Saturday, September 10, 2011

Week in Review - There Go the Geese

Image credit: Limonada
Good morning from Maine where, as my friend Harold Shaw just pointed out, the geese have started flying south for the winter. That means two things for us here in Maine. First, winter isn't too far off now, brrrr. Second, school is definitely back in session. I hope the weather is as gorgeous wherever you are today as it is here. And if it isn't, I still hope that you have a great relaxing weekend. Now onto this week's list of the most popular posts.

Here are the most popular posts of the week:
1. Learn More About Geocaching - A Great Outdoor Learning Activity
2. EdCamps Everywhere! Find One or Host One
3. The Kid Should See This - Open Culture for Kids
4. Two Nice Guides to Web 2.0 at School and Work
5. 7 Ways to Avoid Inbox Overload When Collecting Assignments Online
6. Draw It Live - Simple, Free, Collaborative Whiteboard
7. Use Gmail, Docs, Calendar Offline With the Chrome App

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GLEAN Information Literacy Tools

From the same folks who bring us the Boolify Project comes two other useful tools for teaching information literacy skills. The GLEAN Comparison Search engine is a tool that allows users to compare search results for "positive" and "negative" perspectives side-by-side. For example, if I search using the term "Libya" I will be presented with lists of positive and negative terms. Clicking on those terms will change my results and give me quick comparison options.

Another neat tool from GLEAN is their WhoIs search tool. The WhoIs search tool is designed to help students evaluate the source of the information on a particular website. I'm not as impressed by GLEAN's WhoIs search as I am with their other information literacy tool for two reasons. First, they seem to be implying that .org domains have more validity than .com domains. Second, under "what can you learn from its ownership" they simply direct to the WhoIs registry which often takes you to a domain by proxy registry that masks the real ownership of a domain. (I use one of those myself so that my home address isn't public). Overall though, the intent of GLEAN's WhoIs search tool is good and worth showing to students as long as you clarify those two points that I made for them. 

Tucoola - Games for Kids and Parents to Play Together

Tucoola is a free site offering games for children and parents. The site has a section of single user activities for kids and section of two user activities for parents to play with their children. Most of the activities are simple enough for children four years old to play. The activities include things like simple jigsaw puzzles, checkers, and basic number games. The site can be used without registration, but parents who do choose to register themselves and their children can access activity reports for what their children have done on the site.

Applications for Education
Tucoola isn't breaking any new ground with their games and activities, but if you're looking for some basic skills practice activities it's worth bookmarking Tucoola. The option to access activity reports for their children might be an appealing feature for parents.

Go Social Studies Go - Multimedia Social Studies Books

Go Social Studies Go is a nice site developed by Kenneth Udhe, a social studies teacher in Michigan, for his students and the world. Go Social Studies Go is essentially a series of multimedia books about common social studies topics. The site is divided into four main sections; World Geography, World Religions, Ancient History, and Colonial America. Within each section is a series of booklets containing text, pictures, videos, and links to additional resources.
Inside the Jamestown multimedia booklet

Applications for Education
Go Social Studies Go could be an excellent resource for middle school social studies teachers. For the topics covered, the multimedia booklets provide as much content area information as you'll see in a typical textbook. For high school students, the multimedia booklets could be a good primer or refresher on many topics.