Saturday, February 19, 2011

The US Presidents in Google Earth

Monday is President's Day in the United States. In celebration of that day, Google has published a new kmz file containing images and links to information about each former President of the United States. You can download the file and launch it in Google Earth or view it here using the Google Earth browser plug-in. The file shows where each president was from, offers an image of each president, provides a link to more information about each president, and shows how many states were in the Union when each president was elected.
Applications for Education
In their post announcing the publication of this file, Google offered some good suggestions for using Google Earth on President's Day. This is what they suggested:

  • Explore the White House, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial and other historical monuments in 3D and have students explain how architecture is used to honor people, concepts and establishments
  • View a 3D model of Valley Forge National Park in Google Earth
  • View a copy of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by Abraham Lincoln and map the areas where slavery ended, as well as the areas that were not initially covered by this executive order
  • Discuss the famous painting “Washington Crossing the Delaware” by German American artist Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze and use the ruler tool in Google Earth to measure the width of the Delaware River.

VuSafe - A Safe Way to View YouTube in Schools

Whenever I go to a conference I like to take an informal poll about access to YouTube. I've never had much more than half of the respondents say that they could access YouTube in their classrooms. While there are plenty of alternatives to YouTube sometimes the only place you can find the clip you want is on YouTube. Larry Ferlazzo may have found a solution to that problem. That solution is called VuSafe.

VuSafe provides a place for you to find, organize, and watch videos in a secure, filtered environment. VuSafe offers a password protected environment in which you can post videos for your students to watch without exposing them to the comments, advertisements, and automatically generated related videos found on YouTube. As a teacher you can search for videos either through VuSafe or directly on YouTube. When you find the video you want, you can tag it by content and grade level and add it to your VuSafe page. Watch the video below to learn more about VuSafe.

VuSafe is currently in beta and you must apply to get an account.

Applications for Education
VuSafe could be a great tool for schools that would like to open up access to YouTube but don't because of objections to the advertisements, comments, and related videos that accompany the videos.

Think Tutorial Now Offers More Than 1000 Tutorials

Think Tutorial is a site providing free, easy to follow tutorials on a variety of web services, software, and mobile applications. When I originally reviewed the site last summer, they had a few hundred tutorials. Now they have more than 1,000 video and text tutorials. Of particular interest to educators is the addition of a Moodle Tutorials section. In that section you will find more than four dozen tutorials on all things Moodle.

Applications for Education
Think Tutorial could be an excellent resource to send to friends and colleagues who aren't as proficient with technology as you are. The next time you're about to create a software tutorial for the faculty at your school, check Think Tutorial first and you could possibly save yourself from trying to reinvent the wheel. Along the same lines, you may want to check out Learn It In 5 for some good web services tutorials designed for use by teachers.

Week in Review - North to Alaska

Good morning from Maine where after a brief thaw we're headed back into regular winter temperatures. And because I love the cold, I'm heading north to Alaska next week to work with teachers in the Alaska Learning Network. I'll also be visiting ESU 13 in Nebraska next week. While I'm on the road, I have five great guest bloggers who will be contributing to Free Technology for Teachers. I think that many of you will recognize them when you see their names next week.

Here are the most popular posts of the week:
1. Seven Platforms for Teaching Online Courses
2. Interesting Ideas for Classroom Blog Posts
3. Awesome Screenshot - Capture, Annotate, Share
4. Little Bird Tales - Digital Storytelling for Young Students
5. Plagiarisma - A Plagiarism Checker
6. Here's a Good Digital Storytelling Project
7. 10 Excellent Ideas for Using Khan Academy in Schools

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