Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Educational Google Earth Files

Today, I found on the Google Earth Blog two sets of files that will be of interest to biology teachers and to space/ earth science teachers. First of interest to biology teachers is a collection of files charting the range of animals (marine and terrestrial) of importance to the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation. The files of interest to space/ earth science teachers is a large of collection of Google Earth files tracking and showing solar eclipses.

Applications for Education
The animal range maps are good demonstration of how teachers and students could use Google Earth in the classroom. Just as the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation has created range maps for animals of interest to them, students can create range maps of animals that they study. Students studying the relationship between humans and the environment could create range maps demonstrating the past, present, and predicted ranges of an animal.

Podcasts; Twitter, Screencasts, Games and Will Smith(?)

There are four educational/ technology podcasts that I've listened to or plan to listen to this week. You'll notice that two of the podcasts Tech Talk 4 Teachers and Tech Teacher Live both discuss the use of Twitter as a professional development tool. If you don't know what Twitter is or you're wondering how you can use it for professional development check out the podcasts or read my previous posts on the topic here, here, here, or here.

Wesley Fryer has released a new podcast episode. This current episode, podcast 261, features student perspectives on the use of technology in education. The students also discuss the use of computers for strategic gaming. It's always refreshing to hear students' perspectives on the topics teachers spend so much time discussing.

So what does Will Smith have to do with education/ tech podcasts? Well the title of this week's episode of Wicked Decent Learning is A Will Smith- Free Independence Day. In this week's episode Jeff and Dan talk about fostering independent thinking in students and teachers.

As always, simply click the links to visit the podcasts mentioned above. Alternatively, for the Tech Teacher Live podcast, you can listen here via the widget embedded in the right hand column.

Learn Spanish -

Lingus TV is a new website featuring videos to help viewers learn conversational Spanish. So far the collection of videos is small and they are mostly for intermediate for advanced learners, but there are a couple of videos suitable for beginners. The short videos feature actors having brief, realistic looking and sounding conversations. Each video is accompanied by the Spanish transcript and the English translation of the transcripts. The concept is great, but unfortunately the content of a couple of videos makes me question whether or not I would use them with students younger than high school age.

Here is a short video from Lingus TV.