Thursday, April 2, 2009

5 Fun, Interesting, and Educational Things on Twitter

This is now the fifth day of posting my five favorite Twitter finds of the day and I've now decided on a format these posts. In each post in the "5 Fun, Interesting, and Educational Things on Twitter" series I will try to share a tip for improving and building your Twitter network.

A simple thing that can help you build your Twitter network is to occasionally retweet something that you find interesting or useful. In your retweet include the original tweeter's name. The person who's tweet you retweet will appreciate it, it helps that person get noticed, and in turn that person may reciprocate down the road. Even if the other person doesn't reciprocate, it's still a good thing to do as it shows others that you're willing to contibute to a learning network.

Here are 5 fun, interesting, and educational things I found on Twitter today.
1. Internet Safety Videos for Teens from @nycrican2
2. Find Your Teachmate from @angelamaiers
3. What 4th Graders Know About Money from @HaydenTompkins
4. Global Best Practices in Financial Education from @chollingsworth
5. Connectivism Education Ning from @Darcy1968

The Places We Live - Images and Sounds of Slums

The Places We Live is a powerful collection of images, sounds, and stories of life in four of the world's poorest slums. The introduction to The Places We Live starts with a slideshow containing statistics from the UN regarding the world's population that lives in slums and the UN definition of the term slum.

After the introduction, The Places We Live gives users a choice of four city slums to learn more about. The cities are Caracas, Venezuela; Jakarta, Indonesia; Nairobi, Kenya; and Mumbai, India.

Applications for Education
The Places We Live could be a good tool for teaching students about poverty around the world. You may want to use The Places We Live in conjunction with today's episode of CNN Student News that raises the question, what obligation do wealthier countries have to help poorer countries?

LIFE - Your World in Pictures

I originally wrote about the LIFE collection of images last fall before the site went live. The LIFE website is now live and offering great visual resources appropriate for wide variety of classroom uses. The LIFE pictures website is a the result of a combined effort by LIFE and Getty Images to create a fantastic collection of nearly seven million high quality images. There are five categories and many subcategories of images. The five main categories are News, Celebrity, Travel, Animals, and Sports.

The homepage of LIFE offers slideshows of popular photographs from each of the five photograph categories. The news slideshow offers images of current news as well as "this day in history" images.

Applications for Education
The LIFE collection of images is a great resource for anyone that teaches history and or culture of the 20th century. As a history teacher, I have found that my students remember events better when they can see images of that event. The images could also be used as story starters for a writing assignment.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
William Vann's EduPic Graphical Resource
Morgue File - Good Free Images
Find Flickr Images by Location with Where? What? When?

Qimo for Kids is Ubuntu for Kids

This morning in my Twitter stream I saw a link to Qimo for Kids. Not knowing what Qimo for Kids is, I had to take a look. This is what I found out, Qimo for Kids is a Linux Ubuntu-based operating system designed for use by kids as young as three years old. The system's primary features appear to be an intuitive interface and pre-loaded educational games. I have not had an opportunity to install Qimo for Kids and I would love to hear comments from people who have installed it and tried it out.

Who are the G-20?

Today's episode of CNN Student News leads off with a segment about the G-20 conference. The segment provides an overview of the topics being discussed at the G-20 conference. In the second segment of the episode a reporter hits the streets to find out if anyone can identify the various leaders of the G-20 countries. The video is embedded below.

Applications for Education
Today's episode of CNN Student News could be a good introduction to a lesson in global economics and international relations. One point raised in the video that could be a good discussion question is; in light of the recent economic downturn, what obligation do wealthier countries have to help the poorer countries of the world?

Confusing Words Clarified

Confusing Words is a handy little website for any student writer. Confusing Words is an index of 3210 words that are commonly confused or misused. If you're not sure if you should use the word "affect" or "effect" type either word into the Confusing Words search box and find your answer.

Applications for Education
Confusing Words could be a good reference tool for student writers. If you maintain a blog or wiki for your class, Confusing Words may be a resource worth linking to.

Here are a couple of related resources that may be of interest to you:
Writing Fix
Grammar Bytes

Interactive US Map from offers a collection of map-based lessons and an interactive map about the United States. After completing the map-based lessons and trying the interactive map, students can test their knowledge with a short quiz. The map-based lessons include content about Native Americans, the 50 states, colonists, and westward expansion.

Applications for Education
The map-based lessons and interactive map are probably best suited to use in an middle school setting or as a review of the basics for high school students. The map-based lessons do require students to do a fair amount of reading.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Watch American Experience Online
Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States in digital format
History Channel's Guide to the US States