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Friday, October 12, 2012

iSideWith Helps You Pick a Presidential Candidate

With the U.S. Presidential Election less than one month away many schools across the United States will be hosting or participating in mock elections over the next few weeks. iSideWith could help your students identify a candidate whose ideas they are most likely to agree with. Students work through a series of questions on issues of social welfare, economics, science, and international affairs. Based upon their answers iSideWith shows students how similar or different they are compared to six presidential candidates.

Applications for Education
If you're hosting a mock election in your school, your students might want to use iSideWith to learn a bit about all of the presidential candidates not just Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

Waterlife - An Interactive Story About Water

Earlier this week I shared a couple of animated stories about the water cycle. This morning I spent some time exploring Waterlife which was shared by Jen Deyenberg on Twitter yesterday. Waterlife is an interactive story about the water cycle in the Great Lakes. Waterlife is a twenty part story through which students can learn about the role of water in our lives. Through the story students learn about things like fishing, pollution, invasive species, wetlands, and the politics of water conservation.

When students select a part of the Waterlife story they will be able to hear narration, see visuals, and read the text of the story. Some parts of the story also contain links to external resources that student can explore.

Applications for Education
Waterlife is based on the Great Lakes, but it is applicable to just about any lesson on the water cycle. After exploring some of the water management issues of the Great Lakes have your students research the issues of water management in your area.

Teachem - Another Way to Comment on Educational Videos

Teachem is a new service that is using the TED Ed model of creating lessons based on video. On Teachem teachers can build courses that are composed of a series of videos hosted on YouTube. Teachers can write questions and comments in "flashcards" that are tied to specific parts of each video and display next to each video. Students can take notes while watching the videos using the Teachem SmartNote system.


I created a sample course in Teachem. That was a straight-forward process of adding a video URL then typing out questions. When you create a Teachem course you can make it public or private. Public courses can be accessed by anyone that has address for your course. Public courses are supposed to be discoverable on Teachem, but I had trouble locating any courses that weren't created by me.

Applications for Education
Teachem isn't a revolutionary tool by any stretch of the imagination, it's basically another way to flip your classroom (read my concerns about flipped classrooms here). That said, Teachem it could be useful for organizing short review or introductory activities for your students.

The Noun Project - A Library of Universal Icon Clipart

The Noun Project is a great collection of clipart of universal icons. I looked at the collection eighteen months ago. This morning a post on Cool Infographics got me to look at the Noun Project again. The catalog now contains twelve categories of public domain, Creative Commons, and royalty-free icons. Learn more about the Noun Project in the short video below.


Building a Global Visual Language from The Noun Project on Vimeo.

Applications for Education
If your students need simple images for illustrations, diagrams, or multimedia projects, the Noun Project is a good resource for them to browse through.

Meritful - A Network Connecting Students with Mentors

Meritful is a new network that aims to help students connect with mentors. On Meritful students will be able to find mentors who can advise them on their resumes, applications, and portfolios. Students can also ask mentors questions about the career fields that they are interested in. Students and mentors gain merit points for expanding their networks and for answering questions.


Applications for Education
The concept behind Meritful is good, but I want to see some more privacy controls put in place before I can recommend it for use in high schools. I was able to create both student and mentor accounts without having to enter any questions about my status as a student or mentor. The only question that I had to answer as a mentor was, "are you affiliated with a school and which one?" There wasn't a requirement to have an email address issued by that school or any other affiliation verification.

College students may be interested in connecting with each other and with mentors to help them prepare for job interviews. Meritful is kind of like LinkedIn for college students.

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