Thursday, March 25, 2010

Animated Web Search Tutorials

Vaughn Memorial Library at Acadia University hosts four free animated tutorials designed to teach lessons on web research strategies. The four tutorials are Credible Sources Count, Research It Right, Searching With Success, and You Quote It, You Note It.

In Credible Sources Count students learn how to recognize the validity of information on the Internet. It's a good tutorial except for a strong emphasis on using domain names for determining validity.

Research It Right walks students through the process of forming a research question through the actual research steps.

Searching With Success shows students how search engines function. The tutorial gives clear examples and directions for altering search terms.

You Quote It, You Note It
shows students what plagiarism is and how to avoid accidentally plagiarizing someone's work.

Applications for Education
These animated tutorials are probably best suited to older elementary school students and middle school students. The tutorials provide a good base to build further lessons upon.

Living Climate Change - Video Challenge

International design firm IDEO is hosting a video competition centered around the idea of living with climate change. IDEO is actually hosting two competitions, one for those under 18 and for those over 18. The under 18 contest asks students to create short video (under two minutes) depicting how they envision climate change impacting or shaping our lives over the next twenty to thirty years.

From the Living Climate Change contest website:
Looking beyond the doom and gloom and the policy discussions that have dominated the debate, how would you envision a sustainable future from a human-centered perspective? Which behaviors will change? Which will be preserved? Design your short videos or still image/text animations to inspire change, through fresh thinking, new choices, and new opportunities.

The grand prize for this contest is $3,000 USD. Entries are due by Tuesday, May 25. Read all of the contest rules and details here.

Applications for Education
Creating videos for this contest could be a good challenge to use in an environmental science class. Creating videos for this challenge will require students to analyze current information about climate change and make predictions using that data.

Click here for a list of video creation tools and resources.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Video - Two Cases of Global Warming
Climate Change, Wildlife, Wildlands Lesson Plans
Endangered Places Multimedia Map

Webinar - Google Apps Lessons from the Classroom

Yesterday, Google Certified Teacher Henry Thiele conducted a webinar in which he shared examples of how his school district uses Google Apps for Education. The webinar includes examples of project based learning using online tools. You can watch the webinar in the video embedded below. The slides from the webinar are available here. The Q&A transcript can be found here.

Four Places to Watch Wildlife Live on the Web

Earlier today I saw someone Tweet a link to the CBC British Columbia Eagle Cam (sorry I forgot to note who it was, if it was you, please leave a comment and take credit). That eagle cam got me searching for other live wildlife camera feeds. I came across three more live wildlife feeds that I think teachers could use with their students.

Wild Earth TV provides eleven live video feeds of animals in the wild. As I write this I'm watching the Bear Den feed featuring Lily the Black Bear. Lily has almost 100,000 Facebook fans. While watching the video feeds, registered users can chat with each other about what they're seeing. If the video feed is not live when you visit the website, you can choose from any number of recorded videos.

The USDA Forest Service has four wildlife camera feeds but as I write this only one, the Eagle Cam, seems to functioning properly. In addition to the cameras the USDA Forest Service offers a nice collection of teaching resources including full lesson plans and slideshows about the birds, fish, and mammals recorded on their wildlife cameras.

Africam provides four live feeds featuring African wildlife. If you visit the site and the feed is dark (which is likely if you're watching in the afternoon in North or South America), check out the archived recordings.

Applications for Education
These live wildlife feeds could be useful for showing students animals in their natural environments. I watched the bear in her den and thought that it might be neat for an elementary school class to track how many days the bear spends hibernating in her den.

Search 137 Years of Popular Science

Popular Science has recently made available online every issue of its 137 year history. The archived issues are hosted by Google Books. Use the search function to find issues related to your search topic. Each issue can be read on the Popular Science website. Because the issues are hosted by Google Books you can also click on the "more about this magazine" link to view the full size magazine. From the Google Books site you can also grab the embed code to put an issue in your blog or website. Embedded below you will find the November 1963 issue of Popular Science. You might need to click the link to open the magazine.

Applications for Education
Viewing and reading the archived issues of Popular Science could be a good way for students to look back at trends in science and technology. Students could pick a topic like rockets or telephones and trace the changes in those technologies over time.