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Friday, May 22, 2009

Data.Gov Makes Raw Government Data Accessible

Data.gov is a source of raw data sets generated by the various agencies and departments of the US government. Some of the agencies providing data on Data.gov that may be of particular interest to educators are the National Center for Education Statistics, National Science Foundation, and the US Census Bureau. Data.gov is still in development and search options aren't as polished as I would like, but Data.gov is still a potentially useful database.

Applications for Education
Data.gov could be useful in any high school content area that teaches statistical analysis. In particular, I can see environmental data being used in an Earth Science classroom and data from the Economic Research Service could be used in an economics or business course.

Memorial Day Video and Resource Links

Memorial Day weekend begins in a couple of hours here in the United States. Today's episode of CNN Student News concludes with a short segment about the history and purpose of Memorial Day. It's probably a bit late to include the video in your lesson plan for today, but you may want to use it when students return to school on Tuesday. The video is embedded below.


Larry Ferlazzo has assembled a good list of slideshows and text resources for teaching about Memorial Day. I recommend visiting his list to find materials to complement the video embedded above.

Flashcards and Word Searches Using Google Spreadsheets

Today, The Official Google Docs Blog is featuring three Google Docs spreadsheet templates that may be of interest to educators. The three templates allow you to create flashcards, word searches, and a word study game. You can access and read more about the templates here. I have to admit that I'm not much of a spreadsheet user, but these three Google Docs spreadsheet templates might get me to spend some time with a spreadsheet.

Applications for Education
If you've been looking for just the right flashcard program or the right word search generator, but haven't found it, these templates might be what you need. One clear advantage of using these templates over a commercial program is that you won't be exposing your students to any advertising on your word search or flashcards.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Three Getting Started Guides for Google Docs
Projects Using Google Docs
Eight Ways to Use Google Docs from Tom Barrett

Math and Language Arts Games on Arcademic

Arcademic Skill Builders offers a collection of twenty-one quality games for sharpening math and language arts skills. All of the games can be played online and six of the games are even enabled for play using a Nintendo Wii remote. All of the language arts games are one-player games. Nine of the fifteen mathematics games are enabled for multiple player use.

Applications for Education
The games on Arcademic Skill Builders are good for elementary school students to use to practice their mathematics and language arts skills. According to their website, Arcademic Skill Builders plans to add a record-keeping capacity in the future.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Ten Fun Educational Games for K-8 Students
Parade of Games in Powerpoint
200+ Free Games for Your Class Blog or Website

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