Monday, May 21, 2012

Interactive Maps of Travel Routes Throughout the Roman Empire

On Friday Open Culture posted a resource that I think anyone who teaches about the Roman Empire needs to check out right away. ORBIS is Stanford University's Geospatial Network Model of the Roman Empire.

On ORBIS students can calculate the distance and travel times between 751 settlements in the Roman Empire. The calculations happen according to the modes of travel that would have been used during the time of the Roman Empire's greatest height. For example, I calculated the time and cost to travel by foot, wagon, and boat between Roma and Chalcis in March. The calculations include the cost of feeding donkeys along the way.

Click for full size image. 

Applications for Education
While you could certainly have students use Google Earth to map distances between settlements in the Roman Empire, ORBIS is a step above that because students can calculate travel times and distances according the modes of transportation that were available during the Roman Empire.

Video - How GPS Works

In the past I've run a couple of posts about geocaching activities. This guest post by Jen Deyenberg outlined student geocaching activities. Geocaching relies on the use of GPS. On Friday The Atlantic's Picture of the Day was of the interior of a satellite. That picture as well as thinking about GPS got me to search for a video explanation of how GPS works.

NASA's eClips channel on YouTube has a good student-friendly explanation of how GPS works.

Create Animated Fake Facebook Profiles

Back in August I introduced you to Russel Tarr's Fakebook. Fakebook is a tool for creating fictitious Facebook profiles about famous people in history. Over the weekend a nice new feature was added to Fakebook. Fakebook Animated allows you to watch the timeline of your fake Facebook profiles unfold over time. For an example, click here to watch Harry Truman's Fakebook profile unfold over time.

Applications for Education
Creating Fakebook profiles for famous people in history could be a good way for students to create the outline of a biography. If you're looking for an alternative to traditional book reports, creating Fakebook profiles for the characters in a novel could be a good way to have students outline the important points in a character's development.

Click here for three other ways that students can create fictitious Facebook profiles for historical characters.

Thinglink Introduces a New Image Discovery Option

ThingLink, the service for creating interactive images that I've been touting since last summer, has released a new feature for discovering other interactive images. Now when you view one of your images or someone else's images on ThingLink, you'll be able to see suggested, related images. If you don't want your images to become part of the suggested images served-up by ThingLink, you can opt out of having your images included in the suggestions. Click here to watch my tutorial on creating interactive images with ThingLink.