Saturday, February 12, 2011

Week in Review - The Cable is Back!

This week the posting on Free Technology for Teachers was a little lighter than normal because my home cable and internet service was on the fritz. I'm happy to report that it is now back to full strength and the posting schedule will be back to full strength as well. (On a related note if you emailed me or used my contact form this week, I will get back to you before this weekend is over).

Here are this week's most popular items:
1. Learn Advanced Uses of Forms in Google Docs
2. Kindle Lending Club - Borrow Books for Your Kindle
3. InClass - An App for Text, Audio, and Video Notes
4. The Science & Math of Basketball's 3 Point Shot
5. Paris Underground - Video and Map
6. Better Flux - Create Animated Data Displays
7. Pilot Handwriting - Write by Hand with Your Keyboard

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GE Imagination Cubed - Online Collaborative Drawing

Update May 26, 2011 this resource appears to have gone offline.

General Electric's Imagination Cubed website provides a clear canvas on which you and your friends can draw and type. You can use the site as to start a drawing on your own and then invite others to join you in the drawing process. If you choose, you can enable the chat feature to talk about the drawing while you're drawing.

Imagination Cubed offers shapes and "stamps" that you can add to your drawings. You can also change the background color of your drawing and choose from a wide array of drawing colors. When you're done with your drawing you can save it to your local computer. Should you want to see how the drawing was developed, you can hit the replay button to watch every stroke of the drawing process.

Applications for Education
I've become a big fan of Dan Roam's Unfolding the Napkinmethods for demonstrating and solving problems. His basic idea is that if you can draw the problem you can solve the problem. A site like Imagination Cubed allows students to work together to develop a picture of a problem and then work together to picture the solutions.

DNA Tube - Sharing Science Videos

DNA Tube is a nice site for watching and sharing videos about topics in science. While most of the videos seem to be about topics related to biology there are also videos about chemistry, physics, and computer science. The videos are a mix of animated, narrated demonstrations and lecture videos. You can search DNA Tube using keywords or browse the categories to find videos. The videos can be embedded into your blog or website and if you register on the site you can download videos.

H/T to Michael Zimmer for the link.

Applications for Education
DNA Tube could be a great resource for science teachers and their students. The lecture videos could appeal to people who want to get in-depth information about a topic or series of topics. The shorter demonstration videos could be useful supplements to a classroom lecture or lesson.

Here's a Good Digital Story Project

Silvia Tolisano who wrote the great Skype section of The Super Book of Web Tools for Educators recently had a great post on her blog that all elementary school teachers interested in digital storytelling should check out. In Creating a Techno-Tale in iMovie Silvia outlines and gives directions for using iMovie to record a book-style movie in which students use their voices to narrate the story. You can read and download all of the directions from Silvia's blog. The video introduction to the process is embedded below.

How To Guide- TechnoTales in iMovie from langwitches on Vimeo.

Blekko - Sort Search Results with Slashes

Blekko is a search engine that launched last fall with the purpose of trying to change the way the people search the web. Blekko uses a system of what they call "slash tags" to refine and sort search results. For example in if I type the search "German Shepherd" in Blekko, I'll get all results mentioning German Shepherds. But, if I type "German Shepherd / training / date" I'll  get the most current results about German Shepherd training. Watch the video below to learn more about Blekko and the use of slash tags.

blekko: how to slash the web from blekko on Vimeo.

Applications for Education
I don't know if Blekko is going to replace Google anytime soon as the "go to" search engine for students, but it certainly is an alternative worth introducing to your students. Blekko's use of slash tags does put search refinement right in front of students as opposed to Google's placement of its search refinement tools that are sometimes buried in the margins or and the end of a menu.