Monday, August 30, 2010

Developing Critical Thinking Through Web Research

As we know, the Internet is a great place to find information on anything that sparks your curiosity. Likewise, the web is a great resource for students, but they need to know how to evaluate what they find and discern the good from the bad. That's where we come in as teachers. And to help us help our students, Microsoft offers us a free 37 page ebook titled Developing Critical Thinking Through Web Research Skills. The ebook presents strategies for teaching Internet search skills and strategies for evaluating information. The ebook also links to many additional resources for teaching web search strategies. There are strategies and resources appropriate for students from in early elementary grades through high school included in the ebook. As you might expect, the ebook is heavy on references to Bing and other Microsoft products, but overall it is a good resource worth your time to download and read.

H/T to Steven Anderson for sharing this resource on Twitter.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
How Web Search Works
Sweet Search - A Search Engine for Students
How to Create a Custom Search Engine

Find Images from NASA in The Commons on Flickr

The Commons on Flickr is a good place to find public domain images from archiving institutions around the world. Today, NASA joined The Commons by contributing 180 photographs in three sets to the The Commons. The image sets are titled Building NASA, Launch and Takeoff, and NASA Center Namesakes. All of the images are available for reuse without any copyright restrictions.

This a photo from the Launch and Takeoff set. I saw a photo very similar to this one as an elementary school kid and was very intrigued by it.

H/T to Read Write Web for the news about NASA's additions to Flickr.

Applications for Education
The Commons on Flickr is a good resource for students in need of images for multimedia projects for history, literature, and other content areas. A requirement of contributors to The Commons is that all images are made available without copyright restrictions. Check out some of the other institutions contributing to The Commons.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
NASA Space Place - Where Science is Fun!
NASA Images - Embed Galleries of Images and Videos
Video - Space Shuttle from Hangar to Launch

Inspirational & Historic Moments on YouTube

YouTube can be a good source of material for lessons and activities in many content areas. This is particularly true for Social Studies teachers. Mashable recently published a list of ten inspirational moments on YouTube. Most of the videos in their list are not only inspirational, but also historic events. I've included one of the videos from the list below.

Wright Brothers Have Lift Off

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
30+ Alternatives to YouTube
Making Videos on the Web
22 Frames - Captioned Videos & More for ESL

BlogBooker - Turn Your Blog into a PDF Book

Last month when I wrote about Anthologize which turns WordPress blogs into PDF books or ebooks, Blogger users felt left out. Today I have good news for Blogger users that want to turn the contents of their blogs into ebooks. BlogBooker is a free service that allows you to turn your the contents of your Blogger blog into a PDF. Using BlogBooker is a fairly straight-forward process.

BlogBooker walks you through each step of the process except for the very first step which might sound a little too "techy" for some Blogger users, but it's actually quite easy. The first step in using BlogBooker is to export the contents of your blog as an XML file. This is actually easy to do in Blogger. Step one is to open the "settings" menu of your Blogger blog. Step two is to select "export blog" under "basic" menu. Step three is to click "download." Don't worry, exporting the contents of your blog will not remove any content from your blog. After you've completed the export process, jump over to BlogBooker and follow their directions for completing the transition from XML file to PDF.

A quick note about the process on BlogBooker, you might want to consider turning off some the additional BlogBooker such as "ToC" and "Header/Footer" unless you want to save that data.

Here are screenshots of the process of exporting your Blogger blog.
Step 1 - Settings tab - basics - export blog. (Click image to enlarge)

Step 2 - Download.

BlogBooker also works for WordPress and Live Journal.

Applications for Education
BlogBooker could be a good resource at the end of a semester or at the end of a school year for creating a permanent, physical record of your students' online writing.

Katrina - Then and Now

Today's episode of CNN Student News begins with segment about the effects of Hurricane Katrina still felt in New Orleans. The segment includes images taken in the days right after Hurricane Katrina hit compared with images of those same places today. The video is embedded below.

Visit Larry Ferlazzo's list for more resources for teaching about the five year anniversary of Hurrican Katrina.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you: