Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Videos About the Hubble Telescope and More

Yesterday, I shared a video about and link to a Google Earth tour featuring imagery captured by the Hubble telescope. This evening I came across a series of videos produced about the Hubble telescope, the technology behind it, and the imagery it has captured. The videos also get into a discussion of theories about the formation of planets and the universe. There are ten videos in all, I've embedded the first three in the series below.

Congratulations to Teachers in Oregon!

Today, Google announced that the Oregon Department of Education is officially migrating to Google Apps for Education. All public schools in the state will have access to Google Apps for Education for students and staff. Google and the Oregon DOE estimate that this could save Oregon $1.5million/ year.

As an on-looker on the opposite coast I'm a bit jealous of my colleagues in Oregon. One of the reasons I've heard some school administrators give for not using Google Apps for Education is concern about security. Hopefully, an endorsement from a state DOE will persuade some of those administrators to try Google Apps for Education thereby saving their schools money and giving their students and teachers new opportunities.

For those teachers in Oregon who are going to start using Google Apps for the first time, take a look at this free PDF guide I created last month.

Check out the guide in Yudu format below.

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Publishing Software from YUDU

Check out the guide in DocStoc format below.

Google for Teachers

JST Virtual Science Center - Great Science Resource!

The Japanese Science and Technology Center offers nine outstanding science lessons. The list of lessons and activities covers topics in physics, biology, psychology, geography, and space science. The general format of each virtual lesson is to present a manageable chunk of information followed by activities in which students try to use that information. I hesitate to generalize the activities as games because not all of them are games and those that are games are not "drill" games. Each lesson has multiple parts (some have 20+ parts) and multiple activities.

The logo displayed at the top of this post is from JST's Earth Guide which is an eight part virtual lesson about the Earth's place in the solar system and the environment of the the Earth. Each of the eight parts of JST's Earth Guide features multiple forms of information.

The virtual lesson that drew me to JST is the Mind Lab. Mind Lab is a virtual lesson on biology and psychology. The lesson is designed to make students think about the ways in which they perceive the things they see. Mind Lab has four introductory video lesson about the way in which we absorb information and how what we perceive might not be reality. One sample activity from the Mind Lab helps students discover their "blind spots" and teaches them how people sometimes become oblivious to their blind spots.

Applications for Education
The Japanese Science and Technology Center's Virtual Science Center's lessons are appropriate for middle school and high school use. Some lessons offer more depth than others, but all of the activities offer excellent content. Here is the full list of lessons: Mind Lab, Search for ET, Physics of Amusement Parks, Optical Communications, Earth Guide, The World of Rust, Energy Transmission in Sports, the Human Genome, and the Mysteries of the Body.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
10 Sources of Educational Science Games
Ten Problem Solving Games for K-8 Students
Physics Games for Your Blog or Website

Chogger - Create a Comic Strip

Chogger is a free comic strip creation tool offering a good selection of editing tools. Chogger allows you to draw images from scratch or use your existing images. You can even connect your webcam to Chogger to capture pictures for use in your comic strips. Once you've added images to your comic strip, you can add effects such as fading and outlining. Chogger also allows you to customize the look of each frame in your comic strip. Comic strips created in Chogger can have as few as three frames or as many as twelve or more frames.

Thanks to Anne Marie at Talking SMARTBoards & Much More for the info about Chogger.

Applications for Education
Chogger could be a good web-based alternative to proprietary comic strip creation tools. Chogger offers more space to create and more options for editing than many similar web-based tools. Students aren't locked into predefined templates and are free to create comic stories as they see fit.

One note of caution about Chogger, when I browsed the public gallery of comics I did come across one advertisement that might be considered PG-13.

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 Conjugates any Verb

Conjugating verbs can be a challenge for people learning the English language. aims to help those people learning English. Type a verb into the engine generates a list of ways that verb can be conjugated. also provides examples of your chosen verb being used in a sentence. provides a widget that you can embed into your blog or website for visitors to use. To install the widget click the on your site link, copy the code provided, and paste it into your blog's template.

Applications for Education could be useful for ESL/ELL students as well as native speakers of English who struggle with verb conjugation. If you have students contributing to a group blog, the widget could be a good asset to add to the group blog.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Collaborate on Translations in Translator Toolkit
Three Good Resources for ESL/ELL Teachers
Pronunciation Animations