Saturday, December 24, 2011

Week in Review - The Christmas Eve Edition

Good morning from Maine where some of us are waiting for the sound of reindeer dancing on our roofs. It has been a great year for Free Technology for Teachers and that is because of all of you who subscribe to the blog, follow me on Twitter, and share my blog posts with your friends and colleagues. Thank you.

Next week I'm taking a small break from blogging while I make some time to visit family and to work on some small projects(like organizing my home office) that I've been putting off for vacation week. Not to worry though, I have 25 posts scheduled for next week. Next week I'll be republishing the 25 most popular posts of 2011. I used Google Analytics to determine which posts were the most-read posts of the year.

From the shameless promotion department, I've started a second blog titled Android 4 Schools. As you can guess by the title it's all about Android apps and devices for teachers and students.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. 11 Places to Find Free eBooks for Yourself and Your Students
2. Animoto Launches a New iPad and iPhone App
3. About Accepting Advertising as an Ed Tech Blogger
4. Rant of the Year
5. The Chronicles of Narnia - Free Downloads Available
6. Videos - Dinosaurs Through History and Walking With Dinosaurs
7. Picozu - A Nice Free Online Image Editing and Creation Tool

Please visit the official advertisers and marketing partners that help keep this blog going.
LearnBoost provides a free online gradebook service for teachers.
MasteryConnect provides a network for teachers to share and discover Common Core assessments.
TenMarks offers a free online mathematics program to supplement in-classroom instruction.
Edublogs provides blog hosting for teachers and students.
ABCya.com is a provider of free educational games for K-5.
Lesley University offers quality online graduate programs for teachers.
Intel offers the AppUp Center of educational PC games and more.

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The People Who Walk With Reindeer

Children all over the world will be waiting for the sound of reindeer feet on their roofs tonight. But if you have children who have out-grown that stage in life or if you're just interested in learning about real Reindeer, National Geographic has three items that you should check out.

The People Who Walk With Reindeer is a story about the Sami people of Norway who herd reindeer. There is a feature article that examines how life has changed for the Sami over the years and the challenges their culture faces moving forward. The photo gallery includes the images that were published in the print article as well as some that didn't make it into print. The video takes viewers behind the scenes of creating the photo gallery and writing the article.

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.