Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Great Overview of Web Tools for Teachers - Free eBook

Last December I collaborated with ten other bloggers who are really teachers and school administrators to construct The Super Book of Web Tools for Teachers. Since then Free Technology for Teachers has added 10,000 more subscribers so I thought that this might be a good time to post the free ebook again. In this book there are introductions to more than six dozen web tools for K-12 teachers. Additionally, you will find sections devoted to using Skype with students, ESL/ELL, blogging in elementary schools, social media for educators, teaching online, and using technology in alternative education settings.

Here is the list of contributors to The Super Book of Web Tools for Educators:
George CourosPatrick LarkinKelly TenkelyAdam BellowSilvia TolisanoSteven AndersonCory PloughBeth StillLarry FerlazzoLee Kolbert, and Richard Byrne. If you like what you read, please visit the contributors' blogs and let them know.

The Super Book of Web Tools for Educators -

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Please feel free to download this free ebook, print it, and share it with your colleagues.

Free Wolfram Alpha Webinars

Next week on September 7th Wolfram Alpha is hosting a free webinar for teachers. The webinar will provide an overview of how to use Wolfram Alpha's computational search engine. Participants will also be introduced to using Wolfram Alpha to create custom widgets to enhance learning experiences. The webinar will be repeated on September 15. You can find the details on the webinars and register for them here.

Applications for Education
While Wolfram Alpha is a natural fit for mathematics lessons, the webinar announcement promises to offer something for every content area. From the view point of  a social studies teacher one of the things I like about Wolfram Alpha is the quick "fact sheets" that my students can pull up. For example, if I want my students to quickly find some demographic and economic data about Libya they can simply type "Libya" into the search box to have that info right at their finger tips. This allows us to then spend more class time discussing and analyzing the significance of that data instead of searching for the data.

Connected Mind - A Free Mind Mapping App in the Chrome Web Store

Connected Mind is a free mind mapping tool that you can find in the Google Chrome Web Store. Using Connected Mind you can create free-form mind maps or use a template. A lot of mind mapping tools lock you into using straight lines between elements, but Connected Mind is not one of them. Connected Minds allows you to create mind maps in any configuration that you like. As it is a Chrome Web Store app, Connected Mind allows you to save your work online using your Google Account credentials. The video below offers a demonstration of Connected Minds (there is not any sound in the video).

Applications for Education
Connected Mind could be a good app for students to use to develop mind maps from scratch or from an existing image or file they upload. In general, I find mind mapping to be a great exercise for students to do while planning a video project. I also use mind mapping when planning a lesson unit for my courses.

Campus Bird - Search for Colleges and Take Virtual Tours

Campus Bird is a free site designed to help students locate a college that fits their needs and wants. The site offers all of the usual selection criterion like major, location, campus size that you find on most college search sites. The differentiating aspect of Campus Bird is that they have embedded a Google Maps view of all of the colleges in their index. Once you have selected your search criteria you can quickly view the location of each college and explore the surrounding area. In some cases you will be taken to a virtual tour of a college's campus. Campus Bird says that it is working on adding more virtual tours to their database.

Applications for Education
This is the time of year when high school students are getting serious about their searches for the "perfect" college for them. Campus Bird could be another search tool to pass along to students and perhaps link to your school's guidance department website.

Build A Map - Create Layered Google Maps

Build A Map is a new service that allows you to build layers on top of Google Maps. This is different than creating maps in the "My Places" feature of Google Maps. In My Places you can only add placemarks, paths, and shaded shapes. Using Build A Map you can add information from data sets, add shapes, and add custom labels. The service is currently in a private beta so you do have to register your email address and wait for an invitation to try it out. In the meantime you can watch the following video overview of the service.

Applications for Education
Build A Map reminds me a bit of Scribble Maps which also enables the construction of layered Google Maps. While you can do all of the layering features of Build A Map or Scribble Maps in Google Earth, not all teachers and students have access to Google Earth for various reasons. Or if you're in a school like mine that has a 1:1 netbook program Google Earth might not run as well as it should. In those cases Build A Map or Scribble Maps is a great alternative for developing layered maps.

H/T to Google Maps Mania.