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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Google Squared

Here is another great tool from Google Labs called Google Squared. It is a search tool that let's you see your search as a table and compare the information. You can delete the search item that is not relevant and you can also add columns to compare more information

Here is a video explaining the new search tool:

Here is an example. I searched for famous hispanics. Click here to see the results.

Google Squared Help Page

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Google Wonder Wheel

More good new from Google. They just came out with a new feature for searching the web called the Google Wonder Wheel. When you are searching for something using the Google Web Search, you can click on the 'Show options...' link, which you will find just above the first search result. Here you will find that you can modify your search by using different types of search options. You will find these options on the left column. One of them is a Wonder Wheel, which shows you a graphic organizer that gives you related queries of your original search. The Wonder Wheel continues to progressively refine your search by giving you a variation of your search.

Click here for a Step by step guide on how to use the Wonder Wheel.

The following is a video in which the Google programmer who worked on the Wonder Wheel talks about the tool:

Here is another video about how to use the Wonder Wheel search tool:

Finally here is a video that shows you more Google search options including the Wonder Wheel:

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Google Image Search - Life Magazine Photo Archive

Google Image Search is quite popular and well known by many people but did you know that Google also hosts a vast collection of photos from Life Magazine. The Life Photo Archive has photos from the 1750s to the present. It is a product of a collaboration between Life magazine and Google.

Visual learning aids are an integral part of language learning. What better way to create an interdisciplinary lesson by using some of these historic photos and have students express what they see in the target language. The assessment can be oral or written.

Here is a search tip by Google:
Add "source:life" to any Google image search and search only the LIFE photo archive.
Example: Pablo Picasso source:life

Saturday, May 16, 2009

In a foreign language class, one of the primary objectives is for students to express themselves in the target language. A free tool like is a great platform that encourages students to create comic strips using the vocabulary they have learned. Teachers can easily create comic strips and use them as reading activities that convey the essence of the lesson in a fun and effective way.

I have used this tool with my students and they have enjoyed creating the comic strips. It really helps to assess what they have learned.

Recently, the creator of the tool, Bill Zimmerman, also added a feature called Printables, where you can print comic strip templates and add your own dialogs. This can be used by students to create a story based on the pictures and characters they see. has a variety of characters, each displaying different emotions, that can be used to create a story. There are talk balloons and thought balloons that can be used to enter the dialogs. Also, there are edit features to change the size of the characters or to flip them.

The comic strips can be printed or emailed. There is no way to save an incomplete comic strip, so it is advisable to complete it in one go. In class, I always make sure that students prepare their story the day before so that when they go to the computer lab to create the comic strip, they already have a story with the dialogs and they can utilize their time to create the comic strip.

See how ESOL (English as a Second Language) students at City College in New York City, use this tool to enhance their learning of the English language:

Saturday, May 9, 2009


With SlideShare, you can upload your PowerPoint presentations, Keynote or PDF files for free and access them from anywhere. Teachers can put up presentations that they use in class so that students can view them later to review the topic. I think it is wonderful for students to be able to share their presentations online on this website, which can be accessed by classmates, friends and family. I use it regularly and I use the embed code to embed my presentations in the class web pages.

Here is an example of an embedded slideshow:

You can also use a SlideShare Widget or Badge to display all your slideshows on your website or blog. Here is my Widget:

Here is a slideshow to help you understand this tool:

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Similar Images

Similar Images

Another great search feature by Google. When you search for an image and then want to find similar images, this feature is the perfect solution.

Here is a video that explains this search feature:

This is a great tool for teachers. Let's say you are teaching students about Spanish art and would like to show them works of Picasso. If you type in the word 'Picasso', the search will generate a whole collection of art work by Picasso and also photos of the artist.

This search can also be used if you are looking for photos of a city. Type 'Madrid' and you will find a collection of different photos of places around Madrid.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Google News Timeline

Google News Timeline

This is another great product from Google and is a feature on Google Labs. The Google News Timeline organizes your query in a graphical timeline. For example, if you type "Spain" in the Query box on top, it will generate all the news about Spain from different newspapers in the form of a timeline and you can read about what's going on in Spain. Remember to put the word in quotes if you are looking for that exact phrase.

This is a great way to talk about current events in different parts of the world.

You can read more about the News Timeline in the Google News Blog. Read about Introducing Google News Timeline.

Friday, April 24, 2009

360 Cities

360 Cities- World Panoramic Photography

Imagine showing your students a 360 degree view of a marketplace in Italy and then asking them to write or speak about what they see. Imagine if they could zoom in and take a closer look at the view. Imagine standing at the foot of the Eiffel Tower with your students while still sitting in your classrooms. This is possible if you go to 360 cities. It is a site where people post their panoramic photos of different places.
Go to the 360 Cities website and search for the city that you would like to see. The website has a Help section that explains how to navigate the photos and use the website. There is also a section that explains how you can create panoramic photos.

Google Earth has a layer for 360 cities. If you are using Google Earth you have to make sure that you check the box for the 360 cities in the Layers section under Gallery. You can go to any city, for example, Rome, and if there are any 360 photos available in that city, you will see red circular 360 Icons. Click on it and you will get a 360 degree view of the place.

Here are some examples:

Marienplatz in Munich

At the foot of the Eiffel Tower in Paris

Cathedral (Mosque) of Cordoba in Spain

Havana Airport - on my way out of Cuba in Cuba

Badaling Great Wall 2 in Asia

Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, France in Paris

Coliseum in Rome

Here are some videos about 360 cities:

Friday, April 17, 2009


Turn your blog into a podcast by using Odiogo. Add an audio feature to your blog so that viewers also have the option of listening to your blog postings either on your blog or by downloading them and listening to your postings on their iPods, MP3 players, phones or computers.

You will notice that all my postings have a 'Listen Now' button below the title. Odiogo converts the text to speech making it convenient for visitors.

Although, presently, the only language that Odiogo supports is English but they are working on adding other major European and Asian languages.

Click the links below to find out more information about Odiogo:

Odiogo Demo.
Odiogo FAQs
Odiogo Blog

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Blog is short for weblog.
Blogging has become a platform where people can express their ideas and share it with the world.

Blogger is a blog publisher that can be used to create blogs very easily and efficiently. There are many gadgets that can be added to your blog. If you look at this blog, you will see some gadgets on the right. You can add a calendar, a blog roll of your favorite blogs, maps, clocks, and gadgets from other websites.

Here are some videos to help you start or modify your blog:

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Social Bookmarking


Don’t you find it inconvenient that you cannot bookmark your favorite websites on every computer you use in one go. Delicious is the answer to this problem. With this social bookmarking tool, you can save your favorite links to delicious and access them from any computer anywhere. This saves you the trouble of having to save the link on to every computer you use.

I highly recommend this site to everyone. One of the most important features of this tool is that you can create tags for whichever site you bookmark. For example, if I find a website on the Spanish Royal Family, I can tag it as ‘family’ and ‘culture’. In this way, if I am looking for a website related to family, I can click the ‘family’ tag or if I am looking for a website on culture, I can click on the ‘culture’ tag. The website on the Spanish Royal Family will be saved in both sections. I can have multiple tags. It helps narrow the search for a particular website that you may have saved among the numerous others.

By default, all bookmarks are made public to all delicious users but there is also a ‘do not share’ option while saving the website. You can use delicious as a place to save useful links for yourself and your colleagues. In this way, you can share links with each other.

Learn more about this tool by clicking here - More about Delicious. You can add your favorite websites to delicious by using a tag button installed in your tool bar. This is installed when you register for delicious. Click here to learn more.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

YouTube EDU

YouTube EDU: YouTube, which is owned by Google has started a separate section catering solely to education. It is a collection of channels of many colleges and universities and contains video lectures from these colleges and universities.

Presently, YouTube EDU is only offering their service to qualifying two- and four-year degree granting public and private colleges and universities. Hopefully, they will soon extend their services to K-12 schools also. It will be really great if K-12 teachers could have a platform where they did not have to worry about the content of the videos that are displayed. Although, presently, they can always use TeacherTube as a great alternative. It caters specifically to educational videos.

This new venture is a result of Google's 20 percent concept, which is part of Google's philosophy, where employees use 80% of their time working on their designated work and 20% of their time on projects that interest them. Many features of Google and many products launched by Google have been the result of this 20 percent time.

Listed below are two articles about YouTube EDU:
YouTube EDU launches.
YouTube EDU Brings Free Education to the Masses.

Another site mentioned in the second article listed above is Academic Earth, which also contains a database of lectures from various educational institutions. This is also a great resource.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Google Web Search

David Pogue's Keynote and Google Workshop at the 11th Annual ASSET Educational Technology Conference.

I attended the ASSET (Association of Suffolk County Supervisors for Educational Technologies) conference on Monday, March 16, 2009. The keynote speaker was David Pogue of the New York Times. His keynote address was phenomenal. He talked about how mobile technology advanced so much now as cell phone use is not limited to making phone calls anymore but is used for other purposes like emails, text messages, Internet browsing.

He had a lot to say about the phenomenon of Google. He mentioned Google many times during his keynote and then also presented a workshop on “The power of Google”. In this post, I I want to share all the information that David Pogue shared with us about Google.

Instead of calling 411 for information and having to pay for it, you could simply text “Google” (466453) and then type in your question. It could be any question like “Who is the president of Mexico?”. You will get an instant answer. If you don’t want to text, then you can call 1-800-GOOG-411 and ask your question. You could ask for a phone number of a certain store and you will be connected to it directly.

In the workshop titled ‘Power Googling’, David Pogue, spoke about the various search features of Google. It goes beyond simple web search. Here are some tips”

If you are searching for a word like ‘Dolphins’, chances are that your search may also include information about the Miami Dolphins. In order to omit this information, you should enter your search as ‘dolphins -Miami’, meaning search for the word dolphins minus the word Miami.

If you are looking for an exact phrase, then you should put the phrase within quotes - “Exact phrase”, otherwise Google will also search for each key word separately. For example: "The Count of Monte Cristo" will generate a search result of all the websites that has the exact phrase "The Count of Monte Cristo" and not look for sites that also contain "Count", "Monte" and Cristo".

Use an asterisks '*' for wildcards, especially if you are looking for music lyrics and don't know that complete title. For example, la vida es*.

If you are looking for a specific type of file, for example, if you are looking for a PowerPoint file on 'The Imperfect Tense in Spanish', then you should type 'imperfect tense Spanish .ppt'.

Google in Quotes: Find quotes on different topics by using this site.

You can search Google in different languages by going to the Google preferences and choosing the language from the list.

Google Translate - Using the language tools offered by Google, you can view your website in a different language. Simply paste the URL of the website in the box, select the language and click 'Translate'. Click here to view this blog in Spanish.

There are other everyday queries that you can look in Google Search. I have listed them below:

- Showtimes: Enter zip code (Showtimes: 11803).

- Define: Enter word (Define: gendarmerie).

- You can use Google Search as a calculator by entering the calculation in the search box (89 + 90 x 45).

- You can use Google Search as a unit converter by entering your query (kilograms in pounds).

- Use the search as a currency converter (dollars in euros).

- Weather: Enter name of city (Weather: NYC).

- Use the search as a stock ticker by simply entering the symbol of the company (amzn).

- Search for product details by entering the UPC barcode number.

- Search for flight details by entering the flight number (IB 6842).

- Search car history by entering the VIN number.

- Look for a person - Phonebook: Enter name and place (Phonebook: John Smith NY).

- Look for directions - (Directions: NYC to Boston). You could also use Google Maps for directions.

These were just some of the features of Google search. I have to thank David Pogue for sharing all this information with us during the conference. It really changes the way one looks at Google search.

Here is a video that will help with web search:

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Google Maps

I think Google Maps would be a great tool to use while teaching vocabulary based on places and buildings in a community. As a part of a project, each student or group can pick 8-10 places in their town and create a Google map, where they mark these places on the map using place marks and then write in the target language about the store or building and what is sold there or what happens there. They can even insert a photo of the place or even add a video.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Google Docs

Google Docs

Recently, during a conversation with a fellow educator, I learned that some schools do not allow students to save files on the school server in order to save space. It just so happened that I was going to talk about Google Apps that day. What a perfect solution! Using Google Apps would keep both parties happy. You could have students do their work using the various Google Apps and not have to worry about using any of the school's server space.

Google Docs could be perfect for individual projects as well as collaborative projects. For example, if your students are working on a collaborative language project, let's say a project about family, they could collaborate and brainstorm on a Google Doc and then present the project using Google Presentation.

Here is a video about Google Docs in Language Teaching:

Here is a great slideshow about ways to use Google Docs in education. It is not specifically for language education but you can definitely get ideas from it: 15 Interesting Ways to Use Google Docs in the Classroom.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Google Apps in Education


Google offers a variety of applications that can be used to share information, photos, presentations, etc. These tools can also be used to collaborate.
The Google apps for education is a series of apps that are offered to educational institutions free of cost. Here is a video that explains why you should consider the Google Apps Education Edition:

Google Goes To School