Sunday, May 6, 2012

Virtually Cycle the Alps

Last week while exploring the Google Chrome Web Store I came across a great site called Cycling the Alps. Cycling the Alps offers dozens of virtual tours of the Alps just as you would see them if you were on a bicycle tour of the Alps. Additionally, you can play games in which you are the rider and you have to navigate your way through courses in the Alps. The video below provides a short overview of some of features of Cycling the Alps.

Applications for Education
Playing the games on Cycling the Alps could be a fun way for students to explore the geography of the Alps. Cycling the Alps includes a profile of the elevation gains and losses throughout each tour. Many of the tours include 3D views of buildings along the way so students can see a bit of the architecture of towns during their tours of the Alps. - Sync Audio and Video to Your Slideshows is a handy service for recording video and or audio to accompany your slides. allows you to sync your recorded audio and video to your slides then publish everything as one complete package. Here's how it works; upload a set of slides to your account, then use your webcam to record a video of yourself talking about those slides. Your video and slides will appear side-by-side when you have finished recording. If you don't want to record a video, you can simply record audio only. accepts a large variety of presentation file types. And if you sign-in with your Google account, you can import presentations to from your Google Drive account. allows you to have three presentations for free before you have to either delete an old presentation or upgrade your account.

Applications for Education could be a great tool for teachers trying out the flipped classroom model. Aside from the flipped classroom model, using to record a presentation and posting it online could be helpful for students who are absent on the day that you give a short lecture. Recording a presentation and posting it online with could also be helpful for students who need some accessible review materials.

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.

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LearnBoost provides a free online gradebook service for teachers.
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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.