Thursday, October 15, 2009

Google Wave - Initial Impressions

Earlier this week I was given an invite to Google Wave. (I won't say who invited me so that she's not bombarded with invite requests. Sorry, I also don't have any invites to give). Google Wave has been much talked about since Google initially introduced the concept earlier this year. When I got the invite I jumped right on it. I haven't had much time to explore it yet, but I have formed some initial impressions.

So far I like the ability to have threaded conversations with more than one person at a time. It's much like a message board only it can work in real-time. In fact, it's so real-time that you see the other people typing each letter and word. The widgets that you can add to a Wave allow you to have threaded conversations about a map, poll, video, or other media file. In one of my Waves there was a discussion of where to place a placemark on a map that we were looking at.

From a personal learning network standpoint, Google Wave could be a powerful addition to your existing PLN tools. In Google Wave, you can easily add people to a conversation at any time. For example if I start a conversation with person "X" either one of us can add another person from either of our contacts lists. This allows users to make introductions across contact lists.

I'm looking forward to exploring some of the many options in Google Wave, but so far I see it as a powerful networking and conversation platform.

The video below gives a concise explanation of Google Wave.

Science Netlinks - Dozens of Science Lessons

Through Larry Ferlazzo's post about All Systems Go, I learned this morning about Science Netlinks. Science Netlinks offers dozens of lesson plans and online learning activities. The lessons and activities are cover a wide variety of science topics. All of the lesson plans are sorted by grade level, but you can also sort the lesson plans by science benchmark standards. A series of icons also indicates if each lesson plan has a printable worksheet, e-worksheet, or is an interactive experience.

Applications for Education
Science Netlinks provides science teachers with a good collection of lesson plans aligned to the benchmarks for Science Literacy. In addition to lesson plans, Science Netlinks offers a selection of reviewed resource websites for K-12 science teachers.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
The Why Files - The Science Behind the News
Planet Science - Science Games and Lesson Plans
Science Projects and Posters for Elementary Schools

A Lesson Learned from a Small Workshop

Today, I had the opportunity to present at the ACTEM annual conference pre-conference. My workshop was designed to give participants ideas and tools for improving their classroom blogs, websites, and wikis. There were some excellent workshops being offered by the likes of Marco Torres, Wes and Sarah Fryer at the same time as mine as well as an all-day Google Apps seminar. There were nineteen people registered for my session, but only five came. In response to the small number, I altered my plan for the workshop. In hindsight, that was not my best idea.

In altering my plan to try to make it more personal for the attendees, I didn't keep the organization that I had planned. As a result, it felt like (to me anyway) that the workshop did not accomplish the goal of sending everyone away with a new tool to use in their blogs, wikis, and websites. All participants were able to see the tools in action (you can find them here), but my presentation of them was not what I had planned. Every experience can be a learning experience and the next time that I'm in a similar situation, I'll stick closer to my original plan. On the upside, we did have some good conversations about filtering policies in districts across the state of Maine.

Policies and Disclosures

Updated July, 2016

1. is owned and operated by Byrne Instructional Media, LLC. Unless otherwise stated, all views, thoughts, and ideas expressed are solely Richard Byrne's and or approved employee's and do not reflect the views or opinions of any organization or business other than Byrne Instructional Media, LLC.
2. Except as stated in sponsored blog posts, Byrne Instructional Media, LLC is not paid or in any way compensated by the companies whose products and services are reviewed on Free Technology For Teachers.
3. There are Google AdSense units on this blog. Those ad units and widgets may contain tracking cookies.
4. Nimbus ad network banners track user interaction.

5. Except where otherwise noted and in the case of trademarked logos used for product reviews all content is copyright Byrne Instructional Media, LLC.

What information do we collect? 

We collect information from you when you subscribe to our newsletter, respond to a

survey or participate in a contest. You may be asked to enter your name or e-mail

address. You may, however, visit our website anonymously.

What do we use your information for?

Any of the information we collect from you may be used in one of the following ways:

• To personalize your experience

(your information helps us to better respond to your individual needs)

• To improve our website

(we continually strive to improve our website offerings based on the information and

feedback we receive from you)

• To improve customer service

(your information helps us to more effectively respond to your customer service

requests and support needs)

• To administer a contest, promotion, survey or other site feature

How do we protect your information?

We implement a variety of security measures to maintain the safety of your personal

information when we access your personal information.

Do we use cookies?

Yes (Cookies are small files that a site or its service provider transfers to your

computer’s hard drive through your Web browser (if you allow) that enables the sites or

service providers systems to recognize your browser and capture and remember certain


We use cookies to understand and save your preferences for future visits, keep track of

advertisements and compile aggregate data about site traffic and site interaction so that

we can offer better site experiences and tools in the future. We may contract with third-

party service providers to assist us in better understanding our site visitors. These

service providers are not permitted to use the information collected on our behalf except

to help us conduct and improve our business.

Do we disclose any information to outside parties? 

We do not sell, trade, or otherwise transfer to outside parties your personally identifiable

information. This does not include trusted third parties who assist us in operating our

website, conducting our business, or servicing you, so long as those parties agree to

keep this information confidential. We may also release your information when we

believe release is appropriate to comply with the law, enforce our site policies, or protect

ours or others rights, property, or safety. However, non-personally identifiable visitor

information may be provided to other parties for marketing, advertising, or other uses.

Third Party Links

Occasionally, at our discretion, we may include or offer third party products or services

on our website. These third party sites have separate and independent privacy policies.

We, therefore have no responsibility or liability for the content and activities of these

linked sites. Nonetheless, we seek to protect the integrity of our site and welcome any

feedback about these sites.

Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act Compliance

We are in compliance with the requirements of COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy

Protection Act), we do not collect any information from anyone under 13 years of age.

Our website is directed to people who are at least 13 years old or older.

Online Privacy Policy Only

This online privacy policy applies only to information collected through our website and

not to information collected offline.

Your Consent 

By using our website, you consent to our website privacy policy.

Changes to Privacy Policy 

If there are changes privacy policy, those changes will be posted on this page.

Contacting Us

If there are any questions regarding this privacy policy you may contact us at
richardbyrne (at)

NOAA Environmental Visualizations

Last night while fumbling around on the NOAA website (looking for snow reports in Rangeley, Maine actually) I came across the NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory. The Environmental Visualization Laboratory provides images, animations, and Google Earth files depicting weather and climate patterns. For example, this visualization depicts the movement of Arctic sea ice.

Applications for Education
NOAA's Environmental Visualization Laboratory provides excellent visualizations that can be used for teaching lessons on weather and climate. For teachers who would like to use Google Earth as a part of their lessons, NOAA provides an excellent guide to using Google Earth for teaching weather and climate lessons.