Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Fabulous Fotos on Flickr

Here's another FREE Web 2.0 tool for you to try. It's called Flickr. Use it to post photos online to share with just your friends (private) or the whole world (public)! You decide. Signing up is a simple process. Since I already had a Yahoo! Mail account, I was able to use the same username and password.

Once on Flickr, your pictures can posted directly to your blog. (I'm typing this in Flickr right now.) You can add comments and tags to your pictures to make them searchable. I've got numerous pics from my fishing trips in the Eastern Sierras. To find them, just search for all the pictures with the tag "Sierras". Want to see all my Flickr photos? Just click on photo on this blog. Once there, click on "dgrice's photostream" to see my other photos. If you want, feel free to add comments to the photos and even subscribe to my photostream (using RSS).

What can teachers do with this? If you have photos from your vacation that you want to share with your class you can post them on Flickr and give students a link to access them online. They can use your photos in their multimedia projects or use them as writing prompts.

You can also use your vacation photos as a geography lesson. The map feature in Flickr lets you plot your photo locations. To see where my picture was taken, click on it and look under "Additional Information" to see where it was taken. Click the (map) link. For fun, have your student try to guess where a picture was taken, or create a Flickr for your class and have them bring in their own vacation pictures, upload them (with parent permission, of course) and then plot on the map where their pictures were taken.

A word of warning: I suggest you give students a direct link to your photos rather then having them go to Flickr and search everything. Since anyone can post photos to Flickr, some of the images may not be appropriate for use in the classroom.

Monday, February 05, 2007

A New Way to Process Words

If you haven't figured it out by now, I love stuff that's FREE. Imagine my joy when I discovered Google Docs. It's a free basic word processor. There's no software to install - it runs right inside your web browser. You can import a variety of word processing documents from Word (.doc), Star Office, Open Office (.odt), and Rich Text files (.rtf). While you can't import pictures or add clip art, you do have the advantage of being able to access, edit, and print from any computer with Internet access. Just log in with your Google username and password. (I was able to use the same one I use for Blogger.)
But wait there's more!

What makes Google Docs so powerful is the fact that you can Add Collaborators to your documents. By "inviting" others to edit your documents, you can have several people working together on the same document at the same time. You see changes as they happen. What a powerful tool for learning! When a document is finished it can be posted directly from Google Docs to your blog. If you make a document "public" users can subscribe to an RSS feed so they can be updated when any changes are made.

While a great tool like this doesn't convince me to put good old Microsoft Word in mothballs just yet, it sure does make me look at word processing in a whole new way. Google Docs is a great Web 2.0 tool.

Oh, wait! Did I forget to mention you can also do spreadsheets too? It imports Excel (.xls), Open Office (.ods), and Comma Separated (.csv) files.

For more info about Google Docs, take the tour.

Even More Podcasts

At our district technology meeting today, Rene Drevlow from Zion Lutheran School in Anaheim shared these FREE video podcasts she discovered on iTunes. If you have iTunes installed on your computer, clicking on the link will open iTunes and take you directly to that podcast.

Titles for Primary Grades:
Nickjr: Blue's Clues - 3 minute segments from the Nick Jr. kids show.
DragonflyTV Podcast - Ordinary kids doing extraordinary science investigations. (from PBS Kids)
Share the Earth...This is Our Earth - Songs about the Earth (from PBS Kids)
Miss Lori and Hooper - Themed activities, music, and movement. (from PBS Kids)

Want to Learn about Mac OSX?
Mac OS X for Your Classroom - Created by a school district in DesPlains, Ill.
Learn Mac OS X Tiger - a 16-minute video explaining how to set your personal preferences.
Learn Mac OS X - An Apple a Day Keeps the Viruses Away - More system preferences, using AIM with iChat, and more OS X help

If you find any other great iTunes video podcasts for education, please comment and let me know.

Thanks for your contribution Rene.

For more info on how to use Video Podcasts and iTunes, see my previous post (Dec. 6, 2006)