Friday, December 20, 2013

Winter iPad Finals


Winter iPad Finals


Today the World Languages Department successfully had the most students ever take their final exams on the iPads: 20 classes with seven different levels!

There is front-end work involved: About two-three hours to type one final exam on myMitty, plus testing and editing.

But...here are the benefits:
  1. Instant results that can be entered to Webgrade (No waiting for the scantron machine)
  2. Not having to worry about making enough copies
  3. No "Version A", or "Version B". You can have "Version infinity" (slight hyperbole) as multiple-choice answers are different for each student
  4. Students get their score as soon as they press the "submit" button
  5. Edits are easily made without having to make "errata"
  6. No paper or scantron waste
Tests can use multiple-choice, cloze questions with drop down multiple choice or fill-in, short answer, matching, or true/false.

See Rose or Graham for more information about write myMitty tests.





Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Using Blogs in the Classroom

As my ECJ India class prepares for our trip in July, I want my students to keep up-to-date on what is currently happening in India.  This semester, I experimented with a class blog.  Students were responsible for posting to the blog four times during the semester: twice they summarized a news article and created discussion questions linking the article to class material, and twice they commented on another student's summary and questions.  While the blog we've created is not particularly flashy, it has been a helpful tool for class discussions, as it shows the students that the ethical questions we cover in class are not just hypothetical--they're real issues that real people face right now.

Some of the students in my freshmen Introduction to Catholic Christianity class also used a blog as part of a project on characters in the Old Testament.  The students had to research an Old Testament figure and come up with a creative way to show the class the importance of this figure.  They had many options--drawing, painting, writing a song, creating a blog, etc.  The students who created the blog had to demonstrate that they understood their part of the story from the perspective of three different characters.  Here is an example from a student who wrote about the crossing of the Red Sea.

Setting up the blogs was simple.  For my ECJ class, I created the blog and added all of my students to it using their mittymonarchs account.  For the freshmen, the students used their mittymonarchs account to create their own blog--they completely designed it on their own.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Video Projects-Easier Than You Think

For the last unit in my junior English elective I assigned a video project. The students finished reading The Alchemist, which focuses on one's Personal Legend, and I wanted the students to make a video outlining their Personal Legends. This is the first time I have done this assignment, so frankly I didn't really know what to expect.

Here is the good news. I gave my students essentially NO technical instructions on HOW to make the video. All I told them was they could use iMovie on their iPads or a program at home. I also said they needed to have photos from their childhood and they could use video and music as well. As far as turning it in goes, they uploaded the youtube link and their scripts to an online text assignment. That's it!

I just finished watching all of their videos and they did an AMAZING job. With little to no instruction on HOW to make their movies, they were all able to do it, and they came up with some wonderfully creative ideas.

The point of this post is to encourage you to not be afraid to assign creative "techie" projects or assignments because the kids know what they are doing. I did not receive one email asking me how to make the video. So don't be afraid! Try something new next semester.

I have linked a few examples so you can see what they did:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJREcYZWEBw

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=mrxnf1Ck1jo&feature=c4-feed-u2

http://youtu.be/FujQ2TE16JE


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Available Now: New Google Sheets

Google is starting to roll out a new version of Google Sheets (aka Spreadsheets). Take a look at this video for some of the new improvements:


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I'm looking forward to improved copy and paste of large data sets and the ability of to create custom filters. I suspect that custom filters on Google Sheets like the Master Faculty Schedule (imagine a filter that would show you all the teacher non-teaching a specific period) will be very handy.

If you want to opt in to the new Google Sheets experience click here to open you drive settings and click the Try the new Google Sheets Learn more box. Don't forget to click the save button commit your settings changes.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Digitized Paper: A glimpse of the future





Disney Research and Carnegie Mellon posted a video and joint research paper on their work to create battery-free interactive paper books and activities. It will be interesting to see where this technology goes in the future.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Project Information Literacy: The Freshman Study



If you assign a research paper, I recommend taking a look at new study from Project Information Literacy called LEARNING THE ROPES: How Freshmen Conduct Course Research Once They Enter College. The researchers look at the challenges and skills gaps that college freshmen face across as they learn to do college-level research.


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Manage Holiday Online Shopping with Elf Names

Kate posted a nice little rhyme about Google Shopping Express the other day. I highly recommend that you try it out - I'm a huge fan. It frequently saves me a trip to the store on my way home for work. It makes Amazon Prime seem slow (at least until the drones are ready)

But back to the topic at hand - managing holiday shopping.

I do a lot of my regular shopping online (it is an indispensable tool in my working parent portfolio) and the bulk of my holiday shopping online as well. A couple of years ago I was struggling to figure out how to distinguish between boxes that contained presents and needed to be opened privately and boxes that contained prosaic items that could (and should) be opened right away.

Enter the Christmas Elf Name Generator to the rescue. With a few clicks of a button I was able to create a Christmas alter ego: Tiramisu Fizzyspice.


Now all of the Christmas presents I order are shipped to her name and everyday things come to me. This allows me to do a quick sort at the door so I don't accidentally hide my coffee in the closet.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Google Shopping Express

Twas the weeks before finals and through out the school
teachers were grading and reviewing the rules
of Spanish and Physics and History and Math
 when deep down all they wanted was to follow the path
to the Mall for the gifts that they need to buy
but instead sat in Parker with a heart heavy sigh...

Take the stress out of the holiday season and try Google Express!


 This shopping service will deliver goods of your choice to your door . Choose from a variety of stores  and arrive home to find your shopping at your doorstep. Shop at Costco, Target, whole foods and more.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

How to create cloze questions on a myMitty quiz (part 1):


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Special Characters in MyMitty Quizzes

As teachers, we have had no problem including special characters in our MyMitty quiz questions.  The issue has been students answering with special characters.  Their end of the quiz doesn't have a text bar with special character support.  So how do we circumvent this issue?  Create a bank of all possible special characters they may need for their answers and include them in every question. 

Create your question:

Add special characters (and instruct students to copy and paste appropriately):

Create your answer with the special character included:

Here is what the students will see:

Students can now respond to short answer questions with special characters.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Course Assessments


Student Course Assessments are Monday, December 2nd and Tuesday, December 3rd. Your spectrum member will show you how to proctor these during your department meetings this week. Click here for the Google Presentation.


Monday, November 18, 2013

Stickies on your desktop

Stickies is a simple note taking application that has been included on every Mac for almost 20 years now. However it has gained a huge amount of new functionality over the past few years.

If you aren't familiar with Stickies, you'll find it in the Applications folder. You can create as many sticky notes as you'd like, and they remain on your desktop until you close the application. The next time you open it, they will all still be there!

If you have already been using Stickies, did you know that:
- you can color code your notes?
- you can make notes translucent?
- you can add pictures or embed videos into your notes?
- you can search for text in your notes?
- you can format with different fonts and add bullets and lists?
- you can zoom a sticky so that it takes up your entire screen with one click?

Here's a link to an article that explains how you can do all these things: http://www.macobserver.com/tmo/article/how-to-exploit-the-stickies-app-in-os-x

Share with us in the comments section how you have been using Stickies on your desktop to help you organize!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Giving Students More Options

Are you tired of having students make Keynotes for presentations?  Looking for a more interesting way to get the information out?  The sophomore religion team created a new project this year in which students had options as to how they wanted to present information on an assigned topic.  They created "museum exhibits" that digitally and effectively conveyed important information within three minutes.  We allowed students to choose whatever app best suited their needs--we offered Thinglink, Doodlecast Pro, Prezi, and iMovie as options (click the links for example projects created by the sophomores).  Some projects were (as always) better than others, and we had a few technology glitches along the way, but it was refreshing to give students the freedom to be creative with technology and to watch them troubleshoot when they had problems.


Friday, November 8, 2013

Safari: Remove Saved Passwords in 3 steps!

Inline image 1Have you ever clicked on the Remember Me button on a website out of habit but you really didn't want your password saved?  It happens to us all from time to time.

Removing the password is a simple process.

  1. From the Safari menu bar click Safari then Preferences.
  2. Select the Passwords icon.
  3. find the name of the website with your saved password and click Remove.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

iOS 7 Tips and Tricks

Now that everyone has iOS 7 installed, here are a few tips and tricks to help you navigate it.

Have fun!


Where is my Google Bar?

Google has made some changes to their user interface. Instead of a list of links starting at the left side of your browser page, there is a subtle 3x3 grid on the right side of the page.  

Click on the grid and you will find icons for you various Google Apps.
 
Inline image 1

Friday, October 18, 2013

Use Doceri to avoid getting behind when you miss a class period!

This week, I had to miss Period 3B because of a Cross Country Meet. I was able to use Doceri to prevent one of my classes from getting behind. In order to do this, you'll need the Doceri App on your iPad and on your computer. Click here for tutorial videos showing how to use Doceri.

Here are the steps to record your computer screen and audio during class:

  • Open Doceri on your computer.
  • Open Doceri on your iPad and sync it with your computer.
  • Hit Start Recording in the top left to begin. This will record a live image of what's on your computer screen, any annotations you make with the Doceri pen tool, and audio from your internal iPad microphone. In my example below, I showed a PowerPoint, annotated it with the Doceri pen tool, and showed a YouTube video in Safari.
  • Hit Stop Recording and drag the file to the YouTube icon to upload the video.
  • Copy and paste the YouTube link to myMitty and it's ready for your students to watch.
On Wednesday, I emailed my Period 3B students and instructed them to bring headphones to class on Thursday. On Thursday morning, I recorded the fifteen minute lecture portion of Period 1 using the method above. I posted the link during lunch and left campus for my meet. During Period 3B, the students watched the video on their iPads and answered questions in myMitty.

Here's the recording:



If you would like to learn more about this or practice with me in the Parker Hall library, ask anytime!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Haiku Deck- A simple way to create presentations.

 If you feel that your classroom presentations are getting a bit stale- try Haiku Deck. This app allows you to create striking presentations- quickly and easily; no fuss, no frills.
The best part about it?- the app will search and find images for you!

 Check out this review from pcworld.com.



You can download the free app from iTunes app store.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Snappy Words

Richard Byrne, an EdTech blog contributer, recommends Snappy Words (free app). It's a combination visual dictionary/thesaurus. Just type the word and it will create a "web" of related words, phrases and definitions.



Like this? Follow EdTech on Twitter for more great tips: @EdTech_K12

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

FlashCardLet


Using FlashCardLet and Quizlet.com
Video 1:
video

FlashCardLet can be used in every discipline and is a great way to help students study and master information. Students can create their own flashcards to study from or search through thousands of pre-made cards. The flashcards are easy to create and share. You can create class sets using Quizlet.com and have students search the creator of the deck or the title of the deck and then all students in the class will have access to the same set of cards.

Video 1 provides basic information about creating flashcard decks and adding them to your library using the FlashCardLet app.

Video 2 briefly introduces all the other features offered on Quizlet.com.

Video 2:

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Welcome Socrative 2.0!


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Socrative is unveiling a new version today with some new features as as satiability and speed improvements. If you have taken Socrative out of rotation because it was flakey or slow, you might want to give it another try.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Using Prezi to Reinvent Your Lectures

If you're ever looking for ways to make your lectures more engaging, consider using Prezi--an online, non-linear program that allows you to map your presentations.  Teachers and students can sign up for a free account at www.prezi.com.


How To Cite a Tweet


The MLA recently announced a citation format for tweets. Amusingly, the citation is longer than the work cited. The format looks like this:
If that seems like too much work, there is a website that will generate the citation for you. The website Tweet2Cite allows you to paste the URL of a tweet and will prepare both MLA and APA formatted citations. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

myMitty Quiz Workshop


The focus of this September 2013 workshop was how to format multiple choice questions to import into myMitty quizzes. For a basic introduction to myMitty quizzes, see this Knowledge Base post.

Here’s how to format an existing multiple choice quiz so it's ready for import into myMitty:

  1. Open the quiz on your computer.
  2. Copy and paste the text into a new file in TextEdit.
  3. Select all the text, select “Format” -- “Make Plain Text”
  4. Format the quiz as follows:


What is 2 + 2?
A. 4

B. 2

C. 0
D. None of these
ANSWER: A

Who is the President of the US?
A. Bush

B. Clinton

C. Obama
D. McCain
ANSWER: C

Which is the best Catholic school in San Jose?
A. Bellarmine

B. Mitty

C. Sacred Heart Prep
D. Homestead
ANSWER: B

BE SURE TO NOTE:

  • The blank spaces in the sample above really do make a difference.
  • Auto-numbering (lettering) OFF.

  • ANSWER (and the letter answers) must be capitalized.

  • Unusual characters, including curved apostrophe and quotations (straight marks are OK, the curved ones are not), and material from equation editor
 will fail.

Next, it's time to input this document into myMitty:

  1. Login to myMitty
  2. Go to Questions in the Administration block.
  3. As needed, select the Category tab and create a category for this quiz
  4. Click the Import tab
  5. Aiken Format
  6. Uncheck get category from file
  7. Upload your .txt file
  8. Click OK: Mac OS (default) is fine
  9. Click “upload this file”, Click Continue

Congrats! You’re now able to use those questions in your quizzes.

If you have any questions about this process, please don't hesitate to ask Graham or any other member of Spectrum!


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Quick Tips for the iPad


TAKE AN IPAD SCREENSHOT!
You can take a screenshot on your iPad by pressing the HOME Button first and then the Sleep/Wake button. The screen will flash white and you'll hear a click, indicating that a photo has been taken. Your screen shots are saved automatically in your Photos gallery. 
Here, you can view or email them as you see fit!


PREVIEW MORE OF YOUR EMAILS!
The iPad's Mail app defaults to previewing two lines of each email before you tap on it. Sometimes however it would be handier to be able to see more of an email before loading the whole thing in, especially if you are on a slow connection. To do this open the Settings app, then tap on Mail, Contacts, Calendars and change the Preview options to add more lines.



DEFINE A WORD
When you hold down on a word to copy it, choose Define. Tap this and, you can see suggestions for alternative words that have similar spellings. It's a good way of quickly correcting typos.



Monday, September 23, 2013

Automatically Grade Google Forms with Flubaroo


Screenleap - Share your computer screen to any browser

Screenleap allows you to broadcast your computer screen (or just a part of your screen) to any device with a browser. It's SUPER SIMPLE. Just go to www.screenleap.com, and you can begin broadcasting from there. It will provide you with two ways for students to see your screen: 1) a share code (students would go to www.screenleap.com and type in the code) OR 2) a direct link for students to paste into their browser (you could make it even easier for them by putting the link up on your myMitty page, so all they have to do is click!) If you see yourself using this consistently, you might consider signing up for an account, which means that students wouldn't need to get a new code or link every time you start a session. I signed up for a free account (gives you 2 hours of broadcast per day), and I've put up a link to my broadcast page (www.screenleap.com/msjan) at the top of my class's myMitty page, so anytime I want them to see my screen, I will just instruct them to click on that link on their iPads. I can control from my computer what section of my screen I want to broadcast, and I can pause and resume the broadcast whenever I want. It's essentially an alternative to using your projector, especially if you're showing detailed things on your computer that may be difficult for students at the back of the room to see up on the projector screen.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Notability Grading in Class

This pdf shows you how to use Notability and your attendance picture page to check and grade assignments in class.



I use this throughout the year to check assignments for completion that I am not collecting, or when I am checking a halfway point for an assignment like close reading. There are a variety of different ways you can use this and it is so easy. Click on the link below to review the step by step instructions. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Downloading Standard Definition (SD) iTunes Movies

HD (high definition) movies purchased from iTunes will not play when you are connected to a projector using the VGA adaptor.  If you want to read more about why this is the case, click here.

However you can play SD (standard definition) movies to the projector. When you purchase an HD movie from iTunes, you automatically have access to the SD version as well. While SD versions are technically lower resolution, there is no noticeable difference when play them on your classroom projector.

Follow these directions to download the SD versions of your iTunes movies:
  1. Open iTunes on your computer.
  2. From the Store menu, choose Store > Sign In, and then enter your Apple ID and password.
  3. Navigate to your Purchased page. 
    • Find it by clicking Movies or TV Shows from the top navigation bar in the iTunes Store.
    • Click Purchased from "QUICK LINKS" in the iTunes Store.
  4. Choose the appropriate video type: Movies or TV Shows.
  5. In the lower-right corner of the screen, deselect the box next to "Download HD When Available."
  6. Search for the desired video and click the download button to download the standard definition version to your computer.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Uploading to Turnitin.com via Your iPad


This tutorial shows students how to upload paper/essays they wrote on their iPad to Turnitin.com using moodlEZ. More and more, students are writing large assignments on their iPads and need to learn how to upload those documents without having to email them to their home computers. This video is also available for students on the Student Technology Resources page on mymitty.


Google Sets

Within Google Spreadsheets you can generate sets of related words.  Suppose you wanted to get creative with group names, put three or more items that you thought went together, and Google Sets attempts to find more members of the set.  For example, a set of "dog, cat, fish" would yield more animals.  Here's how it works:
1) Type in at least 3 related terms.
2) Highlight the 3 terms and [hold Control + drag] or [hold Option + drag]

Friday, September 6, 2013

Making Class Work "Count"

In my classes, I often use worksheets in Notability to guide class activities or group conversations.  Students always ask me if these worksheets "count" for anything.  If I tell them that they will upload the worksheet, they always take it more seriously; if I say it's just for their own use, it's harder for me to keep them on track.  This year, however, I'm trying something new.  Every time I post a worksheet on myMitty, I also post a place for them to upload the completed worksheet (whether or not I intend for it to be uploaded at the end of the class).  When they see the UPLOAD link, they feel more pressure to stay on task.  At the end of class, I verbally tell them if it has to be uploaded.  
I told my students at the beginning of the year that they should just assume that they will have to upload every document we work on in class--I won't grade all of them, but they will never know when I'm going to grade them.  This helps keeps everyone on task in class, and it minimizes the number of questions I get about grades on in-class activities.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Using Google Calendar to Schedule Meetings with Students

Have you ever verbally set up an appointment with a student and they don't show up?

Using your Google Calendar is an easy way to schedule meetings with students. The students are very used to attending meetings that have been set up through Google Calendar because most of the counselors schedule appointments using this method. We have found it to be super easy and very effective.


Why using Google Calendar is helpful:

- It blocks out your time and the students time so you both don't schedule something else in its place. For example, when students have three tests to make up after being absent, they tend to overbook themselves for retakes. You can schedule a time with them for your test, so that specific time or period is blocked off, so they know they can't make up another test at the same time.

- It reminds both you and the student of the appointment.
Google Calendar will send a reminder 10 minutes prior to the scheduled meeting. This will help the student remember that they were scheduled to come and see you.

- You can get a confirmation that they know the time and place of the meeting.
When you use Google Calendar to invite a student to a meeting, they have to "accept" the invitation, letting you know that they are aware of the scheduled time.

- You can add notes into the Calendar Invite.
Giving the students reminders to "bring a scantron" or "do problems 1-15 before meeting" is helpful and prevents having to send a separate email.



Here are the steps to inviting a student to a meeting time using Google Calendar.

Step 1:
- Open up google Calendar

Step 2:
- Click on a period and then click "copy it to your calendar"

Step 3: 
In this next window you do the following:
- Change the title to something like "Math help with Lisa Downey".
- Pick the specific time, and the amount of time, you are planning on spending with that student.
- You have the option to add in where the meeting is, and any description or note that you want to add.
- You have the option of attaching a file (worksheet, homework, etc)
- You add your "guest" or student to your meeting by typing in their name. Their mitty email address should show up. Click on their email
Step 4:
- Click on "Invite external guests"



Step 5:
- Click on "Send"

                                     

After adding that appointment, your schedule will have that time blocked. Here is an example of what a counselor's schedule looks like after scheduling a few appointments. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Broadcasting a PowerPoint presentation

Broadcast your presentation to your students



With PowerPoint 2011, you can broadcast your slide show to your class. You send a link to your students (or create a link on myMitty). The students simply click on the link, and they can follow along on their iPads while you present the slideshow live. This allows students to interact with the presentation if you have links in the slides to Google forms questions, for example. Since this is actually a website, your students don't even need to have PowerPoint on their device.

The only thing you need to broadcast is a free, Windows Live ID account.

Click one of the links below to see the steps to do your broadcast:

Reference#1
Reference #2

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Managing myMitty Auto-Enrollments


In order to make your myMitty page accessible to incoming students, the auto enrollment process must be completed. This allows you to dis-enroll last year's students and enroll the current classes.
Click the video below and follow the steps.




Adding Templates to your Google Drive

Since Google Drive has made some changes, the template link has been deleted and needs to be added. Here are step-by-step instructions followed by a video showing the same process. (Thanks to Carl Silva for creating these steps!)

1. Go to Google Drive.
2. Click on Create and select Connect more apps at the bottom.
3. In the Search the store field type Template and then hit return.
4. Select Drive Template Gallery by clicking on +Connect.
5. A window will appear stating that the above is connected to Google Drive. Click OK.



You can now add those calendars. How?

1. Go to Create.
2. Select ...from template.


video

Monday, August 12, 2013

How to Copy and Scan with the New Copiers


As you might have noticed, new copiers were installed over the summer. Here are two short video tutorials that Stephen put together to demonstrate the new features.

How to copy with the new scanners - a short video tutorial

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How to Scan with the new Copiers  - a slightly longer video tutorial

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Sunday, August 4, 2013

Using Doodlecast Pro to Make a Tutorial Video

Have you ever wondered how to make a tutorial video entirely from your iPad?  I recently made a video tutorial for students using an app called Doodlecast Pro.



For this tutorial, I took screenshots of each step, added the screenshots to a blank Keynote, and then exported the Keynote to Doodlecast Pro.  From there, the work was easy--I used the record feature to talk through each step, adding my own writing at times to make my instructions as clear as possible.  When I made mistakes, I'd stop the recording, rewind until I found the error, and then erase that part of the recording.  When I finished my recording, I uploaded the video to YouTube so students would be able to access it.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

AMHS Technology in Print

Ed Tech magazine has a very nice story about our iPad program this month. We should have print copies later in the month, but the story is on their website now. When you read the article, you may find that you recognize a few people as well as a certain technology blog...


Monday, July 8, 2013

Optimizing PowerPoint #1: Using Audio Across Slides

When I sent a survey last spring about a PowerPoint wish list, one comment I received from more than one person was how to play audio across multiple slides. Here is a short video tutorial to help you do this:

Friday, June 14, 2013

Going to School by Way of a Robot

I read a very cool article in the New York Times last weekend about the VGo Robot and how it had enabled homebound students to "be" in a classroom with their peers.

I'd read about telepresence robot being used in hospitals and factories, but this was the first I'd heard of them being used in education. It is such a creative solution.

If you are interested in more in depth student experiences about attending school virtually, there are several on the VGo website.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Update to Google Drive for the iPad: Now with Comments

There is an update to the Google Drive for the iPad this week. This new version allows people to create, view, and reply to comments in Google Docs.

Demonstration of Google Comments

One of the things I like about the way that Google Docs handles commenting is it can be more of a conversation between writer and reviewer.  If you would like to read more about comment threads in Google Drive, take a look at this support article.



Monday, June 3, 2013

New Copiers Arriving Today!

The new copiers have arrived on Campus. Stephen and the MCR team will be installing them in department offices and Parker this week.


Department office will be be receiving the Xerox 5335 and Parker will receive the Xerox 5855. The last two numbers indicate the pages per minute.

While the new copiers print and copy in black and white (or more accurately, grayscale), they can scan in full color! Perviously color scanning was only available in the Copy Center.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

New Google Maps Coming Soon!

There is an update to Google Maps coming soon. Check out this video for more details:
If you would like to be at the head of the line to try out the new user interface, you can request an invitation.

It was enabled for my personal Google account last night, and so far I really like it. There is a lot more space for map details and it is much easier to use fun (and helpful) features like street view.