the map.

Speed Crunch - A Free Scientific Calculator

Speed Crunch is a free scientific calculator application for Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems. I learned about Speed Crunch a couple of weeks ago from guest blogger Kim Caise. Kim did a great review of Speed Crunch. Today was the first time I was able to install it and try it. I'm not a math teacher by any stretch of the imagination so I had one of my math teaching colleagues also try Speed Crunch after I installed it on my computer.

My math teaching colleague said that Speed Crunch would be very handy for a Trigonometry or Pre-Calculus class. He liked the having ability to store the solution to a prior problem for use in a subsequent equation. Speed Crunch performs all of the functions necessary for high school Algebra and Geometry courses except graphing. In addition to performing all of these functions, Speed Crunch has a "math book" containing commonly used equations and formulas. One Speed Crunch feature that appealed to me from a design standpoint is the color coding of equations to differentiate between constants and variables.

Applications for Education
Speed Crunch is a good free alternative to buying expensive scientific calculators. If you're in a one-to-one environment, Speed Crunch could be a good program to install on student computers.

Great Science Activities from Exploratorium

Exploratorium has an absolutely fantastic collection online activities for science students and science teachers. There are so many great educational resources on Exploratorium that I barley know where to begin. The online activities page of Exploratorium has learning activities for life science and physical science topics. From activities about sports science like fastball reaction time to activities about mutant fruit flies and activities about Antarctic ice, there is something to engage just about every science student.

In addition to the online activities page, Exploratium also offers some great online exhibitions and an online magazine packed with educational material. Science teachers looking for hands-on activities to use in their classrooms will want to check out Exploratorium's hands-on activities page. Those teachers and students that use Second Life will want to visit Exploratorium Island in Second Life.

Applications for Education
Exploratorium has something for just about everyone. The bulk of the online activities can be accessed by students in the fourth grade or older. If you're not in a one-to-one computing environment the hands-on activities page provides some great directions for fun off-line learning activities. Some of the virtual tours could be used on a Smart Board/ White Board.