Sunday, June 24, 2012

Doodle Buzz is an Interesting Way to Explore News

Doodle Buzz is an interesting way to look at the news. To find news stories enter a term in the search box, click go, then drag your cursor across the screen to reveal news stories related to your search term. The more you doodle the more stories are revealed. You can read excerpts from the stories or click through to read the full article on the original source.

Applications for Education
When I was teaching Contemporary World Studies one of the more difficult things for me to do was to get students interested in exploring news stories outside of the United States. Doodle Buzz offers an element of fun to the discovery process. When I "search" on Doodle Buzz I find that I discover stories and sources that I don't typically read because they're not in my RSS feed or on my Google Chrome page of frequently visited sites. 

Video and Reminder - Wear Your Bike Helmet

This morning I went out for a mountain bike ride in a local state forest. We had thunderstorms last night so things we're still quite slick this morning. As I was riding on a trail that I've biked before, I took a nasty fall and smacked my head hard on the ground. Fortunately, I was wearing my helmet and other than some new bruises on my knee, elbow, and shoulder I am fine. As I was driving home and reflecting I was reminded of a resource I reviewed a couple of years ago.

The Brain Injury Alliance of Kentucky offers some good resources about brain injury prevention. One of those resources is a short animated video designed to teach students about the need for wearing a helmet and how to wear helmets when biking or skateboarding. In the video students learn how to pick a helmet and how to properly fit a helmet. Watch the two minute video below.

Applications for Education
It's summer in the northern hemisphere and that means kids will be out on their bikes and skateboards. This video is a good, quick reminder to students to wear a helmet and wear it correctly.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Snaggy is a Handy Screen Capture Tool

Using the print screen key on your PC or "command+shift+4" on your Mac are easy ways to create a screen capture. But if you want do more and draw or annotate on that screen capture, give Snaggy a try.

Snaggy is a web-based tool for drawing on, annotating, and sharing screen captures. To draw or write on your screen capture just paste your screen capture image into Snaggy. Snaggy offers tools for highlighting a section of your screen capture, typing on it, and drawing free-hand on your image. You can also use Snaggy to crop your image. When you're ready to share your screen capture, Snaggy assigns is a custom url that you can Tweet, email, or post anywhere you like. Snaggy lets you save your edited screen captures to your computer too.

Applications for Education
Snaggy, like other screen capture tools I've shared, could be a great tool to use when you need to add directions to a screen capture. Whenever I run a workshop in which I'll be introducing people to new tools, I make sure that I have annotated screen captures to share. Those screen captures make it easy for people to go back and get instructions if they miss a step during a demonstration or if they need a reference after the workshop.

The Most Popular Posts on Free Technology for Teachers

Good morning from Maine where the hot and muggy weather confirms that summer has fully arrived. This week Free Technology for Teachers crossed over the 47,000 subscriber mark. Thank you for continuing to read and share my posts even as many of you are on summer vacation now. If you are on summer vacation, I hope that you're enjoying it.

Speaking of summer vacation, for many educators the annual ISTE conference is a summer highlight. ISTE 2012 kicks-off this weekend. I had planned to go, but my summer schedule just got too busy to go. If you're there now, please share your learning on Twitter with the hashtag #ISTE12 so those of us not able to attend can learn a bit from your experience.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. 110 Page Guide to Publishing With iBooks Author
2. 5 Sources of Free Sound Effects and Music
3. Three Free Tools for Creating Infographics
4. K12 Guide to Going Google
5. 8 Resources for Preventing and Detecting Plagiarism
6. Quickly Gauge Your Students' Understanding with Understoodit
7. Web Search Strategies in Plain English

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MasteryConnect provides a network for teachers to share and discover Common Core assessments. is a provider of free educational games for K-5.
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Friday, June 22, 2012

Maps of Vanishing & Endangered Languages

In the July issue of National Geographic Magazine there is a feature titled Vanishing Voices. The feature is about languages that are in danger of becoming extinct in the next century. One of the online companion resources to Vanishing Voices is a languages hotspots map. The languages hotspots map is a heatmap of regions in which there are languages in danger of vanishing. You can click on the map to learn about the languages in danger in those regions.

This morning Google Maps Mania posted a very similar map from the Endangered Languages Project. The map on the Endangered Languages Project contains references to 3054 endangered languages. Click on the placemarks to find the names of languages, information about who speaks those languages, and the risk of those languages becoming extinct. The Endangered Languages Project is a collaborative project that invites contributions of language documentation in text and video form.

Applications for Education
After reading Vanishing Voices and looking at the maps you might ask students to think about why some languages spread over regions and continents while other other languages stayed in use only in small areas.