Thursday, May 6, 2010

National Archives Document & Patterns in History

History teachers are known for occasionally making cliche statements like "history repeats itself" or "history is full of patterns." Today's featured document from the National Archives offers some proof that those cliches are true at times. Today's document from the National Archives is a copy of the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act. In addition to the document, the National Archives posted a typed transcript of the act and a lesson plan for teaching with the document.

Applications for Education
As Arizona's laws regarding immigration stay in the news, the document and lesson plan about the Chinese Exclusion Act could be present a good way to compare past and present in US politics.

Great Open Course from Yale - Roman Architecture

Through Open Culture I've learned of another free open course from Yale. Roman Architecture 252 is, as the name implies, a course on Roman Architecture. The course has twenty-three lectures which you can download or watch on YouTube. The course appears to cover more than just architecture as the lecture titles mention murals, art, civic life, and lifestyles of the rich and famous. Embedded below is the second lecture in the course, The Founding of Rome and the Beginnings of Urbanism in Italy.

Applications for Education
This course from Yale is a just another great example of the excellent free learning opportunities that the web makes available to learners. I wouldn't play one of these videos for an entire class period, but I might show a segment from one. I also wouldn't hesitate to recommend a course like this to a high school student that had a deep interest in learning more than a typical high school curriculum covers.

Google Makes Useful Changes to Search Page

Some people may have already noticed that Google made some slight changes to their logo today. But that's not all that Google changed. Today, Google announced some changes to their search results page. Most noticeable of these changes is on left-hand side of the search results page. The search results page now displays some helpful options for refining searches and options for searching in Google Books, Images, Maps, and more. Prior to today if you wanted to use the Google Wonder Wheel you had to dig under the "more options" menu. Now the Wonder Wheel option appears on the same page as your search results.

Learn more about the changes to Google's search results display in the video below.

Applications for Education
The new search results display could be very helpful for students. Putting things like Wonder Wheel and Timeline on the same page as the search results increases the likelihood that students will use these powerful search refinement tools.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Google Tools Tutorials
Google for Teachers
Beyond Google - Improve Your Search Results

PDF to PowerPoint in Two Steps

If you've ever had someone send you a PDF that was intended to be in PowerPoint or needed to be in PowerPoint, you know the frustration of trying to convert it. Convert PDF to PowerPoint is a simple service that will convert PDFs into PowerPoint format. To use the service all you need to do is upload the PDF and enter your email address. Convert PDF to PowerPoint will then email you when your new PowerPoint file is available.

Thanks to Sandy Darby for sharing this handy tool with me via email.

Applications for Education
Convert PDF to PowerPoint could be a nice tool to have for those times when a technology-challenged colleague sends you a PDF that needs editing and conversion to a more useable format.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Scriblink - Your Online Collaborative Whiteboard
Scribblar - Simple, Effective, Creative Collaboration

More Google Maps About Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

Yesterday, I shared links to a couple of map resources about the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill. One of those links was for a Google Earth file. This morning I learned through the Google Earth Blog that Google has created a page just for sharing maps, files, links, and videos about oil spill. On Google Crisis Response you will find more than a dozen Google Maps and Google Earth layers displaying information related to the oil spill. These files contain information about the size of the oil spill, fishing closures in the Gulf of Mexico, and points of interest affected by the oil spill.

On Google Crisis Response you can upload and view videos about the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill. Embedded below is one of the videos from the collection on Google Crisis Response.

Applications for Education
As I mentioned yesterday, Google Maps and Google Earth files about the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill could be good complements to articles your students might read about the story. The Google Crisis Response page isn't quite a one-stop shopping experience for information about the oil spill, but it is a very good starting place.