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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Explain VR Virtual Zoo - Animals in Virtual Reality

Explain VR Virtual Zoo is a free iPhone app that is designed to work with Google Cardboard. The free app features ten animals in virtual reality. Some of the animals featured in the app include giraffes, elephants, tigers, and bears. Each animal appears individually and students can see them move in virtual reality. Audio in the app provides students with some basic information about each animal.

Applications for Education
Explain VR Virtual Zoo could provide students with a fun way to learn about animals that they might not see without otherwise going to a zoo. The audio information in the app isn't terribly detailed so the app is probably best for elementary school students.

Four Ways to Explore the News Through Maps

One of the things that I like about CNN Student News is that it almost always includes a map to show students where a story is taking place in the world. I try to do the same whenever I teach current events by showing students a map of where a story takes place. It can also be good to let students pick a place on a map and then read stories about that place. The following three websites can provide students with a geographic connection to news stories.

Newspaper Map is a neat tool for locating and reading newspapers from locations all around the world. Newspaper Map claims to have geolocated 10,000 newspapers. To find a newspaper you can browse the map then click on a placemark to open the link within to read a newspaper. You can also locate newspapers by using the search boxes to locate a newspaper by title or location. Along with links to the newspapers, Newspapers Map provides links to translate the newspapers you find on the map.

Breaking News presents a constant stream of headlines from around the world. A map of story locations resides behind the news stream that greets you on the homepage. Click the tiny map icon in the upper-right corner of the news stream to find stories by location instead of by topic.

Unfiltered News is a new site that uses an interactive cartogram to help you find trending news stories from around the world. To find stories through Unfiltered News simply open the website and click on a topic listed within one of the circles on the map. Once you've made a selection a list of stories will appear on the right side of your screen. Click on a story to read it in full. From the menu on the right side of the screen you can choose a different location and a new list of stories will appear.

Historical Newspapers Mapped
The U.S. News Map is a great resource produced by Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia. The U.S. New Map is an archive of American newspapers printed between 1836 and 1925. You can search the archive by entering a keyword or phrase. The results of your search will be displayed on an interactive map. Click on any of the markers on the map and you'll be shown a list of newspaper articles related to your search term. Click on a listed article to read it on the Library of Congress' Chronicling America website.

Learn how to create your own multimedia maps and more in my online course Teaching History With Technology

STEM in 30 - A Smithsonian Webcast for Middle School Students

STEM in 30 is a neat webcast produced by the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. The series featured 30 minute live webcasts about a variety of topics related to air and space travel and science. During the live webcasts students can submit questions to the show's hosts. Students can also submit questions in advance of each show.

The next STEM in 30 episode will be webcast on May 11th. Helicopters will be the focus of the next episode. The show will be webcast live at 11am and 1pm EST.

If the live webcast schedule doesn't work for you, you can access the recording of the shows. Past show topics include kites, WWII and the Tuskegee Airmen, Mars exploration, and hot air balloons.

Haiku Deck Releases a New iPhone App for Creating Presentations

This morning Haiku Deck, a popular presentation creation tool, released a new iPhone app. This new app brings the features of the Haiku Deck iPad app and web app to the iPhone.

The Haiku Deck apps allow anyone to create beautiful slide presentations. One of the core features of Haiku Deck that has made is popular with teachers is the integrated Creative Commons image search. Your students can search for images, insert them in high resolution into their slides, and have attribution information automatically attached to them all without leaving the app.

Haiku Deck's iPhone and iPad apps allow you to use your phone or tablet as a teleprompter during presentations. Speaker notes are shown to you, but not to your audience while you are in presentation mode.

If typing on a phone is a challenge, Haiku Deck's voice-to-text option offers a convenient way to add text to your slides.

Applications for Education
Haiku Deck does offer a share to Google Classroom option. For schools that don't have iOS devices, the Haiku Deck web app is a good option. Watch my tutorial to learn more about the Haiku Deck web app.