Saturday, December 8, 2012

5,000 Stock Images for Google Drive Users

One of the tips that I shared in this week's Google Drive and the Common Core webinar was to access the stock imagery in Google Drive when you need to add a picture to a document or presentation. This week Google announced that the stock image gallery now has more than 5,000 images that are labeled for re-use. To access these images select "image" from the "insert" menu when you're working on a document or presentation. Then select the "search" option and finally select "stock images" to search for a stock image to use in your document or presentation.

Graphing Stories - The Math in Short Videos

Graphing Stories is a new website that was developed by Dan Meyer and Buzz Math. Graphing Stories features 24 short videos that tell a story that students can graph to tell the mathematical story happening in the video. I recommend reading this post by Dan Meyer to get a full sense of how this works and where the idea came from. All of the graphing stories videos can be downloaded to use in your classroom. Graphing Stories even provides the graph paper for your students to graph the stories.

To learn more about Dan Meyer's philosophy of math education, watch the video below.

Try Wikibrains for Brainstorming

Wikibrains is a neat brainstorming website that I tried out a few months ago. Since then it has been revamped to make it easier to navigate and organize ideas.

The concept behind Wikibrains is this; when you brainstorm on Wikibrains you're also performing a basic Internet search at the same time. To create a brainstorm web on Wikibrains start by entering one word or phrase. When you enter a word you will be prompted to add more words by completing the phrase, "Makes me think off..." Each new word or phrase that you enter will be added to your web. As you enter words on the right side of the screen you will see links to search results about each word. All of the words in your brainstorm web appear as circles on the screen. You can rearrange the circles however you would like.

Wikibrains has private and public brainstorm webs. You can browse the public webs to see how others have organized information around the topics that you're exploring.

Applications for Educations
Wikibrains could be a great tool to have students use as a story starter. Have your students pick any word or phrase to get started then build a web of what they think are related terms. After they've built the web ask them to create a narrative that explains all of the connections between the elements of the web.

Week in Review - The First Google Drive Webinar

Good morning from Maine where Morrison and I are using this weekend to get into the holiday spirit. Yesterday, we delivered some goodies to the local animal shelter and today we'll be out on a quest to find gifts for the humans in our lives too. But before that happens I need to put together this week's week in review.

On Tuesday of this week I had the opportunity to spend the day at the Riverdale Country School in New York City. We spent the day exploring interesting uses of Google Maps and Google Earth for all grades and content areas. On Thursday evening this week I hosted the first session of my new course Google Drive and the Common Core. I was very pleased with how it went. I've delivered a lot of webinars in the past for universities and other PD organizations, but this is the first time I am handling all of it on my own. There are still some seats available for the January course.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. A Short Guide to Google Maps for Educators
2. 60 of the Best Websites and Apps for Teachers
3. Cargo Bot - An iPad Game About Logic
4. Poverty in American - The Living Wage Calculator
5. Take a Narrated Tour of the Solar System
6. Smithsonian and ePals Spark!Lab Invent It Contest
7. Mysteries of Vernacular Explains Nuances of English

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Friday, December 7, 2012

WeVideo Further Bridges the Gap Between Animoto and iMovie

WeVideo is a great online video editor that I have been sharing with teachers everywhere for the last year. This week WeVideo launched two new tools that sit in that space between simplistic Animoto videos and full-fledged desktop video editing with something like iMovie.

The new WeVideo YouTube editor and the new WeVideo Chrome video editor offer two creation and editing modes. The "storyboard" mode is designed for beginners who don't have any experience editing videos. The "storyboard" mode features a collection of video themes that users customize by dragging and dropping media into a theme template. The "timeline" mode is for users who have some experience editing video and would like to have a little more control over the timing and transitions in their videos.

WeVideo now allows users to connect their Facebook, Instagram, Dropbox, Google Drive, and Flickr accounts with their WeVideo accounts. This means that users can directly import their images and other media rather than having to upload media from their desktops.

The original WeVideo product is still available too. The original offering offers the most control over all elements of the video editing process. One of the key features of the editor is the ability to have multiple audio and video tracks blended into one video.

The chart below shows all of the features of WeVideo's products.

Applications for Education
A key element of all of WeVideo's products is that they are collaborative tools. Using WeVideo students can work together remotely to create a video production. The three products from WeVideo provide a nice progression from beginner to advanced skill levels. You could have students start the school year using the "storyboard" mode and end the year using WeVideo's full featured tool to completely control the video creation process.