Monday, May 16, 2011

Healthline Body Maps - 3D Interactive Models

Healthline Body Maps provides interactive three dimensional models for learning about human anatomy. Body Maps has male and female models. The models have eight layer views, from skin to skeletal, that you can select. You can hold your mouse pointer over any part of the model to view a body part's name and then zoom to more detailed information. For example, if I place my mouse on the stomach I can then click through for a more detailed view and to see how the stomach is connected to other body parts. To rotate the model just click and drag the model to the left or right.

Applications for Education
If you are going to use Healthline Body Maps in your classroom, please beware that the models are very anatomically correct. Keep that in mind before sending your class to the site.

Late last fall Google introduced the Body Browser for exploring human anatomy through 3D interactive models. To use the Google Body Browser you must have the latest version of Chrome or Firefox 4 installed. Unfortunately, some schools don't allow teachers to update the browsers on the computers their students use. For teachers in those situations, Healthline Body Maps is an excellent alternative.

Power Paths - Snag Learning Film of the Week

This week's Snag Learning Film of the Week is Power Paths. Power Paths is a one hour documentary about the work of the Hopi and Navajo Native America tribes to transform their local economies to by moving to green, renewable energy. The tribes are working with environmental groups to phase out coal-burning energy sources with renewable energy sources. You can watch a preview of the movie below.
Watch more free documentaries

Here are some additional resources you may want to use in lessons about renewable energy:

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory offers mapped data about alternative energy use and alternative energy availability in the United States. Google Maps Mania highlighted the NREL's transportation atlas that features the locations of alternative energy fueling stations and the density of alternative energy vehicles.

The NEED Project is an educational program designed to teach students about energy consumption, energy sources, and the energy industry in general. NEED provides curriculum and lesson plans for teachers in all grades form elementary school through high school. The educators section of NEED makes all of their lessons with require materials available as PDF files.

The New York Times has an audio slideshow that provides a brief overview of geothermal energy. The audio slideshow is the accompaniment to an article about the dangers of drilling deep into the Earth. The slideshow provides an explanation of why the western United States is one of the easier places to access geothermal energy. The slideshow offers good visual aids depicting how geothermal energy is harnessed.

Applications Open for the Google Geo Teachers Institute

The Google Geo Teachers Institute will be held in two locations this coming fall, Washington, DC and Lewiston, Maine. The institute is a free two day affair in which K-12 teachers will get lots of hands-on experience with Google Earth, Google Maps, and Google SketchUp. The overall goal is to get teachers to use these free Google products in creative ways in their classrooms. For more information, please read Google's announcement. To apply for Geo Teachers Institute, click here. Applications are due by August 1.

Smash Cards - Augmented Reality Flashcards

Smash Cards is a new service offering augmented reality flashcards. Smash Cards is still in a closed beta, but when I learned about it from Scott McLeod I knew I had to pass it along. The purpose of Smash Cards is to add value to the flashcard experience. Here's how it works; a student holds a flashcard up to a webcam and images matching the words on the flashcard. The goal is to provide students with a visual reference to aid in recall. Watch the video below to see Smash Cards in action.

Augmented Reality Phonics from SmashCards on Vimeo.

If you're not sure what augmented reality is, watch Common Craft's explanation below.

Applications for Education
I'm interested to see if augmented reality flashcards make a difference in students' recall abilities. I've applied for the Smash Cards beta even though I teach high school and the cards seem to be targeted to elementary school use. If you're an elementary school teacher interested in trying Smash Cards, click Try It on the Smash Cards site to sign up for the beta.

Snack Tools - Apps to Improve Your Website

Last week I shared with you a post about Flip Snack. Flip Snack is a free tool for displaying your PDFs with page turning effects. Flip Snack is a part of larger suite of free apps called Snack Tools.

Snack Tools offers six free applications that you can add to your website or blog. In addition to Flip Snack, Snack Tools offers Quiz Snack, Photo Snack, Tube Snack, Pod Snack, and  Banner Snack.

Quiz Snack offers a free service for creating polls and quizzes to post in your blog or website. To use Quiz Snack you can sign in with your Twitter, Facebook, Google, or Quiz Snack account. Then select one of three poll/quiz formats, type your question(s) and answer choices, and select a template. Then copy the embed code provided by Quiz Snack and place it your blog or website.

Photo Snack is an app that provides a variety of template designs for photo slideshows. You can upload photos from your computer or import them from a variety of image host including Flickr and Facebook.

Pod Snack is an app for creating and embedding playlists of podcasts and music into your blog or website. The free version of Pod Snack does place a limited on the length of your playlist.

Tube Snack offers a variety of template designs for displaying and sharing your YouTube playlists. You can also use Tube Snack to display videos that you have hosted on your own servers.