Going Gaa-Gaa for Google

It is no secret to those who know me:  I am a Google fan.  Google offers great (FREE) tools that have simplified my life and allowed me to accomplish more  – efficiently and effectively.  Some Google services I use:

Google’s Educational Uses

For those educators who are still not sold on Google, here are some links that either offer more information for educators, or give examples of educators’ use of Google for their students.

General

Google Search Options

Google Docs

Other

AASL Conference: Concurrent Sessions “2.0 Learning Tools Smackdown”

Photo by Brenda D. Anderson

Posted at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/30556726@N04/4082021020/

Hot Ticket

This session was one of the hottest tickets on Friday.  I left the Exhibition Hall, still a bit dazed from meeting James Patterson, and headed to Room 207AB early to try and get a front row seat – only to find a crowd already awaiting entrance to the session. So, no front row seat, but I was still able to snag seats for Heather Loy and myself.  I’m sure many were not as fortunate, so I’ll share links to information posted about the session below.

Organized and lead by Joyce Valenza and Robin Williams, the session was divided into “timed” sharing sessions in the following categories:

  • Reading Promotion
  • Digital Storytelling
  • Information Fluency
  • Digital Citizenship
  • Audience Sharing

As always, being in a room with educators wanting to share ways to enhance student learning through the use of Web 2.0 tools was energizing.   I still haven’t had time to check out all of the new tools and sites that were shared.  AND plenty more are on the AASL Smackdown Wiki.  Bookmark this site because it is one you will want to revisit.

One of the shared sites that I have had time to explore is  Morgue File.  “Where photo reference lives” is the tagline of this site.  Great source of free photos for students (and teachers!) to use in projects.  I have now been recommending this one in conjunction with Creative Commons.

History

The Learning Tools Smackdown is now something of a tradition at library and technology conferences.

Links to “2.0 Learning Tools Smackdown” from AASL Charlotte

  • If you have a “b There” Virtual Track Pass, you can listen to a podcast of the session. (Scroll to the bottom of the page for the podcast.)

Make Word Mosaic


Earlier this week, someone requested a link to a concrete poetry making site on the SCASL (South Carolina Association of School Librarians) listserv.

Today as I was reading and tweaking my Google Reader, I came across a new tool through Jane’s E-Learning Pick of the Day that looks very promising: ImageChef‘s Make Word Mosaic.

ImageChef’s simple description: “Write a comment or poem in the shape of hearts or other symbols.
Send a greeting or post to MySpace or your blog.”

After you have chosen your symbol and typed in the text you wish to include, click on the heart symbol to the right of the text box and you can add a variety of symbols to your word mosaic. In the example below, I added musical notes, envelopes, stars, and people to the mosaic.

Another Free Digital Storytelling Tool for Teachers

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Garden
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox
Make a Smilebox slideshow

Smilebox offers free Club Smilebox accounts for educators (normally costing $39.99 annually).  This tool is perfect for educators who want to create and post a scrapbook slideshow in just moments.

Club Smilebox also allows you to create animated photobooks, email cards,  and postcards to share with others.  You’ll find over 850 design templates from which to choose.  Creating one is as simple as choosing a design, importing photos from your computer, and then arranging the photos by simply clicking and dragging them onto slides.  Want to share your creation online?  It’s as simple as clicking on “share” and either copying and pasting embedding code or signing into an account like Facebook and letting Smilebox post your slideshow.

Sign up for your free account here.

(I first wrote about this tool here.  After playing with it again this morning, I felt that it was worth a repost due to its ease of use.)

Handling Information Overload

Information Overload

Ever suffered from information overload? Wasted time surfing on the Internet because your searches return too many results? I can answer “Guilty” to both so this summer I want to further hone my searching techniques.

Google Basic Search

Most of us have executed numerous basic searches on Google, only to be bombarded with thousands, if not millions, of hits.  For example, this basic search on Edward Cullen turned up 6,260,000 results.  Quite a bit to look through. 

google search for edward cullen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Google Squared

Google Labs introduced Google Squared at its second Searchology event in May of 2009. 

“Unlike a normal search engine, Google Squared doesn’t find webpages about your topic — instead, it automatically fetches and organizes facts from across the Internet.”  from the Official Google Blog

The same search on Edward Cullen in Google Squared produced this square:

 
googlesquared search on edward cullen

 

To try out this new search feature for yourself, go to Google Squared and enter your search term in the box.  Click on “Square It” and see how Google has organized information about your topic.  If you have an iGoogle account, you can save your searches.

Benefits of Google Squared?

I’ll have to do quite a bit more playing with Google Squared to determine if it make locating the information I need more quickly than an Advanced Search.  I love the idea of an organized result list, but did you notice that Bella is listed as a Guinea Pig under Species and Emmett is listed as a Rainbow Trout?  Hmm….much different story line would come from those ideas.

Suggestions?

I would love for others to share their tips for efficient and effective searching techniques.   What works best for you?

“Oh, it’s so Ning to be with you”

“Oh, it’s so nice to be with you, I love all the things you say and do…” Gallery   Eid+Mubarak+-+%D8%B9%DB%8C%D8%AF+%D9%81%D8%B7%D8%B1+%D9%85%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%B1%DA%A9

I was first introduced to Nings through Joyce Valenza’s TeacherLibrarianNing (2430 members). I have to confess that I found the interface quite confusing for a while.  However, since joining that Ning, I have joined several others and have become accustomed to the way Nings work.

The Ning that has excited me the most recently is the SCASL Ning.  I’ve attended three SCASL (South Carolina Association of School Librarians) conferences in the past and have been impressed with the enthusiasm and creativity of other media specialists in South Carolina.  The current leadership of SCASL has made intensive efforts to involve our association with Web 2.0 through blogging, podcasts, and even a webcast. 

Now, thanks to Julie Putnam, South Carolina library media specialists have their own social network.  As of today, 235 people have joined the Ning.  Great ideas are being shared and new friendships are being formed. 

I want my teachers to experience the professional development that Nings offer, so I thought I would find several to recommend.  The numbers in parentheses after the title of each Ning are the number of members in the Ning as of the date of this post.

English Companion: Where English teachers meet to help each other (594)       This Ning  was created by Jim Burke, author of many books including the namesake of this site, The English Teacher’s Companion. 

Classroom 2.0  (15,559) Winner of the 2008 Edublog’s Award for Best Use of Social Networking. This Ning focuses on introducing teachers to Web 2.0 tools and how they are being used to enhance instruction. 

Smart Board Revolution (750)      The members of this Ning share tips, ideas, and lessons for using Smart Boards in the classroom.

VoiceThread for Educators  (248)      The members here are participating “to create, build, and keep resources” for those using VoiceThread in the classroom.

So, You Want to Start Your Own Ning?

Ning in Education (3229)      This is a Ning on how to use Nings in education.  It’s a great starting point for anyone considering developing their own Ning.  If you want to start a Ning for your secondary classroom, be sure to investigate the offer for an ad-free site.

Image attribution:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/49512158@N00/1638001945

Multimedia Web 2.0 Tools with Educator Accounts

Many Web 2.0 sites offer services designed with educators in mind. They provide secure, private sites for students and teachers to share their work.

What’s even better is that these sites are free or very inexpensive. Here are four exceptional digital storytelling tools to add to your toolbox. Encourage your teachers and students to use these to incorporate multimedia in the classroom.

Animoto for Education

    Create music videos to enliven your lessons or have students create them as the final product in a unit. 

     “Animoto Shorts are 30-seconds in length and free for everyone. You can produce, remix, and share as many as you’d like. Full-length videos, in contrast, are extended in length. A video’s length is determined by the number of images and the music it uses.” ~ from Animoto’s Since You Asked section

     Educators receive a free All-Access pass (a $30.00 value) which allows both them and their students to create full length videos. Click here to learn more including how to create multiple email addresses that allow you to monitor each student’s account.   The Animoto site also has several examples of how educators have used it in their classrooms.

VoiceThread for Education 

Twilight Book Review (VoiceThread)

    

more about “Twilight Book Review (VoiceThread)“, posted with vodpod

 
“Ed.VoiceThread is a secure K-12 network for students and teachers to collaborate and share ideas with classrooms anywhere in the world.”~ Ed.VoiceThread homepage

This is the only service discussed in this post that costs – but the cost is low and well worth it! See the K-12 pricing brochure for more information.

A great resource:  VoiceThread 4 Education wiki

Glogster for Education

itzak-glogster-poster

     Glogster, a poster creation site, “gives support and help with creating school accounts and keeping Glogs PRIVATE.” Use the posters to liven up a wiki page or have students create projects.” ~ from Glogster’s Teachers, try education 2.0 page

     Technology and Education Box of Tricks  Read this blog post to get an excellent overview of Glogster.

Smilebox for Education

Click to play BSH 9th Grade Campus LMC
Create your own scrapbook - Powered by Smilebox
Make a Smilebox scrapbook

“Smilebox is an easy and creative way to safely send photos, videos and personalized information to your students and parents in a secure way. It’s perfect for newsletters, overviews of teaching units, performance and field trip recaps, classroom activities and more. ” ~from Smilebox’s Welcome to the Teacher Toolbox page

Educators can sign up for a free premium Club Smilebox account (a $39.99 value).

What other multimedia Web 2.0 tools out there have upgraded educator accounts?  Please help me add to the list!

YouTube Alternatives (continued)

questions

A few days ago, I shared five educational video sites to try when YouTube is blocked at school. If I had been keeping up with my Google Reader, I would have read Joyce Valenza’s Dec. 19th post in which she shares several ways of using YouTube videos in school despite its being blocked.

Dean Mantz commented:

This is a good time to discuss the downloading of YouTube via third party applications. I agree with “Bob” about the YouTube agreement. Here is a portion of the Terms of Use: 4. General Use of Website-Permission and Restrictions C. You agree not to access User Submissions (defined below) or YouTube Content through any technology or means other than the video playback pages of the Website itself, the YouTube Embeddable Player, or other explicitly authorized means YouTube may designate. So, is the use of the sites above legal or not? I will leave that to you folks to decide.

Joyce replied to Dean:

Before I say “no” to this, I will try to contact the YouTube folks after the holiday. (No email, just phone number.) In another statement, they advise: “Our community guidelines and clear messaging on the site make it clear that users must own or have permission from copyright holders to *post* any videos. We take copyright issues very seriously. We prohibit users from *uploading* infringing material and we cooperate with copyright holders to identify and promptly remove infringing content.” (My asterisks) My question is, is it fair use if you don’t post and simply use the file temporarily in a classroom? Are we okay if we do contact the creator of the video?

As a LMS concerned with copyright issues, I had checked the YouTube user’s terms of agreement before suggesting using “back door” entry into YouTube. I will be interested to read what Joyce discovers.

Image attribution: http://www.flickr.com/photos/42788859@N00/318947873

Take Five: YouTube Alternatives

you-tube-banned

What do you do when YouTube is blocked at your school?  There are many other sites where you can find educational videos.  Hopefully, you will be able to access some of these from your school:

JohnLocker.com

“JohnLocker.com was started in April of 2008 to help students, teachers, educators, and the public get educated on a variety of topics. As the first user powered online learning network, you can expect to come away with knowledge that both challenges and empowers you.

By harnessing the power of social communities and video sharing, JohnLocker.com is able to provide the best documentaries and educational videos found on the web. It is our goal to make the process of watching, adding, rating, and discussing the videos as simple as possible. “

Categories:  Conspiracy, History, Political, Religious, Science, Sports, Weird, Music, War, Nature, and Society

How Stuff Works

How Stuff Works’ Video site includes categroized videos from Discovery, The Learning Channel, the Science Channel, and Reuters.  Categories include Adventure, Animals, Auto, Computer, Electronics, Entertainment, Food, Geography, Health, History, Home and Garden, Money, People, and Science. 

What a wide range of videos!  I watched “Loch Ness Monster Evidence” and “It’s All Geek to Me: Cell Phone Tricks” (cut through the carrier’s message you usually have to wait through to be able to leave someone a voice mail) from just the home page.

Edublogs TV

This video hosting site is dedicated to education.  Categories included Career and Technology Education, College and University, Elementary, Fine Arts, Globalstudent, Globalteacher, High School, Languages, Math, Middle School, Moodle, Professional Development, Reading, Science, Social Studies, and Writing.

Connect with like-minded educators through the social networking aspect of the site, listen and download audio clips (including dance, electronic, hip-hop, Latin, pop, and new age among others), and join and upload your own videos.

TeacherTube and SchoolTube

Both of these sites are offered to educators as alternatives to YouTube.  Just as at YouTube, there are gems to be found at each site. 

Now, if my addition is correct, I’ve offered five alternatives.  But perhaps I should ask Ma and Pa Kettle to check my figures.

Christmas Greetings Animoto-Style

Use Animoto to create a holiday greeting card!

To simplify the process, create an Animoto folder in your pictures.  Copy and paste all of the images you wish to include in your greeting card to the folder so that when you are asked to upload your images, you can choose all of the photos at once (Control + shift). 

I originally uploaded 18 pictures to my working file in Animoto, but only 9 of them were incorporated into the free 30 second greeting card.  Using the remix feature, I was able to delete 5 of the pictures, rearrange the order of the remaining ones,  and choose another tune which allowed all 13 images to be used.

Animoto simplifies posting your videos to many sites, including Facebook, WordPress, MySpace, and more.

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