Monday, October 15, 2012

One Click Yields More Room to Work in Google Docs

If you're like me and you frequently work on a laptop or netbook there are probably some moments when you wish for more screen space. Beginning today if you're using Google Documents and want a little more room to view your pages, you can make that space appear with just one click. In the upper, right corner of your screen you will now see an option for "compact mode" in each of your Google Documents. Click the compact mode arrows to collapse the formatting menu and receive about an inch of more space to work in your documents. Below you will see some screenshots showing you where to find the compact mode arrows.

Click to view full size.

Click to view full size.

Meograph Now Offers 3D & 4D Storytelling

Back in June Meograph launched to the public as a four dimensional storytelling tool. Using Meograph you can build map and timeline-based stories. Today, Meograph announced via email that you no longer have to include locations in your story. So if locations aren't important to your narrated story you can simply build a narrated timeline.

The other announcement included in Meograph's email today is that the authoring and playback tools are fully supported in all modern browsers (if you're using Internet Explorer 8 or earlier it's time to update).

Applications for Education
Meograph offers a nice way to create narrated map-based and timeline-based stories. Much of what Meograph offers can be accomplished in Google Earth. However, Meograph is browser-based so that students can create stories even if they cannot install Google Earth on their computers.

The EasyBib Chrome Extension Evaluates Source Credibility and Generates Citations

The bibliography generation service EasyBib recently released a new Chrome extension to go along with their Android app, iOS app, and Google Apps integration. The EasyBib Chrome extension serves two purposes. The first purpose is to evaluate webpages for credibility. The credibility ranking is based on criteria outlined in this guide. The extension simply says whether the site is credible, has credibility issues, or if the source has not been evaluated. 

The second purpose of the EasyBib Chrome extension is to provide a quick way to add citations to your bibliographies. Click the bookmarklet to create a properly formatted citation and add it to your EasyBib account.

Applications for Education
While the credibility ranking might be handy, I'd prefer to have students learn how do the credibility evaluations on their own rather than rely on a third party. That said, I do think the Chrome extension could be very helpful in creating properly formatted citations for web resources that students use in their research assignments.

60 Second Lessons on Religion

Sometimes I come across things on the web that immediately make me think of someone that I've worked with in the past. This morning that is exactly what happened when I saw Open Culture's post about the Open University's new 60 Second Adventures in Religion videos. I'm quite sure that my former colleague Bree Roy will be interested in using these videos as short introductions to theories and philosophies about religion. These videos aren't about specific religions rather they're about how theorists have explained religion.

Applications for Education
In addition to being used as short introductions to theories about religion, these videos provide a model for simple animated explanations. Your students could use video creation tools like PowToon to create their own explanations.

Ad Libs - Create Your Own Campaign Commercial

Mozilla and PBS Newshour have teamed up to create a the Ad Libs campaign commercial generator. Ad Libs allows you to create your own short campaign commercial featuring you as a candidate. Ad Libs is like Mad Libs as you fill in the blanks to create a story. To generate your commercial you need to sign in with your Facebook account. To fill in the blanks in the Ad Libs commercial creator you select pictures and quotes from your Facebook profile.

A neat bonus aspect of Ad Libs is that as you create your commercial you can watch a few clips of commercials from past campaigns. That's how I found this old Clinton campaign commercial from 1992.