Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Mobile Blogging With Edublogs

Edublogs has offered iOS apps for quite a while now. Yesterday, they released an official Android app too. To support your use of the Edublogs mobile blogging apps with your students, Edublogs offers a short guide to using their mobile apps. These guides include directions for setting up the apps and using the apps to craft blog posts. The directions can be viewed online or downloaded as PDFs to distribute to your students. The guide also includes a list of mobile-friendly Edublogs themes.

Applications for Education
Here are three mobile blogging activities that you might have students try on your next field trip.
1. One-take and or quick-cut videos. Have your students interview each other in front of a landmark to talk about what they're learning on a field trip. The YouTube apps for iOS and Android are made for that type of activity.

If your students have been taking a lot pictures on a field trip, have them organize a short audio slideshow video through the Animoto Android or iOS apps.

2. Podcasts and audio notes. Have your students use Audioboo or Sound Cloud (both are available for iOS and Android) to create simple audio recordings in which they describe what they're seeing on a field trip. They can also use the apps to record informal interviews with folks like museum tour guides or park rangers.

3. Enhance pictures. Your students can use ThingLink (iOS or web browser) or PicCollage (available for iOS and Android) to add some information to pictures that they take on field trips. In the case of ThingLink they can add interactive elements to their pictures. Those elements can include links, notes, video clips, MP3 recordings, and other images. In the case of PicCollage students can put together a simple collage of field trip highlights.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The User's Guide to Energy Explains Energy Production and Consumption

The User's Guide to Energy is a series of six animated videos produced by The Atlantic. The videos cover the basics of getting energy produced from natural gas, oil, and solar to market, how much energy American's consume, and climate change connected to energy consumption. Two of the videos are embedded below.




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.