Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Face of Seven Billion People

The newest issue of National Geographic appeared in my mailbox this afternoon. I opened it up to find a neat poster titled The Face of Seven Billion inside the new issue. Online, National Geographic has the same poster in an interactive display. The Face of Seven Billion uses tiny drawings of people (each represents 1 million people) to create the face of one person. Click the tabs to the side of the image to read some data about the characteristics of the world's population.

While the interactive image is neat and does offer some good data, I think National Geographic's 7 Billion: World Party and video 7 Billion People are more informative resources.

10 Excellent Ideas for Using Khan Academy in Schools

Last month I wrote about the self-paced lessons that are available on Khan Academy. Those lessons are designed for independent learners to progress at their own paces. But what about using Khan Academy resources with a whole class or a whole school? How can that be done? Dolores Gende has written a blog post about that topic. It What Khan Be Done With It, Dolores outlines ten ways that Khan Academy be used in school. If you're interested in learning about some good ways to use Khan Academy in your school, go read What Khan Be Done With It.

If YouTube is blocked in your school, here are three ways to access Khan Academy without YouTube.

Zipcast Makes It Easy to Give Online Presentations

Zipcast is a new service from Slideshare for conducting online presentations. Using Zipcast you can share your slides, talk to your audience, respond to your audience, and have your audience interact with each other in realtime on one page. The best part is you can do all of this without having to download anything.

If you're already a Slideshare user, you'll notice that when you're logged-in and looking at one of your presentations there is now a "Zipcast"link at the top of your presentation. Click the Zipcast link to begin giving an online presentation. Using the free version of Zipcast your presentation can be private or public (a small ad is inserted at the bottom of your presentation). The premium version of Zipcast removes ads and allows you to password protect your presentation.

Learn more about Zipcast in the Slideshare presentation below.
Introducing Zipcast
View more presentations from Rashmi Sinha.
Applications for Education
Zipcast could be a great way to offer online presentations to students and colleagues. Likewise, students can give presentations to virtual classmates around the world. If you've ever given a virtual presentation, you know that presenting online presents some challenges that you don't confront during in-person presentations. As more and more businesses embrace web-conferencing, it will become important for students to develop not only their in-person presentation skills, but also their virtual presentation skills.

Lendle - Another Kindle Book Lending Service

Almost as soon as Amazon announced that they would start allowing Kindle users to lend books to each other, Kindle lending services popped-up on the web. I've previously reviewed Lend Ink and Book Lending (formerly Kindle Lending Club). Today, I share with you Lendle.

Lendle works much like other Kindle lending services. When you register on Lendle (it's free, but required) you're asked to list the titles you're willing to lend. Initially you're able to borrow two books. To borrow more books, you must be willing to lend your own books. To borrow a book, submit a request and if someone in the Lendle club has that book you will receive an email notifying you that it is available for download. To lend a book reply to borrower requests.

Applications for Education
Lendle and services similar to it could be useful for students in search of independent reading materials. Hopefully, in the future Amazon will allow users lend books multiple times. That would make ebooks a truly valuable asset for school libraries.

Posters - Visual History of Political Parties

Over the last few years the only products I've endorsed purchasing are some books and Common Craft videos. This morning I found a product that I'm going to purchase for my own classroom and I think some other US History teachers might want to know about it too. Timeplots offers two 36" x 24" posters chronicling the history of the Republican and Democratic parties in the United States.

H/T to Cool Infographics.

Applications for Education
I have a similarly styled poster outlining the history of the US presidency. I've had students examine that poster on their own and ask questions about some of the things that are on it which has led to some nice conversations about US history. I'm hoping the same will be true with these posters about the political parties.