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
This branched out into Google Maps, Sketchup and even Swivel. I heard about some great projects being done by 4th and 5th graders using sketchup to create Incan (or Mayan?) ruins and then putting them in Google Earth. I’m really interested in seeing the examples but don’t have a link yet. The most interesting part of the discussion to me was a reminder of the googlelookup function in Google spreadsheets. You can use it to look up latitude/longitude coordinates for cities it appears and the use it to create an xml file. The cool thing to do would be to generate that data, the city’s population, avg. temp etc. (whatever interesting data you can pull through lookup or manually) and then push it to Swivel. And then, and then, and then you embed the Swivel data in the info window for each city. It’s sad how exciting that seems to me. Besides that I got some good links to look at later which are posted in del.icio.us if you’re interested.
I love the way in some videos you can click on images or text on the screen and they are interactive- taking you to URLs or different portions of the video. I really feel that in education, and elsewhere, this has amazing potential. Making text interactive through hyperlinks changed the world so doing the same thing with video is likely to have some real power as well. I’m not a big fan of Flash so I had explored a few of the Quicktime options (mainly Livestage Pro. The software creating these movies is fairly expensive and has a pretty steep learning curve. Not ideal for education or for encouraging student/teacher use (or me for that matter and I like this stuff). Enter Asterpix (I know, with a 12-3-07 launch I’m late to the ball). This online service (registration required) allows you to add clickable links to movies. It plays nicely with Youtube and gives you and embed code. See example above. While it’s not quite as slick as I’d like- it makes up for it in terms of ease of use and pure getting things done. I’m very happy. There’s something to be said for just increasing the amount, as well as adding different formats, of data in videos and then there are a lot of creative options you could […]
My wife and I were talking about personal responsibility last night. It was the age-old debate about who to blame for the state of the world. More specifically, the state of children (we are both teachers). We both recognized that there are companies actively marketing products, services, and entertainment to teenagers that is clearly inappropriate for their age. As most of these conversations go, we both agreed that in a free-market based economy, the people still have the power (whether they use it or not). We can always vote with our money and time. Parents have the added burden of keeping tabs on their children and the choice they make. I encountered IMSafer a couple weeks ago and, to be honest with you, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. The site/software monitors chats and notifies you via email if something fishy seems to be going on. I worry about parents who keep such a tight grip on their children that the kids end up more deviant. IMSafer has the potential of being used in an abusive way. I suppose it would depend on how you went about using it. Looking at the product information, the site claims to have talked with law enforcement officials about how inappropriate relationships are initiated and maintained. The monitor can even pick up […]