Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Google - A Year in Search


Every year, Google recaps the previous year based on the most popular searches.  This would be a great opportunity for teachers and students to reflect back on the previous year and the events that marked 2014.  There are several events that I had already forgotten about while watching the video.  You can learn more on the official Google Blog or visit The Year in Search Google Trends home page for more information.  You can also see the video posted below.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Air Scanner - Wireless Document Camera App


Air Scanner is an App I discovered from a Facebook ad of all places.  It allows users connected to a Wifi to easily turn their iPhone into a mobile document camera.  The app provides a numerical web address that users can type into their browser.  Within the browser, whatever the camera is showing will appear within the browser window.  There is also an option to freeze the image if need be and turn on the camera's flash.



I could see Air Scanner being used by teachers to showcase student work from the desk or students could use the App to zoom in to presentations that were created on a Poster Board.  This is a free method for teachers to get a document camera and not be limited to a single location in the classroom.


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Google Zeitgeist for 2013 is Available


Every year in the month of December Google releases their Year in Review based on Search popularity.  The purpose of this list is to provide people an opportunity to reflect on the people, places, and moments that caught people's attention throughout this past calendar year.  The first review I suggest viewing is the Year in Review Video which is embedded below.  This video would be a great video to show for a free writing activity, or as an introduction for a research project where students research the major events during their birth year or in another time in history.



When you examine the search history of Google you realize that is provides valuable information into what has happened in our world over the past year.  Below are the top ten global trending searches of 2013:
  1. Nelson Mandela
  2. Paul Walker
  3. iPhone 5s
  4. Cory Monteith
  5. Harlem Shake
  6. Boston Marathon
  7. Royal Baby
  8. Samsung Galaxy s4
  9. PlayStation 4
  10. North Korea
For the year 2013 users can also examine the 3D Global Map that will allow users to discover popular searches for by day for cities around the world.  This would make for an interesting examination of what is popular for different regions of the world and be a popular activity in Geography or Sociology classes.  To examine previous years top searches and stories, visit the Google Zeitgeist Home Page for direct links to 2013 or the Trends Home Page for previous years back to 2001.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

2013 Edublog Awards


Celebrating 10 Years of the Best of the Web in Education, the 2013 Edublog Awards are now accepting nominations.  Nominations are open till December 1st.  To nominate the best of the web for awards, people must post their nominations in a blog post (Mine will be available soon) or on their website and then share the link to the nominations (instructions to do so are at the link above).  There are 19 different categories for awards .

  • Best individual blog
  • Best group blog
  • Best new blog
  • Best class blog
  • Best student blog
  • Best ed tech / resource sharing blog
  • Best teacher blog
  • Best library / librarian blog
  • Best administrator blog
  • Most influential blog post of the year
  • Best individual tweeter
  • Best twitter hashtag
  • Best free web tool
  • Best educational use of audio / video / visual / podcast
  • Best educational wiki
  • Best open PD / unconference / webinar series
  • Best educational use of a social network
  • Best mobile app
  • Lifetime achievement

You can visit their website and also see previous winners, which for new people to looking to start reading blogs is a great place to start.  Here is a link to last years results.  

Friday, November 15, 2013

Smithsonian Makes Push In 3D Imaging Of Artifacts

by The Associated Press
November 13, 2013 2:15 PM
WASHINGTON (AP) — With most of its 137 million objects kept behind the scenes or in a faraway museum, the Smithsonian Institution is launching a new 3D scanning and printing initiative to make more of its massive collection accessible to schools, researchers and the public worldwide.

A small team has begun creating 3D models of some key objects representing the breadth of the collection at the world's largest museum complex. Some of the first 3D scans include the Wright brothers' first airplane, Amelia Earhart's flight suit, casts of President Abraham Lincoln's face during the Civil War and a Revolutionary War gunboat. Less familiar objects include a former slave's horn, a missionary's gun from the 1800s and a woolly mammoth fossil from the Ice Age. They are pieces of history some people may hear about but rarely see or touch.

Now the Smithsonian is launching a new 3D viewer online Wednesday with technology from 3D design firm AutoDesk to give people a closer look at artifacts in their own homes. The data can also be downloaded, recreated with a 3D printer and used to help illustrate lessons in history, art and science in schools. While some schools might acquire 3D printers for about $1,000, other users may examine the models on their computers.

Smithsonian digitization director Gunter Waibel said museums are working to redefine their relationship with audiences to become more interactive.

"Historically, museums have just tried to push data out. It's been a one-way street," he said. "Now museums are really rethinking their relationship with their audience, and they're trying to empower their audiences to help them along whatever learning journey they're on."

With the cost of 3D scanning and printing equipment declining in recent years, Waibel said there's a new opportunity for museums to transform how they collect, curate and conserve artifacts and also how they educate. Three-dimensional models can help tell stories and create more engaging lessons, he said.

Smithsonian educators are building interactive tours to view 3D models online. On the Wright Flyer aircraft from 1903, they have created hotspots to help explain its engine and wing design, and users can rotate the object in all directions for a closer look.

With two Lincoln masks, the 3D viewer allows the user to adjust lighting levels to see the aging of the president's face over the course of the war. And a 3D scan of a Chinese Buddha statue allows users to examine and unravel a story carved in its surface.

So far, the Smithsonian is devoting about $350,000 annually to 3D digitization, with companies also donating equipment. But museum officials are working to raise $15 million going forward to move the 3D lab from a suburban warehouse in Maryland to a new innovation center planned for the National Mall. There, the public could see the latest 3D technology and even make their own 3D prints of museum objects in a "maker lab."

Within minutes, a 3D printer can create a plastic replica of an object by reproducing the digital model layer by layer. Other 3D printers can reproduce objects in fiberglass, stone powder, ceramics, metal, rubber or other materials.

It's not clear how long it will take to create a large 3D collection. The pace will depend on funding and scaling up techniques the 3D lab has just begun creating, officials said. For other digitization efforts, the Smithsonian has engaged private partners and may even recruit volunteers to help. In total, the Smithsonian aims to eventually digitize 13 million objects in either 2D or 3D.

Smithsonian Secretary Wayne Clough has made digitization of artifacts a high priority since he arrived in 2008, but only more recently has 3D scanning and printing become affordable. In an interview, he said museums face a greater challenge than the digitization of documents in libraries or archives because museum artifacts are often three-dimensional.

In a new e-book published this year, Clough called on museums to speed up their work to innovate and digitize collections to make artifacts accessible for a generation born in the Internet age.
A strategic plan in 1927 once called for the Smithsonian to have an office in every state so it could reach more people, though that never came to pass. Now with more digital outreach, the museums could actually realize that dream, Clough said, with the potential to reach billions of people.

"If we look at this issue of reaching people, it's more important than ever before," Clough said, noting that museum visitation among minorities is already low. For museums that received government funding to get their start, he said governments are now saying "what's next?"

"What's next is you have to reach the schools," Clough said. "Your relevance is going to be really based in part on how much you're contributing to the educational process for young people."
While posting data online to easily replicate important artifacts might lead to some attempts to counterfeit objects to sell, Smithsonian officials said the data is provided only for educational and non-commercial use.

"People generally adhere to the terms of use, and we've had very few instances of the public misusing the content or ignoring the terms of use," said spokeswoman Sarah Sulick. "We recognize that new technologies may present new challenges, but we'll watch it carefully and take appropriate action if needed."

Other museums have also started digitizing artworks or making 3D scans of sculptures. In New York, digital guru Sree Sreenivasan was hired this year as the first chief digital officer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Smithsonian officials said they are making a unique push into scanning a wide variety of 3D objects, ranging from an ancient whale fossil found in Chile to a 3D image of a supernova in space.

Some of the latest 3D technology also could transform the experience of visiting a museum. The Smithsonian is experimenting with new projections of augmented reality with 3D imagery to help bring dinosaurs or historical figures to life in an exhibit.

"Wouldn't it be great to have Abraham Lincoln walking around talking to people?" Clough said. "It can be done."

This would be a great opportunity for social studies teachers who want to bring real world applications into the classroom and allow students to live within history.  You can learn more about the 3D aspects of the Smithsonian and artifacts already available at their website Smithsonian X 3D


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