Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Fukushima Nuclear Reactor Problem Explained

Over the last five days I've shared some resources for teaching and learning about the earthquake and tsunami in Japan (you can find those here, here, and here). One of the major concerns in Japan now is nuclear power plant meltdowns. To help us understand what happened at the Fukushima power plant, CNN has posted an animated and narrated explanation of what happened and why.

H/T to Open Culture.

GeoGebra Prim - GeoGebra for Elementary School

GeoGebra is a popular free program used by high school mathematics teachers and students. GeoGebra use doesn't have to be limited to high school use. Through Mathematics and Multimedia I recently learned about GeoGebra Prim. GeoGebra Prim is designed for use by elementary and middle school students. The tool set on GeoGebra Prim is smaller than that of GeoGebra. The tools are also designed to be easier for younger students to use. Granted I don't use GeoGebra very often, but when I tested Prim this evening and did find it easier create and measure objects than the first time I tried GeoGebra. You can read more about GeoGebra Prim here and download it here.

Loads of Great Teacher Training Videos

When you're trying to figure out how to use a new piece of software or a new web application, searching YouTube for how-to videos often returns some useful stuff. But for teachers there is a better place to turn to and that place is Russell Stannard's Teacher Training Videos. Russell Stannard's videos are screencasts in which he walks viewers through the process of using software and web applications from beginning to end. The videos are categorized by the purpose of the application  such as blogging, podcasting resources, online quizzes, file sharing, IWB, etc. There are also categories for EFL and MFL.

Applications for Education
If you're a teacher that is new to using Web 2.0 tools in your classroom, take a look at Russell Stannard's Teacher Training Videos to learn how to use some great tools in your classroom.

The next time you're about to create a new screencast to show your colleagues how to use one of your favorite web applications, take a look at Russell Stannard's Teacher Training Videos and you just might save yourself a lot of time.

Sophia - Social Teaching and Learning

There are a lot of places on the web where students can find free homework help. Some of those places are better than others, Sophia is one that falls into the "better" category. Sophia is a free platform on which teachers can publish packets of information about any academic topic they choose. Packets can include text, images, and videos to explain and illustrate information. Published packets are reviewed and rated by the Sophia community. A green check mark emblem on a packet signifies that the Sophia community has rated that packet as "academically sound."

Students can access Sophia information packets without signing up for an account, but signing up for an account is free and provides access to some extra benefits. Students who register for a Sophia account can "follow" packets of information to be informed of updates. Registered students can also create private study groups where they can share information and ask questions of those in their groups. 

Applications for Education
Sophia could be a good platform for providing students with online materials to supplement your classroom instruction. The option to create private groups provides students with a place to ask clarifying questions of you and their classmates. 

Maps, Math, and Basketball

The NCAA National Basketball Championship starts tonight if you count the play-in games. Google has created a couple of sites to help you keep up with tournament news. One of those sites is a college basketball tournament map. On the map you will find all of tournament venues and all of the locations of the colleges whose teams are playing in the tournament. Google has included a measuring tool in the map that you can use to measure how far each team had to travel to play in the tournament.

Applications for Education
Have students measure how far each team had to travel in order to play in the tournament. Then have them track the performance of each team throughout the tournament to see if teams that traveled 1000 miles or more performed better or worse than teams that did not have to travel as far.

Snag Learning Film of the Week: Terra Antarctica

This week's Snag Learning Film of the Week is Terra Antarctica. Terra Antarctica documents a six week kayaking exploration of Antarctica. The expedition was funded by National Geographic to document the effects of global warming and ecotourism on Antarctica and the world at large. Click here to watch the film and read the viewing/ discussion questions.
Watch more free documentaries