Friday, December 23, 2011

Squrl Launches an iPad App for Video Discovery

Squrl is a free service that allows you to create a playlist of videos from sources all over the web. Rather than creating playlists on individual video sites like YouTube and Vimeo, you can create playlists from multiple sources and save them in one place for sharing with others and viewing at your convenience. Squrl has been available as a web application for a while and now they're offering a free iPad app.

The Squrl iPad app has the same basic purpose as the Squrl web service. You can discover and watch videos from many sources. Your playlists can be shared with your contacts in your favorite social networks like Twitter and Facebook.

Squrl got a great endorsement from Robert Scoble.
"My video watching behavior has changed more in the past month since getting Squrl...Video, it seems, is everywhere. From Hulu to Netflix to YouTube to Vimeo, keeping track of it all can be a daunting task. Squrl is solving that problem with innovative ways to capture and curate video from the Internet."

Applications for Education
Whether you use the web version of Squrl or the iPad version of it, Squrl could be an excellent way to create playlists of educational content that you want to bring into your classroom. Because you can source video from across the web in one place, you should save yourself the time of visiting multiple sites to search for video.

ChromeVis Clarifies Webpage Text

ChromeVis is a Google Chrome extension designed to make it easier for people with vision impairments to read the content of webpages. When installed ChromeVis allows you to highlight the text on any webpage and have it enlarged and placed on an easy-to-read background. Your highlighted text appears in a pop-up box over the original page so that you can quickly go back to the original source if you want to. ChromeVis can be adjusted to meet your text size and text color preferences.

Applications for Education
If you have students who have vision impairments, ChromeVis could be a helpful extension to install on your school's computers.

H/T to Paul Hamilton.

Watch 75 Full-Length National Geographic Films

I've highlighted Snag Films and Snag Learning in the past. It's been a while though so I thought I should point out that Snag Films has some great educational content available for free viewing. One great example of this is their National Geographic channel containing 75 full-length documentaries. You can view these videos online or use the iPad, Android tablet, and Kindle Fire apps to watch Snag Films.

Here is the beginning Last Stand of the Great Bear, one of the 75 National Geographic documentaries available on Snag Films.

MeeGenius - eBooks for Little Kids

MeeGenius is a nice source of free and paid ebooks for kids. There are lots of sites that offer the same thing as MeeGenius but MeeGenius distinguishes itself with one excellent feature. That feature is automatic word highlighting to accompany the narration of each book.

When children open the ebooks online, on an Android tablet, or on an iPad they can choose to have the story read to them or to read the story on their own. When the story is read to them each word in the story is highlighted on the page. This should help children follow along with the story.

Applications for Education
MeeGenius could be a great website and app for young students to use to experience some nice short stories and practice reading at the same time. MeeGenius is offering a free school and library subscription program but it's not clear how many ebooks are included in that free subscription.

I discovered MeeGenius on Twitter earlier this week. I didn't write down who I saw Tweet it, but I think it was Dean Shareski

More Year in Review Videos and Articles

It's that time of year when everyone from serious news outlets to playful sites like Jib Jab are publishing year in review materials. I've already highlighted five good year-in-review sources here, here, here, here, and here. This morning I found some more year in review videos and articles.

The Atlantic has published a set of fourteen 2011 year in review articles covering politics, science, entertainment, and business. After reviewing the year you can take a look ahead with their collection of 2012 prediction articles.

For those of us who really like tech gadgets, CNET has a year in technology review for us.

Watch MoJo has a year in review video that covers entertainment, sports, and some of the major news stories of the year. One disclaimer, some teachers might not like the clips from the entertainment section (Charlie Sheen dispenses some "wisdom" in one clip). Watch the video and decide for yourself if it's appropriate for your high school students.

If you're looking for some good collections of images of 2011, Larry Ferlazzo has assembled a good list of links here.