Friday, January 4, 2019

What's Inside of Buckingham Palace and the White House?

Yesterday, while looking for something completely unrelated I stumbled upon two excellent videos produced by Jared Owen. The videos, What's Inside of Buckingham Palace? and What's Inside the White House? use CGI models of both buildings to take viewers inside each building.

As you can see in the videos above, viewers are taken beyond what one would see in cinematic productions like The Crown and The West Wing. I found it interesting to hear about what some of the lesser-known rooms are used for each building.

Want to include these videos in an online lesson? Take a look at one of these tools for making lessons based on existing videos.

Three Types of Web Search - And a Strategy for Conquering the Difficult One

In A Taxonomy of Web Search Andrei Broder, a noted scholar in the field of web search, classified web search into three categories. Those being navigational, informational, and transactional.

When Broder was writing in 2002 navigational referred to a quest to immediately reach a particular website. Today, thanks to services like Google Maps, navigational search could also refer to a search for a specific physical location.

Transactional search is a search that is intended to end with the searcher taking an action like downloading a specific file, purchasing a specific product, or booking a hotel room. Search engines like Google, Bing, and increasingly, Alexa, are optimized to help you make a transactional search as quickly as possible. Transactional queries are the easiest to monetize as evidenced by the $40.6 billion spent on search advertising in 2017.

An informational search is one conducted for the purpose of finding information that one thinks is present somewhere on the Web. Informational searches are the most difficult and time-consuming of the three types of searches. It’s informational searches that will lead some students to declare, “Google has nothing about this!”

What Makes Informational Searches Difficult?
Informational searches are difficult for students because unlike a navigational or transactional search, there often isn’t a clear end point or a definitive answer. The exception to that pattern being queries like “when was Jimmy Carter President of the United States?”

Search becomes a thought process as much as a technical process when students venture into conducting informational searches. To conduct a good informational search students have to set aside the expectation that they will find what they are looking for in the first search results page that they see. In fact, what they’re looking for might not appear on the first ten search results pages to appear. But those first search results pages and the web pages within those results can provide them with information that is valuable in refining their searches.

Formulating an Informational Search Strategy
The first step in helping students formulate an informational search strategy is to have them specifically identify what it is that they want to know and why they want to know it (no, “because Mr. Byrne said I had to write about it” is not an acceptable answer). Much like forming a thesis statement, forming a good search query should take some thought and revision. And like a thesis, there may be multiple revisions and changes in direction until the process is completed.

When a student says he is searching for “more information about the Civil War” ask him to identify what about the Civil War he wants to know more about. If replies with, “anything” then ask him to specifically identify what he already knows and to conduct a search for more information about one of those things he has specifically identified. This is where the list strategy becomes a valuable part of the search process.

This was an excerpt from a book that I have been working on for the last fifteen months. I'm getting close to finishing it.

How to and Why You Should Create Google Alerts

Yesterday morning someone on Twitter asked me about creating Google Alerts. The question came in response to my post about copyright and plagiarism. In one of the videos in that post I mentioned using Google Alerts to find places where my work turns up without my permission.

What Are Google Alerts?
Google Alerts is a free Google product that notifies you when a new mention of term or phrase that you specify appears on the web. You can set many alerts. For example, I have about a dozen alerts set for various iterations of Free Technology for Teachers.

Why You Should Create Google Alerts
I have Google Alerts set for two reasons. First, I use alerts to find splogs (spam blogs) that republish my work without permission. Second, I use Google Alerts to see where my name pops-up around the web. Setting Google Alerts for your name and or your name plus words that might be associated with you is a good way to monitor your digital footprint and digital reputation.

How to Create Google Alerts
In the following video I demonstrate how to create Google Alerts.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Copyright and Plagiarism in Blogging - What Can Be Done?

My plan for today didn't include writing about or making a video about copyright and plagiarism. However, this morning I found five blatant examples of websites republishing my entire blog posts without permission. The most annoying offender of all was the Milton S. Eisenhower Library at Johns Hopkins University! So in a moment of frustration, I made this short video.

So what can I or anyone who finds his or her work republished without permission do about it? I outlined my process for doing that in the following videos that I made last year.

If you cannot see the videos, click here for part 1 and here for part 2.

I addressed a lot of FAQs about copyright and blogging in the following video.

A webinar about copyright.
Beth Holland and I hosted a free webinar in which we talked about copyright concerns that frequently appear in schools. As you can see the video of the webinar (embedded below) it was a casual conversation during which we shared some stories, fielded some questions, and shed some light on common misconceptions about copyright.

A Good Place to Find Movies in the Public Domain

As I wrote in my guide to using media in classroom projects, using public domain media is your best bet when you can't use media that you created yourself. In that guide I included a list of places to find public domain media. This morning, I discovered another good resource. That resource is

On you will find hundreds of movies that you can watch and download for free. The site has films divided into five categories. Those categories are cartoons, science fiction & horror, drama & romance, comedy, and feature films. Unfortunately, the site lacks a search function so you'll have to browse through the categories manually to find something that you like.

Applications for Education could be a good resource for those who teach classes that include elements of the development of movie production or the cultural significance of a particular movie. Charlie Chaplin's The Good for Nothing comes to mind as an example. could also be useful to students who want a clip of a famous film to use in a production of their own. For example, students could download this Charlie Chaplin movie to then extract a portion to use in a video project of their own.

H/T to MakeUseOf.

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