Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Great Collection of Cool Infographics on Pinterest

Cool Infographics is a great blog that I have mentioned numerous times in the past. Many of the infographics that I've shared, I discovered on Cool Infographics. Recently, Randy Krum, the author of Cool Infographics started putting all of the infographics that he writes about onto a Pinterest page. The Cool Infographics Pinterest page contains all of the infographics that Randy wrote about in 2011. Included in the page are some infographic videos like this one about Stuxnet.

Applications for Education
If you are considering having your students develop infographics as a class project, the Cool Infographics Pinterest page could provide you and your students with some great models. You may also find some infographics that have flaws and in those cases you and your students can discuss what those flaws are and how a particular infographic could be improved.

Exchange Opportunities for U.S. Teachers and Administrators

The United States Department of State is currently offering a great opportunity for teachers and school administrators in the United States to teach and learn in Thailand, Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay. Through the Educational Seminars program teachers and administrators can receive grant-funded trips during the summer to learn and share best practices.

Applications are being accepted through March 30 for the trips to Brazil, Argentina, and Thailand. The Argentina and Brazil trips are only open to administrators while the Thailand trip is open to teachers and administrators. You can learn more about the Educational Seminars program here and here (PDF).

Thanks to Scott McLeod for sharing this on Twitter earlier today.

Dozens of Examples of VoiceThread in Education

Earlier today, in a post about the California Gold Rush, I mentioned using VoiceThread in a lesson. In writing that post I neglected to mention what a VoiceThread is. Rather than reading my explanation, the best thing to do is to watch the VoiceThread explanation of VoiceThread that I have embedded below.

Applications for Education
Hopefully, after watching the VoiceThread above you will have some ideas for how you can use VoiceThread in your classroom. To get give you even more ideas and examples VoiceThread has a digital library of more than five dozen examples of VoiceThread being used in a wide variety of content areas taught in K-12 classrooms.

Building a Gold Mine

Last week I shared a list of lesson plans for teaching about historical gold rushes in North America. Yesterday, the National Archives' featured document was this image of men developing a gold mine in the Sierra Nevada. That image gave me the idea for a VoiceThread project about gold rushes. You could start with this image (pictured below) and ask students to share their thoughts about the construction techniques and the men in the picture. Then have students search sources like The Commons, US National Archives, or simply Google Images to find more images to add to and comment on in theVoiceThread that they start.
Image source: Today's Document from the National Archives

New Drag and Drop File Uploads in Wikispaces

The popular wiki-building service Wikispaces recently made an handy enhancement to their user interface. The new feature is the option to upload files by simply dragging them from your desktop to the wiki you're working on. I've included two screenshots of the process below.

Step 1.

Step 2.

Applications for Education
The addition of drag and drop uploads doesn't revolutionize the way that you and your students create wikis or what you do with them, but it is still a helpful little enhancement.

If you're looking for ideas about assessing student use of wikis, check out these rubrics from the University of Wisconsin.

State of the Union Address - Behind the Scenes and More

Last night President Obama delivered his 2012 State of the Union Address. Every US-based news website has coverage of the event. If you're thinking of discussing the State of the Union Address in your classroom today, here are a few things that should be helpful to you.

The White House website you can find the entire video of last night's address. The White House published the "enhanced" video which includes some visuals to complement the content of President Obama's key points. You can view the video online or download it directly from the White House website.

The White House published a short "behind the scenes" video about the writing of the State of the Union Address.

You can find the full transcript of President Obama's State of the Union Address on the White House's website. Put that transcript into a tool like Wordle to create word clouds that will help students quickly recognize the most-used words and phrases in President Obama's address last night.

Finally, Larry Ferlazzo has a short list of visualizations of last night's address. Included in that list is this NY Times interactive display of last night's State of the Union Address. The interactive allows you to skip through the transcript to read the text and watch the corresponding video.