Thursday, April 26, 2012

Screen Draw - Draw or Type on Any Webpage

Grizzly Ape is a software development company in the U.K. that has built some handy Firefox add-ons. One of their free add-ons is Screen Draw.

With Screen Draw installed you can type on and or draw free-hand on any webpage that you're viewing in Firefox. You could circle elements on a page then type a bit about that element. Your screen drawings can be saved as PNG and JPG files.

Applications for Education
If you're looking for a quick way to create annotated screen images to provide directions to students, Screen Draw could be a handy tool for you.

One way that you might have students use Screen Draw is to have them practice giving written directions. Have students pick one of their favorite websites and write directions for using it as if someone was brand new to using the web. Students (and teachers too sometimes) often assume a lot when giving directions. By starting from scratch assuming that the audience knows nothing, students are forced to slow down and think about the details that they might otherwise assume everyone knows.

For some more screen capture options, please see 7 Good Screen Capture Tools for Teachers.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Easier Location Sharing in Google Earth

Sharing your favorite locations in Google Earth recently got a lot easier than it used to be. In the past to share a Google Earth location you had to download the KMZ or KML files. The newest sharing option in the latest version of Google Earth (version 6.2) allows for quicker and easier location sharing. Now when you're viewing a location in Google Earth that you want to share, you can share it by simply clicking the "share" button in upper-right corner of your screen. The sharing options include sharing a screenshot via Google+ or email, sharing a view via email, sharing a placemark via email, or sharing to the Google Earth community. Sharing a view or placemark via email creates a KML file for you. (You do have to be signed into your Google Account to do this).

While we're on the topic of sharing map views, this is a good time to remind you that you can share views from Google Maps by clicking on the "link" icon on the upper-left corner of a Google Maps screen. You can also generate a KML file in Google Maps by selecting the "export as KML" option. Take a look at the screenshots below for directions.

Applications for Education
If you're using Google Earth for lessons with your students, the new location sharing option could be useful for sharing with students who are not in the classroom with you. And if your students are over 13 and using Google+ sharing views to a Google+ circle could be a good way to host a conversation around a particular view or place in the world.

Send to Kindle Now Available for Mac Users

Back in January I shared the news about Amazon's Send to Kindle software for Windows. As I learned from CNET, Send to Kindle is now available for Mac users too. Send to Kindle allows you to send documents from your computer to your Kindle or another device, such as an iPad, that has a Kindle app installed. With Send to Kindle installed you can drag and drop a document from your Mac to your Kindle and it will transfer wirelessly to your Kindle device.

Applications for Education
While you cannot edit documents on a Kindle, Send to Kindle could still be handy for anyone that needs to read reports or other documents while away from a computer and or without Internet access. Send the reports you want to review to your Kindle device and read them whenever and wherever you take your tablet. For students this could be a good way to read documents that they may have downloaded from the web to read for their courses.

Shakespeare Animated

Yesterday, I Tweeted a story from Open Culture that highlighted 12 animated Shakespeare stories. In my investigation of the video source that Open Culture highlighted, I discovered Shakespeare Animated. Shakespeare Animated is a YouTube channel containing twelve playlists ten of which are animated adaptations of Shakespeare's most famous plays. Some of the animated plays that appear in the Shakespeare Animated playlist are Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, MacBeth, and The Taming of the Shrew. I've embedded part one of Romeo and Juliet below.

Applications for Education
The Shakespeare Animated videos could be useful for supporting your students' reading of Romeo and Juliet or any of the nine other plays in the list. Because the plays are broken into segment they are well-suited to being used one class meeting at a time. You could show the ten to twelve minute segments

New 3D Photo Tours on Google Maps

This morning Google announced the release of a new way to view images in Google Maps. 3D Photo Tours on Google Maps is a collection of public Panoramio and Picasa images of famous landmarks arranged into 3D panoramic tours. You can take a tour of places like the Grand Canyon, Buckingham Palace, and Fenway Park. Here's a complete list of the places for which 3D photo tours are available. To access these new views you do have to have to be using a modern browser that supports Web GL technology. The video below highlights the new 3D Photo Tours on Google Maps.

Applications for Education
If you don't have access to Google Earth on your school's computers, the 3D Photo Tours in Google Maps is a great alternative for showing students what some of the famous landmarks they may have studied look like.