Saturday, July 2, 2011

Zomobo - A Real-Time Encyclopedia

Zomobo is a new site that bills itself as a real-time encyclopedia. Zomobo, like the similar Mashpedia, pulls the latest information available about specific topics that you're interested in. When you look up a topic in Zomobo you will get information pulled from blogs, social networks, Flickr, YouTube, newspapers, news sites, and Wikipedia.
Zomobo's Greece Page
Applications for Education
Real-time encyclopedias can be very useful for students studying current events around the globe. Students have access to reference materials (via Wikipedia) and up to the minute news stories in one place. While Zomobo is good, the advantage of its competitor Mashpedia is that Mashpedia includes reference materials from the multimedia encyclopedia Qwiki.

Update: July 3. I just looked at Zomobo again and found that some of their "related topics" are not appropriate for school. I'll stick with Mashpedia.

Infographics as Assessment

Another of the ISTE 2011 sessions that I wish I could have been in attendance for is Kathy Schrock's Infographics in the Classroom as a Creative Assessment. Fortunately, for me and others who were not able to attend Kathy Schrock built a website that contains a lot of information about using infographics as assessment tools. On Infographics as a Creative Assessment Kathy provides links to examples of infographics, resources for creating infographics, and links to books and research about infographic design.

Applications for Education
I've posted a lot of infographics on this blog over the last couple of years because I think that they are useful for displaying a lot of, often numerical, information in a concise manner. If you have ever considered having students create infographics, Kathy Schrock's Infographics as a Creative Assessment could be a very valuable resource for you.

3 Free Android Apps for Recording Oral History

Earlier this week at the Ed Tech Teacher Teaching History With Technology workshops I facilitated a discussion about using cell phones in schools. One of the ideas that I shared with the group was having students use their cell phones to record local history through pictures, videos, and audio recordings. On that note I mentioned using Google Voice to have students make audio recordings of interviews with local historians. We also had an attendee mention using iPadio for similar purposes. But since Android powered phones are now outselling iPhones (actually have been for a while) I thought it would be appropriate for me to highlight some Android apps that can be used to make voice recordings.

A search of the Android Market for voice recording apps will yield lots of results. To narrow my selections down to three (I'm afraid that installing more than that at once would suck the life out of my phone's storage) I had to establish some criteria for selection. In picking apps I ruled out any that wanted permission to access personal data on my phone. I also ruled out any apps that had not been updated in 2011. It was somewhat surprising to find quite a few apps that I had to rule out for one or both of those reasons.

Tape a Talk has the highest average user rating of these three apps. The feature of Tape a Talk that is most appealing to me is that recordings can continue even if your phone has turned off the display (something that some of the other apps don't do). You can also record to an existing audio file on your phone. Recordings are saved on your phone. The free version of Tape a Talk is ad-supported while the pro version costs about $6 USD. The video below includes an overview of the app (there is not any sound in the video).

iRecord is the simplest of the apps I'm trying. It has a very straight-forward interface. Simply launch the app, press record, press it again to stop the recording, then save to your phone. The length of your recordings is only limited by the space you have on your phone's SD card. Watch the video below for an overview of the app (there is not any sound in the video).

Hi-Q MP3 Recorder, as the name implies, records your audio as an MP3 that you can export from your phone's SD card, email to yourself, or send via Bluetooth to storage off of your phone. The app will continue to record even if your phone has changed screens or gone to black for battery preservation. The free version of this app allows you to record for up to ten minutes.