Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Simple Meet Me - A Simple Way to Chat Online

Simple Meet Me is a free service for quickly creating an online chat room with anyone you like. To use the service just go to SimpleMeet.Me and click on the link below the chat code. That code appearing when you visit is the code you can give to anyone you want to join your chat. Anyone joining your chat just needs to enter that code to join you. Registration on is not required.

Applications for Education
I've written about using chat rooms and backchannels in the classroom quite a bit over the last couple of years. My most recent post on the topic can be found here. SimpleMeet.Me could be used as a place for students to brainstorm and share ideas about a topic. It could also be used as a simple help forum for students to ask questions of each other and of you.

This is Real Democracy - A Music Video of Sorts

Ophir Kutiel, better known as Kutiman, is Internet-famous for his remixes of YouTube videos. His latest remix, titled This is Real Democracy, mashes together music clips and news clips of important events around the world in 2011. The video is a bit "noisy" sounding at the beginning but after the first thirty seconds it dives into some good, quick news clips.

Applications for Education
I first watched this video on Open Culture and I didn't think a whole lot about it. But after some reflection I realized that there are two things I could possibly do with it in my Global Studies course. First, it might be interesting to see if my students can recognize the news clips and the context they were taken from. Second, it could be a neat model of remixing and repurposing content to promote a message.

Three Good Sites Where Teachers Can Learn Tech Skills

One of the obstacles that some teachers face when trying to use technology in their classrooms for the first time is lack of comfort and or confidence with technology. That's where folks like me can be helpful in getting teachers started on the path to comfort and confidence with technology tools to use in their classrooms. While it's great to be able to get some one-on-one attention, a person new to using technology in the classroom often needs some handy digital or print resources to consult when an expert isn't available. For those times here are three good places to look.

Think Tutorial is a site providing free, easy to follow tutorials on a variety of web services and software. On Think Tutorial you will find tutorials for taking advantage of the many features of popular email services like Gmail, Apple Mail, Hotmail, and Yahoo mail. You will also find tutorials for using iWork and Word. Want to learn how to use LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook? Think Tutorial has you covered there too. Need to know how to alter settings in your favorite web browser? Think Tutorial has tutorials for that too.

Learn It In 5 is a relatively a site authored by Mark Barnes that features short how-to videos for teachers. The videos are intended to help teachers quickly learn how to use some of the the web tools are essential to being a successful user of classroom technology. The videos cover tools like Skype, Diigo, VoiceThread, and more. The latest video from Learn It In 5 is embedded below.

If printable guides are more your speed, Make Use Of offers dozens of free downloadable ebooks and cheat sheets for a wide variety of software and web applications. You will find guides for making the most out of your iPad, guides for learning the ins and outs of computer hardware, and much much more. The cheat sheets are handy reference guides for shortcuts on Windows and Mac computers as well as on a handful of commonly used web tools.

One last resource that I have to point out is my own collection of helpful Google tools tutorials. You'll find more than thirty tutorials on that page. Some of the tutorials were created by me and others were not.

Google+ Adds Screen Sharing, Google Docs, and More!

Google+, you know, that new social network that everyone is talking about but not everyone understands yet, has just added some awesome new features that should know about.

The most notable new features that teachers and students should be aware of are the additions to Google+ Hangouts. Google+ Hangouts now support screen sharing. Google+ Hangouts now offers a collaborative sketch pad. But probably the most significant addition to Google+ Hangouts is support for Google Docs. Now you are able to collaborate in real-time on a document while discussing that document.

Some other things of note added to Google+ today are an Android App for having mobile Hangouts, the option to name a public Hangout and have anyone interested in the topic join, and improved search functionality in Google+. Finally, Google+ is now open to everyone, invitations are no longer required.

Applications for Education
The new Google+ Hangout features could be excellent for online peer tutoring. If you work with students who can use Google+ you could also use the new Hangout features for homework help or other distance learning options.

CNN Student News - World Leaders Meet

One of the things I love about the Internet is that almost everyday I find something new that I can use in one of my classes. This morning's episode of CNN Student News includes a segment about this week's United Nations General Assembly meeting. It just so happens that this morning my Global Studies class is kicking-off a new unit of study about the U.N.

Today's episode of CNN Student News is embedded below.