Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Academic Search Engine RefSeek Announces Updates

RefSeek, an academic search engine that I reviewed last fall, recently announced some nice enhancements to its free service. RefSeek's newest enhancements include an expanded dictionary and thesaurus database, natural mathematics language, and an expanded selection of hand-picked reference materials.

After reading about the enhancements to RefSeek, I did a little searching and found that what I wrote about RefSeek last year is still true. Here's what I wrote then:
The difference between Ref Seek and a generic Google search lies lower than the top results in search returns. As you compare search results between Ref Seek and Google you will find that the second and third pages of search results on Ref Seek contain results that seem to be more "academic" than what is found on the second and third pages of a generic Google search.

A related item that may be of interest to you is:
Beyond Google - Improve Your Search Results

The Classroom Blogging Process

As part of the K12 Online Conference Sarah Sutter presented a great story of her classroom blogging experience. In the presentation Sarah covers everything from her first steps toward getting students blogging two years ago through today. If you're looking for ideas about using blogs in education, Sarah's presentation is well worth eighteen minutes of your time. You can find supporting materials for Sarah Sutter's K12 Online Conference presentation here.

Make sure you check out the full schedule of K12 Online Conference presentations. You can also find all of the videos on the K12 Online DotSub channel.

A Parsian (Search) Love Story

In my notes from last week's Google Teacher Academy I included this line Google Search Story Videos - "Parisian Love Story." A few people have asked me for more information about that line. The Google Search Story videos are a set of short videos that demonstrate some of the things that are possible with Google Search. The Parisian Love Story is embedded below.

Applications for Education
After teaching a lesson or two on Internet search strategies you might want to challenge your students to create their own short video demonstrating the possibilities of Internet search. Student could create their videos using screen captures, captions, and one of these free services.

Last Day to Vote for the Edublog Awards!

Today is the last day to vote for the 2009 Edublog Awards sponsored by Edublogs. Even if you don't vote, you should at least check out the list of nominees as it is a great way to discover other education blogs and read what other people are saying about education. This blog was nominated for Best Resource Sharing Blog and Best Indivdual Blog. I was also nominated for a Lifetime Achievement Award (you can read my thoughts about that nomination here).

Being Smart Online, A Video Series

Through the Google Public Policy Blog I just learned about a series of three videos created by YouTube for the purpose of educating students about online behavior. Each of the three videos are roughly two minutes in length. Each video provides clear narration and visual aids. The three videos are Detecting Lies and Staying True, Playing and Staying Safe Online, and Staying Safe on YouTube. These videos could be used in any classroom, but they really seem aimed toward a middle school audience.

Embedded below you will find Playing and Staying Safe Online.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Kido'z - A Kid-Safe Browser
Firefox Plug-in for Filtering Profanity
Phishing Detection Education

A Lesson in Investment Diversification

Today's episode of CNN Student News concludes with a segment about the importance of banks diversifying their investments. The segment features an interview with a bank CEO whose bank has survived the economic recession. This segment would go well with Common Craft's Stock Market's in Plain English and Investing in Plain English.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
The History of Credit Cards in the United States
Saving Money in Plain English and Other Economics Lessons
Interactive Timeline of the 08/09 Financial Crisis

Send Holiday Greetings With Google Templates

In the last week before most schools go on holiday break, some teachers may be having students create holiday-themed cards and letters for their families and friends. Google Docs offers a nice selection of templates for this very purpose. In the gallery of holiday templates you will find templates like a holiday newsletter template, a party invitation, and a video greeting card template.

Applications for Education
If you have access to a video camera, creating video greeting cards with Google Docs Templates could be a fun activity for you and your students in the week before holiday break. If you don't have access to a video camera the other templates could be used to make nice greeting cards from students to their parents.