Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Become a Power Google Searcher

Today, Google announced the launch of a new MOOC - Massive Open Online Course - titled Power Searching With Google. The course will contain six 50 minute sessions and activities to try out the things that are taught in the course. Upon completion of the course you will be able to get a certificate of completion (presumably suitable for printing at home and putting on your refrigerator). The course begins on July 10. Registration is open now.

Applications for Education
If you're familiar with advanced Google search tools, you can handle all of Dan Russell's search challenges, and you're ready to take the next step toward being a power searcher, take this new courseAnd even if you're not up to speed with all of the advanced search tools in Google, this MOOC could help you too. Take the course this summer and pass on your new search skills to your students in the fall. 


ikiMap - More Than Just Custom Google Maps

ikiMap is a free service for creating custom maps online. The service allows you to build custom maps on top of Google Maps, Bing Maps, and Open Street Maps. You can also use a completely blank canvas and upload a map. The maps that you create on ikiMap can be shared publicly or privately. Your maps can be constructed collaboratively on ikiMap.

To create a custom map on ikiMap you do have to register on the site and confirm your registration in an email. Once you're registered you can start building a map. The simplest way to build a custom map on ikiMap is to choose a base layer and add custom placemarks. There is a collection of dozens of placemark icons to choose from. If you don't like the placemark icons in the gallery, you can upload your own icons. Each placemark can contain text, images, links, and embedded videos.

ikiMap provides easy-to-use tools for drawing shapes on your maps. I found the tools easier to use than the drawing tools on Google Maps. The ikiMap drawing tools provide for easy resizing, relocation, labeling, and color changes.


Advanced amateur cartographers may want to take advantage of ikiMap's upload feature to import data sets and KML files. Speaking of KML files, you can download your maps from ikiMap as KML files to use in other applications.

Applications for Education
ikiMap does require an email address which probably eliminates it from use in many elementary schools, but if your students do have email addresses and you're looking for an online alternative to Google Maps that offers a little more in terms of customization features, give ikiMap a try.

H/T to Google Maps Mania

Dick's Sporting Goods Offers Free Concussion Testing for U.S. Schools

This morning Drew Brees was on the Dan Patrick show to promote a new initiative from Dick's Sporting Goods. The initiative called PACE - Protecting Athletes through Concussion Education - is offering free ImPact testing and software for middle schools and high schools in the United States.

PACE ImPact testing provides baseline information that can be used to determine if a student-athlete has suffered a concussion, the severity of a concussion, and when it is safe for a student-athlete to return to the field or court of play.

Applications for Education
The PACE initiative could be a very valuable resource for schools that cannot find it in their budgets to offer in-house baseline concussion tests.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Vialogues - Form Discussions Around Videos

Vialogues is a website that is designed to enable users to host conversations around a video. Users can upload videos to Vialogues or use YouTube videos as the centerpieces of their conversations. After you have selected a video from YouTube or uploaded a video of your own, you can post poll questions and add comments that are tied to points in the video. Your Vialogue can be made public or private. Public Vialogue's can be embedded into your blog or website.
Applications for Education
Vialogues is similar in concept to TED Ed in that you post a video for question and answer discussions. If you have a video clip that you want students to respond to at their own pace, posting a Vialogue could be one way to accomplish that goal.

Take a Google Earth Tour of the Largest Intact Boreal Forest on Earth

This morning I went poking around the Google Earth tour showcase looking for information about hurricanes. Although I didn't find what I was looking for, I did find a nice tour of Canada's boreal forest. The tour, produced by the Pew Environment Group, takes you through the largest tract of intact boreal forest in the world. You can play the five minute tour as a video or stop and explore individual aspects of the tour in Google Earth. You can grab the file here (link downloads KML file).



Applications for Education
If you're teaching environmental science this tour could be a good resource for highlighting the importance of preserving the forest and the animals that call it home. It's also a good resource for highlighting the role of forests in climate change mitigation.