Get Your Google Earth Going

There are so many innovative ways to use Google Earth with your students. Some of these may be familiar to you, but hopefully some are new and will help you improve upon a unit with your students.

Some of the educators behind these amazing projects are Thomas Cooper, Jerome Burg and Carol LaRow

Google Lit Trips
Each trip is an interactive multimedia experience created using Google Earth and stored as a KMZ file. (Although they may sound complex, KMZ files that run Google Earth are relatively easy to create and navigate.) Following Burg’s lead, teachers and students are creating their own virtual literary trips and sharing them with the online community.

Investigating Earthquakes Using Real Time Data
Students learn to how to integrate the use of real-time web-based technology in trying to solve a problem earthquakes cause scientists every day, earthquake forecasting.

Google Historical Voyages and Events
This site is dedicated to the explorers, voyages, events, and historical backgrounds of countries throughout the World. We’d like to hear about famous explorers who surveyed or traveled through your community long ago. Perhaps you’d like to tell us about historical events that shaped your locale or region. You may wish to report about a catastrophic event in your area. Or, you may want to tell us how your community was founded, its historical background, early settlers. Every community, every town, every country has a past, and we’d like to hear about yours.

Real World Math
This site is all about using Google Earth in the math classroom. Within this site you will find lesson ideas, examples, and downloads for mathematics that embrace active learning, constructivism, and project-based learning

Sally Ride Science Content for Google Earth
Take an educational tour through the universe beyond our own solar system with this preview of “It’s Astronomical!”, a series of books created and published by Sally Ride Science. Sally Ride Science is dedicated to fueling girls’ and boys’ interests in science, math and technology.

Google Earth Lessons
This site includes some how-to’s and lessons for your students in science, geography and math.

Google Earth Classroom Resources
From the folks at Google: popular methods to implement Google Earth in the classroom for a variety of subjects.

GoAPES Wiki
Thomas Cooper lists here the many collaborative Google Earth projects he has worked on with his students over the last few years.

I hope you find one or more of these projects and ideas helpful. I’m sure I missed many, so feel free to leave a comment with a link.

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The Next Google Teacher Academy – Sydney, Australia

Image Source: http://momoge.com

Google has announced the next Google Teacher Academy.

This time, they will be hosting the resource and networking packed day at the Sydney, Australia offices at 5/48 Pirrama Road

“The Google Teacher Academy is a FREE professional development experience designed to help K-12 educators get the most from innovative technologies. Each Academy is an intensive, one-day event where participants get hands-on experience with Google’s free products and other technologies, learn about innovative instructional strategies, receive resources to share with colleagues, and immerse themselves in an innovative corporate environment. Upon completion, Academy participants become Google Certified Teachers who share what they learn with other K-12 educators in their local region.”

Event Date: Thursday, March 10th (with an optional half day unconference on March 11th)

Application Deadline: 11:59 PM PST (UTC/GMT -8) on 27 January 2011

Applicants will be notified whether or not their application has been accepted on or before 18 February 2010.

SPECIAL NOTES:

Please read through all the requirements and directions BEFORE completing the application.
Educators worldwide may apply, but must pay for their own travel and lodging.
Previous Google Certified Teachers are not eligible.

Good luck to all those that apply!!

Who Owns Your Data?

I have been reviewing many questions recently about storing data in the Cloud. With so many districts moving to Google Apps I decided to put together some resources on data ownership and privacy. I hope you find this helpful:

Who owns the data that organizations put into Google Apps?

Resource: http://www.google.com/support/a/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=106876

  1. Google won’t share your data with others except as noted in their Privacy Policy.
  2. They keep your data as long as you require them to keep it.
  3. You should be able to take your data with you if you choose to use external services in conjunction with Google Apps or stop using our services altogether.

The best tool for taking your data with you is Google’s Data Liberation Front at http://www.dataliberation.org/. You can even use this tool to export all of your Google Docs out of your personal Google Account and import them into your school Apps account.

Security and Privacy – FAQ’s

Resource: http://www.google.com/support/a/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=60762

In Google’s Security Whitepaper, they cover, in detail, some of the issues we find ourselves talking about with Administrators and even Board of Education members before we can utilize Google Apps. Some of these issues include:

  • Google corporate security policies
  • Systems development and maintenance
  • Regulatory compliance

Google Apps is a technology platform schools can trust

Resource: http://www.google.com/a/help/intl/en/edu/privacy.html

Here you will find the following:

  • Google complies with applicable US privacy law, and the Google Apps Terms of Service can specifically detail their obligations and compliance with FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) regulations.
  • They offer Google Apps Education Edition to schools for free. It’s also completely ad-free — which means your school’s content is not processed by Google’s advertising systems.
  • To reduce exploit risks, each Google server is custom-built with only the necessary software components, and the homogeneous server architecture enables rapid updates and configuration changes across the entire network when necessary.

I’m hoping folks will find this information useful as they field questions from their colleagues and possibly even parents of the students they work with.

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Google Apps Education Certified Trainer

Today I received the e-mail that I was accepted as a Google Apps Certified Trainer. 

The qualifications to earn this certification are:

  • Receive a passing score (80 or above) on 6, 90 minute Google Apps exams
  • Complete the online application including a 2 minute video
  • Demonstrate a proven background in professional development or technology training
  • Demonstrate areas of expertise in educational technology

The requirements for maintaining certification include:

  • Acting on behalf of Google
  • Log training events (3/quarter) – attendance, topics, dates
  • Stay up to date with all the latest features/releases
  • Participate in the community
  • Contribute resources
  • Maintain qualification (additional exams)

I’m excited to bring this to the Center and to New Jersey. I hope that being connected to this new community of learners will give me new ideas, inspire me to stay current, and open the door to additional collaborations.

Become an Apps Certified Trainer by visiting the Training Center.

Major updates to Google Docs

Back in October, I posted about some of the updates Google had made to Google Docs. Well, today they rolled out some additional features that I thought you might be interested in.

The one that is most important to me is that Google Docs will now allow you to see other Collaborators changes in real-time as they type. This may sound familiar to you if you are a Wave user, but what it sounds like to me is the chat feature that so many of us have been requesting in this app. You can get a peak of this character-by-character real-time function in the video below.

Additional features that you may be interested in are:

  • Creating collaborative drawings from the Docs list rather than only from within a Google Doc
  • Increased speed in Docs, so you should be able to edit with up to 50 simultaneous users (rather than the actual 10-12 synchronous users that most of us have experienced)
  • You’ll notice a ruler within your document for help with adjusting margins
  • Additional ease with moving images and formatting your documents

For additional information on the Google Docs improvements check out the Google Docs Enterprise Blog.

Feeling Googley at the NJECC Annual Conference

This will be the third year I present at the NJECC Annual Conference. This year’s theme is “Teacher as Learner” and Will Richardson is delivering the Keynote. The lineup of sessions is phenomenal with topics on music technology, using technology to assist English Language Learners, Google Apps, Virtual Worlds, and many other uses of hardware, software, web 2.0 applications and the concepts behind using them to improve teaching and learning in the classroom.

My session, This is Not Your Grandmother’s Google, is described in the program as:

It’s time to go beyond Google.com. Discover Google’s Wonder Wheel, Similar Images, Insights for Search, Custom Search Engines, and Language Tools and learn how to find resources effectively and efficiently.

Click to view on Slideshare.net

Many of the resources I will be sharing during our session:

Of course it always depends on who attends, what questions are asked and what our needs are. We’ll be using the hashtag #NJECC tomorrow if you would like to follow the conference. I’m looking forward to seeing many familiar faces there and having the chance to make the acquaintance of some NJ educators that I have not yet had the chance to meet.

What My Droid Does – Part 3

I get it now.

I understand why everyone has been so obsessed with their iPhones for the last couple of years. But I am also happy that I can do everything that they have been able to do, and in some cases… I can do it better. One of the videos that I show when I facilitate workshops on iPod Touches in Education is this one. I find it amazing that these young women were able to create such wonderful music and I have been enjoying listening to my own children create their own music with my iPod Touch and now with my Droid using the following music apps.

  1. Strings – Guitar Solo Lite
  2. Piano – Piano Play
  3. Percussion – Hit It! Lite
  4. Wind – Magic Flute
  5. Tap Tap Revenge – There’s talk…Join the Facebook Group to bring TTR to Android Phones

Here are some other apps from the Android Market that I have found useful. I wanted to share them here.

Scan2PDF Mobile
“Scan2PDF Mobile is a  new software release which uses your mobile phone to scan documents and convert them to PDF files. It all happens on your phone allowing you to scan documents anywhere – as long as you have your phone. Think of it as a document scanner/fax machine that you always have with you!”

Google Voice
If you really don’t understand the benefits of using voice, please read this article from MacWorld.  If you want to use your Google Voice number full-time from your Android phone, here’s some tips on how to best go about it. Incidentally, all Android powered phones come pre-installed with the following Google Apps:

  • Quick Search Box
  • Gmail
  • Latitude
  • Google Contacts
  • Google Goggles
  • Gooogle Voice
  • Maps
  • Google Talk
  • Finance
  • Google Calendar
  • You Tube
  • Buzz – (We’ll talk about this in my next post.)

Swift

I also have marveled at how effortlessly folks have Tweeted from their SmartPhones including the fast posting of pictures and video. I started off a couple of months ago using Twidroid but have happily switched to a different Twitter app called Swift.

With this app I can easily follow @Mentions, Direct Messages, the timeline of my friends as well as search Twitter and check out profiles. It’s easy for me to share a picture via Swift as it’s integrated with my camera. Plus I can select which hosting services I want to use for pictures and videos that I take and want to Tweet.

If you happen to be looking for something cool and creative to do with some of your pictures, you might want to take a look at PicSay for the Android phone. You can use it to color-correct pictures, add word balloons and all sorts of effects. The paid version has a few more bells and whistles, but I’ve been happy with the free version so far.

What apps have you been using with your Android phone? Please share them with me here. Thanks.