Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Squrl - Collect Videos and Build Playlists from Many Sources

YouTube playlists are great, but if you want to organize a playlist of videos from multiple websites you might want to give Squrl a try. Squrl allows you to create a playlist of videos from sixteen different sources. You can save videos to watch them later on your laptop, iPad, iPhone, or television.

To add videos to your Squrl que of videos you can use the Squrl bookmarklet (didn't work for me on Firefox 4), email links to your squrl account, or Tweet them to your Squrl que. Squrl also offers an iPhone and iPad app.

Applications for Education
If you're looking for a good way to keep track of the web videos that you want to use in your classroom, Squrl could be just the app you need. If Squrl doesn't suit your taste, you might also consider using VodSpot or VidQue to organize a playlist.

Strike App - Set Up Tasks and Knock Them Down

Strike App is a simple to-do list creation and management tool. To use Strike App just title your list of things to do and start typing your list. When you've completed a task just come back and strike it out by clicking on it, dragging it off the screen, or "x-ing" it out. You can share your to-do lists by sending people the link to your list. For those people who like to experiment with different backgrounds and themes, Strike App offers a handful of designs to choose from.

Applications for Education
For students who like to use or need to use a to-do list, Strike App provides a simple way to keep track of things to do. If your students are working on group projects and need to maintain collaborative list of things to do, Strike App offers the option to do that too.

Updated Google Tutorials Page

Readers who primarily read Free Technology for Teachers in RSS or email, may have forgotten that I have some static pages listed at the top of the blog. One of those pages is dedicated to Google Apps Tutorials. Today, I spent a bit of time updating that page to include some videos to help you get started using Google SketchUp and Google Voice. I also added a video about a neat application that will help you map your family tree on Google Earth, while not free (it requires a small licensing fee after 30 days) it's still a cool application.  In all there are now 37 tutorials posted on the Google Tutorials page and I'll continue to work to add more.

Please note that because of the quantity of multimedia elements, the Google Tutorials Page can take a little longer than average to load completely. 

ZangZing - Group Sharing of Photos from Many Sources

ZangZing is a new service, currently in an invite-only beta, that will allow you to collaborate on the creation of an online photo album. There are many services that allow you to do this now, but what makes ZangZing different is that you can pull in the photos you already have on other photo sharing sites. You can pull in photos from Facebook, Picasa, Flickr, Instagram, and other popular photo sharing sites. You can also email photos directly to the album(s) you create on ZangZing. Each collaborative album you create on ZangZing has its own privacy setting so that you can create a combination of public and private albums within your account.

Applications for Education
Thinking back to my experience in elementary school (I've never taught K-6) I remember parents always snapping photos at school events. Later, in middle school I recall classmates taking pictures at school events. In both cases there were always people asking each other if they would make "doubles" to share. Services like ZangZing allow everyone to get "doubles" by simply creating a group photo album for the members to view. A group photo album could be created on ZangZing by a teacher or "class parent" to record the memories of a play, field trip, or school concert.

iPad - Yes or No?

When Apple introduced the iPad, I sat back and watched as people lined-up to buy what appeared to me to be an over-sized iPod Touch. Despite the handful of times that I flew last year and wished I had a tablet instead of my laptop to use in a cramped airline seat, I resisted the temptation of purchasing an iPad. Then the iPad 2 came along with it's built-in cameras (something I'm sure Apple left out the first time in order to create perceived obsolescence a year later). The addition of the cameras got me to think, "okay, now I can consider purchasing one of these things."

So last week I jumped on the Apple site and poked around at my iPad 2 options (AT&T and Verizon coverage is woeful in the areas that I spend most of my time in so a 3G model would be a waste). Even though I can probably write-off the expenditure on my 2011 taxes, as I was looking at the models and the prices I couldn't help but think, "I'm not convinced that this is a good use of my money." I have two laptops, a desktop, a netbook, and an Android phone, what gap in my computing experience will the iPad occupy? What am I missing about the iPad 2? I feel like I need to know the answers to these questions before I can say to someone else that the iPad is or isn't a wise investment for a school 1:1 program.