Saturday, July 6, 2013

Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good evening from Greenwood, Maine where the rain has finally stopped. I hope you're all enjoying the weekend. This week I re-ran some of the most popular posts of 2013 so far. Because I re-ran some posts I thought about not writing a week in review this week, but I'm publishing one because I know that many of you use it as a way to quickly catch up on the week's posts.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. MindMup - A Mind Mapping Tool That Saves to Google Drive
2. Fair Use, Copyright, and Educational Blogging
3. Digg Reader - Another New Google Reader Alternative
4. Create Video Quizzes With Blubbr
5. Instagram, Food, and Regional Differences
6. 76 Ways To Use Haiku Deck
7. Studies of iPad Use In Education

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A Virtual Tour of the Tour de France and an Animated Explanation

The eighth stage of the Tour de France is happening today. We may never ride in the race, but we can virtually tour this year's race route through Google Maps. Just as they did last year, Cycling the Alps has published a Google Maps tour of the race. You can zoom in on the course, see the elevation profiles of the stages, and navigate through the stages.

Check out this animated video to learn all about the tactics of the race, the logistics of the race, the physiology of riding in the race, and many other interesting facts about the world's most famous bicycle race.


H/T to The Adventure Blog and Google Maps Mania.

Free Digital Citizenship Lesson Plans for Middle School Students

The beginning of the school year is a great time to conduct lessons on digital citizenship and digital literacy. The knowledge and skills gained in those early lessons can serve students throughout the school year. Google has a good set of lesson plans on digital citizenship and digital literacy that middle school teachers should take a look at. The lesson plans are divided into three sections; becoming a digital sleuth, managing digital footprints, and identifying online tricks and scams. 

These digital citizenship lessons are part of Google's Good to Know site. Good to Know is an excellent site on which you can find good and clear explanations of web basics.

Applications for Education
The detailed lesson plans can be saved in your Google Drive account. Even if you don't use the entire lessons as they were written, they're still saving in Google Drive to refer to as you build your own digital citizenship lesson plans. For example, at the end of the lesson on becoming a digital sleuth there is a list of sites to use to teach students about recognizing bias. That list of sites could be useful in developing your own lesson plans on digital literacy.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Best of 2013 So Far... 5 Uses of Augmented Reality In Education

We're half-way through 2013. Like I've done in years past, this week I'll be featuring some of the best new tech tools of 2013 as well as some of the most popular posts of the year.

Sometimes when people hear "augmented reality" their minds drift to some vision of a science fiction world. The truth is augmented reality isn't science fiction, it's technology that is readily available now. Here are five potential uses of augmented reality in education today.

Create 3D, augmented reality stories with ZooBurst. ZooBurst is an amazing service that allows you to create a short story complete with 3D augmented reality pop-ups. Students could use ZooBurst to create short summaries of books that really jump off the screen. ZooBurst offers an iPad app to complement the web-based version of the service.

The Getty Museum offers a neat way to view art through augmented reality. As employed by The Getty, augmented reality creates 3D displays of art from printed PDF codes displayed in front of a webcam. The example that The Getty provides in the video below is a 3D display of one of the cabinets of curiosities created by Albert Janszoon Vinckenbrinck. If you want to try it for yourself after watching the video, the directions are available here.


Fetch! Lunch Rush! is a neat use of augmented reality to create a mathematics lesson for young students. The free iPhone app (it also worked on my iPad 2) was developed by PBS Kids. The purpose of the app is to get kids moving about a room in search of numbers that are the correct answer to the questions posed to them on the app. Students read the arithmetic problem on the app then search out the correct answer. When they think they have found the correct answer they scan it with their iPhones or iPads to find out if they are correct or not.

Spacecraft 3D is a free iPad app produced by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Spacecraft 3D uses augmented reality technology to bring NASA spacecraft to life on your iPad. To get started using the app you first need to print out the spacecraft target codes. Then your students can scan those target codes with their iPads. The spacecraft then becomes a 3D model that your students can explore.

Star & Planet Finder enables you to locate the planets and stars in the night sky through your  iPhone or iPad. To use the app, select from a list the planet or constellation you want to locate. Star & Planet Finder will then give you directions to move your iPhone or iPad until you can see through the camera display the planet that you're looking for. The free version of the app only identifies planets. For $.99 each you can add lists of constellations, lists of satellites, and lists of brightest stars to the app. 

Best of 2013 So Far... Video Timelines

We're half-way through 2013. Like I've done in years past, this week I'll be featuring some of the best new tech tools of 2013 as well as some of the most popular posts of the year.

Timelines.tv is a nice little resource for history teachers to bookmark and share with their students. On Timelines.tv you can find six timelines of important eras in U.S. and European history. Each timeline includes short (3-10 minute) videos about people and events in the era. The timelines also include pictures and short text descriptions. The six timelines currently available are A History of Britain, The American West, Medicine Through Time, American Voices, The Edwardians, and Nazi Germany. More timelines appear to planned for publication in the future.

Applications for Education
The timelines that I looked at weren't the most comprehensive timelines I've found, but the videos that I watched were good. Timelines.tv could be a nice resource to share with students as a tool to review an era after you have taught some lessons on it.