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Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Map-based Stories from National Geographic

GeoStories are short, map-based stories featured on National Geographic Education. The stories combine text, maps, and pictures to tell a story as a series of slides connected to placemarks on maps. National Geographic Education currently offers twenty-three GeoStories. The current GeoStories cover subjects in the areas of politics, ecology, music, and exploration.

Applications for Education
Even if there isn't a GeoStory that fits with what you're teaching at the moment, the stories do offer a good model of using maps to enhance the telling of a story.

Google Finally Removes "Next Blog" Link from Blogger

For as long as I can remember people have complained about the "next blog" link that appears by default at the top of Blogger blogs. No one likes it because it can lead visitors to random blogs that may or may not be appropriate for classrooms. For many years I've taught people how to change their Blogger template code to remove the "next blog" link. According to today's post on the Official Blogger Blog, the "next blog" link is going to be eliminated in the next few months.

In the same blog post it was announced that Google is going to end support for third-party gadgets in sidebar columns, headers, and footers. However, you will still be able to embed HTML and Javascript into those areas.

Applications for Education
The removal of the "next blog" from the header makes Blogger more classroom-friendly than before.

Learn more about blogging in my Practical Ed Tech on-demand webinar, How to Create a Great Classroom Blog

Great Journeys and Explorations - Stories Told With Interactive Maps and Timelines

Ever since I was an elementary school student I have loved reading about great journeys and explorations like those of Lewis and Clark, James Cook, and Robert Peary. As an adult I still love those stories and recently started reading The River of Doubt for a second time. Picking up that book reminded me of one of my favorite multimedia presentation tools for use in social studies classes.

StoryMap JS lets you combine elements of timelines and maps to create mapped stories. On StoryMap JS you create slides that are matched to locations on your map. Each slide in your story can include images or videos along with text. As you scroll through your story there are simple transitions between each slide. StoryMap JS integrates with your Google Drive account. To get started with StoryMap JS you have to grant it access to your Google Drive account. StoryMap JS will create a folder in your Google Drive account where all of your storymap projects will be saved. With StoryMap JS connected to your Google Drive account you will be able to pull images from your Google Drive account to use in your StoryMap JS projects.

Applications for Education
StoryMap JS can be used by students to tell the stories of great explorers and their explorations. While you could do something similar in Google's My Maps, StoryMap JS offers a better overall presentation particularly with regards to dates.

How to Export, Save, and Re-purpose Your Edublogs Posts

As the end of the school year approaches you might find yourself wondering what to do with all of the blogs posts your students wrote during the year. If you used Edublogs for your classroom blog, there is an easy way to export and save a copy of all of those posts.

Follow these steps to export and save a copy of all posts on an Edublogs blog:

  • Sign into your Edublogs dashboard.
  • If you have multiple sites in the same account, choose the one that you want to export. 
  • Choose the "tools" menu toward the bottom, left corner of your dashboard. 
  • Select "export" and then select the content that you wish to export.
Click image to view full size.
It's important to note that exporting your content doesn't delete it from your Edublogs blog. You have simply made an offline copy of the content. You can re-purpose that offline copy by uploading it to a service like Blog Booker which will turn it into a PDF suitable for printing. Blog Booker does integrate with some online printing services to enable you to create a paperback book of written blog posts.