Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Augmented Reality

The front page of the Windsor Star yesterday was an ad. That wasn't the surprising part. What was interesting is the Layar logo. When you see this logo that means there is extra content that you can see if looking with the right tool. That tool is a smartphone with the Layar App. Here are two views of the ad. The one on the right is the print ad, the one on the left is the print ad as viewed through the Layar App (view the print ad via the camera on your phone and extra, clickable, content appears).

Tapping on any of the icons that appear on your screen then takes you to a YouTube video about that particular item.
This seems to one of the latest trends in the web based world. It's called augmented reality. This is the ability to look at your surroundings and have technology enhance what is already there with new information. To get a sense of what this could be, take a look at this video from the labs at Google Maps.
More recently Google has started to introduce Google Goggles. Originally only available for Android phones, the app is now also available for the iPhone. With Google Goggles, you can now use your phone to do visual searches. Maybe you are at a book store and want to do search about a book you have seen. Just take a picture using your Google Goggle app and your phone does the search based on the picture. Or maybe you see a sign written in a foreign language. Just use your Google search to take a picture of it and do the translation for you.
Of course Google has taken that a step further with Project Glass:

Google founder Sergey Brin has been out an about showing off the prototype which may be available next year:
So I guess we are not that far away from Minority Report but in the mean time have a good time augmenting your reality.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Take some of the pressure off yourself by creating a classroom website using Google sites (GUEST POST)

If you can cut and paste, you can easily create your own classroom website 
using Google sites. It is a way to help your students become more independent learners. My classroom site can be viewed at the following link: https://sites.google.com/site/catholiccentralbio/

Why did I build a classroom site?
I was tired of being the only resource my students relied on for information outside the textbook. I wanted to teach them that the Internet is a great resource for information if you can properly discriminate between useful and useless information.

When did I get started?
Getting the class site started was an adventure I began three years ago. Slowly but surely I have added to it. Whenever I find something that is applicable to the site I will add it. This has not been an overnight project. Small and steady steps have lead to building it to the point it is at now.

How do you get things started? 
I created a Google account that gives you access to all the useful tools Google has such as reader, sites, docs, and many more. You may already have a Google account under Tools2Go* or it can provided to you by the board. 
You also have the option to create a new account. 
*Please contact Joe Sisco (joe_sisco@wecdsb.on.ca) or 
Doug Sadler (doug_sadler@wecdsb.on.ca) for registration information

This is what I have done. I created the address Mr.Cullion@gmail.com
This is my work gmail account and all professional activities I engage in (RSS feeds, etc.) go through this address.

Powerpoint presentation about
How do the students access it?
I keep my site private and allow access only to students and people I have provided the link to. I have the students create a gmail account that is THIERNAMECCH@Gmail.COM. This dissuades them from any mischievous activity on the site. I have them send me their gmail address and I share the site with them in the permissions section. To date I have not had a problem with students accessing the site and using it inappropriately. It has been well received and has made a lot of students homework lives much less frustrating.

Ian Cullion is a Science teacher at Catholic Central High School
@cchbiology on twitter

TES... A Must-have Resource for All Teachers (GUEST POST)

The Largest Network of Teachers in the World

TES is a UK based network site for teachers. This website offers a collection of over 400 000 teaching resources that can be used in the classroom. Free sign-up is required in order to access the resources and other offered features of the site.
Resources from the following levels can be accessed:

  • pre-elementary
  • elementary
  • secondary 
  • special education (SEN: Special Education Needs)
  • whole school resources

TES also includes a forum, job postings (UK) and access to the TES magazine. 


1) This website provides links to Teacher TV
(Embedded and downloadable videos that can be used to enhance lessons at the primary and secondary level)

2) Lesson plans-nearly every subject area
(Usually in the form of Word documents)

3) Power point and Smart Board lessons

4) Variety of classroom resources

5) Opportunity to network with other educators

6) iboard (new to TES)-free 30 day trial 
includes full unit plans and units of work, additional printable materials and access to premium interactive resources.

Teachers can find ENTIRE UNITS of work, TEACHING IDEAS,
and SKILL BUILDERS (online activities)

The greatest part I find about TES is that once you I have found lessons and power-point/smart board presentations that I want to use, they can easily be saved to the desktop to allow for editing to suit my needs. 

Stephanie Pellett is a teacher at Catholic Central High School, 
she is interested in health and wellness and looks forward to her next teaching opportunity! 
Good day, Mate!