What Do Your Students Know About Google? Part 3

Remember, you can change your background

If you have never dug deeper than the more feature on Google, you are in for a pleasant surprise with the even more category at the end or the drop down menu. Clicking it takes you to a different world of applications, and that’s where the real fun begins. Many of my favorites are there, but when Jennifer Brinson explored GOOGLE LABS, well, it was like entering another world. Some great things going on, mostly in Beta version, but very cool tools.

Explore Google’s technology playground

The first thing I learned–there are many Google Labs, so you can pick by category what you want to explore. Just in case you have some spare time, Google Labs has an APP INVENTOR FOR ANDROID but you need to request an invitation to join.

Multiple views–great in art, history, virtually any classroom

Here’s the first Google Lab app Brinson presented, and it is definitely my favorite. IMAGE SWIRL lets you see an image from many different views. Many is almost an understatement in this case. You can select from a preset image bank or enter your own search. I chose the Eiffel Tower because I toured it a few years ago in utter height fright. How Image Swirl works is really simple. Select an image, click, and you get multiple views of multiple views ad infinitum. You get a sense of almost being inside the structure, with close ups and distant shots. Definitely check out Image Swirl; I can promise you this app is almost addictive.

Interesting, but I’ll stay w/networks I know…

GOOGLE AARDVARK lets you ask a question and get an expert’s answer–within 5 minutes. You can use Aardvark on the web or go through your existing communication channels–IM, AIM, Gmail Chat, MSN Messenger, Twitter, Plurk, iPhone, or any email program. If there’s a downside to this app, it would be the account creation going via the web. Conceptually, clever, but answers do take time (more than the promised five minutes) and I just didn’t see any vark difference that I could not do faster through my social networks without the vark. Nor was I sure how expert the source was. Still, I enjoyed the trial run.

Some familiar points from last trip

GOOGLE CITY TOURS is one of those apps that I ask myself how I ever traveled without, and I can tell you I’m using it on the Greece-Italy trip this summer. On my Droid for certain. City Tours is beyond intuitive. Simply type in your city and you have a planned itinerary. Love it! I tried London, England and looking at the two-day tour was a walk down memory lane, so I tried Athens, Greece, expecting English, but it was Greek to me.

A must-ad mobile app

GOOGLE GOGGLES was one of two apps Brinson presented from the Lab sequence that I actually knew because I added it to my Droid via Market and have been using it ever since. Loads instantly; easy to use. This is one cool application and I recommend your trying it. From an educational use standpoint, imagine your students using their mobile phones as a learning tool on a field trip.

Picasa syncs to Blogger

Of all the web album hosting sites, GOOGLE PICASA is my all-time favorite. What I love about Picasa harks back to why I like the Google suite; everything is in one place with ease of use. It’s easy to like Google; if you use Blogger (I have 3 Blogger blogs), your images autosave to Picasa. If you are concerned with the move to the Pro version (paid), I can tell you that will take thousands of images before you need to upgrade (or create a new account). For ease of use if you are a Blogger (or not), this one’s for you.

FLU TRENDS, IN QUOTES (interesting point counterpoint here), and GOOGLE MARS (absolutely beautiful) concluded Brinson’s 42 minute tour of Google extras. It was a fast fun class and the students loved her teaching style and content; it was one of those perfect days when everything clicked. And it took 3 blog posts to capture.

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3 Comments

  1. Gina Chocallo said:

    RJ,
    I really appreciate what Google has to offer, and I enjoyed some of the aspects of Google you presented that I was not familiar with. The Google Apps can be incorporated into any classroom and be beneficial. In my own classroom, Google Apps such as Google Earth and Sky are amazing tools to use. They allow the students to “travel” and experience places they otherwise could not. For example, it allows you to add features such as volcanoes and earthquakes to the globe. Then, as you click on the icons more information is available, such as pictures and USGS data. There are settings which allow you to track animal migration, and view the deep sea trenches of the ocean bottom; just as if we were actual oceanographers.

  2. Benjamin Belden said:

    This article (along with the others on Google) were fascinating since even though I use Google every day and even consider myself fairly knowledgeable about advanced functions of the site there were still a number of tools and features I had never heard of or tried before. Of the ones in this post, Google City Tours is the most interesting. I have used Google Maps many times to locate places or obtain directions and I had never seen this feature before. The level of detail it provides down to how much time you can expect to spend at a place and how long it will take you to walk from one point to another is amazing. Image Swirl was another highlight. As an educator, I am always looking for interesting pictures to find for use in my classroom. I loved typing topics into the search and found great pictures much faster than I would have if I was doing a simple image search and it was much more fun searching too. Thanks for the great overview and highlighting some of these new and upcoming tools.

  3. RJ Stangherlin said:

    @Gina,
    On the odd chance that you will get to read this comment, I would LOVE if you would be a guest blogger and write about your uses of Google. If you are interested, email me at rjstangherlin@stsd.org and we can get your work posted!

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