Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Free Digital Photos and a Guide to Citing Them

FreeDigitalPhotos.net is a new-to-me place to find digital images to re-use for free. FreeDigitalPhotos.net allows you download and re-use low-resolution images without restriction. To download and re-use high-resolution images you need to publish a credit to the creator of the image. That's not a hard requirement to meet. To help you meet the requirement of crediting the photographer, FreeDigitalPhots.net offers a simple chart that outlines how to credit the creator of an image. The left side of the chart lists the ways the images can be used and how to credit the photographer for each use case.

Applications for Education
It is easy to simply right-click on images on the web and save them your computer. Just because it can be done, doesn't mean it should be done or that it is even safe (are you sure that you're only downloading an image and not something else along with it?) and legal to do so. Unfortunately, I frequently meet teachers who allow their students to engage in this practice. Fortunately, there is an easy way to stop that practice. The solution is to use images found on sites like FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

For more free images that your students can use, see this list of sources of Public Domain images.

How and Why You Might Want to Return to Classic Google Maps

About six months ago Google unveiled a new version of Google Maps and made it the default for people visiting maps.google.com. The new version has some neat features like built-in Street View tours. However, the new version of Google Maps doesn’t include the measurement tools found in the old version or what Google is calling “Classic Maps.” The measurement tools are great to use in math lessons as well as to simply help students understand the scale of distance. Furthermore, while the new Google Maps Engine Lite is an excellent tool for building custom Google Maps it can take quite a bit more time for students to understand.

If you want to return to Classic Maps, you can do so after signing into your Google Account. Google recently changed the location of this option. The screenshot below shows you where to find the option to return to Classic Maps.
Click image to view full size.

Keep this in mind if you do decide to return to Classic Maps, Google is not known for reversing course on product design changes. There is a real possibility that Classic Maps will disappear for good without warning at some point.

Applications for Education
To see how mathematics can be taught with Google Maps and Google Earth see Tom Barrett’s Maths Maps or Real World Math.

Unlike the new version of Google Maps, Google Earth still has measurement tools built into it. If you have access to Google Earth that’s another option to consider using in place of the new Google Maps.

Healthline Body Maps - A Good Resource for Anatomy Lessons

Healthline Body Maps features interactive 3D models for learning about human anatomy. Body Maps allows you to zoom-in on specific parts of the body or view the body as a whole. Whether you zoom-in on a specific portion of a model or view it as a whole, you can choose from eight layers to view. The layers start at the skin and end with the skeletal system. Body Maps has male and female models.

Applications for Education
If you are going to use Healthline Body Maps in your classroom, please beware that the models are very anatomically correct. Keep that in mind before sending your students to the site. In addition to the interactive models, Healthline Body Maps offers short videos that explain parts of what students see in the Body Maps.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Sanderling - Your Field Journal of Professional Development

Sanderling is a new community and Android app developed by An Estuary. Sanderling is part social network and part blogging tool. On Sanderling you can connect with other educators to share your learning experiences. You can create and or join projects to document what you've learned. To document what you've learned and found you can share blog posts, pictures, quotes, and links. Sanderling gives you the choice of making your projects public or private.

You can document and share what you've discovered through the Sanderling website or your can use the free Sanderling Android app to create and share.

Applications for Education
Sanderling is different from sharing on Twitter or Google+ in that you can create personal projects (goals would be a better name for projects in Sanderling) and track those projects with your colleagues. I'm looking forward to seeing how Sanderling evolves as a social network for professional development as more people try it.

Create a Library of Google Scholar Search Results

As I mentioned last month in my post about creating Google Scholar alerts, Google Scholar is one of the research tools that high school students often overlook. Last week Google added a new Google Scholar option that can help students organize their research. You can now create libraries of articles that you find through Google Scholar.

To create a Google Scholar Library sign into your Google account before searching on Scholar.Google.com then just click "save" when you find an article you want save for future reference. Your saved items appear in your Google Scholar Library where you can apply labels to them and sort them.
Click image to view full size. 

Applications for Education
Google Scholar indexes scholarly, peer-reviewed academic papers, journals, theses, books, and court opinions. These are materials that students usually won't find through Google.com, Bing, or Yahoo search.