Thursday, December 26, 2013
The Library of Congress hosts an online collection of more than 500 political cartoons and caricatures from U.S. History. You can search the collection by keyword and image type. Along with the images you will find links to related resources from the Library of Congress. You could use these public domain works to help students understand the political perspectives surrounding significant political events in U.S. History. A good model for political cartoon-based lesson plans can be found on Cartoons for the Classroom.
Cartoons for the Classroom is a service of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists. Cartoons in the Classroom offers more than one hundred lesson plans based on editorial cartoons created by the members of the AAEC. Each lesson plan is available as free pdf download. As you might expect, most of the lessons deal with current political and economic topics, but you will also find some lessons that are not time sensitive.
In November the popular iPad app, Haiku Deck, became available as a web app too. The new web version of Haiku Deck brings all of the awesome features of the iPad app to your web browser. With the web version of Haiku Deck you can create beautiful slideshows and share them on the web.
Haiku Deck offers a variety of themes and templates to use in your presentations. The best aspects of Haiku Deck are the integrated image search and the automatically resizing text. On each of your slides you can add images of your own or search through Haiku Deck's library of images. As you type text on each slide, the text automatically shrinks to fit in the space allotted. The shrinking text feature is great for encouraging students to minimize the use of text in their slide designs.
All Haiku Deck presentations created on the web can be shared through Facebook, Twitter, and email. All presentations can be exported as PPT files. And all of your presentations can be embedded into blog posts and web pages. Check out my presentation below.
To access the web version of Haiku Deck you may have to wait for a beta invite, but it seems that Haiku Deck is sending those out very quickly.
Applications for Education
The thing that I've loved about Haiku Deck from day one is that its design tools help to focus students on telling a story with pictures and really knowing their material instead of relying on large chunks of text on slides. The integrated image search includes Creative Commons licensed images to help students find pictures that match their stories.
Click here if you cannot see the video.
Adding an audio message to your classroom blog or website can be a good way to help deliver important messages to your students and their parents. Posting an audio message, even if it covers the same content as a written message, can increase the chances that a visitor to your blog will take notice of something important. Adding an audio message to your blog or website is not difficult to do. Here are five free services that you can use to add an audio message to your blog or website.
Vocaroo is a free service that allows users to create audio recordings without the need to install any software. You don't even have to create an account to use Vocaroo. All you need to provide is a microphone. I used the microphone built into my MacBook to make the recording below. To create a recording just go to Vocaroo.com, click record, grant Vocaroo access to your mic, and start talking. After completing your recording, Vocaroo gives you the choice to publish it or to scrap it and try again. Vocaroo provides the option to embed the recording anywhere. Vocaroo provides the embed code for you. You can also download your recording, just look for the download link at the bottom of the page (it's small and easily overlooked).
SoundCloud is an online service for recording, hosting, and sharing audio tracks. You can use SoundCloud to upload and share audio recordings that you have stored on your computer. SoundCloud can also be used for directly recording a spoken track. One of the really neat features of SoundCloud is the option to comment on tracks as they are playing. To make a comment just play the track, click on it, then type your comment in the comment box. Your comment(s) will be attached to the spot in the track that you clicked on while listening.
Audioboo is a free tool for creating audio messages to share on the web. Using Audioboo you can record messages on your mobile device using Audioboo's free Android or iPhone apps. You can also record messages directly on the Audioboo website. Messages that you create can be shared by embedding your recording into a blog or website. You can also share messages by posting them to Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr.
Audio Pal is a free service that allows you to quickly and easily record audio messages to post your blog or website. You can record your Audio Pal message by phone, through your computer's microphone, or by uploading a recording. Messages are limited to sixty seconds so you must be succinct. After you've recorded your message, Audio Pal will play it back to you. If you like the recording, keep it. If you don't like your recording, click re-record. When you have a recording with which you're happy, enter your email address and an embed code will be sent to you almost immediately.
Record MP3 is another free tool for recording audio messages. To record a message using Record MP3 just grant the Flash recorder access to your computer, click record, and start talking. When your recording is complete you will get a link that you can post online or email to anyone you want to hear your recording.
MindMup is a free mind mapping tool that can be used online, with Google Drive, and on your desktop. MindMup works like most mind mapping tools in that you can create a central idea and add child and sibling nodes all over a blank canvas. MindMup nodes can contain text and links.
When you're ready to save your MindMup mind map you can save it to Google Drive, save it to your desktop, or publish it online. If you publish it online, you can grab an embed code for it to post it in a blog post or webpage.
Applications for Education
I've often had my students create mind maps as an exercise in making visual connections between important concepts, events, and people in a unit of study. MindMup can be used by any student without the need to create an account. That makes it suitable for students who don't have email accounts to use. MindMup mind maps that are published online can be made into collaborative exercises. Consider starting a MindMup mind map with a central idea and then share it with your students to complete as a group.