Thursday, August 26, 2010

TED Talk - The Beauty of Data Visualization

I spent a fair amount of time this summer exploring the idea of using more infographics, sketches, and mind maps in my classroom. As a part of that on-going investigation I spent some time today watching the following TED Talk given by David McCandless. David McCandless creates infographics for a living. In his TED Talk below he explains what makes infographics powerful data visualization tools. More importantly McCandless explains how he creates infographics that reveal interesting patterns in news and social behaviors.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
18 Formats for Visual Thinking in the Classroom
How Much Is One Trillion Dollars?

How Students Can Blog Without An Email Address

Disclosure: Edublogs is an advertiser on this blog.

Earlier today Edublogs announced that students can now blog on Edublogs even if they don't have email addresses. Students can create a blog or become authors on other blogs without having to submit an email address to Edublogs. To get started students will simply need to choose a user name and password before writing their first blog posts. If they desire, students can submit email addresses later (which is useful for password recovery).

Applications for Education
Removing the requirement of submitting an email address should simplify the process of getting a classroom full of students blogging. By not making students go through the process of submitting and confirming an email address, Edublogs is giving students and teachers more time to focus on the work of creating blog posts. The removal of the email requirement also makes it possible for students who don't have email addresses to write their own blog posts.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
How to do 11 Techy Things in the New School Year
Posterous - A Simple Way for Students to Blog
Free 33 Page Guide - Google for Teachers

Google Launches a Realtime Search Engine... Again

Last December Google launched a realtime search element that displayed realtime updates within standard search results. Today, Google launched a stand-alone realtime search engine. Google Realtime Search is a stand-alone realtime search engine that draws its results from social networking sites as well as other news sources.

There are a couple of features in Google Realtime Search that should prove to be useful. First, you can refine your search results by time (go back an look at what was being said 12 hours ago) and by location. The other useful feature is a the "conversations view" of results. Conversations View will enable you to see the entire progression of a conversation on a social networking site without having to click through a series of links and updates. Learn more about Google Realtime Search in the video below.

Applications for Education
Google Realtime Search could be a great resource for anyone that has a current events component in his or her curriculum. When a story breaks, have your students look at how quickly a story develops on the web by monitoring the updates to Google Realtime Search results.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Real-Time Search Options
Collecta, Real-time Search, and Professional Learning
Free 33 Page Guide - Google for Teachers

Read Print - 8,000+ Free Books & Essays Online

Read Print is a free service providing access to more than 8,000 free books and essays written by more than 3,500 authors. The titles available through Read Print are generally works that are in the public domain or have Creative Commons licensing. The collection of works contains many of the classics in fiction and non-fiction literature. In addition to books, poems, and essays you can also find plays on Read Print. You can search by author, title, or quotation for titles on Read Print. Once you've found what you're looking for you can print all or parts of your chosen title or read it online using the Read Print viewer.

Thanks to Michael Zimmer for the info about Read Print.

Applications for Education
Read Print appeared on Time's list of the 50 Best Websites of 2010. I don't think it's that good as there are many other sites doing the same thing as Read Print. That said, Read Print could be a valuable resource for teachers and students in need of free access to some classic titles.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
100+ Free Textbooks from Open Culture

Google Books Adds Shelving Options
Embedding Books Into Your Blogger Blog or Google Site

Two Approaches to Cell Phones in Schools - Pick One

Through Wes Fryer's excellent blog I learned about the following video from CNN. The video is a report on two different approaches to dealing with cell phone use by students. Thankfully, my school is slowly moving toward the second approach. Watch the video below then leave a comment and tell us which approach your school uses and which approach you prefer.

Click here if you're reading in RSS and can't see the video.

One of the things that Wes Fryer pointed out in his post about this video is the use of the terms "cell phone computers" and "mobile learning devices." I think that is important distinction that must be made to teachers and administrators who would still prefer to fight the "put your phones away" battle rather than find ways to leverage for the learning the computers in our students hands.

Here is a post I wrote about how I used cell phones in my Civics course last fall. Cell Phones in My Civics Class = Parent Involvement.