Monday, April 26, 2010

Quick Translator - Compare Auto-Translators

Google Translate can be a good tool for translating documents, websites, and other text-based materials. However, sometimes you may want to check that translation against another service's translation. In other cases you may come across some text that is in a language that you don't recognize and want to have it translated. In both of those situation, Quick Translator can help you out.

To use Quick Translator just paste a chunk of text into the translation box and select the language in which you wish to read that text. Quick Translator auto detects the language of the text you paste into the translation box. The translations will then be completed by Quick Translator using both Google Translate and Microsoft Translator.

Applications for Education
Quick Translator could be a good tool for students learning a foreign language to check their own translations. Quick Translator could also be handy for grabbing news stories from foreign sources, translating them, and then comparing the reporting of international news stories from multiple perspectives.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Collaborate on Translations in Translator Toolkit
New from Google - Dictionary & Search Translations
Automatic Translation in Google Chrome

New Earth View Available in Google Maps

Earlier today Google released new imagery for Google Maps. You can now view Google Earth 3D imagery and more in Google Maps. To use Earth View in Google Maps simply click the "Earth" button in the upper-right corner of Google Maps. You can share Google Maps Earth Views just as you would share any other view in Google Maps. Likewise you can create placemarks while using the Earth View. Watch the video below to learn more about the new Earth View for Google Maps.

Applications for Education
The new Earth View in Google Maps could be a great resource for schools whose students use netbooks that cannot run Google Earth or do not run it well. Now, although they won't be able to create Google Earth layers, those students will be able to view locations in 3D as well as use 3D imagery in Google Maps tours.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Google Earth Across the Curriculum
How to Embed a Map Into Blogs and Wikis
Google Maps Labs - Try the Newest Options

NASA Brain Bites - Video Answers to Your Curiosities

NASA produces lots of great content for students. A teacher could spend many hours on the site and still not uncover all of the valuable content on it. Recently, through Eric Sheninger, I learned about NASA Brain Bites. NASA Brain Bites is a series of videos designed to answer the questions the that kids typically have about the science of space travel and the "logistics" of daily life as an astronaut. Some the questions that are addressed include "what is the temperature of space?" and "how do you go to the bathroom in space?"

All of the videos in the NASA Brain Bites collection can be viewed online or downloaded as QuickTime or Windows Media files.

Applications for Education
NASA Brain Bites is a good resource for elementary school and middle school teachers addressing space science topics. The videos can be downloaded which means that students could include them as part of a multimedia presentation about space. If Internet access in your school is unreliable being able to download these videos ensures that you can use them in class even if you cannot get online all the time.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
NASA Space Place - Where Science is Fun!
NASA Images - Embed Galleries of Images and Videos
NASA Quests and Challenges

Past and Present Google Street View Imagery

Sepia Town is a neat website that allows you to view Google Maps Street View imagery side-by-side with historical imagery. Every image in the Sepia Town collection of historical imagery is geolocated on a Google Map. Click on any image then click on the "then/now" link to see the current Google Maps Street View image of the same location. The Street View comparison feature is only available for select cities. Learn more in the episode of Tekzilla Daily that is embedded below.

Applications for Education
Sepia Town provides a good way for students to compare current imagery with the past. Have students hypothesize and research why the scenes have changed over the years. You could also use this model to have student create past and present comparison layers in Google Earth.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Google Earth Across the Curriculum
Explore More Street View Imagery Than Ever Before
Exploring Climate Change in Google Earth

Follow the 2010 Census in Google Earth

The 2010 US Census will provide us with valuable data that can be used for a variety of academic purposes. For that data to be collected the Census must be completed. To track the collection of Census data Google has created a layer for Google Earth in which you can view completion rates by county. The file uses time-stamps to show updates to the completion rates. You can view the layer here in your browser or download it here. Watch the video below for an overview of the layer.

Applications for Education
This Google Earth layer presents teachers with an opportunity to visually show students how much farther their local areas have to go in order to fully complete the Census. In a Civics class you could show students this data then challenge them to create their own campaigns to get people in their communities to complete the Census. Students could create a video or a multimedia collage (try Glogster) to encourage people to complete the Census form.