Showing posts with label webquests. Show all posts
Showing posts with label webquests. Show all posts

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Quick Note About Zunal Webquest Resources

Last night I received an email from a reader, Jill Parrott, with some important information about the popular webquest builder Zunal. Apparently there has been a rash of users' content disappearing from their webquests without warning. Zunal has posted a note explaining that a bit of malicious code was uploaded to the site. That malicious code locked the resources table on Zunal. Zunal is working to fix the problem. In the meantime you can log into your account and add or delete resources manually if you cannot wait for Zunal to restore things.
Click the image for full size view. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

An Online Nature Center for Kids

The Canterbury Environmental Education Centre is a nice resource for elementary school teachers and students. The main feature of the kids' pages is a series of nature exploration visuals. Nature Explorers offers simple virtual exploration activities that students can complete on their own or with some guidance from you.

In the Grassland, Woodland, Pond, and Plant Explorers students click on objects in the pictures to learn about the different parts of those habitats. The Dragonfly Challenges are a series of webquests through which students can explore the topics of biodiversity, rivers, ponds, and woodlands. The Eco Explorer section of Nature Explorers is built around the topics of recycling and eco-responsibility.

Applications for Education
The Canterbury Environmental Education Centre has a message on their site that they've stopped offering programs at the actual center. The web resources are still online and can still be used as part of classroom lessons about habitats and biodiversity. Since the materials are based on a specific location you might have students complete some of the virtual activities then take them outside of your school to see if they can find examples of the same things. If they cannot find them then you have an opportunity for discussion and lessons comparing habitats.

H/T to Fred Delventhal and his daily bookmark shares.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Museum Webquests, Sites and Apps for Using iPods or Laptops in Your Classroom

As I attended the Iowa 1:1 Technology Conference this past week, it has become apparent, now more than ever, that technology is vastly changing the way we teach (if we want to be effective, that is). Apple iPods and iPads have become big-time players in such advancement. They are mini-computers, of sorts, that allow for a synthesis of apps and websites to take students to the next level through challenge, cross-curricular study, real-life application, and the amalgamation of higher order thinking skills (HOTS). Below is just a tiny sampling of some of my favorite free iPod apps and websites for classroom use.

The British Museum provides a host of terrific sites for teaching Social Studies and world cultures. It provides extensive information, pictures, and games, paired with links for word meanings and extended exploration.

The museum's site is intriguing, inviting, and has very user-friendly navigation. Among my favorites are the specific sections about Ancient Egypt, Ancient Mesopotamia, Ancient Greece, and Ancient India. For a link to my printable webquests for each of these sites, click here.

The sky's the limit in terms of what this site provides to educators and students. The challenge games within each section do require Flash Plug-Ins, but are fun and educational, appealing to any and all individual learning styles.

There are also many free apps that I have used for my classroom iPods/iPad. Included in my favorites is Splashtop Remote Free. It is an app that also has a download for your PC/Mac which enables you to control your computer (and, thus, your Smartboard) with your iPad. While the free version does limit you to 5 minutes of connectivity per session, it is a great way to manipulate your computer with a more portable device . If 5 minutes is a struggle, there is a paid version that allows for unlimited time.

Bump is an app for sharing pictures, facts, ideas, information, and audio files/stories. By gently nudging two iPods together, information is transmitted back and forth between iPods or iPads with ease. In school, this has been a valuable tool, as my students have the ability to transfer information temporarily for such purposes as editing work, sharing pictures or stories, apps, or even location. You can also "virtually bump" without being near each other. I have found this to be a great feature to use on scavenger hunts. Students can "bump" information back to me as they go out and about answering curriculum-based questions. I can also instant message them through Bump to give hints, clues or other important information.

English-Zone is also a great website that we access via iPods and laptops. There are many free activities, quizzes, and printables throughout the site, and it's not just limited to English. There are many reading, social studies, and standardized test prep links, as well.

TweenTribune is one of our favorite sites for keeping up on age-appropriate current events. The site is very easy to maneuver and allows students with a username and password (also free) to blog posts on articles. Adding to the safety of this site is the ability of classroom teachers to manage all posts and print any class posts for grading purposes.

TodaysMeet is a fantastic site for backchanneling. We use this site for online "forum quizzes", which are ways that we can have an all-class "discussion" about a topic, plot, theme, etc... It is a phenomenal venue for students who typically shy away from oral discussions. Dialogues can be printed upon completion for grading purposes or for written record. Very simple setup.
While this is in no way a complete list of the various free tools we use in my classroom, hopefully this can jump start you to explore even more ways to integrate free technology into your classroom. A special thanks to Richard and FreeTech4Teachers for always being a source of inspiration and information!

Rachel Langenhorst is a 6th grade Language Arts and Social Studies teacher in Rock Valley, Iowa and has been in education for 16 years. As a child and grandchild of former educators, she shares a life-long passion for learning and helping kids push themselves to reach their full potential. She is a wife to Deric, mother to Alex, Mason, and Ella, and owner of an insane black lab, Howard.
Twitter @rlangenhorst
Facebook Rachel Langenhorst (mention post when friending)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Congress for Kids at the Dirksen Center

Earlier today my department head, one of the nicest technophobes I know, forwarded to me an email about the Dirksen Congressional Center. The Dirksen Center offers students a number of online activities and resources for learning about the functions of US government. Congress for Kids is a part of the Dirksen Center's suite of online resources. On Congress for Kids students can take a tour of the federal government then test their knowledge in online quizzes.

The Dirksen Center's Editorial Cartoon Collection offers sixty editorial cartoons and eighteen lesson plans based on editorial cartoons. The Dirksen Center also hosts a half-dozen webquests designed for middle school and high school use.

Applications for Education
The Dirksen Congressional Center's activities and lesson plans seem to be best suited for middle school and high school use.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Zunal - Build, Share, and Find Web Quests

Over the weekend someone recently asked me if I knew of any tools for building web quests. At the time I couldn't think of any resources, but then I scoured my Google Notebook and found Zunal. Zunal is a free service that walks you through the process of creating a web quest. If you have never built web quest because you weren't sure how to get started or just saw the process as too overwhelming, give Zunal a try. Zunal offers step-by-step directions that make it possible for even the most technophobic teacher to create a webquest that students will enjoy and learn from.

Once you have registered on Zunal you can get started building your web quest. If you would like to see how other teachers have used Zunal, you can browse the galleries of web quests to get ideas or use one of the web quests if it meets the needs of your curriculum.

Applications for Education
Zunal is a good place for technophobic teachers to build their first web quests. The galleries web quests are handy if you're short on time or short on imagination for creating new web quests.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Google Maps - Double the Street Views, Double the Fun

This morning Google announced that they have doubled the number of cities and places that can be viewed in the Google Maps Street View. Now in addition to seeing the sites where Elvis played in Las Vegas, you can also see Graceland. Of particular interest to me, is that you can now use Google Maps Street View to see greater Portland, Maine as I see it, including the LL Bean Outlet store.

Applications for Education
In the last year Google has more than doubled the number of places that can be explored in Google Maps Street View. Including links to street views is a good way to enhance virtual tours, web quests, or just to provide students with real-life look at the places they read about in the news or learn about in your classroom.