Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Games@NOAA - A Gallery of Educational Games About Oceans and Weather

NOAA's Games Planet Arcade offers twenty-six educational games for young students. The games are intended to help students learn about oceans, wildlife, and weather. Twenty of the games address topics related to marine life.

While the games are not terribly complex or fancy, they do offer some solid information for young students. For example, the Humpback Whale Migration game isn't much more than a board game that provides students with information about Humpback whales. As students move across the board they are stopped at spaces offering facts about the annual migrations of Humpback whales.

Sea Turtles and the Quest to Nest is one of the headline games of NOAA's Games Planet Arcade. The object of the game is to help a sea turtle avoid common obstacles on while navigating the ocean and the beach before laying her eggs and returning to the sea.

About half of the games are hosted on NOAA's website and the others are linked to the websites of PBS, National Geographic or the Environmental Protection Agency.

Applications for Education
If you're looking for some simple games to supplement a lesson on oceans, ocean wildlife, or weather, take a look at NOAA's Games Planet Arcade.

Virtual Reality in Education - A Conversation With Greg Kulowiec

Virtual reality has the potential to provide our students with great learning experiences. It is still in its early stages of adoption in schools and there are lots of questions about how it works and how it can be used in classrooms. On February 27th Greg Kulowiec from EdTechTeacher and I will host a Google Hangout On Air to talk about virtual reality in education. I hope that you can join us for this free event.

In advance of the Hangout you might want to take a look at these studies about virtual reality in education.

If you think virtual reality headsets are too expensive for your classroom, take a look at this DIY project for making virtual reality headsets.

Tools for Creating, Hosting, and Printing Infographics

About a week ago I was asked if I could write a post about tools for making infographics with students. A well constructed infographic can convey a lot of information in a compact, visually-pleasing manner. The process of creating a good infographic requires students to analyze and succinctly summarize data and facts that they've gathered through research. Here are some good tools that students can use to create infographics.

Canva is always the first tool that comes to mind when I'm asked about creating infographics. Canva offers a large variety of templates for creating infographics. Those templates can be modified with free clip art, drawings, and your images. The catalog of fonts that Canva offers will not leave your students wanting for more options. Canva recently added the option to collaborate on designs. Many of Canva's templates can be published as simple webpages too. Finally, Canva has a great education section in which you will find lesson plans created by teachers. A couple of my Canva tutorials are embedded below.

iVisual Info Touch is an iPad app that you can use to create relatively simple infographics. The app makes it easy to create your infographics. It is not necessary to create an account in order to use iVisual Info Touch. To get started just open the app and select a background for your infographic. After choosing your background you can add clip art and text. When you are finished designing your infographic, you can save it directly to your iPad’s camera roll. iVisual Info Touch is available in a free version and in a paid version ($2.99). The paid version includes more clip art, more backgrounds, and allows you to import and insert your own images.

Posting your students' infographics online is one way to display them. A computer screen or a phone screen often doesn't show the full effect of an infographic. Printing your students' infographics in full size can be accomplished with Block Posters. Block Posters is a web-based tool to which you can upload a high quality graphic then divide it into letter-sized chunks for printing. Print out each section and put them together on a poster board to make your own poster.

Search Strategies Students Need to Know - Last Call

Today 4pm Eastern Time I'm hosting a webinar called Search Strategies Students Need to Know.

In Search Strategies Students Need to Know you will learn why informational searches are the hardest types of Internet searches for students to conduct. You will learn how to help students break-down complex search topics into manageable pieces then put the whole picture together. You’ll learn how to help your students save students tons of time by thinking before searching. And you’ll how to develop instructional search challenge activities to use with students of any age.

Search Strategies Students Need to Know will be held live today 4pm EST. Your registration includes the live webinar, unlimited access to the recording, handouts, and a PD certificate. Register here. The webinar will be recorded for those who cannot attend the live session.

In this webinar you will learn:
  • The types of searches that give students the most trouble and why they are so difficult.
  • How to get students beyond the first pages of Google results.
  • The search tools students often overlook.
  • How to create your own search engine.
  • How to develop engaging search lessons for students of all ages.

Register here.