Thursday, November 19, 2009

Northern Lights Time Lapse Video

Here's a neat time lapse video showing light, shapes, and colors of the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis). This video was filmed by National Geographic on one night in Norway.

Applications for Education
This video might be a nice visual aid for anyone that teaches weather and meteorology.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Interactive Tour of the Hubble Telescope
Star Child - Learning for Young Astronomers
NASA Quests and Challenges

Google Unveils Chrome OS - A Netbook OS

There has been a lot of announcements from Google this week, but the one that is getting the most buzz in the blog-o-sphere is Google Chrome OS. The Chrome operating system is designed to be completely cloud based with all applications running inside a web browser. All applications that you would typically install on your desktop will run in the browser. Google claims that this will significantly reduce computer start-up times. Perhaps more significantly, Google claims that having everything operate in the browser will significantly improve security. The improved security will be the result of the operating system's code being verified every time your computer is rebooted. To learn more about the Chrome OS security functions, watch the video at the end of this post.

Chrome OS is not ready for the market yet and won't be ready until next year. In the meantime Google has decided to open-source the project and release all of the code to the public. Anyone with an interest in the coding can learn more about it here.

The video below provides an overview of the general concepts of Chrome OS.

The video below provides an overview of the security concepts used in Chrome OS.

Applications for Education
If it works as intended, the Chrome OS seems like it will be perfect for netbooks that use a solid state drive. As an open source project the Chrome OS will be a cost effective alternative to using stripped-down versions of Windows products on your school's netbooks.

Update: If you'd like to try Chrome OS right now (in a very, very, very beta stage) TechCrunch has directions.

YouTube Now Auto Captions Videos (Kind Of)

Today, Google announced a new video captioning option for YouTube. Starting today, YouTube will use Google's automatic speech recognition technology to caption videos uploaded by users. Initially the service will only be available to a select group of YouTube users. That group includes organizations like PBS and National Geographic. And for now the auto captioning will only be in English.

Although auto captioning isn't available to everyone yet, there is a new captioning option that is available to all YouTube users. YouTube has added an automatic caption timing option which should make it much easier to caption your videos. Using the auto-timing option users will be able to upload a text document of the captions they want to use and the captions will be placed appropriately by using Google's automatic speech recognition technology.

The video below shows you how the new auto caption options should work.

Applications for Education
When it becomes available to everyone, YouTube's automatic captioning service will be a great help to anyone that needs to provide subtitled videos to their students.

DotSub and Caption Tube also offer good options for subtitling videos in any language. You can read about those options here.

Presentation Storytelling 101

Ethos 3 is a consulting company that helps businesses develop and improve their presentations. One of the featured presentations on the Ethos 3 website is Storytelling 101. In this short presentation Ethos 3 outlines the basics of developing a theme and telling a story in a presentation. Watch the short presentation below.

Applications for Education
The ideas presented in the above slidecast can be applied not only to slideshows, but to just about any presentation format. Whenever I give my students a presentation assignment, I like to show them a model of a good presentation. The Ethos 3 presentation is one that I'll be adding to list of model digital presentations.

Interactive Earth Offers Enviro Science Lessons

Interactive Earth has a long list of environmental science lessons that can be used online and offline. In fact, the list is divided into online activities and classroom activities. The activities in the list cover a wide range of environmental science topics including river ecology, forest ecology, and animal identification. To aid you in selecting activities for your classroom, Interactive Earth notes the general content areas to which each activity can be applied. For example, just by looking at the notes in the list I know that the Flowing Waters activity addresses topics in geography, mathematics, and science.

Thanks to NMHS_Principal for sharing this on Twitter.

Applications for Education
If you're looking for an environmental science activity that incorporates multiple content areas, Interactive Earth is a good place to start your search.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
The Breathing Earth - Interactive Map
View Glacier Melt in Google Earth
Endangered Places Multimedia Map

The Story of Common Craft and Library Video Use

Yesterday, Common Craft's Lee Lefever was one of the featured speakers in a webinar hosted by Tech Soup. In the webinar Lefever tells the story of how Common Craft was started, how the videos are made, and how the videos can be used according to licensing. The other two speakers, Mary Beth Faccioli and Carolyn Blatchley add value to the webinar by talking about how videos are used in their library settings. You can view the recording of the webinar here.

Applications for Education
I watched this webinar last night because I was interested in learning more about the way that the In Plain English videos are created. The process is a good model of story development that you and your students can use in developing digital stories.

The webinar also offers some good information about using videos to enhance the teaching and learning experience.