Friday, June 12, 2015

Plan and Share Biking and Walking Routes on Google's My Maps

This weekend some friends and I are going on a 75 mile bike ride. In preparation for the ride I created a map on Google's My Maps and shared it with the group. My Maps makes it fairly easy to create shareable maps of biking and hiking routes.

To create a biking or walking route map on My Maps first sign into your Google account then open My Maps. After signing into My Maps select the "draw a line" tool then choose "add biking route." To draw your biking route click on a starting location on the map then drag the line along a road. My Maps tries to predict where you are going to draw your route. The prediction feature can be handy when you're trying to make short biking routes. When you're making longer routes you will have to draw over the predicted lines if you don't want to use the suggested routes.

Applications for Education
The summer is here (in the Northern Hemisphere) and it's a good time to encourage students and their parents to enjoy some healthy outdoor activities. Creating some maps of safe biking routes and walking routes then posting them on a school website could be a good way to encourage participating in outdoor activities.

Build Your Own Silicate Materials - And Other Virtual Chemistry Lessons

The University of Kentucky's College of Arts and Sciences has a nice interactive activity about silicate minerals. The activity has an overview section in which students read about the structure of silicate minerals before moving to attempt to create silicate mineral models. There are three models for students to try to construct in the simulation.

Learn Chemistry is a production of the Royal Society of Chemistry. The purpose of Learn Chemistry is provide educators with resources for teaching chemistry lessons to students of all ages. The database of instructional resources has more than 2,700 entries organized according to topic, age of students, and media type. This set of simulations on Learn Chemistry is a good place to start your exploration of what Learn Chemistry has to offer.

An Augmented Reality App for Learning About Nature

Parts of this post originally appeared on my other blog,

Disneynature Explore is a free iPad app designed to help children learn about bear, butterflies, lions, chimpanzees, and sea turtles. The activities for learning about each animal include augmented reality components. Students can use their iPads to take pictures to put animals into settings that they photograph.

The app encourages students to go on nature walks with their parents. On the nature walks students can take pictures and record observations in their digital field journals.

My favorite part of the Disneynature Explore app is the interactive augmented reality aspect of the brown bear lesson. The lesson starts with a prompt for students to growl like a bear. After growling like a bear students swipe at salmon swimming up a river.

Spoken - A Network for Publishing Short Audio Recordings

Spoken is a new social network that is designed for sharing audio recordings of four minutes or less. Spoken describes itself as "Instagram for audio." On Spoken you can upload audio recordings that are up to four minutes long then attach cover images to those recordings. All of your recordings appear in your profile where people can follow you and you can follow others.

Spoken does not have a built-in recording tool. You have to record outside of Spoken then upload your recording. I used Vocaroo to make the recording that I uploaded to test Spoken. Clyp is a simple and free app for recording on Android and iOS devices that could pair well with Spoken.

Applications for Education
Spoken could provide a good way for high school or college students to share audio recordings in which they reflect on learning experiences and or share advice with other students. As a teacher you would have to follow each of your students to hear their recordings.

AudioBoom is a service similar to Spoken that offers a service specifically for students and teachers.

Spoken is currently in beta. You will need to request an invite to use the service. My invitation arrived about 24 hours after my request.

Thanks to Jake Duncan for sharing Spoken on Twitter. 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Use Your Phone to Control Google Slides Remotely

Earlier today Google announced a great update to the Google Slides apps for Android and iOS. The apps now support broadcasting through Chromecast and Airplay. This means that you will be able to broadcast your slides to a larger screen from your phone or tablet while still viewing the speaker notes on phone or tablet.

Applications for Education
If your classroom is equipped with Chromecast or Airplay devices, having your students share their presentations with the class could be easier than ever. You won't have to lose classroom time to fumbling with adapters, flash drives, or switching between accounts on a shared computer.