Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Vista Zoo - Panoramic Tours on Google Maps

Vista Zoo is a Google Map featuring 3D panoramic tours of more than 1400 locations around the globe. The Vista name comes from the 3DVista products used to construct the 3D panoramic images shown on the map. Click on any placemark on the map to be taken to a collection of 3D panoramic images of that location. In some cases there is sound to accompany the panoramas.

Thanks to Google Maps Mania for the link.

Applications for Education
Much like Google Street View or 360 Cities, Vista Zoo offers students a way to explore places far away from their homes. Exploring the panoramas is far better than simply looking at static images in a textbook.

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Encyclopedia of Life - Species Quiz on Google Earth

The Encyclopedia of Life is now hosting an interesting interactive quiz using Google Earth. The Encyclopedia of Life's Google Earth Species Quiz (opens KMZ) presents players with images of an animal and the animal's name scientific name. Players then have to pick the place that the animal is from. If the correct answer is chosen, the player is zoomed to the correct location on the map. You do need to have the latest version of Google Earth in order to properly view the quiz.

Applications for Education
The Encyclopedia of Life's Google Earth Species Quiz could be a good tool for biology teachers and students. Whenever a student gets a question correct they can learn more about that animal and its habitat by zooming in on the location and its placemark.

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Six Visual Dictionaries and Thesauri

Here are six visual dictionaries and thesauri that can help your students better understand the meanings of words.

Snappy Words is a free visual dictionary and thesaurus. Enter any word or phrase into the Snappy Words search box and it will create a web of related words, phrases, and definitions. Hover your cursor over any word or phrase in the web to read its definition. Click and drag any node to explore other branches of the web. Double click on a node and it will generate new web branches.

Visuwords uses a web design to show users the definitions of words and the connections between words. To use Visuwords just type a word into the search box and Visuwords will generate a web of related words. Place your cursor over any of the words and the definition appears. Use the color-coded key to understand the connections between the words in any web.

Lexipedia, like Visuwords, provides the definitions of words along with a webbed diagram of related words and their definitions. In addition to definitions and diagrams, Lexipedia offers audio pronunciations of words although when I tested it the audio didn't seem to be working properly. In my side-by-side comparison of Lexipedia and Visuwords, both performed equally well, but occasionally offered different definitions and connections for the same word.

Merriam Webster's Visual Dictionary is divided into fifteen thematic categories containing more than 6,000 words defined and accompanied by images. You can find words and definitions by browsing through the categorized images or by using the text search bar.

Wordia is a free visual, video dictionary. Wordia features a selection of user-submitted and professionally created videos explaining the meaning of a word. The videos focus on the everyday use of words while the text accompanying each video provides the dictionary definition of the word.
Got Brainy features two sections; Brainy Flix and Brainy Pics. Brainy Pics is comprised of images that demonstrate the meaning of a word. Most of the pictures are submitted by students. Brainy Flix is comprised of short videos that illustrate the meaning of words. Just like with Brainy Pics, most of the videos are submitted by students.

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Stupeflix for Education - Registration Now Open

Stupeflix, an easy to use video creation tool, is now offering Stupeflix for Education. Stupeflix for Education is currently looking for beta testers to use Stupeflix for Education for free in their classrooms. The sign-up form is live now on a first come, first served basis. I asked Felix Fidelsberger if Stupeflix for Education would be free after the beta period and he said that they haven't worked out whether or not it will remain free. In fact, they're hoping that beta testers will offer them some insight on that issue.

If you've never tried Stupeflix, I recommend giving it a try. To create a video using Stupeflix all you need to do is upload some images, add text (optional), then select a sound track. Stupeflix will handle the final production of transitions and timing.

Applications for Education
If you're looking to try a video production project with your students but you don't have editing software or you just want an easier to use tool, Stupeflix could be the choice for you.

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