Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Live Minutes - Free Webinar Hosting

Live Minutes is a new service offering free hosting for webinars. It takes less than thirty seconds to set-up a webinar on Live Minutes. To get started just click "start sharing" and a meeting space is created for you. That meeting space is assigned a URL that you can share with the people you want to join you.

Live Minutes offers a good selection of tools that you can utilize to share ideas with others. You can talk to each other using either the Live Minutes audio or by connecting through Skype. Live Minutes offers a collaborative whiteboard for drawing. Uploading images and documents for others to see and comment on is also an option. And in the future Live Minutes will allow you to share videos during your webinar.

Applications for Education
Live Minutes could be a great way to quickly host a live online tutoring session with students. The option for drawing free-hand on the whiteboard could be very handy for illustrating concepts that are difficult to type quickly on a keyboard or that lose meaning when someone is just explaining rather than showing.

Moglue - Create Interactive eBooks for iOS and Android Devices

Moglue is a new program, available for Mac and Windows, that enables you to create interactive ebooks and publish them to Android and iOS devices. Your ebooks created with Moglue can include videos, images, and audio files that you import from your computer. Moglue supports a wide variety of file formats for image and video content. When you have completed constructing your ebook you can publish it to the Moglue bookstore where it can be downloaded onto your Android or iOS device.

The following video, despite annoying background music, offers a good overview of what you can do with Moglue.

This video provides an overview of the Moglue bookstore.

Applications for Education
Moglue is still in a beta development phase and right now all aspects of it are free. That could change in the future. Moglue has the potential to be a great way for students to build interactive stories. Educators could use Moglue to develop interactive etextbooks to match the content they teach.

Smore - A Slick Tool for Creating Online Flyers and Pages

Smore is a service for quickly creating great-looking webpages. Smore markets itself as a service for creating online flyers, but it's a little bit more than that. To me "flyer" implies that you're creating a single-use PDF and posting it online. Smore's flyers are dynamic and changeable, they're not single-use PDFs. Your Smore flyers can include many types of media including videos. Deleting or adding elements to your Smore flyer is as simple as dragging and dropping them on or off your page. Watch the one minute video below for an overview of Smore in action.

A Cupcake Story from Smore on Vimeo.

Applications for Education
Smore could be a great way for extracurricular clubs, teams, or PTAs to build simple announcement pages and call to action pages for group fundraisers.

Using GIS to Teach History

Yesterday, I had the privilege to speak at the Albemarle County, Virginia Public Schools district-wide professional development day. One of the sessions I ran in the afternoon was about using Google Maps and Google Earth in the classroom. After the session a gentleman (whose name eludes me now) introduced me to a nice project website built around using ArcGIS.

The Hands On History Library contains eleven U.S. History lesson plans in which students use GIS data and ArcGIS tools to recognize patterns and investigate causes of events in history. The lesson that I was shown yesterday featured data about Jim Crow laws and asked students to investigate the impact of those laws on American history.

Applications for Education
Not all ArcGIS tools are free, but you can use the ArcGIS Explorer for free (read more about it here). Even if you don't have access to all of the ArcGIS tools, the lessons in the The Hands On History Library can still provide you with a good framework for developing your own lesson plans using other mapping tools like Google Earth.