Thursday, July 14, 2022

DIY Maps of Bird Migration Patterns

Over the last handful of years I've become more and more fascinated with birds. I think that's due in part to my daughters' enjoyment of watching the many interesting birds that come to the feeders around our house. We've even taken to naming some of the birds that visit the feeders. For example, Hans is the name my oldest daughter gave to one of the rose-breasted grosbeaks that visits our kitchen window every evening. 

It's our fascination with birds that caused me to investigate the eBird Status and Trends map earlier this week. eBird's Status and Trends map lets you select a bird then see where in the world it is found at different times of the year. That's exactly what I did with our friend Hans the rose-breasted grosbeak. Using eBird's Status and Trends map I was able to quickly see where Hans and his friends would be before and after spending the summer with us here in Maine. Watch my short video to see how to use eBird's Status and Trends map to see where different birds are at different times of the year. 

Applications for Education
Create a bird observation chart and have students record some of the birds that they see outside their windows. Then have them use eBird's Status and Trends map to see where those birds came from and where they will go throughout the year. 

H/T to Maps Mania for the link to eBird Status and Trends map. 

How to Change Map Styles in Google Earth - And Why

The web version of Google Earth has improved a lot since its launch five years ago. One of those improvements is found in the number of ways that you can customize the map style displayed when you are viewing and creating projects in Google Earth. 

In this new video I demonstrate how to change the map styles that you see in the web version of Google Earth. The video includes customizing the display of borders, labels, landmarks, landmark types, live cloud cover, and more. 

Applications for Education
One of the benefits of customizing the map style in Google Earth becomes evident when using some inexpensive Chromebooks and or slow Internet connections. Turning off some of the map style features like 3D buildings and live cloud cover can make Google Earth load faster. 

From an instructional standpoint, adjusting the map style in Google Earth can be helpful to you and your students. For example, when starting a geography lesson about a region of the world you may want to turn off the state and province borders to show just the country borders. Or take it step further and turn off all borders and have students attempt to identify a country by the landmarks that are displayed on the map that you're showing to them. 

Learn more about teaching with Google Earth in my upcoming webinar, To Geography & Beyond With Google Earth & Maps. Check out Around the World With Google Earth as an activity for introducing students to finding places in Google Earth and creating placemarks in Google Earth. 

New Certify'em Tutorial - Automatically Send Certificates from Google Forms

For the last five or so years I've used Certify'em to automatically send certificates to students when they successfully complete a quiz in Google Forms. I also use it to issue certificates to participants in my workshops, webinars, and self-paced courses. There have been some changes to Certify'em since the last time I published a tutorial on how to use it. That's why I recorded this new Certify'em tutorial

In this short video I demonstrate how to create a simple quiz in Google Forms and enable Certify'em to automatically generate and send certificates to students. In the video I point out how to avoid a common frustration when using Certify'em for the first time. 

Certify'em offers a library of free certificate templates that you can use. You also have the option to use certificates of your own design in Certify'em. To use your own certificate design you will need to have it stored in Google Slides. In the following video I demonstrate how to create a custom certificate in Google Slides.

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