Thursday, October 21, 2010

Shmoop Adds 33 New Titles

Online study guide provider Shmoop recently announced the addition of 33 more titles to their offerings. Shmoop added 15 new literature titles for students including study guides for The Jungle and The Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe. For teachers Shmoop has added 18 new teachers' guides in literature and US History. Teachers' guides are available in free and premium versions. The free versions offer assignments, activities, and links to related resources. The premium versions offer pre-made quizzes and discussion questions.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
11 Operas in 10 Minutes
Shmoop Adds History and Literature Slideshows

Infographic - The Most Expensive Places to Live

Through the Cool Infographics blog I discovered a neat infographic about the ten most expensive cities to live in in 2010. The infographic has three parts; a map, a set of explanations of the costs associated with living in each city, and a comparison chart. The comparison chart at the bottom of the infographic does a nice job of putting cost comparisons into terms that students can relate to. Included in the comparison chart are the costs of fast food meals, the cost of a cup of coffee, and the labor hours required to earn an iPod Nano.

Applications for Education
This infographic could be good for starting a lesson about the factors contributing to the costs of living.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
10 Resources for Teaching and Learning Economics
Infographic for Understanding Credit Scores

Open Study - Create or Join Online Study Groups

Open Study is a new collaborative study service developed and funded in part by Georgia Tech, Emory University, and the National Science Foundation. At its most basic Open Study is a message board for students in search of help answering difficult questions. Students could use it just for that purpose, but Open Study provides more than that. Open Study offers students the option to create or join online study groups, subscribe to other students' updates, and provides students with a place to record their notes online. Students can register for Open Study using their email addresses or connect to Open Study with their Facebook accounts.

Watch the video below for an introduction to Open Study.

Applications for Education
Open Study could be very helpful for students that need help beyond the times when their teachers are available to answer questions. Open Study could also be helpful for homeschool students and for students involved in independent studies.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Ediscio - Collaboratively Create Flashcards
Flashcard Flash - Search for Flashcard Sets
Quizlet - Create and Share Flashcards

Scribd and Apture Make PDFs Interactive

Scribd, a PDF publishing service, has now integrated Apture search technology to make PDFs interactive. Now anytime you're reading a document on Scribd and you come across and unfamiliar term just highlight it and click "learn more" to have text references, images, and videos pop-up on the document. You can then click the links, read the pages, and watch the videos within the pop-up on the document. I tried it this afternoon and it really is as simple as easy to use as it sounds. Watch the short video below to see Scribd and Apture in action.

Apture Highlights on Scribd from Tristan Harris on Vimeo.

Earlier this week Robert Scoble published a video interview of Apture's CEO Tristan Harris. In the video below Harris explains to Scoble how Apture works.

Applications for Education
I often use public domain primary documents in my US History courses. Some students really struggle with some of the verbiage in those documents. Now if I upload those documents to Scribd and have students read them there they can quickly access definitions and explanations without opening a new browser tab or window.

Apture makes a browser extension that enables users to highlight words on any website and open related information in a pop-up box just like you'll see on Scribd. As Tristan Harris explained in the video above, Apture is useful for exploring the curiosities piqued when coming across a new term or phrase while reading. Apture could be very handy for students to find explanations and related links without opening a new browser window.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
3 Web-based Tools for Creating Screencast Videos
Using Screen Captures to Enhance Instructions
Bounce - Share and Collaborate on Screen Captures