Thursday, October 22, 2009

Every Stock Photo - Search Free Photos

Every Stock Photo is a search engine for free, high quality, images that you can use in slideshows, videos, and in blog posts. Every Stock Photo has some search refinement options that distinguish it from other Public Domain and Creative Commons search tools. Under the advanced search menu on Every Stock Photo you can refine your search by license type, image source, image size (specify a range of pixel dimensions), and image shape.

Every Stock Photo was included in a recent Webware article about public multimedia sources.

Applications for Education
Every Stock Photo could be a good place for students to find images for use in their multimedia presentations.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Find Creative Commons Images on Yahoo Search
Google Adds License Filter to Image Search
Creative Thinking - Lessons About Copyright

How Sound Impacts Productivity

This short TED Talk, The 4 Ways Sound Affects Us contains some interesting information about how sound affects our productivity. In the talk, Julian Treasure tells us that people working in open plan offices are 66% less productive than those in quiet rooms. Treasure follows that up by saying if you are in a noisy open plan room, wear headphones and listen to soothing sounds and your productivity goes back up. The video is embedded below.

Applications for Education
The ideas and information in the video are good to remember the next time you have students working independently in a large classroom. Perhaps instead of trying to keep them as quiet as possible, we should allow kids to use their mp3 players when they're working on independent assignments.

Teacher Linx - Create and Share Lesson Plans

There are many, many places on the Internet where you can find lesson plans and other resources for classroom use (you're at one of those places now). Even the most prolific bloggers can't reproduce the volume of content that a crowd can produce. Just take a look at Classroom 2.0 for proof of that. Teacher Linx is a newer website that is trying to harness the power of a networked crowd to generate useful content for teachers.

Teacher Linx is a place where teachers can create lesson plans and share lesson plans with each other. Teacher Linx provides a platform on which teachers can find lesson plans for a variety of content areas and grade levels. To encourage teachers to share their lesson plans, Teacher Linx will reward teachers with a $15 Starbucks Card for every 30 lesson plans they upload.

Applications for Education
I browsed through the lesson plans on Teacher Linx and, as you might expect, they varied in depth and quality. If you're willing to spend some time searching and browsing, you should find some that are relevant to your curriculum.

Positive Workshop Experience Today

Special Note For New Readers:
If this is your first time visiting Free Technology for Teachers, please note that I rarely write posts of this style. The type of posts that you will typically find are things like Twelve Essentials for Technology Integration and 35+ Educational Games and Games Resources.

This morning, I attended a workshop about technology integration. The session was facilitated by two excellent educators from South Portland, Maine. Today's session was designed to introduce teachers to the basics of blogging. I was at this session because a few years ago my school received a grant for professional development. A requirement of this grant is to have every teacher attend a series of professional development workshops. Compared to the other options, this workshop was the one that I felt would give me the best learning experience. Turns out, I was right.

Some of you are probably wondering what I could take away from a workshop on the basics of blogging. Today was a great experience because I was able to become an informal facilitator working with my colleagues in a manner that our normal school schedule does not allow.

One of the things we (teachers in general) often complain about is a lack of time to actually talk about what we're doing or want to do in our classrooms. Throughout the morning I was able to converse with a small group of my colleagues, sharing information, exchanging ideas, and helping them get on the path toward technology integration. Overall, it was great to have the time to talk with my colleagues and see them brainstorming ideas for using technology in their courses. The workshop allowed me to experience the mantra, "it's not about the technology." I didn't pick up any new skills, but I did have a great learning experience with my colleagues.

Here Comes Everything! Google to Search Twitter

Yesterday, Google made a significant announcement, they're going to start serving up results from Twitter when you perform a Google search. As TechCrunch said, "Get Ready for the Firehose." If this works as intended, Google will be able to offer search results powered by the crowd. This could be a great thing when you're searching for time sensitive content such as I did when wrote the post Honduras, Scoopler, and Current Events.

Exploring the Rising Cost of College

Today's episode of CNN Student News concludes with a brief segment about the rising costs of attending college in the United States. If you have high school students exploring their post-secondary options, you may want to share this short video with them.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
College Crunch
Unigo - College Reviews by Students
EduPursuit - College Search by Location