Thursday, December 15, 2011

What Are Cookies and What Do They Do?

Update July 2020: This resource is no longer online. 

Here's another good video from Explania that clearly explains a part of our daily computer uses that we often don't think about at all. In How Can Cookies Make Your Surfing Experience Convenient? we learn what browser cookies do for us. It's not the most comprehensive explanation you'll find, but it is a good primer on the topic.

Applications for Education
One of the adult ed courses that I commonly see advertised in local newsletters is "introduction to computers" and or "introduction to the web." Videos like this one from Explania could be nice little primers on for topics in those introductory courses.

Virtual Tour of the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and a Virtual Dinosaur Dig

You might not be able to take your students on a field trip to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, but you can take them on a nice virtual tour of the museum. The museum's virtual tours are 3D panoramas of the rooms of the museum. As you go through each room you can click on small camera icons to get a closer look at various museum artifacts.

Applications for Education
The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History's tours provide a good way for your students to see the contents of the museum without being there. The tours could be paired well with some of the Smithsonian's other virtual activities like their virtual dinosaur dig.

H/T to Open Culture

The Year in Google Searches

Today, Google launched their 2011 Zeitgeist site. Google's 2011 Zeitgeist features a menu of the most-searched terms of 2011. You can view the overall picture or use the menus to see the most searched terms according to region, country, and theme. The menus are nice and they reveal some interesting patterns, but the real highlight of Google Zeitgeist 2011 is the year in review video. Like other year in review videos, Google's year in review video features a lot of short video clips and pictures of the year's biggest stories. The video includes both serious news topics and lighter stories from the world of entertainment.

Applications for Education
Before showing the video to students ask them what they think were the most searched terms of the year. Then show the video and see which stories they missed. That activity could spark a good conversation about news cycles and why some stories stick in our heads while others are quickly forgotten.

Here are a couple of other year in review resources you might want to see.
2011 in 120 Images & Predictions for 2012
The Year in 60 Seconds - A Video Project Idea

What I Read First - The Post Edublog Awards Edition

Whether you agree or disagree with giving out awards for blogging, the Edublog Awards are a good way to discover some excellent new-to-you blogs to add to your RSS reader. After looking through the list of winners and finalists I added a couple of new blogs to my Google Reader account. Someone asked me earlier this week if I could make a ranked list of favorite blogs. I subscribe to hundreds of blogs for various reasons some like Dangerously Irrelevant are education related and others like The Adventure Blog are of a personal interest. I won't rank my list below, but I will tell you which blogs I read first. Here are the first blogs I go to first when I open my RSS reader, which by the way is increasingly done on via Feedly on my Samsung Galaxy Tablet.

iLearn Technology - Kelly Tenkely
Larry Ferlazzo
Welcome to NCS-Tech - Kevin Jarrett
David Warlick
Dangerously Irrelevant - Dr. Scott McLeod
Langwitches - Sylvia Tolisano
Moving at the Speed of Creativity - Wes Fryer
Teachers as Technology Trailblazers - Kristen Swanson
The Official Google Blog
Open Culture
The TED Blog

Film English - Film Activities for English Teachers

Last night Film English won the 2011 Edublog Award for Best Individual Blog. I had not heard of this blog before so I spent a bit of time exploring it this morning. Film English is blog written by Kieran Donaghy. Mr. Donaghy writes ideas and lesson plans for using film in the classroom.

According to Mr. Donaghy's about page there are three objectives for his blog:
1. Promote the critical and creative use of film in the language classroom.
2. Promote cineliteracy, the ability to read critically and evaluate moving images, in the language classroom.
3. Promote creativity amongst both teachers and students.

Two things stand out in the Film English blog posts. First, each blog post contains step-by-step directions for each lesson plan. Second, each blog post is tagged with a difficulty rating and age level rating to make it easy to find lessons appropriate for your students.

Applications for Education
If you're an English teacher or an ESL/ELL teacher interested in learning more about how to use film or video in your classroom, take a good look at the Film English blog. I think you'll be glad that you did.

Thank You for Your Support

Last night the 2011 Edublog Awards were given out. This year Free Technology for Teachers won in the Best Ed Tech Blog category. Thank you for all of your support. Congratulations to all of the winners and finalists in this year's Edublog Awards voting. I encourage everyone to look at the list of winners and finalists. I'm sure if you look at the list you'll find some great new resources for yourself, I did.