Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Transcript of Obama's Inaugural Address

A number of news outlets have posted the transcript of Barack Obama's inaugural address. I found a pdf copy of the transcript on C-Span. You can access the pdf here. On the C-Span website you can also watch a video of President Obama's inauguration and inaugural address. I have embedded below a video of President Obama's inaugural address.

As many people have already noticed, Whitehouse.gov got a facelift today. At first glance, the new website features a new Whitehouse 101 page, biographies, and a blog designed to increase transparency between the President and the people.

Most major news websites including the New York Times, MSNBC, CNN, the BBC, and CBS News have posted slide shows from today's inaugural activities.

If you would like to provide your students with a sampling of how the rest of the world reacted to the inauguration of President Obama, read this article from the BBC. The article is composed of responses from correspondents posted throughout the world.

Write an Essay, Win a Trip to Peru

National Geographic Kids, one of my favorite educational websites, is holding an essay contest. The contest requires students to write a 300 word essay about what they have discovered as a "hands-on" explorer of their world. The contest also requires an original photograph depicting the theme of the essay. The winner of the contest will join the National Geographic Kids expedition to Peru. You can read all of the contest rules and requirements here.

National Geographic Kids is also holding a contest for teachers through which they can also win a trip to Peru. In order to enter the contest teachers must conduct a lesson plan about Peru and write a 500 word essay about the best practices for teaching about Peru. Read all of the requirements for the teacher contest here.

Thanks to Karen at Teaching and Learning Spanish for the tip about this contest.

Applications for Education
Having your students write essays for this contest could be a good way to get students to explore the habit around them. Take your students for a walk outside around your school to let students make observations about their environment. Then bring them inside to work on writing a essay about their observations.

CNN Student News - Inauguration Day

As you might expect, today's CNN Student News episode is all about Barack Obama's inauguration. Beyond the video, make sure you check out the one page history of inaugurations as presented by CNN Student News.

View the Inauguration in 3D and More

This morning all of the world's news outlets are buzzing about today's inauguration. My students will be watching the inauguration on television. If you don't have television in your classroom, but you do have a computer, most major news sites are streaming the inauguration live. CNN and Hulu are two of the many places where you can watch the inauguration online.

Here are some post and pre-inauguration activities you can use with your students today. The Google Earth Blog posted a 3D rendering of the inauguration sites and sounds that you can view in Google Earth. You can get the 3D inauguration layer here or here.

CNN has some good interactive maps of Obama's road to the Whitehouse including this one featuring Obama's "Whistle Stop" Train Tour.

Here is one last video reviewing notable inaugural moments providing historical context for the significance of Obama's inauguration today.

Monday, January 19, 2009

360 Cities - Embeddable Panoramic Images

360 Cities, a panoramic image collection that I've written about in the past, now publishes an embed code with each image. This is a great improvement to the service as it will allow students and teachers greater flexibility when building virtual tours. The imagery in 360 Cities, as you will see in the image below, is much better than that typically found in Google's Street View imagery.

view Panoramic photography of Günzburg Frauenkirche

Applications for Education
360 Cities offers high quality imagery that students and teachers can use in creating virtual tours. 360 Cities has a Google Earth layer that you can use to view and navigate through the image collections.

YouTube Introduces Download Options

Over the last few days a number of tech blogs, including Ars Technica, have run stories reporting that YouTube is introducing a download option on some videos. I haven't seen any official announcements from YouTube, but there are some videos on YouTube that now have a small download link located just below play menu. If YouTube makes an official announcement about download options, I wouldn't be surprised because last week Google announced a gradual shut-down to Google Video. Google Video did have a download option for some its content.

Applications for Education
The option to download videos directly from YouTube could be great for teachers that want to use YouTube clips in their classrooms but cannot due to filtering restrictions. A direct from YouTube download option would make it easier and faster to save videos at home for use in the classroom. Currently if YouTube is filtered, teachers need find a third-party conversion and download application to save videos at home to use
in school.

If you would like to learn more about converting and saving YouTube videos check out this blog entry.

If you would like to learn more about alternatives to YouTube, check out this blog entry or this blog post.