Monday, December 6, 2010

Snag Learning Film of the Week: T-shirt Travels

Have you ever wondered what becomes of the t-shirts made for the losing Super Bowl team or the ugly sweaters at TJ Maxx that no one ever buys? This week's Snag Learning Film of the Week, T-shirt Travels, shows you what happens to that clothing. T-shirt Travels is more than a story about secondhand clothing, it's a story examining the causes of growing inequalities between the rich countries and the poor countries of the world. Watch the film and find discussion questions here.
Watch more free documentaries

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Snag Learning Film of the Week - The Luckiest Nut in the World
Snag Learning Film of the Week - The Family Meal
Snag Learning Film of the Week - Immersion

New Google eBookstore Includes Many Free Titles

Today, Google launched Google eBooks. Google eBooks, not to be confused with the similar sounding Google Books, is a designed to provide access to ebooks through a wide variety of ebook reading platforms including the web, iPads, Android tablets, and Barnes & Noble Nooks. A lot of the books in the Google eBookstore require purchase, but there is a sizable collection of free classic titles that you can access. Books that you select through Google eBooks will also appear in your Google Books library. Learn more about the new Google eBooks in the video below.

Yawas - Web Annotation Tool for Firefox and Chrome

Yawas is a free web annotation tool for Firefox and Chrome built on top of Google Bookmarks. Yawas enables you to highlight text on any webpage and save it in your Google Bookmarks account. Once Yawas is installed just highlight the text on a page, right click, and send it to your Google Bookmarks account. Watch the video below to see Yawas in action.

Applications for Education
Yawas, like other web annotation tools, can be helpful for students conducting research online. Rather than bookmarking an entire page or site and then wondering what it was about that page that they needed, they can select just what they need and save just what they need. And it should go without saying that clipping part of a page is much much better than printing many pages from the web. 

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:

Nominate Your Favorite Apps for IEAR Awards

Back in July I shared a new resource called IEAR which is dedicated to the review of iPod, iPhone, and iPad applications for education. Today, IEAR announced the first annual IEAR Awards. IEAR is currently seeking nominations in nineteen categories. If you have a favorite educational iPhone, iPod, or iPad app, go ahead and nominate it for an IEAR Award.

Even if you don't nominate an app, you'll want to follow the IEAR Awards to discover the applications that other teachers are using in their classrooms.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Learn iPhone & iPad App Development
Develop an Android App Without Coding
Get Free Technology for Teachers on Your Kindle

17 Free eBooks for Teachers and Parents

Over the last eighteen months I've created and offered seven free ebooks for teachers. In those ebooks I've covered Google tools, web search, video creation, blogging, and other resources of interest to educators. All seven of those ebooks are available in the right hand column of Free Technology for Teachers. This morning I'd like to highlight some other free ebooks created by others for teachers and parents.

Silvia Tolisano, author of the excellent Langwitches blog, has an awesome free ebook about digital storytelling. Digital Storytelling Tools for Educators is a 120 page guide to using digital storytelling tools in your classroom. The guide offers clear directions for using tools like Audacity, Google Maps, Photo Story, VoiceThread, and other digital media creation tools. Silvia's directions are aided by clearly annotated screenshots of each digital storytelling tool.

Digital Storytelling Tools for Educators also provides a good explanation of digital storytelling in general and the benefits of using digital storytelling in your classroom. You can download the ebook for free on Lulu. You can also purchase a paperback copy of the book for $8.50. I think $8.50 is too low of a price because I bet most people would happily pay twice that price.

The Digital Storytelling Teacher Guide is a free twenty-eight page ebook produced by Microsoft. The guide outlines the basics of digital storytelling, offers ideas for digital storytelling projects for all grade levels, and provides examples of digital storytelling projects. Microsoft's Digital Storytelling Teacher Guide also offers instruction for using Windows Movie Maker and Photo Story in the classroom.
Terry Freedman served as the editor of the free ebook The Amazing Web 2.o Projects Book which is comprised of the contributions of 94 people. I took a look at the book last night and was impressed by what I found in the 121 pages of The Amazing Web 2.0 Projects Book. Within the book readers will find 87 web-based projects. Each project in the book has defined objectives, defined grade level or age range, links to additional information (including how-to's) about the project, and tips for teachers planning to use the project.

Ana Maria Menezes offers a 53 page free ebook titled 20 WEBTOOLS Applied to Teaching. In addition to some well-known services like Animoto, Ana Maria has included some lesser-known tools that could be particulary useful for ESL/ELL instruction. You can download the ebook from Issuu. I also recommend browsing through Ana Maria's blog, Life Feast, if you've never visited it.

As we know, the Internet is a great place to find information on anything that sparks your curiosity. Likewise, the web is a great resource for students, but they need to know how to evaluate what they find and discern the good from the bad. That's where we come in as teachers. And to help us help our students, Microsoft offers us a free 37 page ebook titled Developing Critical Thinking Through Web Research Skills. The ebook presents strategies for teaching Internet search skills and strategies for evaluating information. The ebook also links to many additional resources for teaching web search strategies. There are strategies and resources appropriate for students from in early elementary grades through high school included in the ebook. As you might expect, the ebook is heavy on references to Bing and other Microsoft products, but overall it is a good resource worth your time to download and read.

Edutopia offers a free PDF guide to improving communication between schools and parents. Edutopia's Home-to-School Connections Guide features ten ideas that you can implement right away to improve your communications with parents. Some of the ideas included are using Facebook to connect, using Google Voice, and building partnerships with parents. Readers of this blog may recognize Larry Ferlazzo's name in the section about building partnerships with parents. Overall, Edutopia's Home-to-School Connections Guide offers good practical advice for improving communications between schools and parents.

Connect Safely, a resource reviewed last year on Free Technology for Teachers, offers a 32 page guide to Facebook for parents. A Parents' Guide to Facebook is a soup-to-nuts guide to Facebook privacy settings, profile settings, group settings, and more. For parents who "just don't get Facebook" the guide offers great explanations of the appeal of Facebook for teenagers and what teenagers do on Facebook.  The guide provides a run down of recommended settings for teenagers and explanations of what those settings mean.

Own Your Space is a free, sixteen chapter ebook designed to educate tweens and teens about protecting themselves and their stuff online. This ebook isn't a fluffy, general overview book. Each chapter goes into great detail explaining the technical threats that students' computers face online as well as the personal threats to data that students can face online. For example, in the first chapter students learn about different types of malware and the importance of installing security patches to prevent malware infections. The fourteenth chapter explains the differences between secured and unsecured wireless networks, the potential dangers of an unsecured network, and how to lock-down a network. Download the whole book or individual chapters here.

The author of My French Easel, Benoit Philippe, offers ebook for art teachers titled Creative Exercises for Artists and Everyone Else. Creative Exercises for Artists and Everyone Else contains seventeen specific exercises for artists and aspiring artists. The exercises cover a range of drawing and painting techniques that almost anyone can do regardless of your current skill level. Included with the publication are templates on which you can try the exercises. Philippe also included some background information on the history and development of some the techniques and exercises.

For the right people and schools, a Ubuntu build of the Linux operating system can be a good cost-saving alternative to Mac and Windows operating systems. What holds some people back from trying Ubuntu is a lack of understanding of how to use it. That's where Getting Started with Ubuntu comes in to help those folks that want to try Ubuntu for the first time.
Getting Started with Ubuntu is a free 165 page ebook produced by a team of writers and editors. The manual covers everything an end-user would need to know about how to use Ubuntu. You can download the ebook for free or order it as a bound book from Lulu.