Friday, March 23, 2012

Podcast and Reflections on Beyond the Textbook

On Monday I was fortunate to participate in Discovery's Beyond the Textbook Forum. After the formal part of the day was complete some of us joined Steve Dembo and Dean Shareski for a podcast of reflections on the day. You can listen to the podcast and find a bunch of links about the day here. The list of participants on the podcast is Hall Davidson, Angela MaiersDavid WarlickRichard Byrne and Kyle Schutt. 

Google Maps for Educators - How to Get Started

This morning I ran a short workshop on Google Maps for educators. As I do for most workshops, I promised to post the how-to slides here. Here are the basic directions to get you started creating placemarks in Google Maps.

By the way, if you're interested in having me run a workshop or give a keynote at your school, please see my work with me page.

Best of the Web - Again

This week I'm at the Teacher 2 Teacher conference in Bow Island, Alberta. I'm giving my best of the web talk twice (once yesterday, once today). This continues to be my most-requested presentation. The slides for it are included below.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Poll Everywhere Introduces Voting on Images

Earlier this week the popular survey service Poll Everywhere released a very nice update, support for images and equations. Now you can put images into your polls and have students vote on the images. Another part of this update is the option to include mathematics equations in polls. The video below provides an overview of the updates.

Image Support for Multiple Choice Options from Poll Everwhere on Vimeo.

Applications for Education
The image voting option could be a good way to create surveys or polls in which you ask students to identify plants, animals, and other objects. The mathematics inclusion option will allow you to create multiple choice polls in which students have to select the correct equation.

InstaGrok - A New Way to Search and Pin Information

instaGrok is a very promising new search service that I learned about from Joyce Valenza during my time at Discovery's Beyond the Textbook forum. At first glance instaGrok appears to be a new version of Google's old Wonder Wheel service. But after investigation you'll see that instaGrok is more than just web of suggested search terms.

You can use instaGrok to search a topic and quickly get lists of facts on that topic, links to information on that topic, videos, images, and quizzes on the topic. If you want to refine or alter your search, just click on another term in the web of search terms. If the results that you are getting are too difficult to comprehend or are too basic, use the difficulty slider to change the results.

When you find materials that are useful for your research you can pin them or add them to your instaGrok journal. You can add notes to those links in your journal as well.

Applications for Education
instaGrok could be a fantastic tool for students who are struggling to refine a research topic. It also appears to be a great way for students to organize the useful information that they find while conducting their research.