Friday, August 24, 2012

Street View of Mesoamerican Archeological Sites

Last week Google released new Google Maps Street View imagery for Brazil and Mexico. Included in that new imagery is Street View for 30 Mesoamerican archeological sites.

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Applications for Education
Sometimes I share things with specific people in mind. Today, I'm sharing this resource with my friends at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School in mind because I know that at least a couple of them will be talking about Mesoamerican history very soon. If you're going to be doing the same, the Street View imagery for these archaeological landmarks could give your students a new perspective that textbook imagery doesn't provide.

A History of U.S. Campaigns & Conventions

Northeastern University has launched a new site all about U.S. political campaigns and party conventions. The site is divided into five main sections; History, Campaign Finance, Nominations, Policy, and Media. Within each section there are videos and articles about the current state of affairs as well as past practices. Each section offers lesson plans suitable for high school use. Each section also offers short review quizzes that provide instant feedback.

Applications for Education
I have to admit that the videos I previewed were rather boring as they were simply politicians and professors talking on camera. If I, a former Political Science major, was bored by the videos most high school students will be too. That said, the rest of the site is well made and informative. I would probably use the lesson plans with high school students after I customized them to meet the needs of my students.

Just Another Reason I Love Chrome...

It's not a secret that Chrome is my favorite web browser (Dolphin is a close second on mobile devices). One of my absolute favorite features of Chrome is synchronization across devices. With synchronization enabled on all of my devices including my iPad I can jump from device to device and not lose track of any of the tabs that I am using. In fact just this morning I went from using my desktop Lenovo ThinkCentre inside to using my iPad outside on my deck without missing a beat in my browsing experience. (You do have to have the Chrome app for iPad installed to do this).

To enable synchronization in Chrome, click on the "wrench" icon in the upper-right corner of the browser. Then select "settings" from drop-down menu. In the settings menu you can enable synchronization, add user accounts to Chrome for multiple sign-in, enable cloud printing, and adjust your privacy settings.

Applications for Education
For students who use one device at school and another at home, having Chrome synchronization enabled can be a great way to keep track of the their tabs and have a nearly seamless browsing experience.

Earn Your Digital Passport by Learning Digital Safety

Digital Passport is a relatively new online program from Common Sense Media. The purpose of the Digital Passport program is to provide students in grades three through five with lessons and games for learning responsible digital behavior. Digital Passport uses videos and games to teach students about  cyberbullying, privacy, safety and security, responsible cell phone use, and copyright. Students earn badges for successfully completing each phase of the Digital Passport program.

Applications for Education
Digital Passport provides teachers with a log-in that they can use to track their students' progress through the various parts of the Digital Passport program. Like any online program for younger students, Digital Passport works best when it is supported by your own in-classroom instruction.

SpellingCity for iPad and iPhone

SpellingCity recently launched a free iPad and iPhone app for students. The app gives students access to the same vocabulary lists that they use on the SpellingCity website. SpellingCity's list of words for students exceeds 42,000. Students and teachers who register for accounts can create custom word lists (Note, new lists have to be made online. Through the app you can only access existing lists). If you don't register you can simply choose from the many suggested word lists created by SpellingCity.

The SpellingCity app offers six types of practice activities. The activities are Teach Me, Test Me, Match It, Word Unscramble, Hang Mouse, and Which Word. I am particularly fond of the Teach Me activity in which the words and their spellings are read to students. Again, if you are registered and logged into SpellingCity you can create custom lists that are read to your students when they use the Teach Me mode on their iPads.

You can learn more about the free SpellingCity iPad app here. Or download the app here.

Disclosure: SpellingCity does help me pay the bills at the Free Technology for Teachers world headquarters.