Monday, December 21, 2009

Waving Goodbye to 2009

Here's a neat video that not only reviews the year's top news stories, but also shows off some of the things that can be done with Google Wave.

Mashable has a little more information about the video.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Year in Review Music Video
Three Year in Review Presentations
Survey - Technology in Education 2009 and 2010

Survey - Technology in Education 2009 and 2010

The next couple of weeks will see millions of blogs and websites posting all kinds of "year-in-review" articles. This is a good time of year to reflect, but it's also a great time to look forward. So that we can all learn from each other, I've created this short survey for reflections and predictions. All of the results will be published for everyone to see. If you have a couple of minutes, I'd love to read about your discoveries in 2009 and your predictions for 2010. I've included an option for you to leave a link to your blog. Results can be viewed here.

Louisiana Purchase Lesson Plans

Yesterday's document from the National Archives' daily document feed was a copy of a proclamation to the people of New Orleans following the Louisiana Purchase. The proclamation was printed in three languages; English, French, and Spanish. The proclamation made me wonder what it would be like to wake up one morning and learn that where I lived was now a part of different country. What an odd feeling that must have been for some people. The proclamation also reminded me that last year I compiled a big list of lesson plan resources about Lewis and Clark. The lesson plans in that list cover every grade level from elementary school through college.

Video - Two Cases of Global Warming

Last week CBS Sunday Morning had a short segment about global warming. The segment presented two cases of global warming's effects on people in two very different parts of the world. The segment begins in the Maldives where rising ocean levels threaten the islands. The segment then transitions to Greenland where shrinking glaciers are threatening native ways of life. The video is embedded below.

Watch CBS News Videos Online

Applications for Education
This video is not terribly different from dozens, perhaps hundreds, like them on the Internet except that rather than focusing on "how global warming happens" or "what to do to stop global warming," this video focuses on how people are adapting to climate change. After showing this video to your students you may want to ask them how global warming could affect them and how they would adapt to a change in their climates.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Rising Sea Levels - A Tale of Two Cities
The Breathing Earth - Interactive Map
View Glacier Melt in Google Earth

Vokle - Host an Online Show or Video Conference

Vokle is a free service for hosting and recording live web conferences. Using Vokle you can host a live conference in which participants can chat with text while you broadcast yourself. You can also broadcast a conversation of yourself and another person who has their webcam enabled. The text chat room can be used to organize a line-up of people who would like to broadcast themselves to the other chat participants. Watch the video below to learn more.

Thanks to Kristen Swanson for telling me about Vokle. By the way, make sure you check out her blog and wiki, they're both packed with useful information.

Applications for Education
In testing Vokle and by watching recorded Vokle sessions I realized that the real utility of the service would be to host an interview with someone while using the chat area as back-channel for questions. I can see Vokle being used in a classroom to bring in an author, scientist, or other person of interest to your content area. You could conduct the interview and use the chat area for students to ask questions and exchange comments.

Update: Watch an interview with Vokle's Chief Marketing Officer.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Connecting Classrooms Through VoiceThread - Free Web Conferencing from
Wetoku - Conduct and Share Video Interviews

City Data - Stats About US Cities

City Data is a free directory of statistics about US Cities. The type of data sets that you will find on City Data includes all the typical information you'd expect to find like housing prices, demographic data, and job data. City Data also provides information about things like cell phone coverage, quality and availability of public transportation, and air quality. The data is arranged in list form and in graph/ chart form.

Applications for Education
City Data could be used by students for an assignment in which they compare the costs of living in various US cities. You could use City Data to customize this lesson plan to accurately reflect your part of the country.