Useful sites (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Sepia Town

I really like Sepia Town. This wonderful site  that enables you to view and share thousands of mapped historical images from around the world. “Sepia Town lets people experience the past through a large and growing collection of user-submitted, mapped historical images.”

Although it is still early days, there are  over 500 images currently on the site, and are intersted in more photos being uploaded. At the moment it is a somewhat busy looking map with thumbnails of those images that have been uploaded but they are so interesting. Using Google maps to pinpoint locate where the photo has been taken and the direction is a boon as well.

The Sepia Town creators are planning to add new features over the coming months like “a mobile version, filtering by date and media type, film and audio upload, plus individualized pages for registered users.”

It would be great to see enough pictures uploaded on the site that in time you’ll be able to see many angles of the same street and compare a street view year by year.

The next thing  would like to see is more detail for Australian places. Sydney has a few photos, Brisbane just one and there do not seem to be any for Melbourne at all.

Earth view – new imagery from Google maps

Google has just released Earth view – new imagery for Google Maps. The new view, available to all those that have installed Google Earth browser plugin, enables you to view Google Earth 3D imagery and more in Google Maps. To use Earth View in Google Maps simply click the “Earth” button next to the map, statellite, et buttons in the upper-right corner of Google Maps.

Basically Google Maps now supports a multi-dimensional exploration of the world in a similar way to Google Earth and you can also share the Google Maps Earth views just as you would share any other view in Google Maps. Likewise you can create placemarks whilst using the Earth View.

There are 36 places showcased. You can view them by clicking the “More places” link. Some of the 3D views that you can look at include the Reichstag,
the Taj Mahal, the Sydney Opera House,  the Leaning tower of Pisa, the Matterhorn, Table Mountain and an underwater, 3D view of the wreckage of the Titanic.

This might be useful for those students using Google maps as they will be able to view locations in 3D as well as use 3D imagery in any Google Maps tours.

It is worth playing around with Earth View for yourself to really get a feel for it or you can choose to watch the video below to learn more about it.

Trailers and e-books

I love my illustrated books. Some of my old picture books have such beautiful illustrations. There is now new approach to the classic Alice in Wonderland story… and with a difference, the classic illustrations have been brought to life for the iPad.

This app makes the story interactive. This particular form is not meant to be read sitting still. It can be shaken and turned. There are many interactive elements on the screen to move around, fall down or jump up.  If  you tilt your iPad you can make Alice grow big as a house, or shrink to just six inches tall. It is “odds on” that the kids will love it. I too would love to try it but unfortunately because of the US success the date for the sale of ipads in Australia has been delayed. For now I will just have to make do with this demonstration. I notice that Alice for the iPad is available from the App Store and there is also a free, lite version.

Another beautiful trailer was brought to my notice by my colleague Tania Sheko this week. Neil Gaiman’s journal/blog post, which he labels “just happiness”, he remarks on how happy he is with the result of a collaboration with Charles Vess. In the trailer he is reading his poem Instructions, and Charles Vess illustrations accompanying the words. In the trailer we see the illustrations of Vess developing from pencil drawings to delicate paintings. It is such a whimsical trailer to promote Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess’s upcoming children’s picture book: Instructions. It really whets my appetite for the book.

This week I was at a conference where there was one session on some ebook options. I have also been discussing the future of eBooks with the adminstration at my school and with other teacher librarians and teachers. We are still really at the beginning of the journey with eBooks and there is no clear direction except that the eBook, in one form or another, is here to stay.

The “old technology” hard-copy book version, that has been around for about 500 years (in its common format) is a well-loved and remarkably robust  invention. I believe that eBooks can happily coexist with the paper versions as do audio books. The eBooks can provide access to a library of books, anywhere, anytime and in a very compact package, great if you are on a long flight for instance. I am beginning to regularly see people on trains checking news headlines on the iPhones. This is great if you have limited space or if you have only few minutes to read. Audio books and podcasts also fulfil a need, especially for visually impaired or if you need a hands-free version of the story. They can, in addition, offer a performance akin to a drama in some instances as with my own BBC radio collection titles.  I regularly listen to podcasts out walking or when I am on long drives on country roads. They are great companions on my journeys.

I have also tried eBooks with some of our students and so far they have no clear preference for one form over the other. It depends on many factors and they are really quite forthcoming about the strengths and weakness of each form. So I believe that the “old” book has little to fear in the near term from the new eBook version. Rather they can happily co-exist and support each other.

Useful sites (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.


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