Friday, June 22, 2012

Create Interactive Images on ImageSpike

ImageSpike is a new service for creating interactive images. The service is very similar to ThingLink which I have been a big fan of for the last year. ImageSpike allows you to upload an image, place pin marks on it, put text and links into those pin marks, and share your new interactive images. When someone views your interactive image he or she can click on the pin marks to read the text that you entered or click on the links that you included. In this sample I placed just one pin mark, but I can go back and add more whenever I want to.

Applications for Education
One drawback to ImageSpike is that you do have to enter an email address to get the embed code for your interactive image. Aside from that hurdle, ImageSpike could be a good tool for students to use to identify parts of an image and tag it with more information.

One way that I might use ImageSpike or ThingLink is in a lesson about the Battle of Gettysburg. I could have students upload an image of the battlefield then have my students add information related to different positions on the battlefield. For example, I might have my students identify Little Round Top and insert information about the 20th Maine Volunteer Infantry.

I learned about ImageSpike from Larry Ferlazzo who suggested using it in an ELL lesson. Read Larry's idea for using ThingLink in ELL activities here.

The Marketplace Whiteboard Explains Economic Issues

On Wednesday evening as I was driving home from a workshop I facilitated I heard a report about Spain's economy on American Public Media's Marketplace show. At the end of the report listeners were encouraged to visit the Marketplace Whiteboard for visuals that accompany the report.

The Marketplace Whiteboard is a series of videos explaining economic issues and topics that are currently in the news. This week's episode is about Spain's economy. Some of the past episodes have explained IPOs, bank runs, bonds, and debt ceilings.

Applications for Education
The Marketplace Whiteboard could be a good resource for social studies teachers creating current events lessons with an economics component. The few videos that I watched in the collection will probably not be self-explanatory to most high school students. You might use the videos to start a lesson and get students to ask questions or you might use the videos at the end of a lesson as a wrap-up piece.

OpenDNS Family Shield

Family Shield, powered by OpenDNS, is a service that can be used to filter the content accessed by anyone on your home network. Family Shield is designed to filter adult websites, proxy and anonymizer websites, and phishing websites. Step-by-step directions are provided for setting-up Family Shield on your home computer(s) and router(s).

Applications for Education
While I generally prefer to emphasize education about the Internet over blocking access to the Internet  I also understand that a lot of parents would still prefer to have a way to restrict the content their children can access from home. If you're asked by a parent for advice on Internet filtering at home, consider referring that person to Family Shield.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Improve Your Search Skills with These Challenges

Daniel Russell is a Google employee who studies how people search on the Internet. He's a search anthropologist. I had the pleasure of meeting him and learning from him at the Google Teacher Academy that I attended in 2009.

On his blog Search ReSearch Daniel Russell posts search challenges for readers to try. Then a few days later he explains how to solve the challenges. The challenges are not challenges that you could solve with just a basic query or even if you used the built-in Google Advanced Search tools.

Applications for Education
If you want to become a better web researcher and pass those skills on to your students, try Daniel Russell's search challenges. If you can handle his challenges, try writing your own challenges for students.

Daniel Russell's search challenges are also  posted on Life Hacker which is where I saw this week's challenge solved

Redefine Possible

This post has nothing to do with technology, Web 2.0, or anything that I normally write about. This post is simply to share an inspirational story that I found today on The Adventure Blog. Spencer West is a double amputee from Toronto, Canada who this week completed a climb of Mount Kilimanjaro on his hands. In the process he  raised more than $500,000 for the charity Free The Children. Spencer West's motto is Redefine Possible. You can follow his blog here. The video below is just a snippet of Spencer's climb.