Sunday, June 30, 2013

MindMup - A Mind Mapping Tool That Saves to Google Drive

MindMup is a free mind mapping tool that can be used online, with Google Drive, and on your desktop. MindMup works like most mind mapping tools in that you can create a central idea and add child and sibling nodes all over a blank canvas. MindMup nodes can contain text and links.

When you're ready to save your MindMup mind map you can save it to Google Drive, save it to your desktop, or publish it online. If you publish it online, you can grab an embed code for it to post it in a blog post or webpage. 

Applications for Education
I've often had my students create mind maps as an exercise in making visual connections between important concepts, events, and people in a unit of study. MindMup can be used by any student without the need to create an account. That makes it suitable for students who don't have email accounts to use. MindMup mind maps that are published online can be made into collaborative exercises. Consider starting a MindMup mind map with a central idea and then share it with your students to complete as a group.

H/T to Lifehacker.

Tips for Securing Your WiFi Network

Google's Good to Know site hosts a lot of good information about web technology basics. Good to Know covers topics like preventing identity theft, securing your passwords, and keeping your computer virus-free. This week securing your wifi network was added to Google Good to Know. The three minute video embedded below outlines the steps that you should take to secure your wifi network at home.

June's Ten Most Popular Posts on Free Technology for Teachers

Good evening from Greenwood, Maine. This evening while sitting on my back deck enjoying the summer weather I've been thinking about the year so far. We're half-way through 2013 and I've been fortunate to be invited to speak at many schools and conferences. It's been a privilege to meet so many passionate teachers all over the United States. Thank you!

One of the things that I like to do when I visit a school is take pictures of the things that make that school unique. Last week I visited the University of Maine at Fort Kent and found the sign you see in this picture. UMFK might be the only college campus that has a sign like this one (click to enlarge).

Here are this month's most popular posts:
1. 25,000 Images of Art That You Can Re-use for Free
2. 18 Google Earth & Maps Lessons for K-12
3. What QR Codes Can Do For You
4. Using Images as Prompts to Teach Google Search Strategies
5. 5 Ways Students Can Create Audio Slideshows
6. 5 Benefits of Using Backchannels In Your Classroom
7. CNN Student News Reviews the News of the School Year
8. 372 Free Art History Books
9. Google Forms Become Printer Friendly
10. WatchDoc - A Chrome Extension for Monitoring Google Docs Changes

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Brain Stuff - Videos Answering Fun Science Questions

Brain Stuff is a new YouTube channel featuring short explanations to fun science questions like "how much oxygen does a person breath in a day?" and "why do feet stink?" Yesterday, I shared their explanation of how to decaffeinate coffee. The Brain Stuff channel is just one month old and it has nine videos in it. I've embedded the playlist below.

Last Chance to Move Your RSS Subscriptions Out of Google Reader

The last day of Google Reader has arrived. Tomorrow, it will be shut-down by Google. If you haven't moved your RSS subscriptions to another feed reader yet, do it today. Here is a list of seven Google Reader replacements that I've tried over the last three months. I've put the list in order of how frequently I use each one. My recommendation is to import your Google Reader settings into at least two of these other services just to be certain that you have them saved.

Feedly is a great service for reading your favorite RSS feeds on your iPad, Android device, or in your web browser. Feedly will import all of your Google Reader subscriptions for you with just one click. I enjoy using the visual layout of Feedly which I feel enables me to browse through my RSS subscriptions more efficiently than if they were just in a list like in Google Reader. I also find it very easy to share from Feedly to Google+, Evernote, Twitter, and many other services.

Flipboard is an iPad and Android application that allows you to read your RSS subscriptions in a magazine-style format. This spring Flipboard introduced the option to collaboratively create iPad and Android magazines by sharing items from your feeds to your magazines.

The Old Reader is a free service that you can use to subscribe to RSS feeds and read all of the latest content from those sources in one place. So that you don't have to re-subscribe to the blogs that you love, The Old Reader will allow you to import your Google Reader subscriptions. You'll notice that The Old Reader looks and acts very similarly to Google Reader. The Old Reader will allow you to share posts, write notes about posts appearing in your account, and organize your subscriptions into folders.

Feedspot is a simple Google Reader replacement. It doesn't have any of the visual effects of Flipboard or Feedly. What it does have is a clean interface that may remind you a lot of Google Reader. In fact, it even uses some of the same keyboard shortcuts as Google Reader. Learn more about Feedspot in this Tekzilla video.

FlowReader is a free RSS reader that I tried earlier this week. I have to say that they couldn't make it easier to import your Google Reader subscriptions. To start using FlowReader just visit the homepage and click "Import Your Google Reader Feeds Now." After clicking that button authorize FlowReader to access your Google Reader feeds and all of your feeds will be imported into FlowReader. If you are using categories in Google Reader, those will be imported too. After importing your feeds you can connect your social media accounts like Twitter, Google+, and Facebook. You can also connect Evernote, Instapaper, and many other bookmarking services to your FlowReader account. FlowReader lets you read your feeds in full article view or in a headline-only view.

EldonReader is a free service for organizing and reading your favorite RSS feeds. The display of your RSS subscriptions is very similar to that of Google Reader. You can import your Google Reader feeds into EldonReader with just a couple of clicks. To import your Google Reader feeds just click the "Import Google Reader" link in the left hand column of your Eldon Reader homepage then authorize Eldon Reader to access your Google Account.

With Digg Reader you can import your Google Reader subscriptions with just one click. All of the category folders that you have in Google Reader will be imported into Digg Reader too. Digg Reader has a simple interface that is currently missing a couple of features that I must have including the option to see how many unread items I have in a category. The other feature that I would to see is the option to add other social networks to my sharing menu. Currently, Digg Reader only supports sharing to Twitter, Facebook, and Digg.