Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Science of Baseball

It's Little League baseball season here in my part of the world. As I drove by a field a couple of nights ago I was reminded of a nice little resource from Exploratorium called the Science of Baseball. The Science of Baseball is a bit dated in its looks, but it still has some nice resources that can help students understand how a bit of science and mathematics is involved in the game. The Science of Baseball includes video and audio clips of baseball players and scientists explaining how the weather affects the flight of the ball, the physics of various pitches, and reaction times to thrown and batted baseballs.

Applications for Education
The Science of Baseball has five suggested hands-on activities that you can do with your students after they have gone through the online resources. These activities could be a good way to get some of the Little Leaguers in your classroom excited about a science and mathematics lesson.

Weebly Gets an iOS App

Weebly has been one of my favorite tools for creating websites for a long time. Weebly for Education makes it very easy for teachers and students to create websites through a drag and drop interface. Weebly for Education allows teachers to manage their students' accounts too. Click here to watch a demonstration of Weebly for Education.

Today, I learned from Gina Hartman that this month Weebly launched a free iOS app that you can use to manage and update your website from your iOS device.

Applications for Education
The Weebly app could be useful for teachers and students alike to update their websites without having to be at their computers.

The New Hive - Build Media Collages

On Sunday afternoon Scott McLeod sent a Tweet my way to tell me to check out The New Hive. And as I have tremendous respect for Scott's work and opinions, I knew that I had to give The New Hive a good look.

The New Hive is a new service that allows you to create online collages of your favorite media and text. It's a bit like Glogster without templates and bubbly artwork predefined for you and it's free unlike Glogster which used to be free. The New Hive provides a blank canvas that you can design with images, videos, audio files, and text. You can quickly re-size and re-position the elements on your pages by draggin and dropping them. The pages that you create on The New Hive can be made public or private.

The New Hive is still in an invite-only beta phase so you will have to request an invitation to try it out. While you are waiting for your invitation, check out the gallery of public The New Hive creations including this one of Dr. Seuss and this one about MCA (I included that one just for the folks of my generation who enjoyed the Beastie Boys).

Applications for Education
I was disappointed to see Glogster slowly eliminate their free offerings, but I understand that they have to make money too. The New Hive could be a good alternative to Glogster for teachers who cannot purchase Glogster licenses. I also like that The New Hive has a little cleaner interface  for users to work on.

Cards and Lattes for Teachers

Cards for Teachers is a month-long teacher appreciation program from Study Blue. From now until the end of the month anyone can post thank you notes for their favorite teachers on the Cards for Teachers site. The cards can be Tweeted, emailed, shared on Google+, and shared on Facebook. At the end of the month Study Blue will randomly select 300 teachers to receive free latte gift cards.

Videos - Where the Wild Things Are

Where the Wild Things Are was one of my favorite books as a child. Its author, Maurice Sendak, passed away today at age 83. Read The New York Times obituary about Sendak here. Reading the news of Sendak's passing prompted me to do a quick YouTube search for video versions of Where the Wild Things Are. I've embedded two that I like below.

Recording Google+ Hangouts

I've tried a few different times with a few different methods to record Google+ Hangouts and never have been happy with the quality of the recording. Yesterday, Google announced a remedy for my problem in the form of making Google+ Hangouts on Air available for everyone. Google+ Hangouts on Air will be rolled-out gradually over the next few weeks to all Google+ users. Google+ Hangouts on Air will record your public Google+ Hangouts and upload those recordings to your YouTube account for you. Google's promotional video for this new feature is embedded below.

Applications for Education
Google+ Hangouts on Air could be an alternative to having experts Skype into your classroom. By using Google+ Hangouts on Air you could partner with multiple classrooms to share in the experience of having a virtual guest speak with your students.

View Historical Shoreline Imagery in Google Earth

NOAA recently released a collection of more than 7,000 historical U.S. shoreline topographic images for viewing in Google Earth. The NOAA Historical Shoreline Survey Viewer has thousands of layers that you use to see what the U.S. shoreline looked like going back as far as 1841. The layers can be viewed alone or your can overlay them on top of current imagery. You can launch the KMZ file for this imagery by clicking here or you can read about how to navigate this imagery on the NOAA page. I recommend reading NOAA's information before launching the KMZ file.

Applications for Education
NOAA's Historical Shoreline Survey Viewer could be used to show students how coastlines have changed over time. I found it quite interesting to compare the past shoreline imagery with current imagery of famous fishing towns like Gloucester, Massachusetts. As they view the past and present imagery, ask students to try to explain why the coastlines have changed.

H/T to the Google Earth Blog.