Monday, September 15, 2008

Professional Development via ACTFL Blog Talk Radio

This professional development resource came to my attention through Karen at Teaching and Learning Spanish. The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages is launching a new show on Blog Talk Radio. The first show will be on September 17 at 3pm EST. Listeners can call in or chat online with the host live. If you can't make it for the live broadcast, the recorded version will be available the next day. In the past I've participated in call-in style blogs and podcasts and found them to be great professional learning experiences.

Thematic Mapping Engine - Creating KMZ Files Made Easy

Thematic Mapping provides users with a very simple way to create Google Earth kmz files. Thematic Mapping draws on data provided by the United Nations to create maps depicting all types of development data and environmental science data. Users select a statistical indicator category, select a year or range of years, and the manner in which they would like the data displayed in Google Earth. If you're using a Windows computer you can preview your files before downloading them. Below is an image of the kmz file I created using Thematic Mapping.

Applications for Education
Thematic Mapping could be used in Social Studies, Math, or Environmental Science courses. A map depicting GDP Per Capita would be useful in math if students are studying the differences between mean and median. The same map would also be useful in a Social Studies course where students are studying the distribution of wealth. There are a number of environmental science indicators available from Thematic Mapping one that may be particular useful for Environmental Science students is the CO2 Emissions Per Capita theme.

Thematic Mapping Engine appears to be offline as of 3/27/09, but the blog for TME is still online and active so hopefully TME is only offline temporarily.

More Real World Math

When I first came across Real World Math last spring I was very impressed. As I was cataloging links for a site redesign I re-examined a number of sites including Real World Math. Real World Math, designed by Thomas Petra, uses Google Earth as the centerpiece of math lessons. Over the summer new lessons were added to the menu and all of the files were updated for improved viewing.

One of the things that I really like about Real World Math is that by incorporating Google Earth, math lessons may become more interesting otherwise disinterested students. Another outstanding element of Real World Math is the FAQ page where Thomas Petra answers, in very clear language, common questions that first time Google Earth users often have. Make sure you also check out Thomas Petra's blog for more information regarding Real World Math.

Win a Classroom Makeover

eIntsruction, producers of hand-held student response systems called CPS, is holding a music video contest to award three classroom makeovers valued at $25,000 each. To enter the contest simply make a short music video demonstrating how you and your students use technology in the classroom or how you and your students envision using new technology in the classroom. Classroom makeovers will be awarded in three divisions K-5, 6-8, and 9-12. The contest starts today and all entries must be received by October 24. For complete contest rules visit the contest page. Embedded below is last year's winning video in the K-5 division.

I do not have any affliation with eInstruction or this contest. I am simply passing along a great opportunity for teachers and students.