Thursday, July 15, 2010

Thursday Tech Tip Video - Video Sub Plans

In this week's video tech tip I share my secret for delivering more effective substitute teacher lesson plans to the substitute and my students.

All you need to make a video through Viddler is a webcam and an Internet connection. Check out and try creating your own video lesson plan.

Cramster - Students Exchange Study Help

Cramster is a provider of study guides, practice tests, and studying help forums for students. The service has an interesting business model in which students have to either purchase credits (Cramster calls the credits "Karma") or earn credits in order to be able to ask their own questions. Students can earn credits (Karma) by answering the questions that have been posted by others. The value of credit earned fluctuates depending on the difficulty of the question answered. Cramster is primarily intended for use by science and mathematics students although humanities sections have recently been added to Cramster. According to TechCrunch Cramster's user base is roughly 90% college students and 10% high school students.

Applications for Education
Cramster offers educators free access to all of its "gold level" content. Educators can contribute to the content provided on Cramster and in exchange have their own questions answered. I was wondering why a teacher would need this until I realized that there are some tough questions, particularly in advanced economic theories, that I do occasionally need help answering.

Cramster is also advertising some new features specifically for teachers that will be revealed in the near future, but they're not saying what those are yet.

A Streetview Look at Tour de France Terrain

The Wall Street Journal has built a neat series of maps depicting the elevation gains and losses during each stage of the Tour de France. A separate map is available for each stage of the race. Each map has an interactive widget that shows the elevation of the stage as the riders progress through it. And since the maps are built on Google Maps, Streetview imagery is available for many of the stages. To use the Streetview imagery just drag the human icon to the course route.

Applications for Education
These maps could be used to create a simple mathematics lesson in which students calculate the overall elevation gain or loss for each stage of the race. Students could also try to calculate the overall elevation gain or loss for the entire race.

Two Good Free Guides to Digital Photography

Yesterday, Make Use Of released a 59 page ebook titled The Essential Guide to Digital Photography. The book covers everything from selecting a camera to using your camera to editing your images. It's not the most in-depth guide you'll find on any of those three topics, but it does provide a nice overview of everything an aspiring photographer should know.

Make Use Of directed readers to Scribd to view The Essential Guide to Photography before downloading it. While on Scribd I looked at some other ebooks on digital photography and came upon the Absolute Beginner's Guide to Digital Photography. The Absolute Beginner's Guide is a 381 page soup to nuts guide for anyone delving into the world of photography as a hobby or art form. I've embedded that guide below.
Absolute Beginners Guide to Digital Photography

Applications for Education
If you're considering purchasing digital cameras for your classroom or your school, both of these guides should offer you some good advice on what to look for in your purchase. These guides could also be handy references to have in your classroom when you decide to have students start using digital cameras for multimedia presentation projects.