Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Thought Audio - Free Audio Books

Thought Audio is a producer and provider of free audio books featuring classic titles across a variety of genres. Thought Audio audio books are professionally narrated works that you can listen to online or download to play offline. The library of audio books on Thought Audio contains some titles that are hard to find as audio files. For example you'll find titles like Thus Spoke Zarathustra, The Life of PT Barnum, and The Madman. You'll also find more commonly read titles like Alice in Wonderland, and Poe's The Raven.

Applications for Education
Thought Audio could be a good resource for reading and literature teachers in search of audio recordings to assist their students.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Seven Places to Find Free eBooks
Audio Owl - Hundreds of Free Audio Books
Free Audio Books from Books Should Be Free

Next Vista & CUE Student Video Contest

Rushton Hurley's non-profit video hosting website, Next Vista for Learning and CUE (Computer Using Educators) have just announced a new student video creation contest. The contest asks students to create short videos that creatively explain a concept that a student might encounter in elementary, middle, or high school. Videos should be less than 60 seconds in length. The concept explained and the format of the video is up to the student.

The contest winner will be selected by a crowd vote from the finalists videos shown at CUE's Fall Conference on November 5th. Finalists receive $25 iTunes gift cards. The winner receives $50 iTunes gift card, the student's teacher wins a CUE membership, and the winner's classroom receives a Qwizdom Q7 Presenter Tablet.

Click here to get all of the contest rules, requirements, and deadlines.

Watch this video for an example of a middle school students sharing a mathematics tip.

Applications for Education
As this video contest is early in the school year it could be a good way for
your students to share the things they already know while also giving you the opportunity to learn what they know. Winning the contest would be great, but from my perspective the real value of the contest is generation of many videos of students helping students learn.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Interview with Rushton Hurley from Next Vista
47 Alternatives to Using YouTube in the Classroom

How to Create a Facebook Group for Your Classes

Last week I Tweeted that I had created a Facebook fan page for my course blog. (As an aside I run one general info blog for all of my courses and then create individual blogs with students for each course). I created the fan page as a way for students to get course-related information like assignments, outlines, and other materials through Facebook without having to check my blog separately. The information I publish on the fan page is essentially the same as on my blog and often contains links back to my blog. My hope in doing this is that my students will see course reminders when they log into their Facebook accounts. My belief is that students are far more likely to check Facebook throughout their days than they are my course blog. I'm also allowing the parents of my students to access course information in the same way as their children.

Since last week I've had a handful of people ask me how to create a Facebook fan page and or group page. It's kind of too late for me to change now, but if I was looking to make an academic presence on Facebook today, I'd probably go with a group instead of a fan page. A group gives you and your students more options for sharing and gives you more privacy controls for the group.
Below is a simple tutorial on how to create a Facebook community group for your classes. Note: the tutorial assumes that you already have a Facebook account.

Mahalo has a couple of video tutorials for creating groups and fan pages that may also be of interest to you:
How to make a fan page.

How to make a group.

Browse Life in a Day

The YouTube Life in a Day project organized by Kevin MacDonald and Ridley Scott asked people around the world to record and upload a video documenting a small aspect of their lives on July 24, 2010. They received thousands of submissions and are now sorting the submissions and making them available for public viewing. Visitors to the Life in a Day YouTube channel can now explore the videos in a neat global display. You can locate and watch videos by geographic tag.

Applications for Education
When I first read about the Life in a Day project earlier this summer I thought that it could provide a good way for teachers of global studies to give their students access to glimpses of cultures around the world. Little did I know that Life in a Day would be displayed in such a way as to make it very easy for students to pick a spot on the globe and get a taste of life in that country or city.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Debate Graph - Diagrams of Global Debates
101 Ways to Teach Geography

47 Alternatives to Using YouTube in the Classroom