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Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Google Custom Search Tool-Hats off to Google Yet Again!

Yet another reason to adore Google!!!

I have just come across a spectatular way to create pathfinders for students. Leave it to Google to empower use with such a simple yet potent tool.  I am referring to Google Custom search. Screen shot 2010-03-24 at 9.04.01 AM

Through Custom Search Google enables you to create two different types of search tools, one that includes only sites you specify, and one that focuses on sites you specify, but also searches the rest of the web.  Basically you determine your search topic, websites to search within, keywords, and yes you can alter its look as well. Once done the embedding code is made available along with multiple options to edit and refine your search tool further. Not only that, yes like most things Google, you CAN collaborate on it.

I was playing around with a very rudimentary WW2 timeline and picture pathfinder which I have embedded below. Anyone feel like collaborating on it?


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Thursday, 18 March 2010

Gabcast and Podcasts

The icon used by Apple to represent Podcasting.
Image via Wikipedia

I have been on the lookout for a place to host our student produced podcasts for quite some time now. Originally I intended to use a blog  for this as the podcasts could be uploaded as posts and RSS'd. I've changed my mind!

I've started to read  Toys to Tools by Liz Kolb, and in doing so came across Gabcast. Gabcast is great for uploading podcasts from phones, it allows you to create different channels, but more importantly it allows you to upload your podcast episodes, painlessly.

I have just started to use Gabcast, but I like what I have seen so far.

Did I say you can also link to and embed your podcast episodes?
(A word of advice, set the height of the podcast player to 90 instead of the default 76 or the play button may not be visible.)

ABCICT #1 - Welcome to the ABCICT Podcast Channel

Our Welcome Message

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Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Virtual Field Trips

Second Life
Image via Wikipedia

I have long been fascinated by the potential that Second life and other virtual worlds hold for educational activities including virtual field trips.

Whyville is great for the younger kids. It gives them the chance to get used to virtual worlds, in a safe teacher manageable environment and provides plenty of educational activities for students and teachers to engage in. Many of our 6th grade students took to  it so much last school year, that they would log in from home when it wasn't a homework assignment and meet up to work on different activities with their friends.

Quest Atlantis is another virtual world that offers students carefully scaffolded learning quests to embark on as they work their way through different teleport locations. I've done the required courses and am excited about taking a group in. We are hoping to begin with a class of teachers who we think will be inspired enough to build quests into their curriculum.

I came across Reaction Grid very recently and have only begun to investigate its potential for working with students, but there are already a lot of great destinations to visit. My impression from my very limited experience of it, is that many teachers at present are using it for learning about construction in virtual 3D worlds. I would love to hear from people who are using it successfully with their students.

Second Life (including the teen grid)!  Wow comes to mind every time I think of it. I have been using Second Life on and off for the last 2 years, mostly as a way of learning how to get around on the grid, attending workshops and investigating what is available. I left it for about 6 months and when I returned Wow had become WOW!!! There are so many new places to discover, meet at and learn from. I tend to fixate on applications that wow me and Second Life has certainly stolen a  large chunk of my attention lately.

Once hooked anew, I decided to continue with my previous quest of searching out destinations with field trip potential. I soon found that the grid had expanded to the point that I needed to begin cataloging in some shape or form the many destinations I came across. Enter wikispaces, my all time favourite for wikis. Its nice to know that whenever you need to bring content together in one place you can quickly create yourself a parking lot using a wiki.

My hope is that the wiki will become more than a parking lot however. I would like to see it grow, and am hoping that others interested in virtual worlds will help me with that.  So far I have put everything together on this page, which is expanding  so quickly,  I might need to begin linking off of it soon, to new pages for housing content. If you are at all interested in virtual worlds in education and virtual field trips in Second Life, please take a look at the links I have gathered and request access to the wiki, so we can build the collection together.
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Monday, 1 March 2010

What We Hope is an Exceptional Resource

Screen shot 2010-03-01 at 10.42.41 AM

Our LRC website was created to house a rich assortment of teaching tools, student resources, picture and video galleries and more.
The main interface is a pictorial, user friendly Glog embedded in a wiki. The Glog allows designers to link images and text to web pages and can be embedded on most sites.

Within the LRC Website community members can access, virtual bookshelves, which highlight new arrivals, and link to user reviews. They can also enjoy a great assortment of e-books from many different collections.

Community members can find collections of web tools, for editing photos, working with audio and video, as well as access digital image, video, and audio collections. Many of the resource in these collections are licensed for reuse and remixing into digital projects.

There are times when community members might want to request a resource for the LRC library. Our website offers an easy solution to this by hosting a request for resources section. Using this option members of the community can ask for books and magazines as well as other resources to be included in the yearly orders.  These requests will be reviewed by LRC staff members several times a year.

It is easy to browse the current library collection online. This includes not only books, but magazines as well. ABC users, and people from around the world, are able to check which resources the library contains and which copies are available for checking out.

Keeping up to date with happenings at the LRC is also quite easy. Regular reminders and information updates are issued through the LRC Twitter stream and Voki services, on the right side bar.

Community news and events are also posted weekly and can be found under the News Section. The LRC Events Calendar is embedded in the website for easy browsing of upcoming orders and events.

In house video and photo galleries are available for viewing and the Ustream link will take interested parties to live streaming of LOL’s Friday shows.

The research section provides students and teachers with important guidelines and resources for teaching and learning, as does the section on presentation guidelines.

Don’t be surprised if the main page changes a bit throughout the year. It’s to be expected, as relevant links to topical or new initiatives are added.

Some LRC Quick Links

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