Monday, November 29, 2010

Data Masher - State Data Mash-ups

Data Masher is a neat tool for creating visual comparisons of data sets about the United States. Data Masher displays data comparisons on maps and in list form. To use Data Masher just select a data set, select an operator, and select a second data set. After making those selections Data Masher will generate a map and lists for comparing data sets state by state. If you don't like the way your comparisons turned out, you can go back and edit your choices. Learn more about how Data Masher works in the video found here.

Applications for Education
Data Masher could be useful for social studies students to quickly compare collections of data by state. Students can create all kinds of mash-ups from which they can investigate more information about the states. For example, students could create a mash-up of SAT data and income data by state to see if there is a correlation between the two.

Google Apps for Education Webinar Recordings

Last week I posted the announcement about some Google Apps for Education webinars that are being held in December. If you miss those webinars they will eventually be available in the Google Apps for Education webinar archives. If you go there now you can find past webinar recordings including Google Sites for Educators which is embedded below.

Snag Learning Film of the Week - Immersion

This week's Snag Learning Film of the Week is Immersion. Immersion is a short film (12 minutes) that illustrates the challenges ESL/ELL students face when taking some standardized mathematics tests. The story follows Moises, a student who is good at math, as he struggles with the decision to take the standardized mathematics test or to skip school that day.
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Applications for Education
Immersion raises some good discussion questions that could be used in a classroom or in a professional development setting. Should Moises be allowed to take a Spanish version of the standardized test? How can you prove that you know something when there is a language barrier in place? What is the purpose of a standardized test?

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Snag Learning Film of the Week - The Luckiest Nut in the World
Snag Learning Film of the Week - The Family Meal
Voxy - Learn a Language from Life

A Benefit of Collecting Students' Work Online

One of the tasks of teaching that I've always struggled with is returning graded student work consistently on-time. Evaluating and assigning the grades is not the problem, the problem is actually sacrificing classroom time to pass back students' work. I know I'm not the only teacher who struggles with this. To combat my "problem" I've stopped accepting paper assignments.

My school is in the second year of being 1:1 with netbooks and this year I'm only accepting assignments in electronic form (with a couple of minor exceptions made for extenuating circumstances). What this means for me is that I can evaluate students' assignments and return them to students without having to spend instructional time passing-out papers. For assignments like rough drafts this gives me a few more minutes to conference with each student about his or her work. Online collection and return of work also means that both the student and I have a copy of his or her work. Finally, the services I use for collection timestamp the work so there is no dispute about whether or not an assignment was submitted on time.

I use two tools to collect students' work online. Most of my students are using Google Documents for their written work so "turning-in" their work is a simple matter of sharing their documents. The same is true for Google Maps projects and any slideshows they create.

I also use DropItToMe to collect students' work. Using DropItToMe students can upload files to my Drop Box account without seeing any other files in the Drop Box. Students who don't have internet access at home and use a desktop word processor use DropItToMe when they get to school in the morning to submit their assignments. I'm also using DropItToMe to collect video and audio files from students. You can learn more about using DropItToMe here.

Another Drop Box service that I haven't tried yet, but has potential to be good is Air Dropper.

CNN Student News - Tensions in Korean Peninsula

This morning's episode of CNN Student News leads off with a segment about the latest tensions between North Korea and South Korea. The segment concludes with an explanation of why the US would get involved if North Korea declared war on South Korea. Watch the episode below.

For more resources about tensions in the Korean Peninsula see this page set-up by CNN.