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Friday, January 12, 2018

5 Ed Tech Tools Social Studies Teachers Should Try This Year

On a regular basis I receive emails from teachers that go something like this, "we recently got new (insert hardware here) for our students and I was hoping you could tell me which tools I should try in my (academic area X) class." To answer that request for social studies teachers I put together the following short list of resources that can be used in most middle school and high school social studies classes.

Google Earth & My Maps
If you haven't taken a look at the new browser-based version of Google Earth, you should. While it isn't as robust as the desktop version, it does provide a good way for students to virtually explore landmarks and make collections of landmarks. Google's My Maps tool lets students create collections of multimedia placemarks that they can then import into Google Earth. Here's a short overview of the browser-based version of Google Earth.



EDPuzzle
As a social studies teacher, I feel comfortable in saying social studies teachers love videos. If that statement is true for you, you need to have EDPuzzle in your toolbox. EDPuzzle is a neat tool that allows you to add your voice and text questions to educational videos. On EDpuzzle you can search for educational videos and or upload your own videos to use as the basis of your lesson. EDpuzzle has an online classroom component that you can use to assign videos to students and track their progress through your video lessons. EDPuzzle has a Google Classroom integration option. This option lets you send lessons from your EDPuzzle account to your Google Classroom classes.

Metaverse Studio
Metaverse lets you create experiences that exist in augmented reality. What does that mean? It means that can create games, quests, and other activities that are completed by locating digital artifacts in a physical world. Or as I describe it in Teaching History With Technology, you can create your own version of Pokemon Go with historical landmarks and artifacts. For example, I used Metaverse to create an augmented reality game in which players have to locate and identify the hidden historical landmarks in our community.

Timeline JS
Timeline JS is an open source timeline creation tool. Timeline JS supports inclusion of images, maps, audio recordings, and videos in the events that you add to your timeline. To create a timeline through Timeline JS you first create a Google Spreadsheet with the template provided by Timeline JS. After creating the spreadsheet you publish it to the web and insert its URL into the Timeline JS generator. The last step is grabbing the link to your new timeline to share or copying the provided embed code to display the timeline on a website.

Google Cardboard Camera
Google's Cardboard Camera app is a simple Android and iPhone app for capturing your own virtual reality panoramas. The app will let you capture an immersive panorama that you can share others through email and social media. Cardboard Camera will capture sound so that you can explain what people are seeing in the VR imagery that you share with them. In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to use the Cardboard Camera to capture and share virtual reality panoramas.



You can learn more about these tools and others in Teaching History With Technology. You can start today and finish it at your own pace.