Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Use Google+ Hangouts for a Virtual Scavenger Hunt in the Palace of Versailles

This is definitely one of the coolest uses of Google+ that I have seen in a long time. Hangout Quest is a Google+ game that allows you to go on a virtual scavenger hunt inside the Palace of Versailles. The object of the scavenger hunt is to find artwork and other objects in the palace. If you invite others to your Hangout you can compete against them in a race to find the objects first.

Hangout Quest uses the Street View imagery of Google Maps to bring you inside the Palace of Versailles. Another cool piece of technology added to Hangout Quest is facial tracking. The facial tracking technology allows you to move around in the Palace of Versailles by just moving your head instead of clicking around with your mouse.

See Hangout Quest in action in the video below.

Applications for Education
I think that now that Google+ in available within Google Apps for Education the opportunities to use it for educational purposes will continue to expand. Hangout Quest could be a great activity for an art history or art appreciation class. Extend the game by adding a research component to it after students have completed the quest.

Big thanks to Google Maps Mania for this one.

MasteryConnect Helps You Map Curriculum to Common Core Standards

MasteryConnect is a service that offers a few products that I think teachers in U.S. public schools should know about. First, they offer a good system for tracking your students' mastery of Common Core standards. Second, they provide a great community of educators who are connecting and sharing lesson ideas. And third, MasteryConnect now offers a curriculum mapping tool that allows you to easily connect your current lessons and curriculum to Common Core and or state standards. You can see the MasteryConnect curriculum mapping tool in the video found here.

Disclosure: MasteryConnect helps feed me and my dog every month through their advertising payments.

Todoist Launches Mobile Apps to Make Task Management Easier

Todoist is an easy-to-use task management service that I first tried out a couple of years ago. When I tried it then I was impressed by its clean design and intuitive user interface. Todoist on the web makes it easy to create to-do lists in chronological order or in order of priority. One of the features that I think is outstanding is synchronization with Outlook and Gmail. This synchronization makes it easy to set reminders to follow-up on emails. Todoist allows you to share your lists with others so that you can divide the work load of group projects.

Yesterday, Todoist launched new Android and iOS apps that provide a variety of ways to manage your to-do lists anywhere that you go. The new apps seamlessly sync with your Todoist account and allow you to access your task lists on eight different platforms.

Click here for the Android app. Click here for the iPhone app.  

Applications for Education
To-do lists and task management tools are only useful if people actually use them. The user interface of one task management tool might appeal to one person while not appealing at all to another. It is for that reason that I like to provide my students with a list of task management tools to try. That said, what I like about Todoist is that it provides a variety of ways for students to access their to-do lists anywhere.

Realtime Board's Chrome Extension Makes Online Brainstorming Easier

Last month I tried out a promising new online brainstorming tool called Realtime Board. Realtime Board provides a blank grid on which you can type, draw, and post pictures. You can connect elements on your boards through a simple linking tool. The boards that you create on Realtime Board can be shared publicly or privately. To help you communicate with your collaborators Realtime Board has a chat function built into every board.

Today, Realtime Board launched a new Chrome extension that allows you to quickly drag items from your desktop to your collaborative boards.

Applications for Education
The new Chrome extension for Realtime Board makes it a good platform for sharing and discussing diagrams and charts that you have created and saved on your desktop. Of course, all of the other features of Realtime Board make it a good platform for hosting online brainstorming sessions that are started from scratch on a blank canvas. 

Free Again - Google Drive for Teachers

I've decided to give away downloads of my 63 page PDF Google Drive for Teachers for the rest of this Thanksgiving week.

If you want a copy for yourself all that I ask is that you Tweet it or "Like" Free Technology for Teachers on Facebook by using one of the buttons below. I also ask that you honor my request not to redistribute copies if you're getting paid to run professional development workshops.

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Since the file is 43MB Google Drive may give you a notice that it won't scan it for viruses. I assure you that the PDF does not contain any viruses. 

Google Drive and Docs for Teachers 2012