Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Tour the White House's Interior in Google Maps

Through Google Maps Mania I recently learned that you can now take an interior tour of the White House in Google Maps Street View. To access the interior views just zoom-in on the White House then drag the Pegman onto the White House. Blue lines will appear on the White House wherever interior views are available. Google Maps Mania has put together a nice list of links to take you directly to some of the rooms in the White House. I've embedded the view of the library below.

View Larger Map

Applications for Education
The White House's own website does offer an interactive tour, but the quantity and quality of the imagery is not nearly as good as the new Street View imagery. If you want to give your students a look inside the White House, open up the new White House Street View imagery in Google Maps.

Yokto - Collect and Share Videos from Multiple Services

Yokto is a new service that allows you to collect videos from multiple sources and display them in one player on your website. As you might expect you can gather videos from YouTube, but you can also gather videos from sources like Vimeo, Blip, UStream, and Slideshare. The videos that you gather can be played through the Yokto video player embedded into your website.

Yokto operates on a freemium business model. That means that the basic Yokto functions of gather videos and displaying them through the Yokto player is free, but there are additional options you can purchase. Some of the additional options are customizable video players and hosting of your own videos.

Applications for Education
Yokto could be a good way to organize educational videos that you find on the web. Build up a library of videos from multiple sources then allow students to watch them through your classroom website.

Use Slideshare in Google+ Hangouts

I've been a fan of Slideshare for years now. Slideshare makes it very easy to upload and share presentations. A couple of years ago Slideshare introduced Zipcast for presenting your slides online. Now you can present your Slideshare slides inside a Google+ Hangout. Last week Google announced that Slideshare is one of six featured apps for Hangouts.  Whenever you're in a Hangout you can select a Slideshare from the apps menu to share your slides.

Applications for Education
Ever since Google announced that Google+ Hangouts could be used by teenagers, Google+ has become more useful for academic settings. If you have slides in Slideshare that you want to present to a live audience, now you can do so in Google+. Students working in groups can use Google+ to get feedback from peers on their slides.

Try SlideShark and BrainShark for Sharing Presentations

BrainShark, is a service for narrating and sharing slide presentations online. I've written about some of their offerings in the past. Recently they launched a new service for sharing PowerPoint presentations through Box. Now you can share your PowerPoint files with others for viewing and or file editing. Learn more about the new service in the video below.

One of BrainShark's signature offerings is their SlideShark service for sharing PowerPoint presentations over iPads. SlideShark converts your PowerPoint files without losing any of your original formatting, transitions, or animations. To use SlideShark just upload your PPT files to your free SlideShark account, SlideShark converts the files for you, then you can access your converted files on your iPad at anytime using the free SlideShark app.

BrainShark also offers myBrainshark for Android to share presentations that you narrate on myBrainshark. Here's how myBrainshark works; upload a slide presentation that you've created then use your computer's microphone to record your voice over each slide. If you don't have a microphone My Brainshark provides a phone number that you can call to create a voice recording.

Applications for Education
BrainShark's services could be very useful for delivering short lessons to students through multiple devices.

Four Short Videos on the Origins of World War I

Yesterday's featured document from the U.S. National Archives was President Wilson's address to Congress calling for a declaration of war against Germany in 1917. Looking at the document got me to look at some of my bookmarks for World War I materials. In that search I came up with four short videos on the origins of WWI. Those videos are embedded below.

The first three videos above came from the channel History is Happening which contains some excellent videos for a wide range of topics in world history. The last video in the list came from All Histories which also has a great collection of more than 300 history videos.

The BBC offers a virtual tour of a World War I trench that some of my former students showed me a few years back because they enjoyed it. The BBC also has some short films about WWI. There are six films that show students artifacts and images of a British soldier's life during WWI. The films are sequenced beginning with recruitment continuing on to life in the trenches and ending with information about injuries and shell shock. The BBC also offers an animation of army movements from 1914 through 1918.

Vocal National Anthems - Anthem Recordings

This summer we'll hear lots of national anthems played at the Olympics. Get your students familiar with anthems that are new to them by visiting the Vocal National Anthems channel on YouTube. On the channel you will find more than 300 recordings of national anthems both with and without vocals.

National anthem of the United States.

National anthem of my northern neighbors.

Applications for Education
Fans of The Office (U.S. version) might recall the episode in which Jim and Pam host the office Olympics.  That's all I could think of when I found the Vocal National Anthems channel. For physical education teachers looking to add a little extra to their classes, have students pick a country to represent and then play the corresponding anthems for outstanding performances in class.

Vocal National Anthems could also be used in geography lessons or in geography presentations that your students give to the class.