Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Infographics Explained With Legos

Infographics are all over the web these days. Some are useful, some are not, and some are just plain fun. Yesterday, on Cool Infographics I discovered an infographic that explains what infographics should do. The fun and somewhat informative explanation of infographics is made using Legos. Check it out below.

Applications for Education
If you're having students create infographics (here are three tools for doing so) and you want to remind them what the purpose of the exercise is, this infographic might help.

The infographic was produced by the graphic design firm Hot Butter Studio.

Google Course Builder Opened to the World

Course Builder is the code that powered Google's first MOOC Power Searching With Google. Yesterday, Google made Course Builder available to the world. You need to have some strong coding chops to build a course with Course Builder. If you have those skills or have people in your organization possessing those skills, Course Builder could be a platform that you want to try for building courses.

Even if you don't plan to use Course Builder for developing online courses, you may want to take a look at the Design Process pages to gain some insight and ideas for building online courses regardless of the platform used to deliver the content.

Harnu - Connect and Learn With the World

Harnu is an interesting new site that my friend Beth Still shared with me yesterday. The purpose of Harnu is to enable you to discover news, videos, music and connect with people all over the world.

To discover news, videos, and music sign-in to Harnu, select a media type, then select a country. Harnu will then give you a list of news stories, videos, or music from your chosen country.

To connect with people all over the world sign-in to Harnu, select "send message," select the location to which you want to send a message, then write and send your message. People from that location can see you message and reply to you. And you can use Harnu to select location, find people sending messages from those countries then reply to them.

Applications for Education
Harnu has the potential to be a good way to find teachers in other parts of the world and connect with them for globally collaborative classroom projects. Or you could just use Harnu to find news stories coming out of the countries that your students are studying.

Mightybell - Event Planning and Visual Bookmarking

Mightybell is an interesting service that combines elements of two things that many teachers love; calendars and Pinterest-like visual bookmarking.

On Mightybell you can create private and public groups based around any topic, interest, or event. Your group works together on a shared board. To that board you can add files, videos, pictures, text notes, post questions, and post events using the event calendar. To enable real-time collaboration Mightybell provides a chat function for your groups too. The Mightybell browser bookmarklet makes it easy to add any web content to your Mightybell group boards.

Mightybell from Mightybell on Vimeo.

Applications for Education
One way that teachers might use Mightybell is to organize resources for units they're planning to teach together. To do this teachers would create a private Mightybell group, pin notes and resources to it, and use the event calendar pins to plan the days on which they're going to use their shared resources.

IDEA Guide to 2012 Presidential Debates

The International Debate Education Association (IDEA) has published a free 157 page guide to the 2012 Presidential debates. The guide offers detailed overviews and opinion pieces about seventeen issues that could come up during the 2012 Presidential debates. The issues are divided into three categories; Domestic Policy, Foreign Policy, and Economic Policy. Within each section there are opinion pieces for students to read and debate in your classroom.

Applications for Education 
IDEA's Teaching Tools page contains a big collection of suggested activities for teaching students how to constructively debate. You may want to use some of those activities in conjunction with lessons about the 2012 Presidential debates that are based on The IDEA Guide to the 2012 Presidential Debates.

Videos - The Evolution of Republicans & Democrats

CNN Explains recently published a couple of videos explaining the origins and evolution of the modern Democratic and Republican parties.

Applications for Education
My U.S. History and U.S. Government students always asked me about the issues and events that created our modern political parties. And while these videos are not a replacement for full lessons on these topics they do offer quick summaries that I wouldn't hesitate to post on my course blog.