Saturday, May 5, 2012

Web Search Lesson Plans from Google

One of the big stories shared all over Twitter this week was Google's updated Search Education pages. I didn't get to check it out until this morning and I have to say that I am impressed with what the new pages offer. There are fifteen lesson plans aligned to ISTE NETS, Common Core, and American Association of School Librarians standards. The lesson plans are arranged according to skill level in five categories. Those categories are picking search terms, understanding results, narrowing results, searching for evidence, and evaluating credibility of sources.

Google's new search education promotional video is embedded below.

Applications for Education
Being able to use Google (and other search engines) effectively is a skill that all students need to develop as early as possible. The lesson plans available on Google Search Education might not fit every classroom situation, but at the very least they provide a great framework for teaching search strategies and evaluating information found on the web.

Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good morning from Maine where our April showers have arrived a week late. But the sun is shining as I write this now. Before I take my dog out for a romp in the woods in the sunshine, I have to put together this week's list of the most popular posts of the week.

This was my first full week at home in a while after a great stretch of presentations and workshops all over North America. Thank you to everyone that came out to my presentations and said hello. It has been great to meet so many new people. Please click here for list of some of the places that I will be presenting this summer.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. Add More to Your Images With Thinglink
2. Make Your Own Squishy Circuits
3. TEDx Bozeman - Classroom Game Design
4. About Google Teacher Academy
5. Timeline - From Civil War to Civil Rights
6. Try Crocodoc for Collaboratively Annotating PDFs
7. A Thought or Two About TED Ed

Welcome to a new sponsor of Free Technology for Teachers, Fresno Pacific University. FPU has some exciting new courses for educators.

Please visit the official advertisers and marketing partners that help keep this blog going.
LearnBoost provides a free online gradebook service for teachers.
Fresno Pacific University is offering some exciting new courses for educators.
MasteryConnect provides a network for teachers to share and discover Common Core assessments. is a provider of free educational games for K-5.
Lesley University offers quality online graduate programs for teachers.
The University of Maryland Baltimore County offers graduate programs for teachers.
Ed Tech Teacher offers professional development services for schools. I will be conducting a series of workshops with them this summer. Please visit their site for the schedule.

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Blogging and Consulting Lessons for Educators

Earlier this week I announced that I will soon be teaching a new online course with Angela Maiers and Chris Dawson. The course, So You Wanna Be a Leader?, is designed to help teachers learn how they can expand their influence and be leaders through writing, presenting, and consulting. In the course we'll go beyond basic blogging and speaking advice and share the details of how we've built followings and turned simple blogs into small businesses. The basic course outline is available here.

I come at the course with the background of a classroom teacher who was struggling to pay the bills and decided to try putting advertising on my blog. Angela and Chris come to the course with slightly different backgrounds.

We can't promise that you'll make oodles of money because you take So You Wanna Be a Leader? But we can promise that you will learn from what we've done right and what we've done wrong along the way from simple blogs to small businesses. So You Wanna Be a Leader? starts on Thursday, May 10. You can read the course outline here and register for the course here.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Create Videos Online with WeVideo in Google Drive

For the last six months I've been sharing WeVideo with anyone who has come to me searching for a good online video creation tool. I live WeVideo because it is cloud-based and collaborative. They released an Android app in March that makes mobile, collaborative video editing possible. Now they have a Google Drive app too. The WeVideo Google Drive app allows you to save all of your video projects in your Google Drive account. Learn more about it in the video below.

Use Map a List for a Classroom Genealogy Project

Map a List turns Google Spreadsheet information into Google Maps placemarks. The finished product is a Google Map of the information you've selected from your Google Spreadsheets.

To create a map from your spreadsheets you need to register for a Map a List account and give it access to your Google Docs account. Map a List then walks you through each step of selecting a spreadsheet, defining the parameters for your map, and choosing placemarks. Just like in Google Maps you can customize the placemark icons that are used in your Map a List displays. Your maps can be shared publicly or privately. Your maps can be downloaded as KML files to use in Google Earth.

Applications for Education
Map a List could be a neat tool to use for a classroom genealogy project. Create a spreadsheet form into which students enter information about where their ancestors came from. Students could enter the information themselves or they could share the link to the form and ask their parents or grandparents to fill in some information Then use Map a List to show the distribution of ancestries of the students in your classroom.