Saturday, November 27, 2010

Week in Review - Thanksgiving Edition

Greetings from Maine where winter has arrived in the form of snow and sleet turning my driveway into a skating rink. I hope everyone who celebrates Thanksgiving had a great day with friends and family. And if you went shopping 3am on Black Friday, I hope you got the best deals possible.

Here are the most popular posts of the week:
1. Ten Steps to Better Web Research
2. How to Enable New Services in Google Apps
3. Synch Microsoft Office with Google Docs
4. Three Ways to Cut, Mix, & Mash YouTube Videos
5. Google Apps for Education Demonstration Video
6. An Easy Way to Make Online Booklets
7. Seven Ways to Build Your Own Educational Games

An update from last week's Week in Review. The head of the Free Technology for Teachers health & wellness initiative has successfully gotten the head blogger to walk and throw sticks everyday.

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Browse the Web Using Gestures

Four really smart guys in the Fluid Group at the MIT Media Lab have come up with a new way to browse the web that doesn't require a mouse, a keyboard, or a touch screen. Depth JS is a browser extension that allows users to navigate the web using hand gestures. Depth JS utilizes Microsoft Kinect and Javascript to make this happen. Depth JS isn't available as a finished product yet, but you can get the code on GitHub. Watch the video demonstration to see Depth JS in action.

DepthJS from Fluid Interfaces on Vimeo.

Depth JS does require that you have Microsoft Kinect so in that sense it's not free, but I couldn't resist sharing this promising technology.

Save Paper - Reprint Me Calendars

If your school is anything like mine, when you go to a network printer you probably find quite a bit of wasted misprinted papers. Rather than just throwing those papers in the recycling bin, use Reprint Me to turn those papers into weekly or monthly planning calendars. Reprint Me offers PDF templates for weekly and monthly calendars. New calendar templates are released each quarter so that you can print a couple of months in advance. Right now you can get calendars for December 2010, January and February 2011.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
3 Tools to Help You Save Ink & Paper in Your Classroom
Free Online Gradebook LearnBoost Goes Live
Teachers Pet - Free Printable Resources

Enter the Group - Collaborative Project Management

Enter the Group is a new free service offering collaborative project management for groups. Enter the Group features a calendar, messaging, and file sharing for your group members. If you want to keep your project just between friends, you can create a private group. If you want the whole world to see your project, you can make a public group.

To get started you can create an Enter the Group account or sign-in using your Twitter or Facebook credentials. Once you're logged in, click "create new project." Then specify some details about your project and invite others to your group. It really is quite easy to get started.

H/T to Kristen Swanson.

Applications for Education
Enter the Group could be useful for teachers that work in academic teams to plan interdisciplinary projects. Enter the Group could also be used by students to coordinate the completion of group projects. The fact that users can log-in using Facebook credentials removes the hurdle of having to remember another username and password.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Vanilla Forums - Open Source Forum Software
NING Ends Free Networks - Try These Alternatives
RCampus - Create & Conduct Courses Online