"Send me a text..."

The New York Times online edition's Personal Tech page published an article you might be interested in: "They're old enough to text. Now what?" The article is written by John Biggs, and was published: 26 August 2009.

Mr. Biggs describes how "children today have a plethora of high-tech gadgets they can use to phone and — more commonly — text with one another. The question most parents have is what type of texting gadget is appropriate for which age group." He gives some interesting parental viewpoints, and profiles example devices and plans a family might consider. Though the story is from the USA, the issues involved are universal.

Howard Gardner on Edutopia

This video of Howard Gardner on the Edutopia web site, came my way through the Diigo Literacy with ICT group. In the video, Dr. Garder discusses several questions:
1. What are specific ethical issues you see kids struggling when they use digital media?
2. How is our sense of identity changing in the digital world? How can adults learn from kids and guide them at the same time?
3. Digital tools make it extremely easy to communicate with anyone in the world. What are the opportunities and challenges for kids?
4. Do you think digital media are having a negative impact on kids' attention span? What are the implications for home and school?
5. How does teaching and learning change in a world where information is at your fingertips?

© Edutopia.org; The George Lucas Educational Foundation. Used with permission.

Get closer to the sky---through your computer

LifeHacker blog has been highlighting astronomy software recently. Have a look at these:

WorldWide Telescope "... it used to be a Windows-only desktop application. Now, provided you're running an operating system that supports Microsoft's Silverlight browser plug-in, you can enjoy the same star-gazing fun from any browser." (link)

"WorldWide Telescope (WWT) enables your computer to function as a virtual telescope, bringing together imagery from the best ground and space-based telescopes in the world. Experience narrated guided tours from astronomers and educators featuring interesting places in the sky." (link)
Watch the TED talk about the WorldWide Telescope:

Stellarium "Windows/Mac/Linux: Whether you're a die-hard astronomy buff or someone who'd just like an idea of what constellations are where, Stellarium is a fantastic tool for viewing the night sky from the comfort of your home. ...At its most basic, Stellarium will display the night sky as seen from anywhere on earth. Delving into the more advanced features you can do all sorts of really interesting things like see the constellations for a dozen different cultures—the Pegasus from Greek mythology is the Turtle in the Navajo tradition." (link)

photo credit: poulz
"Stellarium is a free open source planetarium for your computer. It shows a realistic sky in 3D, just like what you see with the naked eye, binoculars or a telescope. It is being used in planetarium projectors. Just set your coordinates and go." (link)
Watch this video from YouTube created with Stellarium:

Celestia is a free space simulation that lets you explore our universe in three dimensions. Celestia runs on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X. Celestia doesn't confine you to the surface of the Earth. You can travel throughout the solar system, to any of over 100,000 stars, or even beyond the galaxy.

"Looking down at Mars's tiny moon Phobos and the giant Valles Marineris rift valley." photo link

This video shows some of the features of Celestia:

You'll find an extensive list of astronomy software at http://www.midnightkite.com/software.html

Reposted from SpaceQuest

Finding photos on Flickr

Flickr has redesigned its search results page.  Now you can see small  previews of photos, information about each one without even having to visit its individual  page.

There are many, many other web sites  you can use to search Flickr photos.  Among them are:


You can search by text or tag, within Creative Commons licenses, and with a safe search option. This would be a good tool for finding a photo to use in a project that will be published on the web.  Don't forget to note the photo credit information to include in your own work.

Search by tag, and see the results as photos, and a list of tags with which to refine your search. This would be a great tool to teach search skills, and refining a search string, because the changes in results are so easy to see.


Flickr Related Tag browser
This is also a great tool with which to teach search skills.  Enter a tag, and suggested refinements appear as a circle around the original word, along with a small sphere of photos

FlickrStorm is my favorite tool. Before you enter your search term, click on "advanced", choose a Creative Commons liscense that will allow you to publish your work.  Then enter your search term, and click "Search". As you select photos from the search return, a larger image opens on the left, and under the picture you have 3 options: "Open on Flickr", "Add to tray", and "Download". If you click "Add to tray",  you will build up a collection of photos.  When you're finished,you can download your collection, complete with photo credit information.

David Jakes has created these fine pdf filesyou can download: FlickrStorm Tutorial

Multicolr Search Lab
Here you search by color (up to 10), not tags.  This is a very interesting tool, intended for web designers, but with interesting possibilites for language learners, art students, etc.

Visit these older posts about using photos from Flickr: Keywords/Tagging

Using other people's pictures in your work