Thursday, September 17, 2009

Posterous Adds Theme Options

Last month I wrote about Posterous as a good, simple, option for getting students blogging. At the time of that writing Posterous locked everyone into one theme. As a couple of people noted in the comments, that was not necessarily a bad thing because it eliminated distractions and allowed users to focus on writing. At the same time, being locked into one theme was a deterrent to some potential users. That deterrent was eliminated in today's announcement from Posterous. Today, Posterous announced that they now offer customizable templates and themes for anyone to use. So if you were one of those people that liked the ease of publishing with Posterous, but wanted more design flexibility, now you can customize to your heart's content.

Free eBooks Search Engine

There are a lot of places to find free ebooks on the Internet, but jumping from collection to collection can become very time-consuming. Free Book-s is designed to save you the time of jumping from collection to collection. Free Book-s is a search engine that scans many collections of ebooks to find free content that matches your search. I gave Free Book-s a test drive using academic terms like "physics" and terms like "fly fishing" to see what kids of results would be generated. In both cases I found Free Book-s returned very relevant results.

Applications for Education
Free Book-s could be a good resource for locating ebooks to supplement the print resources you have for your courses or to replace print resources.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Free Science Books Online
Free eBooks of Classic Titles
200+ Free Mathematics Books

Safe Share TV - Safe YouTube Viewing is a new service that makes it possible to view YouTube videos without displaying the related videos and associated comments. This could be a particularly useful tool for anyone publicly showing a YouTube clip. To use simply copy the url of a YouTube video and paste it into SafeShare is very similar to Quietube which I reviewed last winter.

Here's what looks like in action.

Applications for Education
If you're fortunate enough to work in a school that allows you to use YouTube videos, could be a very handy little tool. If you don't want to run the risk of your students seeing inappropriate "related videos" or inappropriate comments, use and eliminate those possibilities.

If your school doesn't allow you to use YouTube, try one of these 30+ Alternatives to YouTube.

Learn the Periodic Table Tetris-Style

eChalk offers a mix of free and premium (fee required) educational games. One of the free games that I learned about today is Periodic Table Tetris. Periodic Table Tetris uses the style of the classic video game Tetris to help students memorize the periodic table of elements. To play the game, students use their keyboard's arrow keys to move element blocks into the proper place. The game has three levels for students to progress through.

Thanks to the Woodchurch Science blog for the link.

Applications for Education
Periodic Table Tetris could be a fun and engaging way to learn the periodic table. I wish this game had been around when I was a high school student having to memorize the periodic table.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
The Interactive Periodic Table
The Comic Book Periodic Table of Elements
Video Demonstrations of the Periodic Table of Elements

CNN Student News - Constitution Quiz

Today's episode of CNN Student News concludes with a quick quiz about the US Constitution. This might be a nice, quick, activity to include in your Constitution Day lessons.