Friday, February 12, 2010

EyePlorer - Visually Explore Wikipedia

EyePlorer is a reference search engine that takes your original search term then displays related terms in a circle around your original search term. Clicking on each related term reveals more information from Wikipedia about that term. If the information is something that you want to save for later use, you can drag the information into your EyePlorer notebook. Watch the video below to learn more.

Applications for Education
EyePlorer is a great way for students to see the importance of refining search terms. A broad topic will crowd the EyePlorer circle with related topics. A more specific search term will yield fewer related topic links. If a student is struggling to narrow a research topic, EyePlorer provides suggestions in the form of related topics. The EyePlorer notebook makes it easy for students to keep a record of the information they've found.

NOVA - Volcano Above the Clouds

Volcano Above the Clouds is a NOVA program that chronicles an ascent of Mount Kilimanjaro by a group of climbers and scientists. In addition to the video, Volcano Above the Clouds offers a large collection of materials and teaching guides for learning about volcanoes, glaciers, and climate change with Mount Kilimanjaro at the center of each lesson. As Mount Kilimanjaro is one of the Seven Summits of the world, NOVA provides a slideshow of the Seven Summits which puts Kilimanjaro into perspective relative to those other summits.

Applications for Education
Volcano Above the Clouds could be used to teach lessons on climate change, geology, and ecosystems. The teaching materials also include short lessons about the equipment and safety measures taken when climbing a mountain like Kilimanjaro. The lesson ideas provided by NOVA are appropriate for middle school and high school students.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Exploring Climate Change in Google Earth
Exploring Alternative Energy Sources
View Glacier Melt in Google Earth

Google Maps Labs - Try the Newest Options

Earlier today Google announced the launch of Google Maps Labs. Labs is generally the "code name" for new products and features that Google is testing out by letting anyone them try them. In Google Maps Labs you will find nine new features that Google is letting anyone try. Of the nine, I found five that could have an immediate use in classroom settings; Where in the World, Aerial Imagery, Drag n' Zoom, LatLng Tool Tip, and Rotatable Maps.

Aerial Imagery is only available in some areas right now, but in the places where it is available I found it to be a nice intermediate step between satellite imagery and street view imagery.

Drag n' Zoom
provides and easier way to zoom-in on an area than clicking or using the zoom slider. With Drag n' Zoom activated all you need to do is draw a box around the area you wish to see in detail and Google Maps sends you there. This is an improvement over having to make sure that you're map is centered while you zoom and readjusting as you get closer to your target area.

LatLng Tool Tip is just an addition to your cursor that indicates the latitude and longitude coordinates of any place your cursor is hovering over.

Rotatable Maps allows you to spin the orientation of your map 360 degrees, just like you can in Google Earth. This could be handy in a geography classroom if you were trying to demonstrate different perspectives of maps.

Finally, Where in the World is a geography game that asks players to identify places by looking at satellite imagery. A placemarker is placed on an image and you're given ten seconds to correctly identify the palce that is marked. You can zoom-in or zoom-out to get a better perspective, but you better do it quickly or you'll be timed-out.

You can access all of the new Google Maps Labs by going to Google Maps and clicking on the "Labs" link that appears in the upper-right corner of your screen.

Applications for Education
Where in the World could be a fun way for students to practice indentifying countries and continents. Drag n' Zoom could improve the accessibility of Google Maps for some students. Aerial Imagery may be useful for giving students a "lay of the land" perspective on some places that aren't terribly clear in satellite imagery.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Place Spotting - Challenging Geographic Riddles
Find Country - Improve Your Geographic Knowledge
Quikmaps - Quickly Customize a Google Map

Fun, Gross, and Educational

Who Pooped? just might be the oddest resource I've ever mentioned on this blog. Who Pooped? is an interactive game in which students learn about various animals by guessing which animal created which pile of poop. Believe it or not, there is actually some good information about the animals that follows each round of guessing who created which poop. Check it out for yourself. And thanks to Larry Ferlazzo for this "entertaining" education resource.

Applications for Education
If they can get past the "hilarity" of the "poop" images and noises, Who Pooped? could be a very engaging way for elementary school students to learn about various mammals.

Videos about Nelson Mandela

Yesterday marked the 20th anniversary of Nelson Mandela's release from prison. CNN Student News has a short segment about Mandela in today's episode. But if you're looking for some more comprehensive videos about Nelson Mandela, Snag Films has seven free films you can watch. I've embedded one of the films, Nelson Mandela: Free at Last, below.