Monday, March 30, 2009

5 Fun, Interesting, and Educational Things on Twitter

The feedback on my idea for sharing my five favorite Twitter finds of the day received very positive feedback so I will continue posting my favorite links. If you have a great find that you'd like me to post, please DM me on Twitter.

Before I list my favorite five, just a quick note about building a Twitter network. If you're new to Twitter, please fill out your profile. Many people won't follow you back if they see that your profile is blank. People like to know a little about the people they follow.

1. SMART Board Wiki from @icpjones

2. Microsoft to Give Free Software to HS Students from @ptraylor

3. Cartoon - Twitter in the Classroom from @centernetworks

4. Dear AIG, I Quit from @mikefj40

5. PowerPoint Hell: Don't Let This Happen to You from @slidemagnet

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The Breathing Earth - Interactive Map

Breathing Earth is an interactive map demonstrating CO2 emissions, birth rates, and death rates globally and by individual countries. From the moment that you first visit Breathing Earth it starts counting the number of births occurring worldwide. Placing your cursor over any country on the map reveals information about birthrate, death rate, and rate of CO2 emissions.

One of the additional resources linked to Breathing Earth is an ecological footprint calculator. Using this calculator students can calculate their personal footprints, take quizzes, and learn about the ecological footprints of various businesses.

Applications for Education
Breathing Earth is a good resource for students to explore to learn about which countries are the world's largest producers of CO2 emissions. Breathing Earth would also be a good website to keep running for an entire class period to show students how quickly the world's population changes. (In the time it took me to write this 7500 people were born).

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Interactive Timelines and Maps
GeoCommons Map Maker

Lite Type - A Multilingual Virtual Keyboard

Lite Type is a virtual keyboard that allows you type and search the web in your choice of 53 different languages. To use Lite Type select a language and begin typing. Lite Type displays a keyboard that shows you what each key on your computer's keyboard will generate. The keyboard key is displayed directly below the box in which your typed text appears.

If typing alone was all that Lite Type does, I wouldn't be writing about it. Lite Type has some other convenient features like integrated search for images, videos, and websites. Lite Type also has an integrated multilingual dictionary.

At first glance Lite Type displays a lot of advertising around the virtual keyboard and text box. Click the "remove ads" link and all of that advertising disappears.

Applications for Education
Lite Type could be a great resource for foreign language teachers and students. Lite Type removes the struggle of trying to figure out which keys do what when trying to type in a foreign language.

If you're looking for more foreign language resources you may want to look at this list of ten foreign language teaching resources.

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360 Degree View from the Peak of Mt. Everest

In the past I've shared some resources for teaching about Mt. Everest and the Himalaya. One of those resources even included a lesson plan for physical education teachers. This 360 degree interactive panoramic image taken from the peak of Mt. Everest is a nice complement to those resources. Using this panoramic image students can see what mountaineers see when they stand on the peak of Mt. Everest. The image includes views of the famous Khumbu valley as well as Everest's neighboring peaks Lhotse, Changtse, Makalu, and Nupste.

The host of this Everest panorama,, hosts dozens of other interactive panoramas from around the world. The list of interactive panoramas includes views of cultural festivals and tourist attractions. The database of US panoramic views includes the Grand Canyon, the Jefferson Memorial, and two dozen other panoramas.

Applications for Education provides a good resource for students explore as part of Geography or World Studies course. You may want to include some of the panoramas as part of web quest.

Here are a couple of related resources that may be of interest to you:
Exploring Mount Everest Lesson Plans
Climbing Kilimanjaro

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Brain Training Games from Mind 360

Mind 360 is a fun website that I learned about over the weekend on the Recess Duty blog. Mind 360 features at least eighteen free brain training games. The games range in difficulty and in task from simple matching games to more difficult logic and reasoning games. Mind 360 allows you to play the games individually or challenge another Mind 360 user to a game. If you play often, you can track your game scores and progress in your Mind 360 profile.

Applications for Education
Mind 360 could be a good website for students to use during a downtime in your class or during a study hall period. The games themselves might be difficult to build a lesson plan around, but the skills that students could develop while playing the games do have value.

Some related resources that may be of interest to you are:
Help Kidz Learn
Find Country Geography Games
Games for the Brain

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History Links You Might Have Missed

This is the eighth installment of the "Links You Might Have Missed" series. Today's installment includes ten history related resources that you may not have seen the first time they were posted. The previous installments of this series included resources for Math, Science, Geography, Language Arts, Foreign Languages, Digital Presentations, and Google Earth.

Scavenger Hunt Through History

TimeRime - Multimedia Timeline Builder

We Didn't Start the Fire

Teaching With Historical Maps

View Ancient Rome in Google Earth

Lewis and Clark Lesson Plans - Elementary School Through College

Three Great Timeline Builders

Calendars Through the Ages and Around the World

Art History via Flickr

Math + Egyptian History = Good Learning Activity

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