Wednesday, March 25, 2015

How to Embed Google Street View Imagery Into Your Blog Posts

This morning I received an email from someone who had seen my recent post about the Google Maps Street View Special Collections. She wanted to know how I was able to display the imagery and keep it interactive in my blog post. The quickest way to explain how to do that is to show it in a screencast video. That video is embedded below.


Applications for Education
As I pointed at the end of the video, embedded Street View imagery into a blog post is a good way to get all of your students to quickly look at the same geographic place. This is handy when you're pressed for time and or you want students to have blog-based discussion about a place.

Spring Timelapse - A Video Project

Last night I shared a post about using Project Noah to have students document the signs of the seasons. While I was walking my dogs this morning I remembered a project idea that I shared last fall. The idea was to create a timelapse video to document the signs of the change of seasons. The idea is to have students take one picture per day for a few weeks. Then at the end of a few weeks they can upload those images to a video editor like JellyCam, WeVideo, or iMovie to create a timelapse video.

1. Take one picture per day of the same view or of one singular plant. 
Using your cell phone is probably the best tool for this because we rarely go anywhere without one.

2. Upload the pictures to a Google Drive folder. 
It only takes one or two taps to move my photos from your phone to a Google Drive folder. If This Then That has a recipe for doing this automatically from Android phones and from iPhones.

3. After four to six weeks, upload photos to JellyCam and create your timelapse. 
JellyCam is a free video editing program for Windows and Mac users. You can easily adjust the duration of each frame and easily add a soundtrack to your video. Click here for a video about using JellyCam.

Lapse It is a timelapse video creation tool available for iPad and Android tablets.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Spring Is Here! Let's Go Outside to Learn

Today was the first day that it actually felt like spring here in Woodstock, Maine. As I was walking my dogs in the relatively warm air I noticed and they noticed more squirrels and birds moving about than we've seen since last fall. That reminded me of a great program for getting kids outside to learn. That program is called Project Noah.

Project Noah is a global project to which anyone can contribute. On Project Noah you can share pictures and stories of the plants and the animals that you observe in your neighborhood. Project Noah has a section titled Missions in which you can find projects that you can contribute to. The Missions ask people to make contributions of images and observations about a specific animal, plant, or region.

Applications for Education
Project Noah for Teachers allows you to create and manage Project Noah accounts for your students. You can also use Project Noah for Teachers to enroll your students in "missions" or projects on Project Noah. Project Noah offers iOS and Android apps that you can use to record and share your observations on the go.

Join Me Next Tuesday for an Afternoon of Free Webinars

Next Tuesday, March 31st Simple K12 is hosting an afternoon of free webinars about Google tools for teachers. The webinars will start at 1pm Eastern Time and run until 5pm Eastern Time.

I will be conducting two webinars that afternoon. In my webinars I'll share some of my favorite Google Search strategies, ideas for teaching search strategies, and using Google Forms and Spreadsheets to streamline workflow. I will be presenting at 2pm and 3pm. Click here to register for this free PD opportunity.

These free webinars are designed for folks who are new to using Google tools.  Teachers who would like to pick up some tips for teaching others how to take advantage of the great things that Google has to offer will also enjoy the content of these webinars. Click here to register.

FAQs About Simple K12 Webinars:
1.) Is this free?
a. Yes!

2.) Can I have the recordings after?
a. We will make the recordings available for 2 weeks following the event.

3.) How do I access the recordings? Do I need a SimpleK12 membership?
a. No, SimpleK12 will share the links with Richard Byrne / FreeTech4Teachers.com and all of the registrants following the event so you can view for 2 weeks following the event. But be sure to register so you will be notified.

4.) Why would you do this when people are in class?
a. Historically, this is one of our most highly attended days and times. We will make recordings available for those who are unable to attend.

Disclosure: I am being compensated for my time presenting these webinars. 

About EasyBib, RefME, and Other Bibliography Generators

This afternoon I received a lengthy email (a three page attachment came with it) from someone who really did not like that I have promoted EasyBib, RefME, and other bibliography creation tools over the years. The reader seemed to take most offense to my recent post about Google Docs Add-ons in which I included the EasyBib Add-on. The reader rightly pointed out that those tools don't always format citations perfectly.

Granted those tools aren't always perfect in their formatting of citations (I have pointed out some of those flaws in my webinars and workshops over the years), but I think they are still valuable because they help get students into the habit of citing their sources of information and keeping a record of the sources they use. Furthermore, if EasyBib, RefME, or one of the other bibliography generators does make a mistake you can turn that into a teaching opportunity with your students. Point out the flaw and how to correct it.

Finally, we can tell students not to use bibliography creation tools but they are going to find them and try to use them anyway. The same can be said for Wikipedia, but that's a conversation for another day. I would rather tell students about bibliography creation tools and teach them how to recognize if the tool made an error than I would pretend that students aren't going to use the tools.