Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Postach.io Makes It Easy to Blog Through Your Evernote Account

Postach.io is a slick blogging tool that recently won Evernote's Devcup. Postach.io allows you to blog from your Evernote account.

To blog through Postach.io you authorize it to access Evernote on your behalf. Once authorization is granted Postach.io creates a notebook called "Postach.io" in your Evernote account. Then to write a blog post you simply write a note or send a note to the Postach.io notebook in your Evernote account. You can style your font, insert pictures, and insert HTML into your notes just like you can with any blogging service. When you apply the "published" tag to your note it will appear as a blog post on your Postach.io blog.

Applications for Education
If you and or your students are already using Evernote to take record notes and save bookmarks, Postach.io could be the perfect solution for your blogging needs. If you write your lesson outlines in Evernote, you could quickly turn them into blog posts for your students and their parents to read. Evernote supports audio notes so your students could possibly use Postach.io to publish short podcasts.

If you have the Evernote desktop app or any of the mobile apps you could even draft blog posts while you're offline and have them go live on Postach.io the next time that you connect to the web.

Metta - Create Multimedia Presentations and Quizzes Online

Metta (formerly known as Soo Meta) is a new digital presentation tool that allows you to combine videos from YouTube, pictures from the web or from your desktop, text, and voice recordings to create a presentation. You can also pull-in content from Pinterest and Twitter to use in your final presentation. Metta also allows you to insert a quiz into your projects. This means that people viewing your Metta projects can watch a short video clip then answer questions about it before moving onto the next part of the presentation.

The Metta editor is fairly easy to use. Create a free account to get started then open your browser to Metta.io/create/ and title your first project. After giving your project a title, add a background image from your computer or from the web. Next pull in a video from YouTube. The video can be yours or any other publicly shared video. You can trim the start and the end time of the video in the Metta editor. To add text just click the text box in the editor and type. Finally, to narrate a frame (Metta calls them chapters) in your project click the microphone icon in the editor and make your recording. Completed Metta projects can be embedded into your blog or website.

Applications for Education
You could have students create Metta projects in which they create book trailers using video clips, images, and their voices. Students could use Metta to create a digital collage of media around a current events topic that they're studying. Metta might also be used by students to create a showcase of their best digital works of the semester.

Disclosure: Metta is an advertiser on Free Technology for Teachers. 

My Reading Mapped - Interactive Maps of Historical Events and Patterns

My Reading Mapped is a fantastic resource that I just discovered through the Google Earth Blog. On My Reading Mapped you will find KML files (AKA Google Maps & Earth files) for things like historical migration and trade routes, monarchies and republics, famous explorer and conqueror expeditions, and climate change patterns. The Rise, Fall, and Migration of Civilization Due to Climate Change is the map that caught my attention on the Google Earth Blog.

In The Rise, Fall, and Migration of Civilization Due to Climate Change KML file students can click the icons on the map to read about the historical influence of climate on people around the world. The map is embedded below.

View The rise, fall, and migration of civilization due to climate change. in a larger map

Applications for Education
My Reading Mapped is a great resource for social studies teachers to bookmark and share with students. The maps offer an excellent alternative to reading out of a textbook because students can not only read the information they can also quickly explore the areas that they are reading about.

Monday, September 30, 2013

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

The end of September has arrived and I hope that everyone has settled into the routine of the new school year. As I do at the end of every month I've created a list of the most popular posts of the month.

Here are this month's ten most popular posts:
1. Tools for Creating Screen Capture Images and Videos
2. How to Insert Videos Into Google Forms
3. A Snappy Visual Dictionary and Thesaurus
4. On YouTube You Can Now Find Music to Legally Download and Re-use
5. 25 Geography Games for Kids
6. The History of Design In a Nutshell
7. Class Charts Adds Handy New Features
8. Two Online Forensic Science Games
9. Updated 90 Page Guide to Using Blogger In School
10. How to Create Image-based Quizzes in Google Forms

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Build HTML5 Sites and More With Google Web Designer

Earlier today Google launched the public beta of Google Web Designer. Web Designer is a desktop application for creating interactive HTML5 sites and advertisements. The tool was built for the purpose of creating advertising units, but it can be used for building webpages and other non-advertising materials.

Web Designer allows you develop pages that contain drawings, animations, and 3D objects. Web Designer includes galleries of pre-made objects to drag, drop, edit, and compile in the creation of animations. The animations come together through a layered timeline.

I gave Web Designer try this afternoon. It is not a tool that most people will master quickly unless they've prior web design experience. Fortunately, Google has produced a lot of tutorials on how to use it. You can read tutorials here and watch tutorials on YouTube. If you decide to try Google Web Designer, you will probably want to try it on a screen larger than 13 inches. I tried it on my 13' MacBook Pro and would have liked to have some more screen space in which to work.

Applications for Education
Using Google Web Designer could be an excellent progression for students who are ready to move beyond the basics of building webpages in Google Sites and other free website builders.