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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

13 Online Exhibits About Air and Space Travel

Air travel fascinates me which is why The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum is one of my favorite museums. One of my good friends recently took his kids there during spring vacation and judging by the Instagram pictures his kids liked it. I wish that every kid could have a similar experience. If a field trip to the museum isn't a possibility for your students, The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum does offer thirteen good online exhibits. I won't summarize all of them here, but I would like to point out the ones that I like the most.

America by Air online exhibit. American by Air is a series of thirteen online activities that take students through the history of commercial aviation in the United States.

How Things Fly features an interactive module in which students design their own airplanes. The activity starts with a simple and slow airplane that students have to modify until it reaches a target speed and altitude. As students modify the wings, fuselage, and engines of their airplanes they are given instant feedback on the effects of those modifications. In some cases the feedback includes the airplane crashing and the students having to start over again.

At first glance The Wright Brothers - The Invention of the Aerial Age looks like it's just a timeline of developments made by the Wright Brothers. Dig into the Interactive Experiments section of the exhibition and you'll find Engineering the Wright Way. Engineering the Wright Way offers interactive simulations in which students learn about wing design by joining the Wright Brothers for test flights in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Two more simulations about thrust and plane control will be released later this year.

Apollo to the Moon lacks the interactive simulations of the three exhibits featured above. That deficiency is made up for by the depth of the content in the exhibit. Apollo to the Moon contains seven chapters chronicling NASA's effort to put a man on the moon. The exhibit begins with a history of the Space Race and Kennedy's proclamation that the United States would put a man on the moon by the end of the 1960's. From there the exhibit moves into the design of rockets and other equipment to put a man on the moon. It concludes with a gallery of artifacts related to the Apollo 11 mission.

Monday, April 27, 2015

GeoGebra Quickstart Guides for Desktop and Tablets

From time to time I receive requests for help with GeoGebra. Not being a mathematics teacher, my hands-on experience with the program is limited to just messing around and trying things. When I'm asked for resources for learning how to use GeoGebra I point people in the direction of the GeoGebra website and YouTube channel.

On the GeoGebra YouTube channel you will find more 200 video tutorials. If you're just starting out with GeoGebra on your desktop or tablet, the GeoGebra quickstart videos will be of use to you. The videos are silent, but the visuals are clear.


Remind 2 Me - Send Future Reminders to Yourself

A couple of weeks ago I published a post about a service called Future Me that enables you to write letters to be sent to yourself at a future date. That service works well but a few readers expressed concern about Future Me's gallery of public letters. Remind 2 Me is similar in concept to Future Me except that it doesn't offer a public gallery of letters.

Using Remind 2 Me is very easy. To have reminders sent to you, just write out your reminder to yourself, enter your email address, and enter the date on which you need the reminder sent. You do not need to register for an account to use Remind 2 Me.

Applications for Education
My vision for Remind 2 Me in a classroom is the same as the one for Future Me. Both services could be used at the beginning of a school year. Students could write about what they hope to learn that year, what they do or don't like about school, and goals that they have for themselves. Then at the end of the school year students can read their letters and see how they've changed over the year.

Vizlingo - Short Videos to Illustrate Words

Vizlingo is an interesting little service for creating and sending short video messages. Here's what it does; you type in a short phrase like "hello world" and Vizlingo will play a short video clip for each word in the phrase.

Through the Vizlingo iOS app you can select which video clips you want to use and then send your video message to your friends via email, social networks, or YouTube.

Applications for Education
Vizlingo might be a fun little way for students to practice recognizing some vocabulary context clues. Not all of the video clips I went through on Vizlingo really matched the words I had typed so I had to sort through to find appropriate clips to match my words.

Use Monster Heart Medic to Diagnose a Healthy Lifestyle

This is a guest post from Sabba Quidwai (@AskMsQ) of EdTechTeacher - an advertiser on this site.

A recent app developed by UC Berkeley's Lawrence Hall of Science, and funded by a National Institutes of Health SEPA Award, serves as a great example for what we can achieve when we use technology in the service of community. This time, the collaboration resulted in educating people about the importance of healthy lifestyles and habits through the creation of Monster Heart Medic. This free, new app for iOS - and soon coming to Android - is a well crafted educational adventure game that explores the cardiovascular system by examining how it is affected by healthy living.


Meet Ragnar! A friendly 3 eyed monster who needs students’ help! Ragnar is not feeling very well and needs children to help him get better! The game is cleverly crafted through an interactive narrative. As students build their knowledge of the cardiovascular system and healthy living, they earn health achievements. Through hands-on tests, interactive simulators, discussions with health professionals, animated monster stories, and arcade games, players learn about common cardiovascular conditions, diagnostic tests, and what steps can be taken to get and keep a healthy cardiovascular system.

From learning about the different parts that make up the cardiovascular system, to truly embracing the role of a healthcare provider, students use medical tools like a stethoscope and pressure cuff to help diagnose cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, the app does a brilliant job of bringing to life and helping children visualize the dangerous effects of high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol.

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We all know how much children love customizing characters and Ragnar is no exception! Children can customize him with hats, moustaches, hairstyles and much more. Even with the fun music and character customization, the ultimate goal and lessons of the game are never lost. The different game levels reinforce the importance of healthy food and lifestyle choices. As students diagnose and treat Ragnar, they will learn how to make these choices for themselves so that they do not end up like this monster!

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While Monster Heart Medic is geared towards children, teens and adults can greatly benefit from some of the fun as well. The exciting game play serves as a great tool for clinicians and parents. They can use it with children to enhance and develop their health literacy and make informed decisions about how to lead and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

This past year, I co-taught Advanced Topics in Education (ATEd), a project-based course where physician assistant students at the Keck School of Medicine of USC explore the changing dynamics in how people today communicate and investigate how they can use these different platforms that technology has afforded us to deliver patient education outside the four walls of the examination room. Monster Heart Medic serves as a brilliant example of how we can help tackle problems in healthcare by reaching out and delivering education; this time through a exciting game!

Learn more from Sabba this summer! She will be leading workshops for EdTechTeacher in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area

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