Thursday, March 12, 2009

Google Voice - Voicemail to Text Conversion

All of the big tech news blogs are reporting today on Google's newest service Google Voice. Google Voice is not publicly available yet, but according to the Google Voice help center it will be available to all in a few weeks. One of the most promising features is automatic transcription of voicemail messages to text. To learn more about this new service check out Mashable's or Read Write Web's reviews with screen images of the new service. The short video embedded below gives a brief overview of Google Voice.

Applications for Education
Google Voice could be used to quickly dictate substitute teaching plans in a manner similar to the way in which I've used the voicemail service to dictate substitute teaching plans.

Remix the News on Link TV

Through a post on Larry Ferlazzo's excellent blog (if you haven't subscribed to it, you should) I learned about Link TV's video editing tool that allows you to create your own mix of news stories in one video. Link TV's video editing tool is called Know the News.

Using Know the News students can grab news clips from Link TV's library of news and mix them together to create a unique news show. Link TV's news library contains segments from major news outlets around the world. The process of creating a news video is fairly straight-forward. Watch and select video clips to place on a timeline, organize the clips through a drag and drop feature, then add text narrations using the video text editor. After previewing the video it can be published on the Know the News network. To see examples of academic uses of the Know the News video editor, visit the Know the News wiki.

Videos published on the Know the News network can be rated by viewers. The rating system asks viewers to rate videos on fairness, accuracy, presentation, and trustworthiness. The image below shows the rating scale that appears below each video in the Know the News network.

Applications for Education

Know the News provides teachers with a good tool for teaching lessons about media bias, accuracy in news reporting, and global perspectives of an event.
The terms of service for Link TV's Know the News video editor require users to be at least thirteen years old. Therefore, this probably a tool best reserved for high school and college students.

A related resource that may be of interest to you is Remix America on which students can create their own US History documentary.

Update: the original link I gave to Larry Ferlazzo's blog was incorrect. It has been corrected. My sincerest apologies Larry.

Where to Find Firefox Tips and Hacks

By watching today's episode of Tekzilla I learned about MozillaZine. MozillaZine is a complete resource for Firefox updates, tips, and hacks to make your Firefox experience better. MozillaZine offers a knowledge base where you can learn about plug-ins, add-ons, and other Mozilla Firefox related information. Watch the video embedded below to learn more about MozillaZine and Tekzilla.

Project Explorerer - Free Films and Virtual Tours

Project Explorer produces free educational films and virtual field trips for students in elementary school through high school. Right now it appears that most of the content is focused on South Africa, Jordan, and Shakespeare's London. The videos in each unit seem to have a strong focus on culture. The educators section of Project Explorer offers lesson plans to accompany the units on South Africa, Jordan, and Shakespeare's London.

Applications for Education
Project Explorer could be a good resource for virtual field trips and videos of the places listed above. The cultural focus of the units make Project Explorer a good fit for use as part of a global studies lesson.