Personal Google Maps
Google now lets you create online annotated maps with amazingly simple tools. You can add info windows (with html), plot lines and add polygons. It really is the easiest thing imagineable. Go there and try it.
This example map has absolutely no point. I just made it on the fly to prove to myself how easy this is. Do you know how long this would have taken to do in the “old” days (earlier this year or yesterday really)? Things really are moving fast.
I am so happy, it’s almost sad.
via O’Reilly Radar
These things are less techy and more inspired by pop culture once again but I thought they were worth remembering. Scion Crest Generator – While the choices aren’t unlimited, this nice flash interface will help you make a lot of different crests. The real power would be in requiring logic for the various choices and in that way the restrictions almost work for you- less time in building and more time spent on why your choices make sense. You could do this with just about any character or historical figure. The really nice thing is the image sizes are really good- up to 2048×1536 so you could print them out and do other things with them or just use them as a starting point in Photoshop or some other image editor. For instance, I made the crest above for this blog. The wrenches on the left to represent the DIY ethic of much of the stuff I like. The circuit board patter on the right to represent the technology. Then the broadcasting icon represented RSS to me and the fire is for igniting a passion for learning. The wolf is because I like to bite people. I just liked the wolf, a little gritty and banged up from the real world. Corny, I know, but you get the idea. It’d […]
So I worked with a great ITRT and former science teacher, Gaynell Lyman, to look at ways we might use both Swivel and the googlelookup function in google spreadsheets to see what we could do to save time and get to the actual learning. Concept We wanted students to be able to see how various factors changed as you move across the periodic table and how they interrelate. The goal was also to have them look at the charts and manipulate them to figure out these concepts on their own. Steps The idea was not to get them to look up data from a chart and re-write it in another chart so we opted to try using google’s lookup function. It performed pretty well but wouldn’t look up some of the values we initially started with and with some of the others it opted for slightly different formats for the same concept (like 185 mu or mu 185). A minor issue but one to look for. What we did was list the elements in column A, in column B we did a googlelookup of atomic radius with the formula =googlelookup(A2,”atomic radius” and then a similar formula to get the data for electronegativity. We were hoping to get a bit more data but the lookup function, while neat, is still pretty […]
The kind and brilliant folks at MIT have come out with a new Exhibit API that allows for more flexibility and power. The bonus is that it looks good doing it. I’ve now revised my Google spreadsheet fed history example to use some of the new power. It’s here if you’re interested. In the end I opted to mimic their new presidents layout (much like I mimicked their old presidents layout). This time I had a better reason than pure ignorance of the API (I now have impure ignorance after all). Their new layout is really right in line with what I’d like to focus on this year- data visualization/interaction. The new layout has the map right their with the time line. I like that. Time and location on one easy interactive page. Add in their option to sort and hide/expand sets based on the data you define and you’ve got something really powerful that will help students make connections. A simple example is if I restrict my set to show only “explorers” then suddenly in the map and the time line things change. I notice explorers were mainly earlier and than none were born in the Americas (obvious to you and I but maybe the spark some kids need). Then I switch map views and I see that explorers […]