Wednesday, June 19, 2013

372 Free Art History Books

Over the weekend I shared 25,000 free images of art that anyone can download. In that post I suggested that the images may be useful in art history lessons. This afternoon I discovered that The Metropolitan Museum of Art hosts 372 art history books online. All of the books can be read online or downloaded as PDFs (warning, some of them are massive files). You can search through the catalog of books by thematic category, format, and publication type. And, of course, you can search through the books by title, author, and keyword.

Applications for Education
The Metropolitan Museum of Art's collection of art history books could be a great resource for art teachers and their students. Students who are researching artists and or art movements could consult the collection to find reference materials.

A Billion Pixel View of the Surface of Mars

NASA's Google+ page is a great place to find neat imagery, videos, and articles about all things space. One of the things that I found on NASA's Google+ page today is this billion pixel imagery of the surface of Mars.  The imagery is the result of stitching together pictures taken by the Curiosity Rover between October 5 and November 16, 2012. You can explore the imagery in a panoramic or cylindrical display

Applications for Education
Use NASA's new imagery of Mars in conjunction with the Mars view in Google Earth to give your students a better sense of what the surface of Mars looks like. Tie that activity into a creative writing activity in which students explore what life on Mars could look like in the future.

Google Forms Become Printer-friendly

Creating quizzes in Google Forms is one of the things that I usually teach people how to do during my Google Apps workshops. Google Forms are very useful for delivering short quizzes online. However, if you need to have a paper copy of that quiz printing the Google Form was less than elegant until today. This afternoon on the Google Drive Google+ page it was announced that now when you print a Google Form it is generated in a printer-friendly format.

Applications for Education
If you need paper copies of your Google Forms for students who cannot complete the form online for one reason or another, the new printer-friendly version of forms will be useful to you and your students.

My Five Favorite Google Reader Alternatives

The final countdown to the end of Google Reader is on. In eleven days Google Reader will be closed. I've tried a bunch of alternatives to Google Reader over the last few months. These are the five that I recommend using.

Feedly is a great service for reading your favorite RSS feeds on your iPad, Android device, or in your web browser. Feedly will import all of your Google Reader subscriptions for you with just one click.
I enjoy using the visual layout of Feedly which I feel enables me to browse through my RSS subscriptions more efficiently than if they were just in a list like in Google Reader. I also find it very easy to share from Feedly to Google+, Evernote, Twitter, and many other services.

Flipboard is an iPad and Android application that allows you to read your RSS subscriptions in a magazine-style format. This spring Flipboard introduced the option to collaboratively create iPad and Android magazines by sharing items from your feeds to your magazines. Watch the video below to learn more about collaboratively creating digital magazines with Flipboard.

The Old Reader is a free service that you can use to subscribe to RSS feeds and read all of the latest content from those sources in one place. So that you don't have to re-subscribe to the blogs that you love, The Old Reader will allow you to import your Google Reader subscriptions. You'll notice that The Old Reader looks and acts very similarly to Google Reader. The Old Reader will allow you to share posts, write notes about posts appearing in your account, and organize your subscriptions into folders.

Feedspot is a simple Google Reader replacement. It doesn't have any of the visual effects of Flipboard or Feedly. What it does have is a clean interface that may remind you a lot of Google Reader. In fact, it even uses some of the same keyboard shortcuts as Google Reader. Learn more about Feedspot in this Tekzilla video.

FlowReader is a free RSS reader that I tried earlier this week. I have to say that they couldn't make it easier to import your Google Reader subscriptions. To start using FlowReader just visit the homepage and click "Import Your Google Reader Feeds Now." After clicking that button authorize FlowReader to access your Google Reader feeds and all of your feeds will be imported into FlowReader. If you are using categories in Google Reader, those will be imported too. After importing your feeds you can connect your social media accounts like Twitter, Google+, and Facebook. You can also connect Evernote, Instapaper, and many other bookmarking services to your FlowReader account. FlowReader lets you read your feeds in full article view or in a headline-only view.

Applications for Education
I've always believed that as educators we have a responsibility to continue to read and learn about ideas shared in our field. Creating a set of blogs and websites that you subscribe to is a great way to read and learn about new ideas in our field. These Google Reader alternatives make it easy to create a set of subscriptions and read them on your favorite device. 

I have also tried Zite, Netvibes, NewsBlur, and Pulse. You might also want to take a look at MyLinkCloud's support for RSS feeds.