Saturday, October 16, 2010

Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Image Credit: Sarah Sutter
Wow! What a busy end to the week. On Thursday and Friday of this week I gave presentations at ACTEM's annual conference. (You can find the slides from those here and here). On Thursday evening ACTEM announced their Educators and Leaders of the Year. This year's Educator of the Year is Karen Abbott from Cape Elizabeth, Maine. Congratulations Karen! I was fortunate enough to be nominated by Beth Still and was named runner-up for Educator of the Year. Thank you to Beth, the selection committee, my girlfriend Denise for putting-up with all of my time spent exploring technology for the classroom, and to all of you who have helped me in so many ways over the last few years. Congratulations as well to Bob Asselin who was named Leader of Year and to Sharon Betts who was named runner-up for Leader of the Year.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. Videos of Middle School Science Experiments
2. Taking the Mystery Out of Copyright
3. - Draw on any Webpage
4. Great, Free PD - K12 Online Conference Starts Soon
5. Collaborative Whiteboard Scribblar Adds Flickr
6. Create Your Own Super Hero Comic
7. YoYo Games - Create Your Own Games

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Surf Canyon Real-time Personalized Search

Surf Canyon is an interesting search engine service designed to help you alter and refine your search results. Here's how it works, when you search on Surf Canyon a small "target" icon is placed next to each link in your search results. Clicking the target re-sorts the results based on relevance to the link you select. Surf Canyon draws results from Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Surf Canyon also has an element of Google Instant that alters your search results each time you touch a key on your keyboard.

If you don't want to go to Surf Canyon to search you can use their browser add-on. Surf Canyon's browser add-on works for Firefox, Chrome, and Internet Explorer.

Here's a short video about Surf Canyon.

Applications for Education
Surf Canyon could be useful for students who need a little help in refining their searches to find the information that is most relevant to their online research.

Wolfram Alpha Word Widgets

Wolfram Alpha is known as a computation and statistics search engine, but Wolfram Alpha offers more than that. Two of examples of this are found in Wolfram's new word widgets. Wolfram now offers a dictionary widget that provides users with definitions, synonyms, and pronunciations.

The Fun Word Calculator provides users with anagrams, rhyming words, and the Scrabble value of words.

Applications for Education
If you post reading assignments on your classroom blog, the dictionary widget from Wolfram Alpha could be useful addition to your classroom blog or website. Students can access the widget whenever they come across a new word and find the definition without leaving the page they're reading.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Wolfram Alpha Launches a Custom Widget Builder
Goofram - Google and Wolfram Alpha Side by Side
Wolfram Alpha for Educators - Free Lesson Plans