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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

5 Interesting and Educational Twitter Finds

One of the really nice things about a rainy day during school vacation week is being able to see more tweets than I typically do on a day when I'm teaching. Today, I had a hard time picking just five Twitter gems.

Here are five interesting and educational things found today on Twitter.
1. What's Wrong With Merit Pay from @educationweek
2. Easy Earth Day Activities for Everyone from @EcoInteractive
3. Tech Tip Tuesday: Picassa 3.0 from @ccassinelli
4. K-3 Teachers Guide to Twitter from @k3teachers
5. A Textbook Example of What's Wrong With Education from @BoldSchool

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Planet Impact - Interactive Study of Gravity

Planet Impact is an interactive activity developed by the people at Amazing Space. Amazing Space, previously reviewed here, provides high-quality simulations and lesson plans for teaching Space Science. Planet Impact lets students launch comets at Jupiter to study the effects of speed, mass, and gravity on the trajectory of a comet. Students can change each of these variables, launch the comet, then read about the effects of changing each variable.

Applications for Education
Planet Impact is one of eleven good interactive activities developed by Amazing Space. The activities are appropriate for use in middle school and upper elementary school grades. Amazing Space furnishes suggested lesson plans with each interactive activity.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
The Planets in Orbit Visualized
A Tour of the Solar System
NASA Quests and Challenges

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The World Digital Library

The World Digital Library makes available, for free, nearly 1200 primary documents and images from collections around the world. Sponsored by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the mission of the World Digital Library is to promote the study and understanding of cultures. The WDL can be searched by date, era, country, continent, topic, and type of resource. In my search of the WDL I noticed that roughly half of the resources are historical maps and images. The WDL aims to be accessible to as many people as possible by providing search tools and content descriptions in seven languages. The WDL can also be searched by clicking through the map on the homepage.













Applications for Education
The World Digital Library looks like it can be a great resource for anyone that teaches history or cultural studies. The wealth of image based resources along with the document based resources makes the WDL appropriate for use with most age groups.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
The Places We Live - Images and Sounds of Slums
Kids Around the World - Culture Lessons for K-5
Visualizing Cultures

Scitable - Collaborative Learning Space for Science

Scitable, produced by Nature Education, looks like a good resource for high school and college students studying genetics. On Scitable students can find more than 150 articles and overviews of key genetics concepts. If a student has a particularly tough question, they can ask an expert on Scitable.

Scitable is designed as a collaborative learning space. To that end, Scitable offers students the opportunity to join groups studying alike topics. Scitable also provides educators with space to create a course group through which they can deliver lessons to students.

Thanks to Skip Z for the Twitter tip about Scitable.

Applications for Education
Scitable is designed for use by college students, but some of content could be used in some high school settings.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Dr. Saul's Biology in Motion
Science Activities for Elementary Students
The Wild Classroom - Science Videos and Podcasts

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Fair Spin - Is Your News Source Biased?

Fair Spin is a new news website that I learned about through TechCrunch. Fair Spin publishes abbreviated news feeds from a variety of sources including CNN, Fox, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times. Clicking on the title of a story will take you to the full story. After reading a story, you can vote on whether or the story contains a bias and if so, is the bias left or right leaning. Fair Spin displays aggregate votes on each story.

Applications for Education
Fair Spin could be a good resource for current events teachers and or journalism teachers. You could have students look at the stories that have been voted on and have them try to identify what makes a story appear to have a left or right leaning bias.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
ProCon - Helping Students Evaluate Controversial Topics
Google News Timeline
MeeHive - Your Custom News Homepage

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Last Minute Earth Day Lesson Materials

Tomorrow is Earth Day. Earlier this month I posted some resources for teaching about Earth Day and environmental science. If Earth Day has snuck up on you and you find yourself needing some resources for tomorrow, review my previous list of 10 environmental science resources. If you're an elementary school teacher you will want to visit Scholastic's Earth Day lesson materials and DLTK's Earth Day Activities for Kids. DLTK's Earth Day Activities for Kids features materials like coloring pages, games, and crafting projects.

National Geographic has some great resources for learning about environmental science and Earth Day. On the National Geographic website students can learn about the Green House Effect through an interactive lesson. After learning about global warming in the Green House Effect interactive lesson, students can learn about alternative energy through the Wind Power interactive lesson.

If you're looking for some high-quality movies for Earth Day, Snag Films has put together a nice collection of high-quality documentaries including National Geographic's film Human Footprint. As always, you can view the Snag Films documentaries on their website or embed them into your blog or website.

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