Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Google Announces the Closure of Google Reader - Don't Panic, Use Feedly

Google Reader may have had a bigger influence on my life in the ed tech world than any other single app or service. Since the day I started using it in 2006 to now it has reliably served me fresh content from all of my favorite sites and blogs. So this evening when I learned that Google Reader is going to be shut down on July 1, 2013 I freaked for a minute. Then I realized that I'm not using Google Reader as much as I used to because for the last year I've been using Feedly to read most of my RSS feeds.

Feedly is a service that allows me to subscribe to all of my favorite sites and blogs. In my case, I've just synced it with my Google Reader account. Feedly has just announced that they have developed a service that will make it easy to transition from Google Reader to Feedly. I like Feedly because I can use it on my Android tablet, on my iPad, my Android phone, on my desktop, and in my Chrome and Firefox browsers. Feedly displays all of my subscriptions in a magazine-like format that makes it easy for me to quickly view 6-8 headlines and images on a page before deciding if I want to click through to the full article. From Feedly I can share articles to Evernote, Twitter, Diigo Powernote (Android), Facebook, and many other services. I can also simply save articles to read later in my Feedly account.

Feed Your Mind On The Go from Feedly on Vimeo.

Feedly is not the only alternative to using Google Reader. I have tried Zite, Netvibes, Flipboard, and Pulse in the past. You might also want to take a look at MyLinkCloud's new support for RSS feeds.

Vyclone - A Social Video Editing Service

Vyclone is a free service for collaboratively editing videos on your iPhone, on your Android phone, or on the web (does not work in Firefox). The main purpose of the app is to allow multiple people to record the same event, each at a different angle, and combine their footage to create one video. With the app installed on your phone and location services enable you can record videos and upload them to your account. Then share your footage with other users who can add to it and remix it with their own. If you don't want to share your footage with all Vyclone users you can specify the users who can access your videos.

The web version of Vyclone isn't as polished as the mobile apps, but you can remix any footage that has been shared by others. Vyclone on the web only works in Chrome and Internet Explorer 10.

Applications for Education
For students 13 and older Vyclone could be a good app for creating and editing short video reports to post on classroom blogs. Vyclone could also be a good app to have students and teachers use to record highlights of a science fair then combine the footage to create a highlights show.

Widbook Makes It Easier to Collaboratively Create Multimedia Books

Widbook is a platform designed to help people collaboratively create multimedia books. I reviewed the service last summer and since then it has received a couple updates of note. Widbook's editing platform now allows you to upload DOCX and TXT files. This means that you don't have to do all of your writing online. You could start your project offline and bring it into Widbook later. The second update to note is that Widbook now has a chat feature that you can use with your collaborators to discuss edits to your work while you're in a project. Of course, all Widbooks can still include pictures, text, and videos.

Widbook - Write, read and share! from Widbook on Vimeo.

Applications for Education
I love Google Documents for collaborative writing, but sometimes I feel like want more formatting options. If your students feel the same way then Widbook might be the collaborative writing tool for them try on their next writing assignments.

Two Videos About Choosing a Pope

A few weeks ago I shared C.G.P. Grey's video explanation of how someone becomes Pope. This afternoon I found a couple of good CNN videos about the selection of a Pope.

In A Virtual Look At the Conclave Vote Tom Foreman explains how the votes are cast and counted. The video uses green screen effects to make you think that Foreman is actually inside the Vatican.

In Cardinals Once Took Three Years to Name Pope Anderson Cooper provides an overview of some nuggets of trivia about past conclaves and some of the factors that influence the selection of a Pope.

Calculating Pi With Real Pies

Tomorrow is Pi Day! To celebrate Pi Day, Numberphile has released a fun video about calculating Pi with real pies. The three minute and fourteen second video explains Pi and how it can be calculated. An extended version of the video will be available tomorrow to those who subscribe to the Numberphile YouTube channel.

After showing the video above, you might want to follow up with this video, How Pi Was Nearly Changed to 3.2.