Thursday, February 2, 2012

Take an Interactive Journey Through U.S. History

Mission U.S. offers two interactive journeys through two important eras in U.S. History. The journeys are designed as role-playing games or missions. Both games can be played entirely online or downloaded for play on your PC or Mac (you do need an Internet connection to save a game in progress).

The first mission in Mission U.S. is set in Boston in 1770. Students play the role of 14 year old Nat Wheeler who, after the Boston Massacre, must choose to side with the Loyalists or the Patriots. A video introduction is embedded below.

The second mission in Mission U.S. is set in Kentucky and Ohio in 1850. Students take on the role of a fourteen year old slave named Lucy. In the mission students escape slavery in Kentucky and navigate to Ohio. A video trailer is embedded below.

Applications for Education
Playing Mission U.S. could be a good way for elementary school and middle school students to learn about two important eras in U.S. History. The Mission U.S. website offers an educators section that includes printable lists of vocabulary terms, writing prompts, and post-game discussion prompts.

A similar resource from PBS that you might be interested in exploring is Chronicles of the American Revolution.

Webinar - 11 Ways to Use Evernote in Your Classroom

A few weeks ago I wrote a short post about Evernote's offerings for educators. If that post got you to try Evernote, you may be interested in attending a free webinar about eleven uses of Evernote in education. The webinar, conducted by Evernote staff, is a free event on February 15th at 10am PST. (Yes, I realize that is an inconvenient time for most educators. I wrote to my contact at Evernote to suggest holding the webinar later in the day).

Nearpod - Create Educational Mobile Content

Nearpod is an interesting new service that teachers can use to create, deliver, and monitor student use of educational content on iPads and iPods. Nearpod is still in a closed beta (they are looking for pilot schools), but what I have gathered about it so far indicates that teachers use it to create quizzes, polls, Q&A activities, and instructional presentations. Teachers using Nearpod to deliver quizzes and polls can look at students' responses individually or in aggregate.

Embedded below is a short introduction/ promotional video for Nearpod.

Nearpod Testimonials from Nearpod on Vimeo.

Applications for Education
Nearpod could be a good tool for teachers to create and deliver customized content to their students. The feedback mechanisms may allow you to quickly get a sense of your students' comprehension of the lessons that you deliver.

Submit Your Technology Tutorial Requests

One of the most frequently visited pages on Free Technology for Teachers is the Google Tutorials page. I would like to build up more tutorial pages, but I need your help in choosing topics. Therefore, I'm asking you to share your requests for technology tutorials. I can't promise that I'll tackle every request, but I'll do my best to create tutorials for the most frequently requested topics. If you have a request, please fill out the two question form embedded below. If you can't see the form, please click here to complete it.

Resources for Teaching the Math & Science of Sports

The Super Bowl is coming up this weekend and many classrooms will have students buzzing with their predictions for Sunday's game. This provides a good opportunity to incorporate math and science with sports. Below is a re-publishing of a review I wrote two years ago about NBC's Science of Football lesson materials.

The Science of Football is a series of ten videos from NBC Learn explaining and demonstrating math and science concepts as they relate to football. The Science of Football could be a good way to get students who enjoy sports, but don't necessarily enjoy math and science, interested in learning math and science. Lessonopoly offers lesson plans corresponding to each video to support your use of the videos in your classroom.

Here are some resources for incorporating other sports into math and science lessons.

Exploratorium's Sports Science site contains many pages on which students can explore the math and science of team sports as well as the individual sports of bicycling and skateboarding. The bicycling section has a calculator that students can use to calculate the aerodynamic drag and propulsion power of a bicyclist.

Sport Science on has couple of videos that are relevant as school winds-down and kids turn their attention to Little League baseball and softball. In MLB Vision Sport Science evaluates how quickly a player has to respond to a baseball thrown ninety miles per hour. Then to answer the question, can you really keep your eyes on the ball? Sport Science attaches an eye tracking device to Nomar Garciapara.

In Hitting a Softball Sport Science explains the scientific and mathematical differences between hitting a baseball and hitting a softball.

Sport Science: Distraction looks at whether or not all of those waving, screaming fans behind a basketball hoop actually make a difference in whether or not a player makes his or her free throw. You could turn this into an active survey in your school's gymnasium. Have your students shoot some hoops without distraction and tally their average rate of success. Then have them test out distractions like waving, playing music, or yelling to see if there is a change in the success rate.

Well Home offers an interesting infographic showing the energy expended by athletes performing various athletic tasks. I've seen other infographics like this and usually they only mention calories. Well Home's infographic mentions calories as well as watts and speed measurements. Well Home's infographic could be printed and displayed in health, physical education, and or mathematics classes.

Well Home's Energy in Sports infographic goes well with another resource that contains mathematics and science lessons in the context of sports. ESPN's series Sports Science looks at the mathematics and science involved in various athletic feats.

Select and Speak a Text to Speech Chrome Extension

Earlier this week I shared Announcify with you. Announcify is a free text to speech service. Today, I discovered another good, free text to speech tool for the Chrome web browser. Select and Speak is a simple text to speech browser extension. Select and Speak installs with just one click and does not require a browser re-start. Once Select and Speak is installed just highlight any text on a webpage, click the Select and Speak icon in your browser, and listen to the reading of the text.

Applications for Education
Just as with other text to speech apps Select and Speak could be helpful to students who have difficulty reading the content of webpages.

Hot Apps for Higher Order Thinking

Hot Apps 4 HOTS (link opens to iTunes) is a free ebook about iOS apps that can be used to help students practice and develop higher order thinking skills. The book takes readers through a series of apps that are aligned to the various parts of Bloom's Revised Taxonomy. Examples and suggestions for app use are included in the book. As Hot Apps 4 HOTS is an ibook, it can only be viewed on an iOS device.

Applications for Education
If your school is one that is rolling-out iPads for student use, check out Hot Apps 4 HOTS to find some good apps and ideas that you can bring into your classroom.

Visit my other blog, iPad Apps 4 School for more reviews of iPad apps.

OK Go Explains Primary Colors in Song

From cool Rube Goldberg machines to tightly scripted marching band routines, OK Go produces fantastic music videos. Now they've jumped into making educational videos for kids. In Three Primary Colors, produced with Sesame Street, OK Go explains the three primary colors in a catchy little song.

Applications for Education
After your students get the catchy Three Primary Colors song stuck in their heads, have them try creating pictures using the Three Primary Colors game on the Sesame Street website.

H/T to Brain Pickings