Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Google Demo Slam - Short Tech Demos

Google Demo Slam is a new Google site featuring short tech demonstrations. The idea of the site is to have people compete to make the best short tech demonstration videos they can. Users upload their videos to YouTube then Google picks a "slam of the week" in which two videos face-off. The winner is determined by viewer voting. The prize is bragging rights. Right now Demo Slam is in "pre-season" which means all of the videos have come from Google employees.

Applications for Education
Google Demo Slam could spur the development of some creative and useful technology demonstration videos. Those videos could be useful in technology-focused professional development workshops. Demo Slam could also be a good motivator for students to create their own short demonstration videos while focusing on being clear and concise in their explanations.

Drag and Drop Images In Google Docs

Earlier today Google announced a new enhancement to Google Docs that should improve users' experiences when using images in documents. Starting today you can now drag images from your desktop directly into your documents. For now drag and drop only works in documents. Hopefully, they add this feature to Google Docs presentations soon too (you can drag from other webpages into presentations, but not from your desktop to presentations). Sorry Internet Explorer users for now this feature only works if you are using Firefox, Chrome, or Safari.

How to Embed Google Presentations Into Wikispaces

I was asked this evening if I had directions for embedding presentations made in Google Documents into Wikispaces pages. I thought I had published directions for that before, but when I went through my Google Docs folders I realized that I hadn't. Embedded below are directions for embedding presentations made in Google Documents into Wikispaces pages.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
How To Do 11 Techy Things in the New School Year
131 Tips for New Teachers
Google Tutorials for Teachers

Brain Nook - A Virtual World for Math & Language Arts

Brain Nook is a virtual world in which students can practice their mathematics and English skills. Brain Nook provides students with a series of scenarios that they have to resolve by answering mathematics and language arts questions. The first scenario presented to me when I tried out Brain Nook required me to earn coins to buy materials for a vehicle that I would then use to explore one of the virtual worlds. I could earn coins by answering questions correctly. Brain Nook presents students with questions based on their skill levels which is determined by a quick pre-assessment and adjusted as they progress through Brain Nook's virtual worlds. 

To use Brain Nook a parent must confirm the creation of a child's account. Parents also have access to a "parent report center" where they can see what their children have been doing in Brain Nook. Most of Brain Nook is free, but there are some premium features that you can elect to purchase.

Applications for Education
Brain Nook could be a fun environment in which they can practice their mathematics and language arts skills. The parent center is useful for parents who want to keep track of the progress their children are making.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
YoYo Games - Create Your Own Online Games
Brain Bashers - Puzzles and Brain Teasers
200+ Free Games for Your Blog or Website

The History of Counterfeiting

On my drive home yesterday I heard an interesting story on PRI's The World broadcast that could be useful for a basic economics lesson. Fake Money is a current exhibit at the National Museum of Art in Catalonia. In the mp3 recording found here, The World's Gerry Hadden reports on the history of counterfeiting. On the same page that you find the mp3 recording you will also find a video interview with a convicted counterfeiter and a slideshow about the history of counterfeiting.

Applications for Education
The Fake Money audio story and slideshow could make an interesting start to a lesson about the purpose of currency and why counterfeiting is illegal.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
The History of Credit Cards in the United States
10 Resources for Teaching and Learning Economics
Infographic for Understanding Credit Scores

Audio of Best of the EdTech Web 2010

Image Credit: Sarah Sutter
Last Friday at ACTEM's annual conference and again on Monday at CECA's annual conference I gave my Best of the EdTech Web 2010 presentation. Bob Sprankle recorded the audio of Friday's presentation and it is now available on his blog Bit by Bit. Listen to the recording here.

The slides from my talk are embedded below.