Friday, June 22, 2012

Maps of Vanishing & Endangered Languages

In the July issue of National Geographic Magazine there is a feature titled Vanishing Voices. The feature is about languages that are in danger of becoming extinct in the next century. One of the online companion resources to Vanishing Voices is a languages hotspots map. The languages hotspots map is a heatmap of regions in which there are languages in danger of vanishing. You can click on the map to learn about the languages in danger in those regions.

This morning Google Maps Mania posted a very similar map from the Endangered Languages Project. The map on the Endangered Languages Project contains references to 3054 endangered languages. Click on the placemarks to find the names of languages, information about who speaks those languages, and the risk of those languages becoming extinct. The Endangered Languages Project is a collaborative project that invites contributions of language documentation in text and video form.

Applications for Education
After reading Vanishing Voices and looking at the maps you might ask students to think about why some languages spread over regions and continents while other other languages stayed in use only in small areas.

GeoGebra Releases Two Chrome Web Apps

In March GeoGebra launched a web-based version of their popular math modeling program. This week GeoGebra released two new Chrome Web Apps.

The GeoGebraTube Chrome app gives you access to all of the materials that you would typically find on GeoGebraTube. Those materials include worksheets, tutorials, and lessons. You can also use the app to upload your own materials to GeoGebraTube.

The GeoGebra Chrome app allows you to do all of the things that you can do with the web version of GeoGebra. The benefit of the Chrome app is that you can save your work directly to Google Drive.

H/T to Guillermo Bautista.

Create Interactive Images on ImageSpike

ImageSpike is a new service for creating interactive images. The service is very similar to ThingLink which I have been a big fan of for the last year. ImageSpike allows you to upload an image, place pin marks on it, put text and links into those pin marks, and share your new interactive images. When someone views your interactive image he or she can click on the pin marks to read the text that you entered or click on the links that you included. In this sample I placed just one pin mark, but I can go back and add more whenever I want to.

Applications for Education
One drawback to ImageSpike is that you do have to enter an email address to get the embed code for your interactive image. Aside from that hurdle, ImageSpike could be a good tool for students to use to identify parts of an image and tag it with more information.

One way that I might use ImageSpike or ThingLink is in a lesson about the Battle of Gettysburg. I could have students upload an image of the battlefield then have my students add information related to different positions on the battlefield. For example, I might have my students identify Little Round Top and insert information about the 20th Maine Volunteer Infantry.

I learned about ImageSpike from Larry Ferlazzo who suggested using it in an ELL lesson. Read Larry's idea for using ThingLink in ELL activities here.

The Marketplace Whiteboard Explains Economic Issues

On Wednesday evening as I was driving home from a workshop I facilitated I heard a report about Spain's economy on American Public Media's Marketplace show. At the end of the report listeners were encouraged to visit the Marketplace Whiteboard for visuals that accompany the report.

The Marketplace Whiteboard is a series of videos explaining economic issues and topics that are currently in the news. This week's episode is about Spain's economy. Some of the past episodes have explained IPOs, bank runs, bonds, and debt ceilings.

Applications for Education
The Marketplace Whiteboard could be a good resource for social studies teachers creating current events lessons with an economics component. The few videos that I watched in the collection will probably not be self-explanatory to most high school students. You might use the videos to start a lesson and get students to ask questions or you might use the videos at the end of a lesson as a wrap-up piece.

OpenDNS Family Shield

Family Shield, powered by OpenDNS, is a service that can be used to filter the content accessed by anyone on your home network. Family Shield is designed to filter adult websites, proxy and anonymizer websites, and phishing websites. Step-by-step directions are provided for setting-up Family Shield on your home computer(s) and router(s).

Applications for Education
While I generally prefer to emphasize education about the Internet over blocking access to the Internet  I also understand that a lot of parents would still prefer to have a way to restrict the content their children can access from home. If you're asked by a parent for advice on Internet filtering at home, consider referring that person to Family Shield.