turning stones

taking for a spin: tools for The Five 8s

Category Archives: kits and tips

Qwiki Public Alpha


Sharing here an email I received from the Qwiki Team:

Qwiki Public Alpha – New Features 

Hello there!

In case you haven’t noticed yet – due to the incredible demand, we’ve opened the Qwiki alpha to all users, with several new features:

“Improve This Qwiki”
Users are invited to submit pictures and videos relevant to any Qwiki, augmenting our content in places it’s incomplete. You’re also encouraged to report any mispronounced words, and vote on the speed of the voice. Easy ways to make Qwiki better!

Embedding
The Qwiki experience is no longer married to Qwiki.com. Now, you can embed Qwikis on any third party site. Just click the “Embed This” button from Qwiki’s “end screen” (you can skip to the end of each Qwiki by clicking the “Q+” button in the nav bar).

Sharing
Qwikis can now be shared via Facebook, Twitter, and Email, via our new short code qwi.ki.

More details on the most recent features can be found here.

The public alpha will allow us to collect even more feedback and improve Qwiki’s first corpus, covering 3 million people, places and things. More to come…

Much love,
– The Qwiki Family

 

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YouTube videos minus the hodgepodge


YouTube is a great source of videos for learning. That is why many teachers clamor for schools not to block the site in campus. Because of this, schools are beginning to ease network restrictions for YouTube. When using a YouTube video in class, teachers do not like all the other clutter around the main frame in the YouTube site. The related videos, the ads, the comments and other things may distract students.

Other than downloading or embedding a video, there are other ways of clearing up the clutter. ViewPure is one tool to do just that. Just copy the YouTube URL of a particular video and paste it on to the ViewPure site. After clicking the Create button, the video is displayed on screen without the hodgepodge. You are given the option to choose a white or black background, get its short link or share on Twitter. Try ViewPure now.

This is great to use with Krunchd when you have multiple videos you want students to watch.

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Share Videos in Google Docs


Google Docs

Image via Wikipedia

Google Apps has done it again. This time a new feature in Google Docs where you can upload video files and share it with others. Google Docs has actually become an inaccurate label since it kept on adding different file types to upload.

When I visited my Google Docs account yesterday, this message greeted me:

I tried it out today and liked it. Speed of uploading and processing is acceptable(depends how fast your internet connection is). Google needs to process videos that are uploaded since it uses YouTube’s player. Therefore video files supported by Google also have Youtube support. These are:

  • WebM files (Vp8 video codec and Vorbis Audio codec)
  • .MPEG4, 3GPP and MOV files – (h264 and mpeg4 video codecs and AAC audio codec)
  • .AVI (many cameras use this format – typically the video codec is MJPEG and audio is PCM)
  • .MPEGPS (MPEG2 video codec and MP2 audio)
  • .WMV
  • .FLV (Adobe – FLV1 video codec, MP3 audio)

Video files up to 1GB may be uploaded. You have to be very choosy on which videos to upload though. A standard Google Docs account allows 1GB of storage. Unless you purchase additional space, video files can easily fill that up.

After uploading, you can view your videos and share it just like sharing other files in Docs. This is very helpful for schools where YouTube is blocked and for people who, for one reason or another, do not like uploading to YouTube. Now it would be a nice add for Google Docs to include an embed code so that videos can be embedded to another site. Hopefully, next on Google Docs’ list is a feature to upload audio files. That would be amazing.

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A wonder a day


Why is Pluto no longer a planet? Why are Cheddar cheese orange in color? Why is turkey served during Thanksgiving dinner? Three simple questions you, your children or your students might have wondered about. I am sure that right now, you suddenly have a rush of questions going through your minds; Why does hair turn gray? Could I be a human compass? How do streets get their names?

These are wonders and it would be very educational to get to know answers to these questions. One site that delivers answers to such questions is Wonderopolis. A program by the National Center for Family Literacy that seeks to engage and inspire families in learning together. The site conveys knowledge, understandings, even skills and activities on a daily basis via its Wonder of the Day feature.

It’s a great way for parents to have that unique time with their children learning together. Even though the focus of this site are the parents, I believe teachers could use this site in the classroom; as a writing prompt, a research starter or a springboard to a discussion. Find out for yourself and tell us how you can use this in the classroom.

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Featured Videos: Waiting for Superman


Here are some videos on the documentary “Waiting for Superman” which sparked plenty of interest and debate over the US education system. The film received mixed reviews. I have not watched it though. ‘Just popping the question: If this is the true state of education in the US, what is ours?

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Trying out HootSuite


Trying out HootSuite

Send an email to the future you


FutureMe lets you send email messages to yourself at a specified date in the future. Send an email and receive it 30 days or even 30 years from today. It’s an email time capsule where you can write yourself anything you like. It may contain what you are currently feeling, your fears, your aspirations, your rants. And then you get to read them months, even years from now. I am sure you will find some value in that.

Even if FutureMe has been in existence for quite some time(almost 1.3 Million emails sent to the future), I just found out about it recently. I actually forgot all about it already when I received the email I sent to 2 months back to test how it worked. For me, it is like a time capsule which serves as a reminder, not only of the things pertaining to the present, but also of the past. And like a time machine, which brought me back 2 months ago and the prevailing conditions then. Now I’m wondering how it would feel to get an email from myself 1, 5, 10 or 20 years from now.

There is an option where you may make your letter anonymously ‘open’, meaning other people can read what you wrote or to keep it private.

Students may email and tell themselves their objectives and expectations of a certain course. It may be a good exercise of reflection. Click here to send your future you an email.

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Featured Video of the Week: Hans Rosling’s 200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes – The Joy of Stats – BBC Four


Hans Rosling‘s famous lectures combine enormous quantities of public data with a sport’s commentator’s style to reveal the story of the world’s past, present and future development. Now he explores stats in a way he has never done before – using augmented reality animation. In this spectacular section of ‘The Joy of Stats’ he tells the story of the world in 200 countries over 200 years using 120,000 numbers – in just four minutes. Plotting life expectancy against income for every country since 1810, Hans shows how the world we live in is radically different from the world most of us imagine.

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Chop that YouTube Video


Image representing TubeChop as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

Let’s say I am a Football coach and I wanted to show my team a particular highlight of the recent Philippine Azkals’ unprecedented win over defending champion Vietnam in the current Asian Football Federation Suzuki Cup 2010. I search for videos of the game in YouTube and I find this which is 6:31 minutes long. However the part I wanted to show my team is just the Philippines’ second goal by Phil Younghusband. And it’s only 27 seconds long. What could be the simple and easy way for me to do that?

Enter TubeChop, a site where you can paste the URL of the original video you found, and chop it so you can have just the particular footage you need. Just slide the left and right black bars to contain the particular footage you want to use, then click the ‘chop it’ button. In no time at all, it’ll give you a new URL for your shortened video. You can visit tubechop.com, paste in the new URL and it’ll play your chopped video. Also, TubeChop gives you an embed code which you can use for your website or blog.

Click here to view my 27-second ‘chopped’ video.

 

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Create your own Jeopardy Games


Everyone is familiar with the popular TV game show Jeopardy. Some teachers have actually made their own Jeopardy games using presentation software and their students loved it. What teachers did was to download a Jeopardy-themed Powerpoint template and created and run their games via Powerpoint.

Now you can be Alex Trebek without needing to devise a Jeopardy game on Powerpoint. Visit JeopardyLabs to easily create games without the need for software installation, no registration required and it’s free to use. Just nominate a password for your template, generate your answers/questions, save it and remember the URL JeopardyLabs assigns to your game.

To play, you can just go to the assigned URL and start earning points. You may enter up to 12 individuals/teams. At the bottom of the Jeopardy board is where the scores of the teams/individuals are. Just click the +/- signs to add/subtract points just like how the game is played on TV.

This is a great review activity for your classes. You may even ask students to make their own Jeopardy games based on your lessons.

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