Monday, June 25, 2012

Vialogues - Form Discussions Around Videos

Vialogues is a website that is designed to enable users to host conversations around a video. Users can upload videos to Vialogues or use YouTube videos as the centerpieces of their conversations. After you have selected a video from YouTube or uploaded a video of your own, you can post poll questions and add comments that are tied to points in the video. Your Vialogue can be made public or private. Public Vialogue's can be embedded into your blog or website.
Applications for Education
Vialogues is similar in concept to TED Ed in that you post a video for question and answer discussions. If you have a video clip that you want students to respond to at their own pace, posting a Vialogue could be one way to accomplish that goal.

Take a Google Earth Tour of the Largest Intact Boreal Forest on Earth

This morning I went poking around the Google Earth tour showcase looking for information about hurricanes. Although I didn't find what I was looking for, I did find a nice tour of Canada's boreal forest. The tour, produced by the Pew Environment Group, takes you through the largest tract of intact boreal forest in the world. You can play the five minute tour as a video or stop and explore individual aspects of the tour in Google Earth. You can grab the file here (link downloads KML file).

Applications for Education
If you're teaching environmental science this tour could be a good resource for highlighting the importance of preserving the forest and the animals that call it home. It's also a good resource for highlighting the role of forests in climate change mitigation.

Track 2012 Hurricanes in Google Earth

The Atlantic hurricane season started this month. In past years Google added a hurricane tracking layer to Google Earth. That doesn't seem to be the case this year. Fortunately, you can still track hurricanes in Google Earth if you follow the directions shared by Seattle meteorologist Morgan Palmer. The directions are straight-forward, but you will need to be able to download files to your computer  and have the latest version of Google Earth installed in order to track hurricanes in Google Earth.

Applications for Education
Using Google Earth to look at the path of hurricanes and other storms is one way to bring current news into the science classroom. Tracking hurricanes in Google Earth is a good way to teach students how to use Google Earth while teaching lessons about hurricanes and tropical storms. 

H/T to the Google Earth Blog. 

ShowMe Announces ShowMe 3.0

Over the weekend the popular free iPad app ShowMe was upgraded to version 3.0. The new version introduces a new three column layout, improved search functions, and easier upload tools. The improved search function, called explore, allows you to look for other lessons created and publicly shared on Show Me. The new upload setting kicks-in automatically when you finish recording your lesson on Show Me. The upload dialogue box now includes a set of recommended tags for you too.

If you've never heard of Show Me or have never tried it, it is a free iPad app for creating and sharing whiteboard-style lessons on your iPad. To support teachers, the Show Me website has a gallery of lessons developed and shared by teachers. Click here to download the app from iTunes. Watch Show Me's promotional video below. 

Create Thematic Maps With the National Geographic Map Maker

Recently, I published a list of 21 good map creation tools for students. This morning I read a post by Noel Jenkins that reminded me of another good map creation tool for students.

National Geographic's Map Maker Interactive offers six themes on which users can create custom map displays. Within each theme there are subcategories to choose from. For example, you can select the theme Physical Systems Land then choose volcanic eruptions to display on your map. Map Maker Interactive also provides drawing tool and marker icons that you can place on your map. In the sample pictured below I circled Iceland and placed a volcano icon on it.

Applications for Education
One drawback to National Geographic's Map Maker Interactive is that your maps cannot be embedded into other sites. But you can download your maps, print them, and share links to them. Overall, the ease of use and the variety of themes makes Map Maker Interactive an excellent alternative to creating maps on Google Earth. In fact, in some ways it's better because you don't have to install anything or register to use Map Maker Interactive. Adding layers to Map Maker Interactive is also more intuitive than adding layers on Google Earth.