Monday, May 14, 2012

Flashcard Flash - A Flashcard Search Engine

Flashcard Flash is a handy little search engine designed for one purpose, helping you find sets of publicly shared flashcards. Flashcard Flash was built using Google Custom Search. Flashcard Flash searches twenty-seven flashcard services to find flashcard sets that match your terms. When you find a set of flashcards you may have to register on the host site to use those cards, but searching using Flashcard Flash does not require any registration.

Applications for Education
Flashcard Flash is a good service to try when you don't have the time to build a set flashcards. Students can use the service to find flashcards that will help them prepare for a test. 

Talk Miner - Search the Contents of Video Lessons

The web is full of webinars, webcasts, and video lessons of all types. Searching the content of those videos can be difficult and time-consuming if you can't find the transcripts of those videos. That's a problem that can be addressed by using a tool that Stephen Ransom shared on Twitter this morning.

Talk Miner is a tool for searching the contents of webinars, webcasts, and video lectures. Talk Miner searches the slides, images, and text within videos to take you to the scenes that match your search query. Watch the video below to learn more about Talk Miner.

Applications for Education
If you're looking for a short video lesson to share with your students, Talk Miner could be the tool for you. Students searching for review lessons on the web, could benefit from using Talk Miner too.

Why Can't We Let All Kids Do Cool Stuff?

Image Credit: DrBacchus
This post is not about a tech tool or website. It's just an editorial from me. Feel free to skip it if you're not interested in my philosophy on education.

Over the weekend I saw a Twitpic from someone showing off a group of  "gifted" elementary school students doing some dissections. This follows a pattern that I see a lot, the students identified as gifted participate in the cool hands-on activities while the other students are prepped for the next standardized test. When I see this pattern I can't help but ask myself, "why do only the gifted students get to participate in the cool stuff?"

In my experience it is the students labeled as gifted that are already engaged in school. It's the struggling students who need the "cool," hands-on experiences to get them excited about school. And by the time they get to high school the students who need the "cool," hands-on projects the most are the students who are on the brink of quitting school. So why can't we let all students participate in the cool experiences? Is it because we're spending time making sure all students are ready for a standardized test and don't have time to do the cool stuff and the test prep stuff? That's my hunch, what's your answer? Please leave a comment.

Use SpeakPipe to Receive Voicemail On Your Blog

SpeakPipe is a service that allows visitors to your blog to leave you voice messages without picking up a phone. With SpeakPipe installed on your blog anyone can click on the "send voicemail" button and leave a message for you. When a visitor clicks the "leave voicemail" button she will be prompted to allow access to her computer. Then the visitor can start recording a message for you. Visitors can, but don't have to, enter their names and email addresses for you. You can listen to and download the messages left for you in your SpeakPipe inbox.

SpeakPipe has easy-to-install plugins for Blogger, WordPress, and Tumblr. It took me about two minutes to install SpeakPipe on a Blogger blog. For use on other blogging platforms SpeakPipe has a script that you can install manually.

Applications for Education
When installed on a school website SpeakPipe could provide a good way for parents to leave voicemail messages. SpeakPipe messages can be downloaded to your computer so if you need a simple way for students to record their voices for use in a multimedia project, SpeakPipe might be handy to have on your classroom blog.

Getting Geeky With Google Maps Measurements

Over the weekend I was using Google Maps to measure the distance of some routes that I want to ride on my bicycle. While I was measuring I clicked on the little "I'm feeling lucky" link next to the measurement tools. I knew that there were some obscure units like Smoots and Rods in that list, but it seems that Google has dramatically increased the list of measurement units. I counted 56 units of measurement in the list. Now I can measure my biking routes in furlongs, in Olympic swimming pools, or Jewish 1st Temple cubits.

To access the "geeky" measurement units in Google Maps first make sure you have turned on the measuring tools in the "Maps Labs" then select "I'm feeling geeky." See the screenshots below for more directions. Click the images to view them in full-size.