Thursday, November 12, 2009

Great Virtual Tour of the Lincoln Memorial

One of the highlights of any trip to Washington, DC is a visit to the Lincoln Memorial. However, if your school is like mine, chances are good that you won't be taking any field trips to Washington, DC anytime soon. Fortunately, the National Parks Service has a great virtual tour of the Lincoln Memorial. In the tour you can view panoramic images of the interior and exterior of the Lincoln Memorial. You can also view panoramas looking out from the Lincoln Memorial. The "reflections" section of the virtual tour offers the commentary of park rangers. The "about" section contains the history of the Lincoln Memorial.

Thanks to Larry Ferlazzo for posting the link to this great virtual tour.

Applications for Education
This virtual tour of the Lincoln Memorial allows students to experience the images and stories in a manner that closely replicates the images and information they'd gain in a physical trip to the memorial.

Outside Magazine's Ten Greatest Adventure Biographies

The reading and English teachers that I work with often mention how difficult it can be to get some male students interested in reading independently. So when I saw Outside Magazine's list of The 10 Greatest Adventure Biographies, I knew that I had to forward it on to them. I've read two of the books on the list, those about Tenzingand Mallory and can attest to their outstanding quality. If you have reluctant readers who are interested in outdoor adventure stories, this list might have some titles that will engage those students.

Livebrush - Free Powerful Drawing Software

Livebrush is a free drawing program available for Mac and Windows computers. Livebrush offers a wide array of drawing tools for creating beautiful shapes, drawings, and designs. The built-in tools allow users to create a simple sketches with just one or two strokes of the paintbrush. Users can combine as many brush strokes as they like in their drawings. For example, the flower shape in my sketch below was made with just one brush stroke.

To see Livebrush in action, watch the video below.

Applications for Education
Livebrush could be a good resources for students to use to create designs and logos for use in presentations, in a Glog, or for t-shirts to sell as school fundraisers.

Cloud Computing in Plain English - New From Common Craft

Cloud computing is a topic that can be confusing to people who haven't previously heard the term. Once you've explained it, you still have to convince those same people how cloud computing can be beneficial to them. Fortunately, there are folks like Sachi and Lee Lefever who can explain confusing topics in simple terms.

Common Craft
has released a new video in which cloud computing is explained in plain English. Common Craft videos are no longer embeddable so you will have to watch it on the Common Craft site. I rarely endorse buying a specific product, but I make an exception for Common Craft (you can read why in this post). So if you like the Common Craft videos and think that you want to use them for professional development purposes, please consider making a purchase from them. Disclosure: Other than Lee and Sachi footing the bill for some appetizers and a beer at NECC 2009, I do not have any financial interest in the sales of Common Craft videos.

A related video from Common Craft is Google Docs in Plain English. That video is embeddable and I've embedded it below.

Applications for Education
Cloud computing can save school districts a lot of money. If you find yourself in the position of trying to convince your district's administrators to move to a cloud computing model, Cloud Computing in Plain English could be very useful.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Computer Hardware in Plain English
The World Wide Web in Plain English
Lesson Plans for Teaching Web Search Strategies

How To Use Streetview in Google Earth

Frank Taylor, author of the Google Earth Blog, has put together a nice video tutorial demonstrating how to use Google's StreetView imagery within Google Earth. Frank demonstrates not only how to activate StreetView, but also how to use it in conjunction with other Google Earth elements such as the 3D buildings layer. You can watch the video below or watch the video and read the instructions on the Google Earth Blog.

Applications for Education
Utilizing the StreetView imagery in conjunction with the 3D buildings layer can be a great way to enhance a virtual field trip.

Lately I've become intrigued with the idea of using Google Earth for digital storytelling. If StreetView imagery is available for your area, a simple project could be to have students create tours of their towns. For example, in my Civics class the students have recently started a project in which they have to prepare a plan for revitalizing the local economy. One of the things my students can do is narrate a tour in which they highlight the businesses in our area. In the same tour they can also point out the places where businesses used to exist.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Great Google Earth/ Maps How-to Videos
An Amazing (Race) Google Earth Project - Reprise
3 Guides to Using Google Earth for Virtual Fieldwork

Survey of 2nd Career Teachers

Kevin Jarrett (someone you should follow) is proposing a session for BarCamp Philly about teaching as a second career. Kevin and I chatted about this briefly on Twitter this morning.

Kevin came to teaching after a seventeen year career in the business world. I came to teaching after roughly seven years in the transportation/ logistics industry. (I know it's hard to believe that I'm old enough to be on a second career, but what can I say, I'm a product of Gen X). In both of our cases we took very substantial pay cuts. During the course of our conversation we both had the idea to survey other teachers who came to teaching as a second career. Kevin has posted some questions on his blog. I encourage you to answer his questions there. Kevin is also looking for people who are willing to Skype into his proposed session on Saturday. Again, you can read the details on Kevin's blog.

I've also set up and shared with Kevin a survey using Google Forms which asks essentially the same questions.

Update: As of 11:40am there have been 15 respondents to the survey. You can read their responses here.