29.9.07

A Google Account

In all the Year 6 classes, students will be opening a Google Account, specifically to be used as a tool in the classroom, in connection with their school work. Many (most) students already have at least one email address. Besides using email for "traditional" email purposes (sending messages), we are interested in the digital toolbox which a Google account provides. This is a free learning resource, available to everyone, and we will be working with our Year 6 students, learning how to take advantage particularly of email, the online Notebook, Blogger, Google Docs (word processing, spreadsheet and presentation tools), iGoogle homepage, Reader, and Calendar.

This is also the opportunity for "good practice" in internet use - personal safety, netiquette, and digital citizenship. We will continually emphasize acceptable use guidelines. These accounts are to be treated as virtual classroom spaces - essential agreements for the classroom apply also when using these tools.

We will be using information and activities at these web sites:

http://pbskids.org/license/

http://www.staysafe.org/parents/kids/activities/internet_safety_quiz.html

http://www.bbc.co.uk/cbbc/help/safesurfing/

http://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/

http://www.netsmartz.org/resources/pledge.htm

Using Google Earth

Using the free software application Google Earth can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make it. There are many websites with ideas, help, downloads, lessons, etc. Start with this introduction page , and this page about how to use Google Earth.

Google Earth Links
This page of the Google Earth Blog is devoted to providing links to important web resources about Google Earth, KML/KMZ, sightseeing GE's satellite/aerial photos, software tools, games, and more. For an even longer list of links, check out OgleEarth's links page.

Google Sightseeing
On the Sights by Locality page, you can find posts about particular sights around the world. Check out the Switzerland page.

Swiss Alps "Fighter" Tour in Google Earth
Of special interest for us is the tour of the Swiss Alps in a Swiss fighter plane, filmed for real, and then reproduced on Google Earth. You can read about how it was made, and see both versions here (embedded from YouTube).

2.9.07

Zoho online tools


Zoho.com offers a set of 14 production and creation apps on the web which keeps getting better and better. (You work on the web, not on your computer - you don't have to buy software to do the job).

You can try out the apps without registering,

Zoho Writer (online word processor), Zoho Sheet (online spreadsheets), Zoho Show (online presentation tool). Zoho Notebook (online notebook), Zoho Planner (online organizer), Zoho Creator (online data base), Zoho Wiki (online wiki writer)

If you think they would be useful to you for your school work, sign up for an account.

Tutorial videos on the Zoho site are on this page. They are also on YouTube:
Zoho Creator for creating databases
Zoho Viewer to view and share documents as web pages.
Zoho Notebook

Mind Mapping "The Swiss Army Knife for the Brain"


Three Web-Based Mind Mapping Tools Reviewed posted at the Web Worker Daily blog reviews 3 online mind mapping tools: bubbl.us, Mindomo, and MindMeister.

The writer concludes by saying "MindMeister, with its smooth keyboard access, information-dense display, and export-to-outline capability, is my favorite of the three... MindMeister provides all the basic features you might look for in a web-based tool of this sort. I found the keyboard access mostly intuitive. The tab key adds a child, the enter key adds a sibling, and arrows navigate around the diagram smoothly. Saving happens automatically with no action required of the user. Nodes can be repositioned using drag and drop. You can share with write or view-only access."

All the Mac Minis and iBooks at school have Kidspiration installed. This software is a tool for combining pictures, text and spoken words to represent ideas and show relationships. (At home, ou can download a 30 day free trial of the software if you would like to try on your own computer)

In the video below, watch Tony Buzan, a leading authority on mind maps, talk about the brain, and why mind maps are a valuable thinking tool.


You can also see this video at Buzan's web site,iMindMap, but it still a YouTube video, and probably can't be seen in school.

This video, by Stephen Pierce (an internet business consultant), presents a slightly different look at mind mapping, (He speaks very fast!) as he talks about how to mind map a book (or text) as you read it.

Knowing your iBook


A multilingual guide to the iBook model we use in class can be downloaded here as an Adobe pdf file from the Apple support site.

You can also open it in your web browser's window. From this web page, click on iBook G3 (14-inch) Multilingual User's Guide (Manual).