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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.