Monday, July 4, 2011

Three Ways to Create Fake Facebook Profiles for Historical Characters

Creating a fake Facebook profile for a character in a book or of a famous person in history could be a good way to get students interested in writing about that person. Doing that on is a violation of Facebook's terms of service, but there are some ways to create fake Facebook profiles without using Here are three ways to create fake Facebook profiles.

My Fake Wall is a tool for creating a fake Facebook wall for a fictitious or historical character. To create a Fake Wall you do need to register for a My Fake Wall account. After registering you can upload images, write wall posts, even create "likes" and comments on fake posts. Click here to see the beginning of the Fake Wall I created for my dog. My Fakewall is no longer functioning.

Derrick Waddell created a Facebook template for historical figures. This template, available through the Google Docs public template gallery, asks students to complete a Facebook profile for famous people throughout history. The template has a place for pictures, an "about me" section, a friends column, and a map to plot the travels of historical figures. Please note, this template will not result in an actual Facebook account being created. Check out Derrick Waddell's blog Teach the Cloud where he has shared a video tutorial on using the Historical Facebook Template among other useful Google tutorials. The video is embedded below.

The Wall Machine allows users to generate a series of fake Facebook updates. You can add pictures to the fake profiles you create using The Wall Machine. The downside to The Wall Machine is that you have to sign in using your real Facebook account. So if Facebook is blocked in your school, The Wall Machine probably won't work for you. Watch the short video below for an overview of The Wall Machine.

The Wall Machine - Demo from kais on Vimeo.

Journeys Through the Red, White, and Blue

This week's Snag Learning Film of the Week is Journeys Through the Red, White, and Blue. This 35 minute film chronicles the stories of three young men in New York City as they go to vote. The story is focused around exploring the value of one person's vote in local and national elections. Click here to watch the film and read the accompanying discussion questions.
Watch more free documentaries

Five Ways to Visually Explore Wikipedia

Wikipedia is one of the first places that students often go to get some background information on a topic they're researching. Besides just going to and entering a search, there are some other ways to explore the content of Wikipedia. Here are five ways that students can visually explore Wikipedia's content.

Wiki Mind Map is a resource for visually exploring Wikipedia. Wiki Mind Map is essentially a search engine for Wikipedia articles that uses the Google Wonder Wheel concept. Enter a search term into Wiki Mind Map and it will generate a web of links to Wikipedia articles about your chosen search term. Wiki Mind Map will also include related search terms within your web.

Wikihood is a neat way to explore the world in your web browser. Wikihood is one part Wikipedia and one part Google Maps. There are two ways to explore the world using Wikihood. You can simply browse the map by scrolling and zooming in on locations then clicking on placemarks. Or you can use the search box to enter the name of a place (like Mount Everest) or the name of an event (like the Battle of Fort Sumter). Whichever way you choose to explore Wikihood the display format is the same. The map appears on your right and the Wikipedia entries appear on your left. You can expand and read the full Wikipedia entry within Wikihood.

Wiki Field Trip is a neat website for exploring Wikipedia entries about places around the world. Here's how it works, enter a city name on Wiki Field Trip and a series of placemarks appears on a Google Map of that city. Click on any of the placemarks to read the Wikipedia entry for that location.

The Full Wiki offers an interesting mash-up of Google Maps and Wikipedia entries. The Full Wiki takes Wikipedia entries and places them on a Google Map. Your chosen Wikipedia entry is also presented side by side with a Google Map. The Full Wiki is essentially geolocating Wikipedia entries.

One of the standard layers in Google Earth is the Wikipedia layer. Students can turn on the layer to access Wikipedia entries that are related to the places they're viewing in Google Earth. To turn on the Wikipedia layer open the "more layers" drop-down menu then select "Wikipedia."