Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Stat Planet - Data Visualization

Stat Planet is a thematic mapping website. Stat Planet relies on data from UNESCO is a project of SACMEQ. Stat Planet can be used to create thematic maps based on a variety of development indicators from the fields of education, health care, and economics. Stat Planet can be used online in your browser or you can download Stat Planet. Downloading Stat Planet gives you the option to include your other data sets and create a custom map.

Applications for Education
Stat Planet is a good resource for students to use to create thematic maps. Stat Planet can also be used by students to make inferences as to the reason for inequities be
tween countries and regions of the world. After making those inferences students can conduct research to investigate whether or not they were correct.

SortFix - Visually Sort and Modify Search Terms

SortFix is a neat tool for sorting and modifying the key terms in your Internet searches. To use SortFix enter your search just as you would in any search engine. At the top of the results page, SortFix provides a graphic interface comprised of four boxes to help you alter your search terms and, in turn, the search results. In one box SortFix lists "power words" related to your original search. You can drag each of the "power words" into one of three boxes. The three boxes are "add to search," "remove from search," and "dictionary." Dragging a "power word" into the "add to search" or "remove from search" boxes will alter your search terms and your search results. Dragging a "power word" into the "dictionary" box will provide you with a definition.

Watch this video to see SortFix in action.

Thanks to Colleen Young for telling me about SortFix in an email.

Applications for Education
SortFix could be a good tool for showing students how their choice of search terms can alter the results of their searches. SortFix could also be helpful to students who are struggling to think of alternate search terms.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Beyond Google - Improve Your Search Results
Search Cube - Six Sided Visual Search
Spezify - Visual Search Engine

Historical Scene Investigation

Historical Scene Investigation is a fun way for students to investigate history through primary documents and images. Historical Scene Investigation presents students with historical cases to "crack." Each of these thirteen cases present students with clues to analyze in order to form a conclusion to each investigation. The clues for each investigation come in the forms of primary documents and images as well as secondary sources. HSI provides students with "case files" on which they record the evidence they find in the documents and images. At the conclusion of their investigation students need to answer questions and decide if the case should be closed or if more investigation is necessary.

Applications for Education
Sometimes I come across websites that immediately make me say, "why didn't I think of that?" Historical Scene Investigation is one example of that. HSI provides thirteen cases, but you could easily use the model to create your own Historical Scene Investigations.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
European Virtual Museum - 3D Interactive Artifacts
The Bayeux Tapestry Animated
Timelines TV - British and American History Videos

An Awesome Free Guide to Digital Storytelling

Silvia Tolisano, author of the excellent Langwitches blog, has an awesome free ebook about digital storytelling. Digital Storytelling Tools for Educators is a 120 page guide to using digital storytelling tools in your classroom. The guide offers clear directions for using tools like Audacity, Google Maps, Photo Story, VoiceThread, and other digital media creation tools. Silvia's directions are aided by clearly annotated screenshots of each digital storytelling tool.

Digital Storytelling Tools for Educators also provides a good explanation of digital storytelling in general and the benefits of using digital storytelling in your classroom. You can download the ebook for free on Lulu. You can also purchase a paperback copy of the book for $8.50. I think $8.50 is too low of a price because I bet most people would happily pay twice that price.