YouTube Has Sentenced TV to Death

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As I was reading through my mail I stumbled upon this infographic about YouTube and I liked it and so decided to share it with you. It shows how YouTube has revolutionized the moving picture science and how TVs lost terrain  for Live streaming services on YouTube. If you ever had doubts about the importance of YouTube in our life then I invite you to read the infographic and see the stats there and I am sure you will change your mind.

Here is the infographic I have taken from

YouTube Killed TV
By Freemake, proud developer of YouTube Converter

Viewbix Easily Add Captions and Titles to Your Videos

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Today I am introducing a very practical video tool that you can use with your students in your classrooms. The tool is called Viewbix. It allows its users to add interactive buttons or apps to their videos in order to engage viewers and call for action. It works just with YouTube, Vimeo, and Facebook videos which is for us in education  pretty much enough.

"The apps overlay dynamic content on top of your YouTube, Vimeo or Facebook videos to create a rich viewing experience that can be shared across the web, social and mobile platforms."

  Viewbix  also allows its users  to add descriptions and photos that others can view when they click on the buttons shown on the screen. In addition, when you finish customizing your video in Viewbix you can then share it with the world through a unique URL or through a generated HTML code embeddable in websites, blogs and websites.

Teachers can use use Viewbix to create video tutorials where they can include call for action buttons for students to click on. It is a highly effective tool in education and I do invite educators to give it a try and see by themselves.

To start using Viewbix , you need to head over to their main page and open your free account. Once logged then just provide the URL of the video you want to work on from Facebook, Vimeo or YouTube then choose the buttons you want to include and give them a title and a link and there you go. Yes it is as easy as it sounds.

Some features of Viewbix

Here is a list of the main features that Viewbix offers to its users :

It is free
It is easy to use
It has a user friendly interface
It allows users to customize their videos with titles , descriptions, links and many more
You can share your videos via a unique link or through an HTML code
You can save your videos to your Viewbix account and edit them anytime you want
It allows you to include photo feeds, coupons, Google maps, RSS feeds, QR codes and more .

Viewbix can be a great educational tool if used appropriately and I do invite you to give it a try.

Subjot Read Only What Interests You In Twitter and Facebook

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Subjot is a great tool for educators using social networking in their work. I know all of us use at least Facebook and Twitter , others use many more than that.  Can you imagine having to stay updated and read the posts your friends and people you follow post everyday in those social websites you are part of ? You might end up having dozens or even hundreds of posts everyday but only few of them are of some interest to you. To sift through the whole bunch will waste you more and more time you might not even have and you might even probably not care because that is way too much than you can handle. Subjot is the solution, It acts as a filter by letting you read only posts that interest you.  

How can Iget started using Subjot ?

Head over to Subjot main page and log in with either your Twitter or Facebook account. Once logged in then you  can choose the subjects that interest you and that you would like to follow. Now whenever you logged in to your account on Subjot you will only see posts from your friends that relate to your specified topics.
Users will also be able to drop comments and follow other  users they like and view their profiles. They can also write their own thoughts and tag them to a specific subject.

Some features of Subjot 

Here are the main features that Subjot offers to its users:

  • It is free
  • It is easy to use
  • It has a user friendly interface
  • It lets you log in using either your Twitter or Facebook account
  • It allows users to filter posts from their social feeds by focusing only on interested topics
  • It lets you follow people of mutual interest and build your own community
  • It also allows its users to jot down their own thoughts and share them with others in Facebook and Twitter
  • It lets you receive email notifications

I really think that educators need to give Subjot a try and see by themselves. I personally see it as a great tool for personnal and professional development.

Songzilla Stream and Download Songs and Lyrics for Free

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Here is a great music site I want to introduce to my readers today. It is called Songzilla. This website is going to be  of great help to those teachers who have trouble finding the appropriate websites where to download music for free.

Songzilla does not put a limit on how much music you can stream for free which many other websites do, so all is free . What is even greater is that you can look for lyrics right inside the site so you can have both songs and their lyrics , your students would love it . It is very helpful for language students who are trying to pick up English.

By using Grooveshark , users can be able to look for specific songs using search criterion such as the artist' name, the title of the song or the name of the album . Users can also use their Facebook accounts to log in to Songzilla and create their own favourite lists where they can mark the songs they like. They can also share songs with their friends and colleagues. I do like this website and I do recommend it for you.

Some features of Sonzilla

Here is a list of the important features Songzilla offers to its users:

  • It is free
  • It is user friendly and simple to use
  • It lets you log in using your Facebook account to log in
  • Users can create favourite lists of songs they like and share them with others 
  • Users can also use the search options to look for songs and lyrics they like
  • It lets users stream and download songs

If you think Songzilla can help you some then head over to its main page and start exploring it.

Google Announced Great Improvements to its Apps

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Google is always amazing us with its constant updates and news. Just recently some great improvements have been introduced. It has namely improved Google presentations and introduced a new version of Google docs optimized for Android tablets.

Google Presentations Updates

Google has recently added some awesome features to Google  docs enabling thus its users to build nice looking presentations, among these features we can mention as an example :

  1. Users can now make great looking slides with animated builds
  2. Google added advanced slide transitions
  3. Google Docs has now a better support for drawings, tables and themes
  4. Users can now collaboratively create presentations without the need for any attachments
  5. They can also work on the same version of presentation and be able to see real time changes being done by their colleagues, they can also chat with them as they work

Google Docs Optimized for Android Tablets

With this new improvement, Google has made it easy and fast for Android tablet users to use Google Docs. The app is completely free and adds several advantages such as :

  • Larger screen real estate
  • Three panel view that allows users to browse filters and collections, see document lists  file thumbnails, and details simultaneously
  • make quick changes to spreadsheets
  • take a photo of printed text and convert it to Google docs
  • share docs with your android contacts

If you want to get this app , it is free and available in Android Market
You can also visit Google Mobile Blog to learn more

Google Finally Introduced The Digital Bookcase

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Google has recently introduced a new experimental product that will really amaze educators and bookworms. It is the digital bookcase. Yes you have a traditional bookcase at home in your living room where you organize your books and now you can have another bookcase that is virtual and will hold as many electronic books as possible , and guess what ? it is much organized than the traditonal one you might have home.

The digital bookcase operates with the latest technology and has an infinite 3D helix.

" The books are organized into 28 subjects. To choose a subject, click the subject button near the top of your screen when viewing the bookcase. The camera then flies to that subject. Clicking on a book pulls it off the shelf and brings it to the front and center of the screen. Click on the high-resolution cover and the book will open to a page with title and author information as well as a short synopsis, provided by the Google Books API. All of the visuals are rendered with WebGL, a technology in Google Chrome and other modern browsers that enables fast, hardware-accelerated 3D graphics right in the browser, without the need for a plug-in. " taken from Official Google Blog
Here is a video to learn more about the digital bookcase

You can also read Google's original article to learn more

Designing an Infinite Digital Bookcase

5 stones

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"kymapetra consists of 5 stones arranged in a crescent around a central basin filled with water. The spectator, laying his hand on top of a stone resonates with her. The rustling body / matter is transformed into sound vibrations. They become visible on the surface of the water in a myriad of ripples. The propagation of acoustic vibrations on the surface of the water then draws a geometric composition consists of hollow bellies. The figures vary depending on the intensity of the contact person and stones." (via google translate)

wifi painting

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"WiFi uses high frequency radio to set up a data connection between a base station and device with a WiFi receiving antenna. The WiFi signal strength describes how much of the radio waves that the base station beams off that is received by the mobile device. What you see in the light-paintings is the signal strength of a WiFi network represented as a light-painted graph." Oslo School of Architecture (Yourban), via Space and Culture

ClassParrot Free Text Messaging between Teachers and Students

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ClassParrot is a website for teachers. It allows its users" to send  text messages back and forth between students, parents, and teachers without revealing anybody's phone number". No need need to fret,  your phone number will not be shown to anyone and you are the only person who can have access to it. This technology is highly educational, private, efficient, fast, and reliable.

Statistics have proved that teenagers or at least a huge number of them prefer text messaging to emails. This is generation Next and they depend wholly on mobile technology to do everything in their life. As educators we need to take advantage of this fact and start implementing this technology in our teaching. They will for sure like it and feel more comfortable working with it.

How can teachers use ClassParrot

Teachers can use ClassParrot to do many things such as :

  1. create a quick polling and Q/A platform in and outside the classroom
  2. Remind students of their upcoming exams and quizzes
  3. Send homework updates and events reminders
  4. Interact with parents and brief them about their kids learning and achievement

You might be asking yourself why using ClassParrot when teachers can just go ahead and ask for students' phone numbers and use them directly ? Well this is not a guarranted educational way plus there is no law to cover either you or students when you do so, ClassParrot has even clearly explained this point when it said

Direct phone-to-phone text messaging presents legal risks for schools. Educators and students exchanging personal contact information create unavoidable liabilities that could potentially cause serious problems in an academic setting. Aside from being unsafe, traditional text messaging becomes cumbersome for educators because it is not intended for mass communication. 
ClassParrot addresses both of these issues. It’s safe: ClassParrot is a closed messaging system where there is never any need to share personal information directly with students. It’s convenient: ClassParrot is optimized for all educators – including teachers, administrators, coaches, program facilitators, mentors and tutors. The system facilitates the enrollment process (for all message recipients) so that educators can effortlessly text one student or an entire class." Taken from ClassParrot

Some features of Classparrot 

Here is a list of some of the best features that ClassParrot offers to its users :

  • It is partly free. It offers 500 messages for free but you can invite your peers and get 200 messages more for each one you invited
  • Teachers can use any computer to send messages and students will get them right in their phones
  • Subscribed students and parents will be able to communicate with the teacher and answer back his messages
  • It enables students and teachers to talk freely and " without giving up their privacy or talking on liability"

How can I get started using ClassParrot ?

It is very easy to use. Teachers need to head over to ClassParrot main page and create their own class. When they are done a unique code and phone number will be generated for them. It is this code that they need to share with students and parents who, in their turn, will have to send a text message to that phone number to sign up for notifications for that class.

If you need to learn more about Classparrot then i I invite you to read their FAQ page.

ScreenChomp Use your iPad as a Whiteboard

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ScreenChomp is a great mobile app for iPad. It provides it users with a white screen where they can draw or do whatever they want. The app is very handy and smartly done and students and teachers can benefit a lot from it. There are a number of markers that you can use to make your drawings , and whatever you do on it is automatically recorded so that you will be able to see and share it with the world if you want.

Besides the Whitebaord, ScreenChomp also allows you to use  the pictures you have taken or downloaded with your iPad . You can customize them the way you want by adding, tweaking , writing or pointing arrows to illustrate whatever you are about to explain. You can also upload your favourite videos and share them with your friends using a unique URL. Videos can also be posted to Facebook with a single click or tweeted right from the app. You can also download the video as an MPEG-4 file.

Some Features of ScreenChomp ?

Here is a list of the best features that ScreenChomp offers to its users:

  • It is free
  • It has a user friendly interface
  • It is easy and simple to use
  • It lets you sketch out your ideas using markers on a white board
  • It lets you upload your videos and share them with your friends using a unique link
  • It is compatible with iPad and requires iOS42 or later 

Applications of ScreenChomp in education 

ScreenChomp is a great educationl app that both teachers and students can use in their education.  Apart from the easy and step by step tutorials you can make , ScreenChomp can help educators do many other things like :

"Users at every skill level can create bite-sized teaching morsels they can share online, again and again, with this delectable app. 
STUDENTS: Help each other with homework and work together on projects.TEACHERS: Tutor kids while away from school, or record a few tips to send home with them.MENTORS: Tutor youngsters from afar, without buying desktop recording software.KIDS: Share doodles and ideas with friends " taken from ScreenChomp Page

QuickScreenShare A Great Screen Sharing Tool

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QuickScreemShare is a great web tool. It allows its users to share their computer screens with friends and colleagues. The service does not require any registration and is above all very easy to use, a fact which makes out of QuickScreemShare one of the best screen sharing tools online.

This service which is a side project from the creators of is still in beta which means that bugs might appear from time to time. What I really like about QuickScreemShare is its simplicity, for example when you want to share your screen with a friend of yours who is just a beginner in technology then you do not need to worry if he will be able to run it appropriately for all he has to do is click on a link that you will send to him and that's it.

Some features of QuickScreemShare ?

Here is a list of some of the best features that this screen sharing tool offers to its users :

  • It is free
  • It does not require any registration or software installation
  • It has a user friendly interface
  • It does need Java to be installed on your computer which I think all of us have 
  • It works on Windows, Mac, and Linux
  • It allows you to share your computer screen with your colleagues
  • It even lets you control mouse and keyboard

How can i get started using QuickScreemShare ?

To get started using this screen sharing tool you need to watch this short video tutorial

Applications of QuickScreenShare in Education

QuickScreenShare is a great screen sharing tool that educators need to be using. Teachers can use it with their students to guide them through the hardest steps in a certain learnt procedure. They can also use it to explain to them a how to tutorial. Students can use it to share information and materials between each other especially when working on a class project. It will definitely help them learn how to work collaboratively , a skill which every 21st century learner need to have.

Reasons Why Facebook is Revolutionizing Education

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The 21st century has witnessed a stunning technological revolution touching every facet of our life. The way people used to interact with internet has radically changed , users are no longer just static consumers of the information but active contributors and makers of online content. It is thanks to the introduction of web 2.0 technologies that human knowledge has finally been liberated and is made accessible to everyone and at anytime. This in itself is the biggest human achievement ever equal in importance to the invention of telecommunications and electriciy.

I will not be talking about internet in its general scope but will rather tailor my topic to cover just a very important element called social networks and particularly Facebook and its uses in education. Genrally speraking, Social networks are online platforms ,most of which are free, where people of similar interests meet to discuss, share , collaborate and interact with each others through the use of means such as emails, IMs, chat, blogging..etc. Facebook is one of the major current players in this field and more than 500 million people are using it with students and adults constituting a large part of its users. Being as such , it becomes imperative that we , educators, try to invistigate its educational potentials and look for ways to better use it in the classroom with our students. Wether we like it or not Facebook is part and parcel of our educational landscape. It is the top socialising tool students are using on a daily basis. Now with its mobile version and  the widespread use of smartphones , Facebook has finally infiltrated the classrooms even when it is blocked by the school network. Guess what , This is just the emerging part of the iceberg, in what follows are some of the amazing facts about this social media guru.

Teacher's Guide to Using Facebook (Read Fullscreen)

Why Facebook and not other social networking websites ?

Generally speaking, all social networking websites have their own importance in education but the degree of each one of them vary accordning to its widespread, popularity and the usefulness of its  features. In this regard , Facebook excells in all the above mentioned criteria . With its launch in February 2004, Facebook has gained such a reputation that it becomes an integral element of users' digital identity contributing with almost 770 billion page views per month. In January 2011, Facebook users reached 600 million users making it the biggest vritual nation ever with 4.5 billion updates every week and the list is  too long to be shared  here. Here are some short videos that can show you exactly what i mean when i say Facebook excells all the other social networking websites

Here is another video that shows how Facebook has become the number one website in the internet, the stats are a little bit outdated as they were done in 2010 but still the video is really great and worth watching.

It is really difficult to deny these impressive  statistics about Facebook. These are important facts that we need to consider when talking about Facebook in education. Remember I am not an expert here but just an educator and ambitious researcher trying to increase awareness of the importance of Facebook as a learning tool.

Pros of Facebook in education

Embracing Facebook in education can have several pluses for both teachers and students, here is a list of some of its advantages as mentioned in several online surveys and articles , please go to webliography for references :

  • Facebook is a free collaborative learning tool that provides an anxiety free environment where students can speak up their minds and work together instead of being socially held back as happens in the real classroom setting.
  • Reminders, calendars, and events are easily shared with students
  • It offers easy access to online resources such as links, posts, videos, pictures...etc
  • Students who can not attend some classes can use their Classroom page to stay in the loop
  • Facebook can boost students self esteem. They can share what they have learnt not just with their fellow students but with the whole world.
  • Facebook creates strong social bonds between instructors and students
  • Through the use of Facebook students will have an idea about the importance of social media in learning.
  • Facebook can be used as a research tool  . Students can  use it to inquire about topics of relevant interest to them from other far flung students, experts, or simply other teachers they have met in discussion groups.
  • Facebook gives the introverts and shy students a golden opportunity to excell and contribute to their learning.
  • Parents can use it to follow along with class postings and progress of their kids. They wont wonder about their kids' achievement and they will be able to   intervene in the appropriate time to redress the situation.
  • Facebook breaks up the unnecessary and old fashioned barriers between instructors and their students making, thus, teachers more socially available to students.
  • Facebook pushes students to contribute to their learning , they can create , post discussion triggers, links and share resources and comment on  others' walls.
  • Facebook can also be used to introduce students of the same class to each other by associating names with faces.
  • Facebook is full of learning applications including mathematical formulae, slideshows, class notes, and many more. check The Best Facebook Learning Applications to learn more
  • Facebook can even open up career opportunities for students.
  • Technology in general and Facebook in particular helps create a sense of belonging in the classroom.' When students feel a sense of belonging, they tend to be more academically successful in school ' ( Mc Dowell, San Diego, Computer Using Educators Conference 11/06/10 )

Watch these videos to learn more 

Pros and Cons of Facebook Part 1

Pros and Cons of Facebook Part 2

How can educators use Facebook in their classrooms ?

There are several ways instructors and their students can embrace this technology into their teaching and learning , here are some of them :

Examples of how students can use Facebook in their learning :

  1. Students can  take photos of their teachers' notes on the board and refer to them after class is over in their photo albums. It is preferable that they organize photos with captions and devote a new album just for class notes.
  2. Students can use Facebook as a class buddy system. For instance, if one knows that he would be absent from a certain session then he could just ask one of his friends to log  on to facebook and update him about what is going on in  real time.
  3. Students can use Facebook to create productive study groups. They can create an event invitations for quizzes, labs, exams...etc and send it to their classmates and teachers.
  4. Students can also look for Facebook discussion groups that relate to their educational interests and try to participate in the ongoing discussions
  5. Students can use it to get  access to extra assignments and activities posted by their teachers in the classroom page wall.
  6. Facebook has a great tagging system. Students can use it to appropriately tag their materials like online materials, links, posts..etc to refer to them later on when reviewing for an exam.
  7. Students can also use it to form groups for classroom projects where they can share materials, assignments and information
  8. Students can also use it to partner up - under the supervision of their teachers- with students and schools from other parts of the world. This is especially helpful to science and foreign language learners.
Here is a video to show you how to create a Facebook group for your classroom

Examples of how teachers can use Facebook in their teaching :

  1. Teachers can use it to schedule daily learning activities
  2. Teachers can send Facebook updates to their students to remind them about certain assignements or simply to tell them not to be late
  3. Teachers can use it to get instant and easy feedback  of what their students think of an assignement or activity .This helps instructors better understand their students major interests and background allowing them to suggest ideas and topics they would be interested in
  4. Teachers can also use  Facebook as a forum for communication with their students. Thus , it will create an online opportunity for co-constructing knowledge and can be done in and out of the classroom.

There are hundreds of ways Facebook can be used in the classroom and if you want to learn more refer to the webliography below.

Tips educators need to know before using Facebook in the classroom

The following are some of the tips educators need to keep in mind when trying to use Facebook in their classrooms. They are generally meant to help teachers use this social media tool both effectively and professionally :

  • Do not use use your personal Facebook page as the official page of your classroom instead  create a separate page for your class. If you do not want to manage two different pages then i advise you to read " How to Keep you Personal and Professional Lives Separate on Facebook "
  • To avoid privacy rights' problems teachers need to obtain parents permission before using Facebook with their kids in the classroom
  • Teachers need to clearly  explain to the parents the guidelines, objectives, and expectations behind using Facebook as a learning tool.
  • Teachers need to be careful when friending students on Facebook. They need to always keep that professional feel in all the relationships they make and because of the public nature of wall posts, teachers generally do not friend students. Honestly speaking , I would not friend my students because what i will post on my wall will be different from what they will be posting. Maintaining  contact through the class page is the best solution
  • Teachers need to always stay active in classroom group page via constantly posting resources, links, and updating status reports so students know their teachers are engaged and always ready to help.

Facebook in the Classroom : watch this great video

Negative effects of Facebook

Although I am so much for the use of social media including Facebook in education  and so that this post sounds fair to both proponents and opponents of the use of Facebook in education I will not let it go by without including this paragraph here.

Like any other technological tool , Facebook has also its drawbacks. It is our responsibility as educators to pay attention to these pitfalls and help our kids and students avoid facing them.

Facebook has been criticized for many things but mostly for being :

  1. A source of distraction ; It can distract students' attention and derail them from the targeted learning goals especially when the chat service is available.
  2. Fake and misrepresented identities : Many users do not accurately identify themselves and some of them even misrepresent themselves online waving thus a red flag in the face of whom our students will be talking to.
  3. Privacy issues : Several people claim that Facebook leaves a personal digital trace of your activities on the internet for the world to see it.
  4. A source of information overload : so much content is being shared on Facebook everyday which could confuse students as to the authenticity and veracity of what they read online.This is where educators need to intervene  and show students how to sift through the info they find on the web.

In fact, there are many other legal and privacy issues with using Facebook that I just can not comprehensively  cover here but if you are interested and want to learn more about this topic then I invite you to read " Negative Effects of Facebook ".

An Austrian group called Europe versus Facebook has so far made 22 complaints regarding the social network’s practices. To read these complaints i would refer you to : Facebook , Releasing Your Personal Data Reveals Our Trade Secrets .
You can also check these articles :

Finally and before I let you go I want you please to note that the above mentioned side effects of Facebook should never be looked at as depressing the spirits and courage in you or diswaying you from using Facebook in your teaching but rather as an effort from my part to awaken your awareness of its  potential pitfalls so that you do not end up regretting using social networking sites such as Facebook at work.
Best of luck and do not forget to share your impressions and comments down.

Updates : Here is a great documentary I have just wached on CBC about Facebook and I want you to see it too , it is really great by all means. Check out Facebook Foolies

Webliography :

rooftop qr code

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"Phillips & Co.’s new proposition, called Blue Marble, offers a “space-accessible profile” for businesses, cities, schools — anyone who wants to raise their profile. In addition to catching the attention of the odd plane passing by, Phillips says in a statement that Google Earth has been downloaded 400 million times and “by integrating a readable code into the space-accessible profile, mobile users can access dynamic marketing programs, videos, digital coupons and other content while viewing the specific geographical location.” via mashable, Todd Wasserman