Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Computer Hardware in Plain English

Common Craft released another great video today. Common Craft's latest creation is Computer Hardware in Plain English. The three minute video explains how the functions of the major parts of a computer. Watch the subtitled version of the video below.

If you're reading this in an RSS reader, you may need to visit the blog directly to view the video.

Applications for Education
Computers are a fundamental part of today's students' lives. They should have a basic understanding of the key parts of a computer. Just as you don't have to know how all of a car's parts work, it can be helpful to know some basic information about the mechanical specifications of a car when making an auto purchase. Likewise, having a basic understanding of computer hardware can help students and parents when making purchasing decisions about computers.

This video could also be a good introductory tutorial for students in a computer electronics course.

Tenement Museum - Ellis Island to Orchard Street

Tenement Museum is a resource for US History teachers that I've seen on a number of blogs and in Twitter posts recently. Since I am soon to be teaching immigration and urbanization in one of my classes I thought that it was time for me to check out the Tenement Museum.

The Tenement Museum can best be described as an interactive virtual museum. Students select a male or female character for their passport from Europe to Ellis Island. Once at Ellis Island students learn about the process of legal immigration. Eventually students make it to the Orchard Street tenement where they have to choose an occupation as well as make choices regarding living conditions. At the very end of the exhibit, students can write a post card to their friends and family back in Europe. Throughout the journey, students see short video clips featuring "Victoria Confino" who explains to students what they are seeing and reading.

Applications for Education
The Tenement Museum is a great resource for teaching elementary and middle school students about life as an immigrant living in turn-of-the-20th century United States cities. The language and format may seem a little "too childish" for most high school students, but I am going to give it a try with one my special education class.

Gradspot - Practical Advice for Graduates

Gradspot is the companion website to the Gradspot Guide to Life After College. The book is available in paperback or for free as an e-book. I explored the Gradspot website for a while today after reading the Center Networks review of the site. In the Center Networks review of Gradspot, Allen Stern focused on the message board aspect of the website. He was right, the message boards appear to be dormant for the most part. That said, there is some great content on Gradspot for soon-to-be college graduates. Some the content could also apply to high school graduates.

As most websites in this genre do, Gradspot offers readers solid advice about job hunting, resume writing, and monitoring/ cleaning digital footprints. For students striking out on their own for the first time, Gradspot offers some very practical advice articles covering everything from cooking at home to choosing a doctor (something I knew nothing about when I graduated from college) to managing debt and finances. Overall, while there is nothing groundbreaking about the site itself, Gradspot does a good job of providing new graduates with some solid advice to help them get off on the right foot.

Young Scientist Challenge

The Young Scientist Challenge sponsored by 3M and Discovery Education is science video competition for students in grades 5 through 8. The contest asks students to create a short, one to two minutes, video about a specific science topic selected from a list of topics created by the YSC judges. Videos are judged based on demonstrated knowledge of the topic and creativity. Ten semi-finalists will be awarded an all expenses paid trip to New York to compete in the competition finals. The overall winner will receive $50,000 in US Savings Bonds. To enter the contest, the student's parent must register with a valid email address to which registration information will be sent. Click here for the full contest rules and requirements. You can view sample videos from last year's competition here.

Applications for Education
This competition is a great opportunity for middle school students to learn about and creatively express knowledge of science topics. If your students' parents are reluctant to have their children enter the competition you could hold your own science competition within your school or school district.

Nixon's Visit to China

President Nixon's February 1972 visit to China is one of the high points of his administration and a historic moment in US - China relations. This week the National Archive's "Today's Document" feed has featured two documents about Nixon's visit to China. Today's document is the menu from one of Nixon's dinners in Peking. Earlier this week, the featured document was a photo of Nixon's plane landing in China.

The Nixon Presidential Library's website has a section about Nixon's visit to China. In this section you can listen to recordings of Nixon discussing the rationale for the trip and his post-trip reflections. You can also listen to Mrs. Nixon discuss the arrival of two Pandas at the National Zoo.

The PBS American Experience website has an interactive map of Nixon's visit to China. The map highlights the places that Nixon visited during his seven day visit in February 1972. The map and the rest of the website are designed as companions to the PBS American Experience film "Nixon's China Game."

Videos of President Obama Addressing Congress

There are a number of places on the Internet to find President Obama's address to Congress last night. CNN Student News leads off their episode this morning with a segment about President Obama's address from last night. As always, CNN provides a short quiz and transcript to accompany the video. CNN Student News is embedded below.

If you need to watch the full address from last night, the video below covers President Obama's entire address.