Thursday, April 18, 2019

What Is Turbulence? - A Physics Lesson You Can Feel

At the end of 2018 I shared a half-dozen resources for learning about the science of flight. This morning I watched a new TED-Ed lesson that will make a nice addition to my list of resources about aviation.

Turbulence: One of the Great Unsolved Mysteries of Physics is a new TED-Ed lesson that explains what turbulence is and the forces that create it. The lesson explains that even though we typically associate turbulence with flying in airplanes, turbulence exists in many other places including oceans.

Google Dataset Search - Locate Publicly Available Datasets

Google Dataset Search is a search tool that I learned about this week during one of Daniel Russell's presentations at the TLA conference. Google Dataset Search is a new (still in beta) search tool that is designed to help users locate publicly available datasets. This isn't a tool for searching within the datasets, it's a tool for finding datasets. For example, if you're doing research on earthquakes and want to find some datasets to analyze, Google Dataset Search will help you locate datasets that you could then open and or download to analyze.
Applications for Education
Google Dataset Search could be helpful to high school and college students who are interested in analyzing data for the purposes of identifying patterns, changes, and correlations. Students who find datasets in this manner will need to remember to use "Control + F" or "Command + F" to search within the datasets that they open.

Sub-image Search - A Strategy for Answering "What Is This?"

Image Credit: Becky Willough
Earlier this week I had the good fortune to sit in on two presentations at TLA given by Daniel Russell. He is Google's Senior Scientist in charge of search quality and user happiness. If you ever get the chance to hear him talk about search, take it! Even if you think you're good at conducting web research, you will learn something new by listening to Dan speak. This week I learned about Google's new Dataset Search tool (more on that in another blog post) and I was reminded of an image search strategy called sub-image searching.

The strategy is to take a screenshot of a portion of an image then upload that image to Google Image search to see if you can identify or at least get a good clue to help you solve a search challenge.

I used this strategy and wrote about it six years ago to help a friend identify the meaning of the lettering on the tea set that she purchased at a flea market. Had I simply uploaded a picture of the whole tea set to Google Image search, I would have had a huge list of pictures of random tea sets because Google Images would have interpreted my search as a request for tea sets. So instead of uploading a picture of the tea set I uploaded a screenshot of the lettering. That alone that work in some cases. In this case I had to try adding few words to my image search before I was able to find the answer to the question of "what does this lettering mean?" That additional step is called Search by Image FU and is outlined in this 90 second video.

By the way if you are interested in learning more about developing search lessons for K-12 students, I am hosting a webinar on that topic next week. And if you want to dive into some highly advanced search challenges, take a look at Daniel Russell's SearchReSearch blog. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Best of the Web - The TLA Edition

Greetings from the Austin, Texas airport where I'm waiting for a flight home after a great three days at the TLA annual conference. I gave three presentations and ran two workshops during the conference. The last of my presentations ended just a couple of hours ago. The room was packed (I was worried about the fire marshal shutting us down) as I shared the latest version of my Best of the Web presentation. This one was different than the others that I have recently shared because it was designed with teacher-librarians in mind and it included some resources that I haven't even written about on this blog, yet. Check it out as embedded below.

A huge thank you to all of the kind folks who came to all of my presentations this week. And especially to those who came up to me after my sessions for selfies or to just say hello. Getting to meet so many passionate teachers and librarians is always the highlight of a conference for me.

If you're interested in the other things that I shared at TLA, you can see them here.

How to Make Your Own Mobile App

On Tuesday morning I published a post about great service called Glide that enables anyone who can make a Google Sheet to make his or her own mobile app. Judging by the volume of emails and Twitter DMs that I received, a lot of people are interested in using Glide. I made the following video to answer many of the questions that I received about Glide and to help more people get started making their own mobile apps in minutes.