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My favorite stuff is getting better

I usually take July off…there’s not much going on around the ISD and most teachers are busy with other activities to want to come to any workshops. So, with one more day of work to go I’ve discovered that some of my favorite tools are adding features. I thought I’d better blog these down before the heat of July melts my memory.

Google EarthLet’s start with Google Earth…who doesn’t like zooming around the planet taking a look at your hometown or where you spent your last vacation? That’s cool, but there’s more to it than that. Adding placemarks with your own descriptions is interesting and fun, but can be a bit daunting to someone who’s wary of the term Keyhole Markup Language. So as part of the newly announced Google Earth Outreach program, video tutorials and starter templates are available for everyone to get a quick start in creating your own layers of information. Take a good look at them, they’re very good and easy to follow.

What else is new? Well, you can now add your images to Google Maps…images that you have uploaded to your Picasa Web Album. (In case you didn’t know, Picasa is Google’s free photo editing and sharing application. It’s very easy to use, I recommend it!) What a great way to document a class field trip or create an online tour of a city or famous location.

To keep up with what’s going on with Google Earth/Maps, check the Google Earth Blog.  This guy does his homework and quickly passes it on to the rest of us!

PBwikiNext topic: PBwiki.  The PBwiki team continues to add cool features to what I think is one of the most important tools for teachers.  Wikis are so quick and easy that every teacher should be using one to share content and develop a collaborative space for their classrooms.  The latest feature from PBwiki is the ability to embed spreadsheets directly into your wiki pages.

What’s cool about this feature is that the spreadsheets are live and editable.  So you go the page, add your data or information to the spreadsheet, and click the Save button.  Now it’s there for everyone, plus you can import Excel sheets. Sweet…

So many features!  By the time summer is over, some of these sites might do your dishes or mow the lawn!

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