Tuesday, March 5, 2013

StatWorld - Interactive Maps of Development Data

StatSilk's StatWorld contains more than 400 world maps of data on topics in economics, education, health, environment, the digital divide, and much more. You can explore the maps by selecting a data set and then a display format. You can also choose to display the data for all countries or only the countries that you wish to compare.

Applications for Education
StatWorld could be a good tool to have students use to compare the economic development of countries and regions. Have students compare data sets from multiple categories and ask them to try to develop cause and effect relationships between the data sets. For example, can they find a connection between the duration of compulsory education and GDP per capita?

Use Text and Images for Better Google Image Search Results

When most people look for images through Google Images they just type their queries. You can also upload an image to search for other images that are similar to it. A little tip that I just discovered by browsing through some of Daniel Russell's videos is to combine the two methods. In other words you can upload an image and use text to refine your image search. Watch the short video below to see how it works.

Primary Source Analysis Guides for Students and Teachers

Last week I conducted a webinar on teaching with primary sources. The Library of Congress is one of the resources that I always mention when discussing teaching with primary sources. The LOC has many excellent collections of primary source materials. To help students analyze primary source materials the Library of Congress offers analysis guides.

The LOC's primary source analysis guide for students can be used online or offline. The format is the same either way. The format asks students to record observations (initial impressions), reflections, and questions about each primary source item.

Applications for Education
The LOC offers ten primary source analysis guides for teachers. The guides (available as PDFs) offer some guiding questions that you can ask students about maps, documents, images, sound recordings, political cartoons, and more.

Four Good Alternatives to Clicker Systems

One of the benefits of allowing students to bring their cell phones into your classroom is that they can use them to give you anonymous feedback on sensitive questions and questions for which a name isn't necessary. For example, you might just want to take a survey of the average length of time your students spent studying for a quiz or how long it took them to complete an assignment. Here are four alternatives to purchasing clicker systems for your school while still gathering anonymous feedback from students.

Socrative is my favorite tool for collecting anonymous feedback from students. Socrative uses cell phones and or laptops (user's choice) for gathering feedback from students. You can post as many questions as you like in a variety of formats. One of the more fun question formats is the "space race" format in which students can work individually or in teams to answer questions as quickly as possible. The video below offers a nice overview of the Socrative system.

Socrative introduction video (new) from Socrative Inc. on Vimeo.

Poll Everywhere is a service that allows you to collect responses from an audience via text messaging. The free plan for K-12 educators provides selection of features and quantity of responses that is adequate for almost any classroom. One of the neat ways to display feedback gathered through Poll Everywhere is in word clouds. The word cloud feature integrates with WordleTagxedo, and Tagul.

Mobile Presenter Tools from Poll Everywhere on Vimeo.

Mentimeter allows you to pose a question to your audience and get instant feedback on that question through cell phones, tablets, and any other Internet-connected device. Mentimeter doesn't have has many features as Socrative or Poll Everywhere, but it is free and very easy to use. In the video below I provide a two minute demonstration of Mentimeter.

Infuse Learning is a free student response system that works with any Internet-connected device including iPads and Android tablets. Infuse Learning allows teachers to push questions, prompts, and quizzes out to students' devices in private virtual classrooms. In an Infuse Learning room a teacher can give students a wide variety of formats in which to response to a question or prompt. Students can reply to prompts and questions in standard multiple choice, true/false, and short answer formats. But Infuse Learning also offers an option for students to reply by creating drawings or diagrams on their iPads, Android tablets, or on their laptops.

Oweb Voice Input - Use Your Voice to Complete Google Forms

You can search Google using your voice, but once you get to a site then you're back to typing. Oweb Voice Input is a free Chrome extension that enables you to use your voice to search on websites. With Oweb Voice Input installed anytime that you see a search box on a website you can speak your query. On some sites Oweb Voice Input can be used to complete forms too.

Applications for Education
I tried Oweb Voice Input on a Google Form and it worked perfectly for filling in short answer questions. If you're using Google Forms to collect information from students and they need an accessibility option, Oweb Voice Input is a tool worth trying.