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Monday, January 2, 2012

One More Year in Review - 2011 in Tweets

There is no denying that Twitter has changed the way that news is reported. In fact, the last time I was in a hotel I turned on CNN and noticed that a couple of Twitter hashtags were included in the ticker at the bottom of the screen. As proof that Twitter is changing the way news gets reported just take a  look at some of the Tweets and the Tweeters included in the video 2011 Told Through Twitter.



Thanks to Adam Bellow for sharing this on Twitter.


Applications for Education
This video could be used on its own as a review of the year's news stories. Take it a step further and ask your students to sum up their year at school, as a person, or as they viewed the news in a series of twelve 140 character messages. That could be a good way to get students to reflect and practice writing succinctly.

Three Ways to Mark-up Webpages and Share Them

There are a lot of excellent tools on the web for clipping, annotating, and sharing bookmarks with your friends and colleagues. For a long time I used Google Bookmarks for that purpose. Recently, I became a converted and dedicated user of Evernote. But sometimes you might want to actually capture and draw on a webpage to point out to others specific elements of that webpage. Here are three free tools for doing just that.

Awesome Screenshot is a great Chrome and Safari browser extension for capturing, annotating, and sharing screenshots. Once you've installed Awesome Screenshot you can simply activate it from your browser to capture a page or region on a page, draw boxes, draw lines, blur out information, and add text to your screenshot. When you're satisfied with your screenshot you can save it locally or share it via the url provided by Awesome Screenshot. Watch the short video below to see Awesome Screenshot in action.



Bounce is a neat application that not only allows you to make annotated screen captures of websites but also allows you to instantly share those screen captures with others. To use Bounce, type in the url of any website then click "Bounce." Bounce will then create an image of that website on which you can draw boxes and annotate those boxes. You can create as many boxes and notes as you like. When you're done creating notes, Bounce will provide you with a unique url for your screen captures that you can share with others. If you create a Bounce account (optional) you and other Bounce users can annotate the same screen capture.


Markup.io is a free service that enables you to quickly draw and write on any webpage. Markup.io operates as a bookmarklet in your browser's bookmarks bar or toolbar. Once you have Markup.io installed just click it anytime you're viewing a webpage to start drawing and commenting on that page. When you're done marking a page you can share it with others by clicking publish. Publishing creates a screen capture of the page with your drawings and comments. That screen capture is assigned its own unique url that you can direct others to.

NOAA Games for Learning About Oceans, Weather, and Wildlife

NOAA's Games Planet Arcade offers twenty-five educational games for young students. The games are intended to help students learn about oceans, wildlife, and weather. About half of the games are hosted on NOAA's website and the others are linked to PBS's, National Geographic's or the Environmental Protection Agency's websites.

I played a couple of the games and found that while they are not complex or fancy, they do offer some solid information for young students. For example, the Humpback Whale Migration game isn't much more than a board game that provides students with information about Humpback whales. As students move across the board they are stopped at spaces offering facts about the annual migrations of Humpback whales.

Applications for Education
If you're looking for some simple games to supplement a lesson on oceans, ocean wildlife, or weather, take a look at NOAA's Games Planet Arcade.

itv Wild - Video Clips About Wildlife

Update April 2014: This site appears to have gone offline. 

itv Wild is a great website for finding video clips and longer feature programs  about wildlife found all over the world. itv Wild is designed for elementary school age students to learn about the challenges facing wildlife around the world today. Visitors to itv Wild can browse the selection of clips and features or search by keyword. itv Wild offers a game for students to test their knowledge of the wildlife and habitats they learned about in the various videos and features they have watched.

Applications for Education
The videos on itv Wild could be useful for supporting an elementary school lesson about endangered wildlife and habitats. itv Wild does include a simple rating system to advise you as to whether or not a particular set of clips might be upsetting to young students (the set of Polar Bear videos has this warning). That could be very helpful in selecting appropriate clips for your students to watch.

2011 in 11 Graphs

The Washington Post recently published a set of eleven graphs related to issues in politics and economics. The graphs provide an interesting look at 2011 in comparison to the past in terms of economics and politics.

Applications for Education
I've previously featured seven 2011 year-in-review videos and image collections (read the list at the bottom of this post). Those are good visual ways for students to be reminded of the important events of 2011. But they don't ask students to think and analyze the events of the year. If you want to do that, show students the Washington Post's graphs without the sidebar commentary then ask the students to make their own statements about 2011 based on the data in the graphs.

Here are some other 2011 year-in-review resources.

Remember 2011 - A Map of 2011's Biggest Stories
CNN Rewinds 2011
YouTube Rewinds 2011
CNN Student News 2011 News Quiz
The Year in Google Searches
2011 In 120 Images
The Year in 60 Seconds - A Video Project Idea

Seterra - Geography Quizzes Online or on Your PC

Seterra is a large collection of free geography quizzes. The there are dozens of quizzes covering everything from country identification to identifying physical geographic features like mountains, rivers, and seas. There are seven categories of quizzes arranged by continent. Seterra's quizzes are available in sixteen languages.

Seterra's quizzes available as a free download for Windows computers. The games can also be played in an online version. If you download the quizzes you can keep track of your scores on your computer. The online version of the games do not allow you to keep track of your scores.

Applications for Education
I downloaded Seterra and tried a couple of the quizzes on my desktop. The quizzes are very straight-forward in terms of how to use them. Your cursor will become highlighted with a prompt to identify a state, city, or geographic feature. You could easily have a whole classroom using Seterra in minutes. The only flaw I found in Seterra is that the US states identification quiz did not include Hawaii and Alaska.

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