Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Ptable - An Interactive Periodic Table of Elements

I've previously shared some resources for helping students learn the Periodic Table of Elements. This morning, through David Kapuler, I learned of another resource that could help students learn the Periodic Table.

Ptable is an interactive Periodic Table of Elements. Place your mouse pointer over an element to access the basic information about it. Click on an element to open the Wikipedia article about that element. The article opens within a dialogue box withing Ptable.

Applications for Education
Ptable is not going to revolutionize the way that students learn the Periodic Table, but it is another example of making academic information more accessible than in the past. Students don't need to lug around a big chemistry text when they can simply access resources like Ptable to get much of the same information from their Internet-connected devices.

Monday, October 3, 2011

PBS Teachers Research & Best Practices

One of the requests that I get from time to time is for sources of data and research about using technology in the classroom. Some of the resources that I commonly refer people to can be found here. Today, through Vicki Davis's blog I learned that PBS Teachers has a great resource that I'll recommend in the future. The PBS Teachers Technology Integration page has a lengthy list of reports and examples of best practices for using technology in the classroom. The list is divided into eleven categories including topics like visual media, Internet safety, access and the digital divide, and student learning.

Applications for Education
If you're the person in your school that people turn to for research and best practices ideas, the PBS Teachers Technology Integration page could be a handy page to direct your colleagues to.

Helicopter Views in Google Maps

For a long time you have been able to fly over places in Google Earth. Now you can do a similar thing in Google Maps. On Friday Google announced the addition of a new option to preview routes in Google Maps. The preview option includes the option to view a route from the air in what Google is calling "helicopter view." To use the helicopter view enter a starting point and ending point in the directions field then click on "3D" to fly over your route. The video below shows this in action (the video does not have sound).

Applications for Education
If you don't have access to Google Earth on your school's computers, the Google Maps helicopter view could be an alternative to the Google Earth's flyover views. By using the helicopter views students may be able to get a better sense of the topography of an area. For example, have students enter a route that takes them over the Rocky Mountains and have them use the helicopter view to get a better sense of what it would be like to cross the Continental Divide.

Squishy Circuits - A Hands-on Electricity Lesson

Squishy Circuits is a project developed at the University of St. Thomas for the purpose of creating tools that students can use to create circuits and explore electronics. Squishy Circuits uses Playdough-like to enable hands-on learning about conducting and insulating currents as well as creating circuits. The Squishy Circuits website provides directions for creating the dough and offers ideas for lessons using the dough. Watch the TED Talk below for an explanation and demonstration of Squishy Circuits.

Applications for Education
Creating Squishy Circuits could be a great hands-on science activity for elementary school or middle school students.

What's Happening on Wall Street? - CNN Student News

This morning's edition of CNN Student News is packed with summaries of the weekend's news stories. Today's episode starts off with the story of the US drone strike that killed one of leaders of Al-Qaeda. The episode then moves on to cover the Supreme Court's fall docket. Finally, the third big story reviews protests on Wall Street. The episode is embedded below. You can read the show transcript here.