Life Long Learning in Action

Monday, June 30, 2008

Google Applications and Google Sketchup

Tonight is my last night of class for a ten session graduate class at SUNY New Paltz which is part of the Classroom Technology Institute (CTI) summer classes. The title of the course is Google Applications for Teachers. I had a lot of fun taking this course! Here is a list of some of the different Google tools that we have explored.

GMail

Google Calendar

Google Documents

Google SketchUp

Picasa

Google Reader

Google Earth

Blogger

and iGoogle

Quite a bit of these web-based applications I am familiar with and use. Regardless of what I use I find there is always new things to learn about these types of tools. It is interesting hearing from other teachers how they look to use these tools in their classrooms.

One tool I had a lot of fun playing and working with was Google SketchUp. This application brings me back to my technical drawing classes back in high school!

Here is a quick snapshot I took from the project I worked on for the course. I decided to try my best at drafting up a model of the school I teach in.

Google Sketchup

On the left monitor is an aerial view of my school via Google Earth. On the right screen I tried my best to draw the different portions. It is amazing how powerful a free application such as this is. Kevin Jarrett informed me via Twitter that Google SketchUp Pro is free for educators. I look forward to going through the process of obtaining one of these free teacher licenses in order to see the type of features that are present in the Pro version.

Enough about me...

My question for teachers out there is...what Google tool do you use the most personally? Also, which is your favorite to use with your students?

I hope everyone is having a wonderful summer!

Monday, June 16, 2008

New Free Apps for the Mac

Found these free apps the other day when looking for presentation support software.

One is called Desktop Curtain which displays a blank desktop right in front of your cluttered desktop.
Many Tricks · Desktop Curtain.jpg

The other application is called Plainview. Plainview is a full screen web browser.
plainview _ software _ the barbarian group.jpg

Both are free and both work great. I am the type of user who does not like anything on my desktop but I still leave folders and files there that I am working on. Sometimes I just turn on the Desktop Curtain in order to "forget" about what it is I probably should be working on!



Sunday, June 15, 2008

Internet Video and Copyright Infringement: Be careful!

I am evil...at least in the eyes of the music industry. For my evilness they have slapped my wrist.

1 year and 8 months ago I made a video containing short clips of my son's first four months. I also added in 5 minutes of Lynryd Skynrd's song "Simple Man" as a background track. I shared the video with family members and on a whim decided to add it to Youtube along with clips of my son's first Halloween and first words. This is where I messed up. It is a mistake many make, and probably do not realize they are making.

I foolishly thought my little video would be seen only by my own family and the friends they shared the video with. I knew the risks. I knew online videos are open to everyone unless the user makes their videos private. But I decided to fight the law and see what would happen. (In reality, I was just naive, and did not feel there was a threat to my video).

Even after I started learning more about content online and copyright issues, I did not take the video down because I was curious to see if it would be noticed.

Almost two years later my video has performed as I predicted...

YouTube - Noah Music Video.jpg

With 300+ views I can tell you that 90% were from my own mother showing the video to her friends. Regardless, this does not excuse my usage of protected works.

Today I received notification from Youtube that this video had been found to contain music belonging to Universal Music Group. Or at least, I assume "UMG" stands for Universal.

Here is a screenshot of the email that was sent to me...

Youtube.jpg

As you can see my punishment is weak. Their claim allows them to include advertisements on my video page. At first I was relieved my little video could still stay up. This seemed very fair, until I visited my page and saw this...

YouTube - Noah Music Video-1.jpg

I have since removed the video and hope to hear from others. Has this happened to you?

How can we as educators share an experience such as this with our students as they venture out and create digital projects?