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Friday, December 16, 2011

Study Hall - Mobile Social Learning on an iPad

Study Hall is a new website and iOS app for sharing and studying with friends. Even though the service is still in a beta phase it seems promising. The basic idea behind Study Hall is to enable teachers and students to upload content to a common place and access it through an iPad, an iPhone, or an iPod Touch. When using the free iPad app students can communicate in real-time about the content that they are sharing. When using the free iPhone app students can post comments about the content but cannot see each other's comments in real-time.

Applications for Education
Study Hall is a promising application for moving course content into a collaborative mobile platform. Once Study Hall publishes their Android app I think there is very real potential for it to be the preferred place for teachers to upload content and for students to study together remotely.

Math Practice Flashcards for Android Phones

Math Practice Flash Cards is a free Android App from TeachersParadise.com. The app designed for elementary school students. As the name implies, Math Practice Flash Cards is a set of flashcards for practicing addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. The app allows you to use pre-made sets of flashcards or create your own set of flashcards. To create your own set of flashcards just choose the parameters of largest numbers and smallest numbers in the flashcard set. You also have the option to choose from "fun" mode which is not timed or the timed mode.

I gave Math Practice Flash Cards a try on both my Samsung Galaxy Tablet and my Motorola Photon. The app does not appear to be optimized for tablets yet, but it does work very well on my phone.

Applications for Education
Math Practice Flash Cards could be a nice way for kids to practice mental math calculations wherever they are.

5 Interesting Virtual Museums and Activities for Students

As field trip budgets are increasingly trimmed at schools everywhere, teachers will need to find some alternative virtual activities for students. Here are five museums that offer excellent virtual tours and activities for students.

The Vatican Museums website hosts a fairly detailed virtual tour of the Sistine Chapel. The tour allows visitors to zoom in on small areas and details of the interior of the Sistine Chapel. Visitors to the virtual tour can turn 360 degrees to view the interior of the Sistine Chapel from various angles.










In addition to the tour of the Sistine Chapel the Vatican Museums host virtual tours of five other places and exhibits. Those tours are the Gregorian Egyptian Museum, the Gregorian Etruscan Museum, Raphael's Rooms, Pinacoteca, and the Ethnological Missionary Museum.

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.











Tenement Museum is a resource for US History teachers that can best be described as an interactive virtual museum. Students select a male or female character for their passport from Europe to Ellis Island. Once at Ellis Island students learn about the process of legal immigration. Eventually students make it to the Orchard Street tenement where they have to choose an occupation as well as make choices regarding living conditions. At the very end of the exhibit, students can write a post card to their friends and family back in Europe. Throughout the journey, students see short video clips featuring "Victoria Confino" who explains to students what they are seeing and reading.



The JFK Presidential Library and Museum website has four interactive exhibits for learning about John F. Kennedy and his presidency. We Choose the Moon (a resource I reviewed over a couple of years ago) is an interactive exploration of the Apollo 11 mission. The site covers everything from Kennedy's first proclamation that the US would put a man on the moon by the end of the 1960's to the moon landing itself.

The White House Diary is an interactive flipbook of Kennedy's schedule while in office. You can flip through it page by page to see what he did on each day or pick a specific date from the calendar. Many of the pages include video clips and or images from that day.

The JFK Timeline is an interactive timeline Kennedy's presidency. The timeline features cultural and world events as well as US political events.

Finally, the Virtual JFK Museum Tour takes you to view exhibits and artifacts in the museum. The tour is narrated and in some cases you hear Kennedy's voice. The tour is divided into major themes and events of Kennedy's presidency including his campaign, the Peace Corps, and the Space Race. The tour also includes some information about Bobby Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy.

The Museum of Obsolete Objects is a neat YouTube channel featuring videos about objects like cassette tapes that at one point represented cutting edge technology and are now obsolete. The MOOO isn't limited to 20th Century objects. The list includes things like quill pens and the telegraph. I've embedded the telegraph video below.

NASA @ Home and City - Trace Space Back to You

NASA @ Home and City is a virtual tour of NASA-related science in our homes and cities. Students visiting NASA @ Home and City can rotate buildings and take a look inside to discover everyday items whose development has been influenced by technology developed at NASA. Each item within a building has a narrated explanation of how that items was influenced by NASA technology. For example, students can take a look inside the bathroom of a house to learn how cosmetics have been influenced by technology used at NASA.

Beyond the explanations, students can explore NASA @ Home and City's Spinoff Archives. The Spinoff Archives allow students to read further about each of the elements they see in the virtual buildings. After going through the virtual tours and reading the Spinoff Archives students can take the Spinoff Challenge to test their knowledge of NASA @ Home and City.

Applications for Education
NASA @ Home and City could be a great way for students to see that science, particularly space science, is all around them even when they don't realize it.

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