Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Timelines: Israel, the Gaza Strip, and Hamas

Yesterday, I posted a video from CNN Student News that gave a brief overview of the current fighting in the Gaza Strip. Today, I found a couple of timelines to accompany that video.

As is to be expected, the BBC has put together some good resources that middle school and high school students can use to gain an understanding of the current situation in Gaza. The timeline provides brief summaries of the events of each day since the fighting started on December 27. Students can gain a geographic context of the events by using the BBC's situation map. You can access the map and timeline here.

The New York Times has a great interactive timeline that middle school and high school students can access. The interactive timeline covers not only the current events in Gaza, but also the history of Israel dating back to 1949. By clicking along the top of the timeline students will find articles and images explaining each event. You may also want to have your students read this recent article from the NY Times Learning Network. Turn on the geography and vocabulary keys to help younger students comprehend the content.

Larry Ferlazzo has compiled a great list of resources for teaching about the Middle East. Make sure you check out Larry's list for more ideas.

On a more positive note, Snag Films, has made available for free the PBS movie Bridge Over the Wadi. Bridge Over the Wadi is a documentary about a joint Arab-Jewish school that opened in 2004 in Israel's Wadi Ara region.

Jing Leaves Beta - Use It For Free or Go Pro

Jing is the second free resource from my list of favorites for 2008 to announce improvements today. (Earlier today Animoto announced a couple of improvements). Until today, screencast videos created using Jing couldn't, unless you're a super tech guru, be resized without losing part of the video. Beginning today, Jing screencast videos can be resized by following the directions given in the new help center. Jing is still free to use, but now you have the option of upgrading to a pro account for $14.95/ year. A pro account offers the benefits of HD quality video, direct output to YouTube, and the removal of Jing advertising from your videos. Pro account users can also export videos directly to Camtasia or iMovie.

For those of you that are not familiar with Jing, Jing is a free screencasting tool available as a Mac or Windows download. Using Jing you can record videos of your computer screen to visually demonstrate and orally explain to viewers how to perform a task on their own computers. You can also use Jing to take screenshots on which you can then draw and label. Below you can see a screenshot, with drawing and writing, that I just created using Jing.

Applications for Education
Jing is a very useful tool to have installed on your computer. Jing makes it easy for teachers to create short screencasts and screenshots to explain to students how to use a new piece of software or a new website. Screencast can be particularly useful if you're students are going to be doing work online away from your classroom. Post your screencasts online and your students can watch them when you're not available to answer their "how-to" questions.

Why Didn't I Do This Earlier? National Archives RSS Feed

I have written about using to find teaching materials and I have used the National Archives materials for lessons that I've conducted with my students, but until today I never thought to subscribe to the daily document RSS feed from the National Archives. Today, Jeffery Hill posted the tip to subscribe to daily document feed from the National Archives. I subscribed to RSS feed immediately after reading Jeffery's blog. By the way, if you're not subscribed to Jeffery Hill's English Blog, you should definitely check it out, he posts a lot of great resources every day.

Applications for Education
Every day the RSS feed from the National Archives serves up a new primary document corresponding to that day in history. Along with the document teachers will find suggested classroom resources and suggested research links.

On a related note, the National Archives has videos and images that US History teachers will find useful.

Animoto Improves Again

Animoto, which I included in my 12 favorite resources of 2008, has just announced another great improvement. Until now users did not have any control over the length of time that an image was displayed for or quickly an image faded in or out. As of today, users can now have control over those elements in creating a full-length video. Animoto typically charges customers to make full-length videos, but teachers can create an education account and gain access to full-length video creation for free.

If you enjoy Animoto, please consider taking a few seconds to vote for them in the Crunchies 2008 Awards sponsored by TechCrunch. You can vote for Animoto here.

Applications for Education
You can read about using Animoto in the classroom here, here, or here.