Wednesday, March 2, 2011

How to Embed YouTube Videos into Google Maps

Perhaps a month ago or earlier, YouTube started to change the embed codes they provided below each video. The switch was to an iframe code that would not display properly when embedded into a placemark on Google Maps. The solution to this little problem is to select the box for "use old embed code" provided below each YouTube video. Selecting that box will provide you with an embed code that can be used in Google Maps placemarks. Then just copy that code and proceed as you always have to embed videos into Google Maps placemarks. I've included some annotated screenshots below. If you would like directions for the whole process of using multimedia in Google Maps, please see the Google Maps section of Google for Teachers.

Finding the embed code.

Embedding the code into a placemark.

Interactive Music Theory Lessons

I wrote about Ricci Adams' a couple of years ago, but since then some new things have been added to it that are worth noting. still offers music theory lessons covering everything from basic note recognition to difficult chord inversions. The lessons can now be customized to test users on the notes and concepts they need to practice the most. also offers calculators and tools handy for composing music. And if you just need some staff paper, offers sheets that you can print.
Applications for Education's lessons and practice activities offer a range of difficulty wide enough for the site to be used by brand new music students and older music students alike.

Sync Your Microsoft Documents to Google Docs

Last fall Google launched in limited release a service for syncing your Microsoft documents to your Google Docs account. They're calling the service Cloud Connect and now it's open to all Windows users. Cloud Connect allows you to save your MS documents online, share them with others, and track changes to your documents online. Cloud Connect can be used on Windows XP, Vista, and 7 computers. Cloud Connect supports Office 2003, 2007, and 2010.

Watch a short overview of Cloud Connect in the video below.

Watch a short overview of how to sync your documents using Cloud Connect.

Happy 107th Birthday Dr. Seuss?

Did you know that today is the birthday of Dr. Seuss? Dr. Seuss would have been 107 today. I loved Dr. Seuss's books when I was a child and I still enjoy the stories today. To celebrate his birthday I'd like to share a fun Dr. Seuss online activity.

The Seussville Playground has fun online games that kids can play and printable resources for offline use. The games and the printable resources are designed with themes to match various Dr. Seuss books. One of the printable resources that I think would be fun for K-2 teachers is the "I Did Something Good" certificate created with a Horton Hears a Who theme. Another online activity in the Seussville Playground is the Seussville Story Maker which helps kids write a Dr. Seuss style story.

There Must 50 Ways To Spell Gadhafi or Qadhafi or...

Image Credit
Note for first time visitors: this style of post is a bit different than what you will typically find here on Free Technology for Teachers where I generally stick to reviewing free resources for teaching. 

As some readers may remember, about four weeks ago I started teaching a new Global Studies course for 11th and 12th grade students. On the first day of class we started to hear news of protests in Egypt. Not being an expert on Egypt (I knew the basic timeline of 20th century Egypt), I turned the class into a collaborative on-going exploration of Egypt. You can read about how we've shared information using Google Docs here.

Last week my school was on winter break while protests erupted in Libya. Sure enough one of my students emailed me to ask if we would discuss Libya when we got back to school. My response was "of course we are." Today was the first day back and we spent the class meeting discussing and researching together the history of Libya and the current events. Again, I knew the basic timeline of Libya in the 20th Century, but I am not an expert on it so this is again a collaborative learning opportunity for me and my students. One of the fun things that we talked about today was how are we as a class going to spell Gadhafi. As one of my students pointed out, there are more than 50 ways to spell Qaddaffi.

In education reform circles and in educational technology circles (yes, the two often are the same) we often hear teachers say we need to the "guide on the side instead of the sage on a stage." I'm really living that right now in my classroom and I have to say, it is great! Yes, it takes a bit of time to accept that you aren't the "expert" on the content area, but it's such a great feeling to be working with my students for all our benefit. So you might be wondering what is he doing in the classroom if he's not the content expert? My role in the classroom is truly to act as a guide and offer advice. While I'm not an expert on current events in Libya and Egypt (who is? I'd argue that most news anchors aren't), I am well versed in teaching students how to discern good information and how to use that information to create meaning and understanding for themselves. That's my job now and I love it.

Book Club It - Create an Online Book Club

Book Club It is a new service you can use to host and participate in online book clubs. Creating your own online book club is quite easy, just register for the service, select a book or books to discuss, name your book club, and invite members. You can make your Book Club It club a private or public group. If you choose to create a public group anyone registered on Book Club It can join your club. If you choose to create a private group only those people you invite can join.

Applications for Education
Book Club It could be a good platform on which school librarians could create a book discussion forum for students. You could accomplish the same purpose with a service like Google Groups or Lefora. The added benefit of Book Club It is that you and your members can search for other books within the Book Club It platform.