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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Graph.tk - Online Graphing Utility

Graph.tk is a free online graphing utility that I found in the Google Chrome Web Store. Graph.tk allows you to plot multiple functions through its dynamically resizing grid. To graph an equation on Graph.tk just click the "+" symbol to enter a new equation. Click here to watch a short video of Graph.tk in use. One thing that the video doesn't show and isn't clear the first time you use Graph.tk is that you need to delete the existing default equations before you start.

Applications for Education
Graph.tk probably won't replace a TI-84 or similar graphing calculators, but it could be useful for doing some of the functions of those calculators. Like I mentioned in my post about the Web 2.0 Calculator, Graph.tk could be a resource for students who don't have access to graphing calculators outside of their classrooms.

eType - Free Dictionary and Translator

eType is a new application that auto-completes words, generates a dictionary, and translates text while you type. Once installed (available for Windows only) eType will auto-complete words while you type. If you choose, you can have eType generate a list of recommended words while you type. You can also choose to have eType translate your text into seventeen languages. Watch the video below to see eType in action.

eSkeletons - Interactive Mammal Skeleton Models

eSkeletons is a great website produced by the Department of Anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin. eSkeletons features interactive models of mammal skeletons. Select a model from the menu on the home page then click on any bone in the model to view it in detail. After select a bone to view you can choose from a menu of viewing angles. In many cases eSkeletons offers a short video display of the bone you've selected from the menu.

eSkeletons gives students the option to compare bones across models. Select two or more animals from the menu then select a bone and a small gallery of comparative images will be generated. eSkeletons offers a glossary of terms and a legend to help students understand what they are viewing. Even without the models, the glossary is a good resource for anatomy students.

Free Advanced Placement eBooks from Kaplan

For a limited time Kaplan is giving away 130 of its ebooks for free to users of iPads, iPhones, iPods, Nooks, and Sony eReaders. Included in the list of titles are books for most Advanced Placement courses including US History, Biology, Statistics, Calculus, and more. In the list of titles you will also find test prep books for the SAT, GRE, PSAT, GMAT, and other standardized tests. The books have to be download using one the the devices listed on the Kaplan Free eBooks page. This offer expires January 10th so don't wait to act.

H/T to Open Culture.

11 Social Studies Resources to Try in 2011

All week I've started each day with a list of eleven good resources to try in different content areas. On Monday I shared mathematics resources. On Tuesday I shared science resources. On Wednesday I shared language arts resources. And today I bring you eleven good social studies resources to try in 2011.

TimeRime allows users to create timelines that include text, images, audio, and video. One of the better features of TimeRime is that you can have more than one type of media for each event on your timeline. TimeRime users can also select which media type they want as the feature piece of each event. As we've come to expect with any web 2.0 tool of this type, you can embed the timeline in a blog or share it via email. TimeRime can be used in English or Spanish.

Historypin is a service developed by We Are What We Do in partnership with Google. Historypin allows anyone with a Google account to place images within the setting of current Google Maps Streetview imagery. If you don't have images to add, you can simply explore the imagery added by others. To explore the imagery on Historypin, zoom in on a location then select a range of dates on the Historypin timeline. Learn more about Historypin in this video.

If economics, particularly personal finance, is a part of your curriculum then you should check out some of Common Craft's work. Common Craft has three videos that could be used in a business class, economics class, or in any setting that requires students to have an understanding of banking practices. Here are direct links to each of the three videos: Investing in Plain English, Borrowing in Plain English, Saving in Plain English.

The European Virtual Museum is the product of collaboration between twenty-seven European museums. The European Virtual Museum makes artifacts of European history available in interactive 3D form. Through the use of QuickTime technology the artifacts in the European Virtual Museum can be rotated for optimum viewing. Visitors to the European Virtual Museum can browse through the collections by chronology, geographic area, object type, contributing museum, routes, and tour itineraries.

Scribble Maps is a fun and useful application for drawing and typing on Google Maps. Using Scribble Maps anyone can draw and type on a map. All of the zoom options and most of the search options available on Google Maps are available when using Scribble Maps. You can zoom in on an area and then type text, draw a circle or a box around an area, you can even doodle stick figures or whatever you like on your map. Scribble Maps Pro allows you to import KML files, import spreadsheets, and import SHP files. Importing KML files allows you to add free hand drawing on top of files that you may have already created for Google Maps or Google Earth. Importing spreadsheets makes it easy to quickly add placemarks to a large number of places. SHP file importation allows you to add custom shapes to your maps. Watch this video to see these options in action.

Google Earth. The possibilities for using Google Earth in a social studies classroom are almost limitless. In Google Earth students can tour ancient Rome, explore WWI and WWII battle sites, learn about contemporary news stories such as events in Afghanistan, or use Google Earth as an almanac of facts. Students, of course, can use Google Earth to create digital stories. Students can create tours of military campaigns, trace the lives of famous people, or map the expansions and contractions of political borders. If you're looking for some directions to get started with Google Earth, please see Google Earth Across the Curriculum and or the official Google Earth help pages.


The Center on Congress at Indiana University has a good collection of interactive, role-playing activities for learning about how the United States' government functions. Each activity allows students to experience the roles and functions of different members of Congress. One of the activities that my Civics students have really enjoyed in the past is the "How a Member Decides to Vote" activity. In "How a Member Decides to Vote" students take on the role of a Congressman or Congresswoman for a week. During the simulated week, students receive phone calls from constituents, read newspaper headlines, meet with constituents, meet with lobbyists, and attend meetings with other Congressmen and Congresswomen. The "How a Member Decides to Vote" activity makes students account for their personal feelings as well as the influence of constituents and lobbyists.

Angela Cunningham is a high school school Social Studies teacher in Kentucky that I've had the pleasure of meeting at the last two ISTE conferences. Through her blog ChangeED Angela has shared some great ideas and resources for teaching history, civics, and geography. One of the great resources Angela has posted on her blog is a Google Map of placemarks representing more than 60 webcams and virtual tours. Click any placemark on the map to find a link to a virtual tour or webcam for that location. You can view the map here.

Snag Learning offers free access to high quality documentary films from notable producers like National Geographic and NOVA. Snag Learning categorizes documentaries by grade level and content area. Additionally, Snag Learning offers a series of guiding questions for each film. You can embed previews of each video into your blog, but you have to watch the full-length versions on Snag Learning.

Most of the social studies teachers I know, like to show a good documentary every once in a while. Instead of watching videos why not have your students make documentaries? One of the services that I really like for this purpose is JayCutJayCut is a free, online, video editing service. To use JayCut online you will need to join the JayCut community. Once you've joined you can immediately start creating a video. The JayCut editor allows you to use two video editing tracks, an audio track, and a transitions track to create your video. JayCut provides some stock video and stock transitions that you can use, but the best option is to upload your own images, video clips, and sound tracks. Earlier this fall JayCut also introduced new options for slow motion effects, direct recording from your webcam, a green screen, and color editing. The videos you create can be published online on the JayCut site, published directly to YouTube, or downloaded to your computer.

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 according to current popularity and importance. Clicking on an image in the grid 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).

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