Friday, January 23, 2009

Applications for Google Earth

Did you know that you can use Google Earth for more than looking at your home from a  satellite?
That's right, Google Earth can give you a lot of information. If, for example, you click the little "+" next to Gallery, under the Layers frame you will see several options. Clicking on one of them, like New York Times, will place icons showing every location where there is a story in the Times. Under 
Geographic Web you can select places where there are Wikipedia
But there is still an even more exciting application that can be used. From the Google Earth website (not the Google Earth program but the website (, you select Gallery from the menu on the left and choose from several topic areas, one of which is Educational. Each topic has applications that can be opened in Google Earth. When you click on the "Open in Google Earth" link the application is transferred to your Google Earth program and can be found under the Temporary Places folder in the Places frame.
There are some excellent educational applications that can be used in the classroom. Things like "World Population Density," "Darfur--Destruction of 1,000 Villages," and "Age of Exploration: Magellan's Circumnavigation of the World," can enhance a lecture or discussion with information that visually enhances learning. 

Click here for a short video on adding these applications to your Google Earth program.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Creating Screen Captures

TechSmith, who produces Camtasia Studio and Snagit, also provide a free screen capture program (available for both PC and Mac) that will allow you to create short (5 minutes or less, but should a screeen capture really be longer than that?) videos. 
This product is called Jing. Today, Jing is offering an expanded set of features in Jing Pro, which costs $14.95 a year. For this price you get a better quality of movie (an MPEG-4 AVC), smaller video files, a link to upload directly to YouTube (you can still upload to other video sharing applications like Facebook), and the Jing branding is gone from the final product. 
I've attached a sample video I created using the free Jing. This file was uploaded to, which has some free space for Jing users and clicking on the link will take you to Screencast where you can view it.  The movie gives instructions on adding photos to Office 2007's PowerPoint.