Wednesday, November 14, 2012

26 iBooks Author How-to Videos

iBooks Author is a great tool for creating interactive ebooks. Unfortunately, creating content with iBooks Author isn't always as easy as you might hope it is. Back in June I shared a free 110 page book about using iBooks Author. However, if video tutorials are more helpful to you I have found twenty six videos that you should look at.

Kinetic Media has a nearly one hour video that takes you through every aspect of creating an iBook with iBooks Author. The video covers everything from choosing a template to using custom HTML5 widgets in your iBooks. That video is embedded below.

If sitting through a one hour video like the Kinetic Media iBooks Author video is a bit too much for you, take a look at this playlist of 25 iBooks Author tutorials from DIY Journo. The videos cover the same things as in the Kinetic Media tutorial, but each tutorial is its own short video.

Handy New Ways to Organize Files in Google Drive

For years now almost all of my documents have been created and stored in Google Docs and now Google Drive. Over the last year I've moved more files into Google Drive for storage. Today, Google added some new features to Google Drive that will make it easier to store, organize, and locate your files in your Google Drive account.

In Google Drive you can now view KML and KMZ files. If you have folders on your desktop you can down drag them directly into your Google Drive account when you're using the Chrome browser. And a very useful feature for people working in groups is the option to search for files according the the names of the people who have access to a file. Even if you don't know the name of the file you can locate it by searching for your collaborators' names in Google Drive.

Applications for Education
In my experience a lot of students don't use good file naming conventions. This creates a problem when they go to share files with other students or with their teachers. The option to search by collaborators' names could be a small solution to the problem of locating shared files. Of course, teaching students to use better naming conventions is something that we should also be doing.

Z-Type - A Fun Typing Game

Z-Type is a simple typing game that I had some fun trying out this evening. The game has an easy level and a difficult level. The game is played the same way on both levels. To play Z-Type all that you have to do is go to the website and type the words that are falling from the top of the screen. When you have correctly typed a word a laser shoots it. The object is to shoot the words before they reach the bottom of the screen.

Applications for Education
Z-Type isn't anything special in terms of helping students learn to type better. But if you're just looking for a fun practice activity for your students, Z-Type is worth trying out. Click here for seven more good typing practice activities.

Learnist Now Allows You to Register With Email

Learnist, which I've described in the past as Pinterest for learning, announced today that you no longer have to use Facebook or Twitter to register and use their service. You can now register for and use Learnist with an email account. The service is still available only to people who request a beta invite, but it seems that beta invites come quickly.

Applications for Education
One of the obstacles to use of Learnist in schools was the requirement of logging-in using Facebook or Twitter account. The new option to register with an email address should make Learnist available to many more teachers and students. Learnist provides another professional learning community in which you collaborate on the collation of resources that are beneficial to you and your students.

100,000 Stars Puts the Universe in Perspective

Last week I shared a six minute video tour of the known universe. That video does a great job of helping viewers understand the scale of the universe. Today, through Google Maps Mania I found a new Google Chrome Web GL Experiment called 100,000 Stars that also does a good job of helping viewers understand the scale of the universe. 100,000 Stars is a visualization of the 100,000 stars closest to Earth. You can view the stars on your own or take an automated tour of the stars.

Applications for Education
The 100,000 Stars tour does a great job of putting distances between stars and planets into a perspective that students can understand.

100,000 Stars uses Web GL technology and you will have to use Google Chrome to view the tour correctly.