Friday, February 13, 2009

Pictures and Cartoons from PRI's The World

The World is a production of the BBC, PRI, and WGBH Boston designed to give American audiences a global perspective of the news. I've been listening to their radio broadcasts for years, but until this evening I had never visited their website. On The World's website I found a number of great resources that can be used in the classroom. Two of these resources are audio slideshows and political cartoon slideshows. One of the audio slideshows that I particularly enjoyed is Journey Up the North Side of Everest narrated by Conrad Anker.

Applications for Education
PRI's The World's audio slideshows and political cartoon slideshows do provide students with perspective that they might not find in typical US news media. PRI's Geo Quiz and Geo Quiz archives provide all students, regardless of locale, with an opportunity to test their geographic knowledge as well as expand their geographic knowledge.

The National Archives Experience Digital Vaults

The National Archives Experience has a great online tool that students can use to create posters and videos. The National Archives Digital Vault poster and video creation tools allow students to drag and drop digital artifacts into a poster or video. The National Archives provides images, documents, and audio in an easy to use editor. When making a poster students can combine multiple images, change background colors, and create captions to make collages of digital artifacts. See the screen capture below for a demonstration of poster editing.

Creating a video is just as easy as creating a poster in the Digital Vault. To create a video simply drag your selected images on to the editing templates, type image captions, select the duration of display for each image, and select audio tracks. See the screen capture below for a look at the video editor.

Applications for Education
The National Archives Digital Vault is a great tool for students to create good looking digital presentations about US History. This is a resource that most students in the fifth grade and above can use.

Facebook for Parents

When my school district discussed banning the use of all social networks it, like many other districts, was reacting to fear of "what could happen" if students use social networking sites. Rather than preventing access, the better solution is to educate parents, teachers, and administrators about the potentially good uses of social networking sites. The other part of the solution to the "what could happen" dilemma is to educate students about responsible online behavior.

Facebook for Parents is an online education program for parents to learn about Facebook including tips on making sure their children are practicing responsible online citizenship. The homepage of Facebook for Parents offers five tips for parents just beginning to learn about Facebook. Facebook for Parents has a free email newsletter for parents to keep up to date on the latest research and best practices for keeping kids safe online.

Applications for Education
Facebook for Parents is going to be added to the list of resources that I give to parents concerned about their child's Internet use. Every year I have parents express concern that their child knows more about the Internet than they do. Facebook for Parents might not make parents more knowledgeable about the Internet than their children, but it will help to close the knowledge gap.

I Won't Cheat Sports Essay Contest

I Won't Cheat is a foundation started by former Major League Baseball MVP Dale Murphy. The mission of I Won't Cheat is to educate students about the dangers of steroid use as well as promote fair play in student athletics.

I Won't Cheat is currently running an essay contest for students. The contest awards a $3000 scholarship to the winner as well as prizes to 19 second place winners. To enter the contest students need to write a one page essay in response to this prompt: "Which is worse, cheating and getting caught or cheating and not getting caught?" Entries are due by March 31 and the winners will be announced on April 17. For more information about the contest visit the I Won't Cheat contest page.

Applications for Education
Earlier this week Alex Rodriguez, one of baseball's biggest stars, was caught and admitted to using steroids. The story of steroids in sports is sure to remain in the news for weeks. The I Won't Cheat essay contest provides a timely opportunity for students to reflect on cheating and drug use in sports. Students could write the essay as an assignment for a health class, writing course, or current events course.