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Monday, August 15, 2011

5 Ways Students Can Visually Explore the News

My background as a social studies teacher will show through in this post. One of the perks of being social studies teachers is that current news events tie into so many things that we do in our classrooms. There are plenty of good resources for teachers to find current events stories that are relevant and appropriate for students. But sometimes you might want students to explore the news on their own. For those times, here are five ways that students can visually explore the news.

Ten by Ten is a unique program that links images with news stories. Every hour the top 100 news stories from around the world are linked to images on a ten by ten grid. The stories are ranked. Clicking on an image will provide you with more information including links to more articles about the story. (You must allow pop-ups for the article links to work).


The AP Timeline Reader gives readers a way to create custom timeline displays of the type of news stories that matter to them. AP gives you ten news categories to pick to display on your timeline. You can select all ten categories, just one category, or a number in between. Once you've made your selections, news stories will be displayed on your timeline. Place your cursor over a story to enlarge it and read it. You can also place it in a que to read later.

Newseum's Today's Front Pages is a series of nine maps that display the current front page of major newspapers around the world. Little orange colored dots on each map correspond to the publishing location of each newspaper. Placing your mouse pointer on one of the dots generates a preview of that newspaper's current front page. Click on the preview and you can read that front page or click through to the newspaper's website.

Newspaper Map is a neat tool for locating and reading newspapers from locations all around the world. Newspaper Map claims to have geolocated 10,000 newspapers. To find a newspaper you can browse the map then click on a placemark to open the link within to read a newspaper. You can also locate newspapers by using the search boxes to locate a newspaper by title or location. Along with links to the newspapers, Newspapers Map provides links to translate the newspapers you find on the map.

Google Fast Flip is a magazine-style display of popular articles from some of the most popular websites on the Internet. Content is drawn from news outlets like The Washington Post, Popular Science, The New York Times, and Reuters. The visual display makes it easy to quickly browse through websites. Fast Flip can be a useful resource for social studies students and their teachers. Note: Google Fast Flip is currently a Google Labs product. Google Labs is being shut down. Some labs products are going to be shut down and others are going to be "graduated" to fully supported products. I have not read an announcement about Fast Flip yet, but my hunch is that it will remain live. 
Update: Fast Flip has been shut down. A new Google service for browsing the news is Google Currents. Google Currents is a free Android and iPhone/ iPad app. 

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