Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Placefy: A Picture-Based Geography Game

Placefy is a fun and challenging geography game that uses pictures as questions. Placefy presents players with an image of a city square, buildings, and other famous landmarks. Players then have to choose the correct answer from four answer choices. Playing the game is simple, but the images as questions make it a challenging game.

Applications for Education
Placefy on its own could be a fun geography game for students to play as practice for identifying cities and landmarks. You might also consider using the Placefy as a model for creating a similar game by using your own images of landmarks and
placing them into a slideshow.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Place Spotting - Challenging Geographic Riddles
Find Country - Improve Your Geographic Knowledge

CoSketch - Collaborative Whiteboard and Map Tool

CoSketch is a free and easy-to-use collaborative whiteboarding tool. CoSketch can be used for drawing and typing on a blank canvas or you can draw on an image that you upload to CoSketch. You can also use CoSketch to draw on maps. The map drawing tool is nice, but not as easy to use as that found on Scribble Maps.

The collaborative aspect of CoSketch allows you to invite anyone to become a collaborator with you. To invite others simply give send them the link associated with your drawing space. You can can chat with your collaborators while you draw. When you've completed your drawing you can embed it into your blog, website, or wiki by using the embed code generated by CoSketch.

Hat tip to Michael Gorman.

Applications for Education
CoSketch could be a very convenient tool for groups of students to use to develop mind maps together.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
QuikMaps - Quickly Customize a Google Map
Scribble Maps - Easily Type and Draw on Google Maps
Google Earth and Google Maps Help

Zimmerman Telegram as Intercepted and Decoded

The Zimmerman Telegram is generally regarded as the spark for the United States to declare war on Germany and its allies in 1917. It was 93 years ago today that the telegram was intercepted. Today's document from the National Archives is an image of the Zimmerman Telegram as it was intercepted. The document is also linked to the decoding of the telegram. You can find the full translation of the document here.

Applications for Education
When I teach WWI this year spring I'll use this document at the start of a class period to get to recall what lead up to this telegram and how they think the US should react.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
World War I Video Map

Virtual 3D Tours of the Winter Olympics

Today, Google announced the completion of 54 3D models of the 2010 Winter Olympic venues in Vancouver. You can view these models in Google Earth by selecting in the 3D buildings layer. You can also view and tour the buildings by visiting the official 2010 Winter Olympics website and selecting the 3D View tab for any venue listed in the spectator guide. You can see the hockey venue here.

Applications for Education
I found the models to be much more interesting to tour in Google Earth rather than through the Google Earth plug-in on the Winter Olympics website. By viewing the models in Google Earth I was also able to turn on the street view which provided a much more realistic context for viewing the Winter Olympic venues. Using the models and StreetView you and your students can create tours of the Olympic venues. Perhaps once the games begin you can have students create tours that include information about each sport or have them include information about the winners of various events.

If you would like some more resources for learning and teaching about the 2010 Winter Olympics, Larry Ferlazzo has started a good list.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Google Earth Across the Curriculum
Exploring Climate Change in Google Earth

Two Lesser Known Google Docs Options

Today, quite by accident, I discovered a couple of things about Google Docs that I had not previously seen. I'm sure these options have been there for a while, but unless you were looking for them you probably wouldn't find them.

The first feature, widening and narrowing of columns in your Google Docs display, is one I discovered when a colleague came running to me for help this afternoon. Apparently, she had accidentally dragged the dividing lines some of the columns in her Google Docs homepage to the point where she could no longer see her document's titles on the page. This was on a netbook so she probably would have seen them on a larger display. To fix the problem we had to move to large monitor, locate the column dividing lines, and drag them back into place to make her document titles appear on the screen again. The screen capture below shows you where to click to arrange the column width. (Click image to view full size)

The second lesser known feature is in the settings menu in your Google Docs account. In the settings menu you can subscribe to an RSS feed for your documents. This could be helpful for tracking changes in a document that you have shared with multiple collaborators. The screen capture below shows you where to find this option. (Click image to view full size)

Applications for Education
If you work with enough teachers and or students, eventually you'll come across someone that did what my colleague did today and arrange their columns to the point that they cannot access their documents. The division lines are easy to miss, in fact, I never noticed them until today.

The RSS feed for your Google Documents could be helpful for tracking updates to a document that you have many colleagues or students working on. Rather than logging into your Google Docs account, you can check the changes as a part of your regular scroll through your RSS reader.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Google Earth Across the Curriculum
Useful Google Docs Updates
Need Storage? Get a Google Docs Account