Sunday, October 31, 2010

YTTM - Search for Videos by Year

YTTM (which we're led to believe means YouTube Time Machine) is a new service that allows you to search for videos by year and genre. The premise of YTTM is simple; select a genre, select a year, watch a video. Want see a television commercial from 1975? Select the "commercials" filter then move the timeline slider to 1975. If you do that you'll see this commercial for the Buick Riviera. Want to see a clip of Michael Jordan in his prime? Select the "sports" filter then move the timeline slider to a year in the early 90's.

YTTM is still in alpha mode so you might run into some bugs or you might not find a video that matches every criteria you select. That said, I really like what YTTM is trying to accomplish.

Applications for Education
YTTM could be a fantastic resource for history teachers and their students. YTTM could be used to find clips of news reports about important events in 20th Century history. Teaching a lesson on the development of advertising, media, or propaganda? YTTM could help you find video clips to use in that lesson.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
47 Alternatives to Using YouTube in the Classroom
3 Ways to Access Khan Academy Without YouTube
Watch WatchKnow Without YouTube

Adobe's Project ROME Looks Promising

Last Monday I bookmarked an article on ZDNet about Adobe's new Project ROME for Education to read later. I now wish I hadn't waited. After trying it out for the better part of an hour, I can describe Project ROME as a combination of the best elements of Glogster, Apple's Pages, Keynote, and touch of GIMP thrown-in for good measure.

Project ROME allows users to create multimedia documents and presentations. ROME can also be used to create quizzes and to design websites. Users can build documents that include images, videos, and animations. Animations can be imported from an existing file or created from scratch within ROME.  Resizing of elements within any project in ROME is a simple matter of drag and drop resizing. Arranging elements is also a drag and drop process. Adding elements to a project in ROME is done by selecting from a large series of drop-down menus. Some parts of using ROME are quite intuitive, but as you might expect with a program that has many features, there are parts of ROME that will require you to follow a tutorial the first time you try it. Watch the video below for an overview of Project ROME.

Right now Project ROME is free, but I don't expect it to stay free forever. ROME is available to use online and as a desktop application.

Applications for Education
As the demo template shows, Project ROME could be used to create mathematics quizzes that contain animations. You could also use ROME to create a quiz or set of discussion prompts that contain videos. ROME could be used by students to create multimedia presentations or documents.

Augmented Reality Art

The Getty Museum has introduced a new way to view art, augmented reality. As employed by The Getty, augmented reality creates 3D displays of art from printed PDF codes displayed in front of a webcam. The example that The Getty provides in the video below is a 3D display of one of the cabinets of curiosities created by Albert Janszoon Vinckenbrinck. If you want to try it for yourself after watching the video, the directions are available here.

H/T to Open Culture for the story earlier this week.

Applications for Education
Augmented reality as used by The Getty introduces a new way for art history students to explore artwork.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Augmented Reality in Plain English
ZooBurst - 3D Augmented Reality Books
Create Augmented Reality Layers Without Coding

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good morning from Maine where the weather is reminding me that winter is quickly approaching. I hope everyone had a great week and will have an even better weekend. If you're taking children trick-o-treating this weekend, enjoy it.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. 5 Good Resources for Learning the Periodic Table
2. One Word - Sixty Second Writing Prompts
3. Twiducate - Social Networking for Schools
4. New Visualization Charts in Google Docs
5. iPhone & iPad Apps for Special Education
6. Voki for Classrooms
7. Get Yourself Some Free PD This Weekend

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Friday, October 29, 2010 Acquired by Facebook - Get Your Data

I've been a huge fan and advocate for since the first month of their launch (this blog and started about the same time). This evening Jerry Swiatek directed my attention to a TechCrunch post reporting that is shutting down. confirms it on their blog, they've been bought out by Facebook and will be shutting down on December 15. As of today is no longer allowing the creation of new drops. Existing users need to download all of their files before December 15 or lose them.

Over the last few months had stopped supporting a couple of the features, upload widgets and MP3 recording, that I really liked. That had me wondering what was going on. I guess I know now.

Applications for Education
Like a lot of other educators, I use to have students upload assignments rather than emailing attachments. This will send us on a search for other services that allow the upload of varied file types to one place. I plan to spend some time exploring alternatives this weekend and I'll be sure to post them.

And don't worry, Free Technology for Teachers isn't getting bought out by Facebook anytime soon.

Looking for Lesson Materials? Try OER Commons

Earlier this week I mentioned on Twitter that I had introduced a couple of my colleagues to the Open Educational Resources Commons. They took off running with some of the things they found on the OER Commons. In fact, it was through one of them that I learned about Math Open Reference which was linked to a mathematics lesson on OER Commons.

OER Commons is a place for educators to post lessons and lesson materials that others can use. There are thousands of lessons organized by content area and grade level. After you've made your initial selections of content area and grade level you can refine your search by lesson type, material, media format, and usage rights.

Applications for Education
One of the great qualities about teachers is that, for the most part, we're very willing to share our ideas and lesson resources with each other. OER Commons is a great online example of that quality found in teachers. If you're a new teacher or you're teaching a new grade or subject this year, you're probably trying to develop a lot of new lessons this year. If you're looking for ideas and or materials for those lessons, give OER Commons a look.

Best Professional Development Meeting in Years!

Today was a staff development day at my school. For the first time in years we had nearly the whole day to talk with our departmental colleagues about our challenges, our successes, and what we're doing in our classrooms. Now, just to clarify we've had days where an hour or so was spent that way, but today we had the better part of five uninterrupted hours. Within the context of the day in my department we watched four videos. I've embedded those videos with short explanations below.

From TED we watched Joachim de Posada's talk about the Marshmallow Experiment. This video was shown in the context of a discussion about "wait time" in the classroom.

From TED we watched Tom Wujec's talk, "Build a Tower, Build a Team." We watched this in the context of encouraging students to take academic risks.

In the context of a discussion about how stereotypes affect can affect student performance we watched the following video from John Stossel.

In the context of a discussion about motivation we watched Alfi Kohn vs. Dwight Schrute.

Resources About the Great Depression

Today marks the 81st anniversary of Black Tuesday, the day that the stock market crashed triggering the Great Depression. Below you will find some videos and links to lessons related to the Great Depression.

On YouTube I came across a playlist of 43 videos about Black Tuesday and the Great Depression. The playlist is a mix of archival film and documentary film. The list is embedded below.

From PBS Video Great Depression Stories features three women talking about their experiences during the Great Depression.

The following four links are resources that I've previously shared on Free Technology for Teachers.

The Social Security Act of 1935
FDR and the Banking System
The Farm Letters - Stories of Great Depression Life
History of the First 100 Days

Thursday, October 28, 2010

New Underwater Images from Panoramio

Panoramio recently made an announcement that should be of interest teachers using Google Earth in their classrooms. Panoramio is now accepting underwater imagery. The new underwater imagery contributed to Panoramio should enhance the underwater layers of Google Earth. If you've never explored the underwater imagery of Google Earth, the video below offers a short introduction.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Google Earth Across the Curriculum
Historic Maps in K-12 Classrooms 
History Pin - Historical Images in Google Street View

Learnopia - A Place for Hosting Online Courses

Learnopia is a new service that offers hosting for online courses. Learnopia is also a place to find and take online courses. If course creators make their courses free for others to take, then hosting is free.  Currently, there are courses on Learnopia that are free and others that require payment.

Applications for Education
If you're looking a place to host an online course, Learnopia is worth giving a look. Unlike some similar services, Learnopia provides students taking your online course with a dashboard through which they can track tasks and communicate with you.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Udemy Launches Free Online Teaching Platform
RCampus - Create and Conduct Courses Online
Einztein - Locate Online Courses and Course Materials

Add Some Oomph to PowerPoint Slides

oomfo (yes, they spell it in all lowercase letters) is a free add-on to Microsoft PowerPoint. The purpose of oomfo is to enable users to insert animated charts and graphs into their PowerPoint slides. Using oomfo users can import data from spreadsheets to create their charts and graphs. Users can also export the charts they've created for reuse in other presentations. Watch the video below to see oomfo in action.

Applications for Education
Dressing-up PowerPoint slides doesn't inherently make presentations better. That said, visuals are an important part of making effective presentations that your audience understands. oomfo could help you or your students create visuals that assist in comprehending data and other information.

A GIMP Halloween Project

Since tomorrow is the last school day before Halloween, I thought I should post at least one thing related to Halloween. Through Make Use Of I found a video tutorial for creating a ghost using the free image manipulation program GIMP. If you teach image editing or use GIMP for other purposes the video embedded below might be of interest to you.

If you're interested in a thorough list of Halloween themed resources check out Larry Ferlazzo's list.

JayCut to Add Drawing Tools & More Languages

I've been talking about JayCut quite a bit this year because I think that it is a great free alternative to iMovie and Movie Maker. In the next couple of weeks my special education students will be using it to edit Common Craft style videos. Recently, JayCut announced a couple of new features to be on the look-out for in the near future. JayCut will be introducing a drawing tool that will enable users to to draw on the images they upload to the editor. JayCut will also be introducing support for ten languages in addition to English.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Making Videos on the Web
How to Put a Video Editor on Your School's Website
How To Do 11 Techy Things In the New School Year

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Knowcase - Quickly & Collaboratively Create Outlines

Knowcase is a free tool for recording ideas and creating outlines. To get started using Knowcase just click create then start typing. Each time you press enter or return a new element of your outline is started. To rearrange the sequence of elements on your outline just drag them into a new order. Knowcase outlines can be made private or public. There are two public settings. A public setting that allows people to only view the outline and a setting that allows others to edit your outline.

Knowcase can be used on iPhones and iPads.

Applications for Education
Knowcase could be a nice tool for having students collaborate on simple outlines. Knowcase could also be used for creating simple timelines. I could see Knowcase being used by a teacher to create a list of events then ask students to arrange those events in the correct sequence.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you: - Free Mind Mapping Tool
Flock Draw - Simple, Collaborative Drawing
Lovely Charts - Create High Quality Charts

Math Open Reference - Online Geometry Reference

Math Open Reference is a free online reference for geometry teachers and students. Math Open Reference features animated and interactive drawings to demonstrate geometry terms and concepts. The table of contents on Math Open Reference is divided into four basic categories; plane geometry, coordinate geometry, solid geometry, and function explorer tools. Click on any subject in the first three categories to find definitions, examples, and interactive drawings. In the function explorer category users can select linear functions, quadratic functions, or cubic functions to explore how changes in variables affect the graphed output.

Applications for Education
Math Open Reference probably isn't complete enough to replace a textbook, but it could make a great supplement to the mathematics textbooks that you do use. For students who need visual references, Math Open Reference could be particularly helpful.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Math Class Needs a Makeover

Interactivate - Interactive Math Assessments
200+ Free Mathematics Books

Useful YouTube Channels for Educators

I usually don't write posts about the lists that other people have made, but I'm making an exception for a list written by Online College Courses. Online College Courses has created a list of 100 useful YouTube channels for teachers. Most of the usual suspects like TED, PBS, and National Geographic are on the list, but there are quite a few that I hadn't seen before such as Garland Science, Witness, and Craft. 100 Incredibly Useful YouTube Channels for Teachers is divided into four parts; general education, science & math, history & world issues, visual & performing arts.

Applications for Education
If you're fortunate enough to be able to access YouTube in your classroom, 100 Incredibly Useful YouTube Channels for Teachers could be a good place to find video content to complement your instruction.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
3 Ways to Access Khan Academy Without YouTube
47 Alternatives to Using YouTube in the Classroom

Need Primary Documents? Try the Avalon Project

The Avalon Project is a free resource that I use on a regular basis with a couple of my US History classes. The Avalon Project, produced by Yale University, provides digital copies of hundreds of original documents from a myriad of topics in US History.

Applications for Education
The Avalon Project, like Google Books and other resources, make it possible for me to find many primary source documents to use in my classroom. One activity that I like to do with primary documents is to distribute a collection of three to five documents about the same event or topic. Then I have students compare the viewpoints of different authors. I also have students compare the information they find in secondary sources (both online and in textbooks) with the information they see in the primary sources. For example of how one of the ways we do this, read Textbooks, Wikipedia, and Primary Source Research.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
National Archives Our Documents Source Book
Documenting the American South

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

New Visualization Charts in Google Docs

Google Forms and Google Spreadsheets are great tools for collecting and manipulating data sets. Today, Google announced some new enhancements to Google Docs that will allow you to do even more with your data sets. As a history teacher, I'm particularly excited to try out the new timeline slider function available in the motion chart. Other additions include more chart colors, font gauges, and organizational charts. Learn more about the new features in the video below.

Applications for Education
The new chart options in Google Docs forms and spreadsheets will enable students to collect data then manipulate into forms that will them and others interpret the data in the ways that make the most sense to them.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Google for Teachers II - Free Ebook
Free 33 Page Guide - Google for Teachers
Google Fusion Tables - Data Visualization Made Easy

iPhone & iPad Apps for Special Education

Whether they're owned by students or provided by schools iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touches are increasingly being used for academic purposes. Recently, Apple added a new category to the App Store just for special education. In the special education section of the App Store you'll find dozens of applications (both free and paid) for literacy, organization, emotional development, dictation applications, sign language, and more.

H/T to Audrey Watters at Read Write Web.

Teaching Collaborative Revision Using Google Docs

Earlier this evening Kyle Pace called my attention to a nice free publication from Google and Weekly Reader. Through Google for Educators Weekly Reader has published a small collection of pdf guides for teaching the collaborative revision process using Google Documents. Teaching Collaborative Revision with Google Docs includes step-by-step guides for using Google Docs, a set of four documents for student use, and a teachers' guide with suggested lesson plans.

Applications for Education
One of the things that I'm doing with Google Docs this year is creating public documents that my students contribute to as a review exercise. I create an outline of the topics we've covered in class and the students then work together to fill in the details. After the initial novelty of posting over each over wears off, the students settle in to refine and or expand upon each others' contributions to the outline. If you'd like some other ideas about having students revise each others' work online, check out Teaching Collaborative Revision with Google Docs.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Google for Teachers - Free Ebook
Google for Teachers II - Free Ebook
A Fun Video for Introducing Google Docs

Strip Generator - Drag & Drop Comic Creation

Strip Generator is a free tool for quickly creating comic strips that was recently featured on Mashable. Strip Generator allows anyone, even people who claim they can't draw, to create a good-looking black and white comic strip. To create a comic strip all you need to do is select the number of frames you want then drag characters and objects into those frames. The menus for characters and objects are fairly extensive. Once you've selected a character or object you can adjust the size to fit your scene. Adding text is a simple matter of selecting a speech bubble and typing text. When you're happy with your comic strip you can save it online, print it, or embed it into your blog.

Applications for Education
Strip Generator could be a handy little tool for having students create short stories. Students could create short creative stories or short nonfiction students. One of the things that my special education students will be doing later this semester is creating short comics about daily life on 19th Century homesteads in the western United States.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:7 Resources for Creating Cartoons & Comics
Five Online Drawing Tools
20 Ways to Use Comics in Your Classroom

My Brainshark - Easily Narrate and Share Presentations

My Brainshark is a free service offered by Brainshark for easily narrating and sharing slide presentations online. Here's how it works; upload a slide presentation that you've created then use your computer's microphone to record your voice over each slide. If you don't have a microphone My Brainshark provides a phone number that you can call to create a voice recording. A new feature of My Brainshark allows you to have a background sound track as well as a narration track. Watch the My Brainshark demo that is embedded below to learn more.
Applications for Education
My Brainshark could be very useful creating lecturecasts to post on your course blog or website. If you decide to try lecturecasting try building assignment prompts into it. I recently made a lecturecast for one of my classes to watch on a day that I was going to be out of the classroom. After every three slides I included a short assignment that students had to do before watching the next section of the lecturecast. This broke-up the lecturecast into shorter, easily digestible sections.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Six Easy Ways for Students to Create Videos Online
FlixTime - Quickly Create Short Videos
Stupeflix Wows the Crowd!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Twiducate - Social Networking for Schools

Twiducate is a free platform for creating your own micro social network in a Twitter-like format. Twiducate allows you to create a private network for posting assignments and messages to your students or other people you invite into your network. As the creator of your network you create and administer the accounts of the students in your network. Students in your network can reply to your messages and to the messages of other students.

Watch the short video to learn more about Twiducate.

Applications for Education
Twiducate could be a good tool for introducing to the concepts and methods of micro-blogging and social networks. Twiducate gives you the power to oversee your students' accounts. Students can post in a safe environment.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:Back-channeling During a Class Viewing of Glory
Try TodaysMeet for Back-channel Chat Without Distraction
Neat Chat - Quickly Create an Ad-free Chatroom

Khan Instant - Instant Search for Khan Academy

Khan Academy is famous for the fantastic educational videos produced by Salman Khan. Khan's mathematics and science videos are available on YouTube, on iTunes, and on Khan This morning I discovered Khan Instant. Khan Instant is an instant search engine (like Google or YouTube instant) for Khan Academy videos. Just to clarify, Khan Instant was developed by Ben Jacobson not by Khan Academy.

Applications for Education
Khan Instant could be a good tool for quickly locating outstanding mathematics and science videos to supplement your classroom instructions. Searching with Khan Instant is much faster than trying to browse through the YouTube channel for the video that meets your needs.

Everything's Free, Now What

This morning I presented at the NHSTA conference. Slideshare is giving me a hard time right at the moment, but I promised to get the slides up for all attendees. These are not the exact same slides as this morning, but they're close.   These are the slides from this morning's presentation to the New Hampshire Science Teachers Association. Thank you to everyone that attended my presentation. And thank you to NHSTA for inviting me to be their keynote speaker.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

5 Good Resources for Learning the Periodic Table

I am at a science conference this weekend which got me thinking about some of the neat resources I've found over the last few years for learning about the periodic table. Here are some of my favorites.

Glaxo Smith Kline's Active Science offers fifteen interactive games covering a range of science topics. The Interactive Periodic Table is a game designed to help chemistry students practice identification of the elements. To play the game students are given some clues about an element's properties. Using those clues the student has to place the element in the correct place on the table.

The Elements is an interactive periodic table on which students can click an element and learn about that element. Clicking on an element describes all of the element's properties and the common uses of that element. If students just need a snap shot of information, simply placing their cursor on an element reveals a snap shot of information at the top of the page.

The Periodic Table of Videos is produced by The University of Nottingham. The table features a video demonstration of the characteristics of each element in the table. Each element in the Periodic Table displayed on the home page is linked to a video. The videos are hosted on YouTube, but don't worry The University of Nottingham provides an alternative server through which you should be able to view the videos.

The Periodic Table of Comic Books is a project of the chemistry department at the University of Kentucky. The idea is that for every element in the Periodic Table of Elements there is a comic book reference. Clicking on an element in the periodic table displayed on the homepage will take visitors to a list and images of comic book references to that particular element. After looking at the comic book reference if visitors want more information about a particular element they can find it by using the provided link to Web Elements.

The Dynamic Periodic Table is good resource for science teachers and their students. The Dynamic Periodic Table works like this, click on an element and a window will pop up to tell you more detailed information about that element. The pop up windows cover properties, orbitals, isotopes and more. There are even links to more information, like the history of each element, for each element. If this had been around when I took chemistry, I might have done a little better.

North Korea's Military Parade in Slow Motion

When North Korea recently held a military parade to introduce Kim Jong-il's youngest son as his successor, international media was allowed to film it. The Guardian's Dan Chung was one of those members of the international media that filmed the event. The slow motion video Chung created does a good job of capturing the faces of North Korea's military. Watch the video below.

North Korea's Military parade in Slow Motion from Dan Chung on Vimeo.

Applications for Education
The video above reminded me of films of the Soviet Union's May Day parades. A quick search on YouTube yields many clips of old Soviet May Day parades (here's one). You could use these video clips to launch a classroom discussion about the role of propaganda in communist governments.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
WWI Video Map
The Bayeux Tapestry Animated
Smarthistory - A Multimedia Art History Book

Listen to the Small School Big Tech Podcast

Earlier this week I had the privilege to join Danny Silva and Andrew Schwab on their podcast Small Tech Big School. Also joining the podcast was Jon Corippo. I was on the podcast to talk about Free Technology for Teachers. Jon was on to talk about some exciting news regarding CUE and MacWorld.

Here's a brief summary of what Jon shared on the podcast. Listen to the whole podcast here. CUE has arranged for an exciting line-up of educators to present at MacWord 2011. These presenters will be showing-off the technology tools that they're passionate about throughout the day. Jon Corippo has arranged for those attending to win some exciting prizes at the presentations. Read the full line-up here. Finally, CUE has arranged for special discount price of only $105 for educators to access all of the MacWorld sessions. That represents a discount of nearly $300.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

One Word - Sixty Second Writing Prompts

One Word is a simple writing prompt generator. The way it works is the user clicks "go" on the One Word homepage and they are presented with one word. Users then have sixty seconds to write in the text box whatever comes to their minds regarding that word. The idea is not so much to write definitions of the words, but rather it is to write sentences using the word.

Thanks to Angela Maiers for sharing One Word.

Applications for Education
One Word could be a handy little resource to prompt free-response writing in your classroom. If students register for the site they can see what other people have written. Although I might caution against that if you're going to use the site with younger students because there does not seem to be filter for profanity. Even if you don't have the students type on the One Word site you could still use as a supply of writing prompts.

Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good morning from Maine where winter is quickly approaching. I hope the weekend brings everyone the rest and relaxation they deserve. Sunday and Monday I will be at the NHSTA Science Education Conference. If you're going to be there too, please say hello. One of best parts of speaking at conferences is the opportunity to connect with so many of you that read Free Technology for Teachers and learn about what you're doing in your schools.

Here are the most popular items of the last week:
1. Best of the EdTech Web - Updated With Links
2. Mapeas - World News on a Map
3. Own Your Space - Online Safety Ebook for Teens
4. Wolfram Alpha Word Widgets
5. Google Slam - Short Tech Demos
6. Testmoz - A Simple Tool for Giving Tests Online
7. Braineos - Flashcards and Custom Quizzes

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Friday, October 22, 2010

Get Yourself Some Free PD This Weekend

Has your school cut the budget for conferences and professional development? Would you like some excellent free professional development that you can access at your leisure? If you answered yes, check out the newest presentations to go live as part of the K12 Online Conference. You can find the full schedule of presentations here. I'm looking forward to having some time to take-in all of Rodd Lucier's presentation about Creative Commons that went live earlier this week.

More Historical Imagery Available in Google Earth

Back in February Google released historical imagery in Google Earth of 35 European cities as they looked during WWII. Today, Google announced that they have added to Google Earth even more historical imagery of London and Paris. This imagery like the imagery in the previous release is aerial imagery that can be accessed by opening the time slider in Google Earth. If you don't know how to open the time slider, see the image below.

Applications for Education
Many times I've had students comment to me that exploring Google Earth and Google Maps has been very helpful for them in recalling information about our history lessons. The historical imagery can be useful for providing students with geolocated imagery to aid in recall of information about historical events.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
How to Make Placemarks and Tours in Google Earth
Google Earth Across the Curriculum

Free 33 Page Guide - Google for Teachers

Voki for Classrooms

Through a Tweet by Vicki Davis I have learned that Voki is offering an ad-free version for educators. Voki is a service that allows users to create animated audio avatars that they can embed into their wikis, blogs, and websites. The details on the Voki site aren't entirely clear as to whether or not the ad-free version will be free, but it appears to be. You can register for Voki for Classrooms here.

Applications for Education
Normally I would write something of my own in this section. Instead, I will direct you to a guest post on Free Technology for Teachers that Shelly Terrell wrote in February about using Voki with students.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Making Videos on the Web - A Free Guide
11 Techy Things for Teachers to Try This Year
Six Easy Ways for Students to Create Videos Online

Infographic - Who Wants to Be President?

Who Wants to be President? is an infographic containing the names and salaries of the presidents of twenty-one countries. The infographic also contains the GDP per capita of each country and the average cost of housing in each of the twenty-one countries. The countries are arranged on the infographic in order from lowest paid president to highest paid president.
Click the image to enlarge
Who wants to be president
Source: Fixr
Applications for Education
This infographic presents an opportunity to create a lesson combining elements of mathematics and social studies. You could have students rearrange the order of the presidents according to the gaps between their salaries and the GDP per capita in their country. You could also have students determine which countries have the highest housing prices relative to GDP per capita.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Infographic - The Most Expensive Places to Live
10 Resources for Teaching and Learning Economics
Infographic for Understanding Credit Scores

Fat World - A Video Game About Nutrition

Fat World is an educational video game funded in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The game isn't designed to tell students what they should or shouldn't eat rather it is designed to get students thinking about the results of food choices. In the game students explore the socioeconomic, geographic, and cultural factors that influence the nutrition choices people make. Students will also explore the roles of the government and interest groups in the marketing of foods.

Fat World is available as a free download for Windows and Mac users.

Applications for Education
I like games that require students to use some analytical thinking while they are playing and aren't just "drill and kill" activities. Fat World fits that criteria as it asks students to account for many variables as they move through the game. Fat World could obviously be used in a health class, but could also be used in a civics or economics class. 

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Food Play - Resources About Food and Diet
Sugar Stacks - How Much Sugar is in Your Snack?

Cool Food Kidz Teaches Kids About Diet & Fitness

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Shmoop Adds 33 New Titles

Online study guide provider Shmoop recently announced the addition of 33 more titles to their offerings. Shmoop added 15 new literature titles for students including study guides for The Jungle and The Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe. For teachers Shmoop has added 18 new teachers' guides in literature and US History. Teachers' guides are available in free and premium versions. The free versions offer assignments, activities, and links to related resources. The premium versions offer pre-made quizzes and discussion questions.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
11 Operas in 10 Minutes
Shmoop Adds History and Literature Slideshows

Infographic - The Most Expensive Places to Live

Through the Cool Infographics blog I discovered a neat infographic about the ten most expensive cities to live in in 2010. The infographic has three parts; a map, a set of explanations of the costs associated with living in each city, and a comparison chart. The comparison chart at the bottom of the infographic does a nice job of putting cost comparisons into terms that students can relate to. Included in the comparison chart are the costs of fast food meals, the cost of a cup of coffee, and the labor hours required to earn an iPod Nano.

Applications for Education
This infographic could be good for starting a lesson about the factors contributing to the costs of living.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
10 Resources for Teaching and Learning Economics
Infographic for Understanding Credit Scores

Open Study - Create or Join Online Study Groups

Open Study is a new collaborative study service developed and funded in part by Georgia Tech, Emory University, and the National Science Foundation. At its most basic Open Study is a message board for students in search of help answering difficult questions. Students could use it just for that purpose, but Open Study provides more than that. Open Study offers students the option to create or join online study groups, subscribe to other students' updates, and provides students with a place to record their notes online. Students can register for Open Study using their email addresses or connect to Open Study with their Facebook accounts.

Watch the video below for an introduction to Open Study.

Applications for Education
Open Study could be very helpful for students that need help beyond the times when their teachers are available to answer questions. Open Study could also be helpful for homeschool students and for students involved in independent studies.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Ediscio - Collaboratively Create Flashcards
Flashcard Flash - Search for Flashcard Sets
Quizlet - Create and Share Flashcards

Scribd and Apture Make PDFs Interactive

Scribd, a PDF publishing service, has now integrated Apture search technology to make PDFs interactive. Now anytime you're reading a document on Scribd and you come across and unfamiliar term just highlight it and click "learn more" to have text references, images, and videos pop-up on the document. You can then click the links, read the pages, and watch the videos within the pop-up on the document. I tried it this afternoon and it really is as simple as easy to use as it sounds. Watch the short video below to see Scribd and Apture in action.

Apture Highlights on Scribd from Tristan Harris on Vimeo.

Earlier this week Robert Scoble published a video interview of Apture's CEO Tristan Harris. In the video below Harris explains to Scoble how Apture works.

Applications for Education
I often use public domain primary documents in my US History courses. Some students really struggle with some of the verbiage in those documents. Now if I upload those documents to Scribd and have students read them there they can quickly access definitions and explanations without opening a new browser tab or window.

Apture makes a browser extension that enables users to highlight words on any website and open related information in a pop-up box just like you'll see on Scribd. As Tristan Harris explained in the video above, Apture is useful for exploring the curiosities piqued when coming across a new term or phrase while reading. Apture could be very handy for students to find explanations and related links without opening a new browser window.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
3 Web-based Tools for Creating Screencast Videos
Using Screen Captures to Enhance Instructions
Bounce - Share and Collaborate on Screen Captures

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Google Demo Slam - Short Tech Demos

Google Demo Slam is a new Google site featuring short tech demonstrations. The idea of the site is to have people compete to make the best short tech demonstration videos they can. Users upload their videos to YouTube then Google picks a "slam of the week" in which two videos face-off. The winner is determined by viewer voting. The prize is bragging rights. Right now Demo Slam is in "pre-season" which means all of the videos have come from Google employees.

Applications for Education
Google Demo Slam could spur the development of some creative and useful technology demonstration videos. Those videos could be useful in technology-focused professional development workshops. Demo Slam could also be a good motivator for students to create their own short demonstration videos while focusing on being clear and concise in their explanations.

Drag and Drop Images In Google Docs

Earlier today Google announced a new enhancement to Google Docs that should improve users' experiences when using images in documents. Starting today you can now drag images from your desktop directly into your documents. For now drag and drop only works in documents. Hopefully, they add this feature to Google Docs presentations soon too (you can drag from other webpages into presentations, but not from your desktop to presentations). Sorry Internet Explorer users for now this feature only works if you are using Firefox, Chrome, or Safari.

How to Embed Google Presentations Into Wikispaces

I was asked this evening if I had directions for embedding presentations made in Google Documents into Wikispaces pages. I thought I had published directions for that before, but when I went through my Google Docs folders I realized that I hadn't. Embedded below are directions for embedding presentations made in Google Documents into Wikispaces pages.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
How To Do 11 Techy Things in the New School Year
131 Tips for New Teachers
Google Tutorials for Teachers

Brain Nook - A Virtual World for Math & Language Arts

Brain Nook is a virtual world in which students can practice their mathematics and English skills. Brain Nook provides students with a series of scenarios that they have to resolve by answering mathematics and language arts questions. The first scenario presented to me when I tried out Brain Nook required me to earn coins to buy materials for a vehicle that I would then use to explore one of the virtual worlds. I could earn coins by answering questions correctly. Brain Nook presents students with questions based on their skill levels which is determined by a quick pre-assessment and adjusted as they progress through Brain Nook's virtual worlds. 

To use Brain Nook a parent must confirm the creation of a child's account. Parents also have access to a "parent report center" where they can see what their children have been doing in Brain Nook. Most of Brain Nook is free, but there are some premium features that you can elect to purchase.

Applications for Education
Brain Nook could be a fun environment in which they can practice their mathematics and language arts skills. The parent center is useful for parents who want to keep track of the progress their children are making.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
YoYo Games - Create Your Own Online Games
Brain Bashers - Puzzles and Brain Teasers
200+ Free Games for Your Blog or Website

The History of Counterfeiting

On my drive home yesterday I heard an interesting story on PRI's The World broadcast that could be useful for a basic economics lesson. Fake Money is a current exhibit at the National Museum of Art in Catalonia. In the mp3 recording found here, The World's Gerry Hadden reports on the history of counterfeiting. On the same page that you find the mp3 recording you will also find a video interview with a convicted counterfeiter and a slideshow about the history of counterfeiting.

Applications for Education
The Fake Money audio story and slideshow could make an interesting start to a lesson about the purpose of currency and why counterfeiting is illegal.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
The History of Credit Cards in the United States
10 Resources for Teaching and Learning Economics
Infographic for Understanding Credit Scores