Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Could you (or your students) pass the citizenship test?

A friend sent me a link to this online US Citizenship Test from Gannett News Service. I'm assuming it's based on the flash cards that the US Citizenship and Immigration Services has provided to immigrants wanting to pass the test. It's in a "Jeopardy" style game board and has 4 categories: The Flag, US History, US Government, US Rights. If I'm not too embarrassed by my score, I'll post it in the comment section. I invite you (and your students) to do likewise.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

picnik is WAY cool!

I'm doing a workshop on digital cameras tomorrow and I'm planning on demonstrating the photo-editing site picnik. This FREE site allows you to upload photos from your computer, or to edit photos you already have on another photo site such as flickr or photobucket. I didn't even have to create an account and I was able to edit, save, and email my photos.

The editing tools are very basic, but very powerful, and are probably all the average user will ever need. I was pleasantly surprised at how well this photo of me at Muir Woods turned out. Compare the "after" photo on the left with the "before" photo on the right. Oh, so that's a big TREE in the background!

You can also subscribe to a premium picnik service for $24.95 a year that has even more editing and enhancing tools.

Growing up online: the column

In a previous post I mentioned the Frontline "Growing up online" program and website. In reading some of the posts on the discussion board, I came across a post from Carolyn Jabs who, coincidentally, writes a column entitled "Growing up online." And she's from Holland, Ohio, just a stones throw from here AND, like me, a BGSU alumnus!

Well, I checked out her website, and I encourage you to do likewise: where you'll find an archive of her column which has appeared in numerous publications across the country. She has written for many magazines, including Reader's Digest, TV Guide, Redbook, and Edutopia among others, and has been featured on radio and television broadcasts.

She has written several articles on Internet safety, and online ETHICS!!!

Frontline's "Growing up online" is online

I've been away for several days in San Francisco and am finally getting caught up with my Bloglines feeds. And wouldn't you know, last night I missed the Frontline episode on kids and their online behavior! I didn't even get to Tivo it! But fortunately it's all online... the video, and a WHOLE LOT MORE!

Check it out at:

3D human anatomy visualizer online and FREE!

This is like a Google Earth for anatomy and health classes! The Visible Body is an interactive, 3D tour of the human body. Here's a description from their website:

"Argosy's Visible Body is the most comprehensive human anatomy visualization tool available today. This entirely Web-delivered application offers an unparalleled understanding of human anatomy. The Visible Body includes 3D models of over 1,700 anatomical structures, including all major organs and systems of the human body."

The models were developed and reviewed by physicians, anatomists, and people with lots of experience in medical illustration and biomedical visualization.

Registration is FREE, but REQUIRED for using this website. Minimum computer requirements are:
  • 1 gHz Pentium 3 processor, or equivalent
  • 512 MB RAM
  • Windows XP/2000/Vista (32-bit)
  • DirectX 7.0+3D-enabled video card
  • Internet Explorer 6+ (32-bit)
  • Anark plug-in 4.0
  • Adobe Flash Player plug-in 8.0+

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Take the Quarters Quiz!

If you're like me, you've been collecting the state quarters. We were in San Francisco last week and managed to find a couple we've been missing. A friend sent me a link to a really fun quarters quiz. Click on the link below to check it out for yourself, and invite your students too. It's from the Mental Floss website.

Quarter Backs

Score: 70% (14 out of 20)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Cool stuff for Google Earth! Wild Sanctuary

I'm sure you've all heard of or even used Google Earth. Today I came across an amazing kml file that plays sound recordings from around the world! It's from Wild Sanctuary: The Voice of the Natural World.

You can download the kml file to use with Google Earth, but you can even see and hear the content in Google Maps!

There are a lot of nature sounds, but they've even captured the cacophony of major cities like Chicago or New York city.

Check it out at:

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Another brilliant video!

Thanks to Darren Draper for posting this Michael Wesch video on his blog. I'm reposting it here so I will always have "it" and be able to find "it".

FREE digital photography book for teachers!

While perusing the Adobe Digital Kids Club website I came across a link to a free 43 page downloadable book from entitled "Digital Camera & Photo Editing School for Teachers & Students." Although some of the information is specific to an Olympus camera, much of the book would be useful to ANYONE wanting to learn about digital photography.

There are 34 lessons on a wide variety of topics related to photography and photo editing. I absolutely love this advice on how to avoid blurry photos:

Grip- Brace- Breathe- Squeeze

  • Grip the camera, same way each time. Find your own special grip position for both horizontal and vertical camera positions, grip same way each time. Experiment with several different grip positions. Watch out! Don’t let your finger touch the lens.
  • Brace the camera: using arms, legs, body. Brace your arms by pushing your elbows inward against your ribs and gently push down. Brace arms, legs or back by leaning against a nearby wall, tree, table, fence, chair, car window (anything for support).
  • Breath: take a shallow breath, hold it gently. Take an shallow breath and hold it gently. Holding your breath too tight causes camera shake.
  • Squeeze shutter half way down, then all the way down. Push shutter 1/2 half way down to auto focus, hold it, then push all the way down to take the photo. See the green light, this means the subject is in focus, then squeeze. Tip: Holding 1/2 way down allows camera to shoot faster.