Sunday, August 12, 2012

Video - Hurricane Hunters in Action

It's hurricane season and your students can track hurricanes in Google Earth. But they might wonder, like I once did, how meteorologists get hurricane data. One of the ways they get the data is from planes flown into hurricanes. NOAA's Hurricane Hunters is a short video about the pilots, the scientists, and the planes that fly into hurricanes to gather storm data. You can watch the video online or download it here.  

Padlet & Google Docs as Online KWL Charts

Update February 2013 - Padlet was formerly known as Wallwisher. It's still the same great service just with a different name. 

Just a few minutes ago I responded to a Tweet from Meredith Stewart who was looking for some first day of school ideas to use with her 8th grade US History students. My suggestion was to try using Wallwisher to create a KWL (know, want to know, learned) chart that students can write on. Meredith already had that (or something like it) planned for day two, but that's not going to stop me from making a blog post out of this.

I've previously written about using Wallwisher with my special education students to create a collage of videos and pictures that they discovered and we discussed in class. Wallwisher could also be used to create a KWL chart that students can contribute to anonymously (or not anonymously if you want them to sign-in). Create a wall, make it public, and ask students to share what they know and what they want to know about a topic. If you allow anonymous posting you might get contributions from shy students who might not otherwise speak-up in class. Of course, if you allow anonymous commenting you should have a conversation with your students about what an appropriate comment looks like. (You could also turn on moderation and approve all comment before they appear). 

Another option for creating an online KWL chart is to create and publish a Google Docs document. Create the document share it directly with students or its editing permissions to "anyone with the link" and invite students to write on the document. To keep the document organized you should insert a table  that your students will fill-in. 

Daisy the Dinosaur - A Visual Intro to Programming

Daisy the Dinosaur is a free iPad app designed to introduce young students to  some programming basics. The app asks students to create commands for Daisy the Dinosaur to carry out. There is a free play mode in which students can make Daisy do whatever they want. But to get started you might want to have students work through the beginner challenges mode.

Daisy the Dinosaur reminded me a bit of Google's Blockly demos in that students have to enter commands in the correct sequence in order to make Daisy complete tasks correctly.

Applications for Education
I learned about Daisy the Dinosaur from Terri Eichholz who wrote about using it with her nine year old daughter. I agree with Terri's assessment that Daisy the Dinosaur could be used with students as young as Kindergarten age. For older students Terri recommended another app, but you'll have to read her post to find out about that one (yes, that's a blatant tease for another person's awesome blog).