Tuesday, January 3, 2012

CNN Student News is Back for 2012 - Caucuses and Primaries

CNN Student News is back for 2012 and this morning's episode is about the Iowa caucuses and North Korea. The bulk of the episode is about the caucuses, why they are important, and why the primaries later in the month are important too. The video is embedded below.


I did a quick search on YouTube for some other explanations of caucuses and came up with this video from CBS News.


Here is an explanation of the caucus process according to Sky News.


CNN also has this video explaining why Iowa and New Hampshire go first and matter.

Monday, January 2, 2012

One More Year in Review - 2011 in Tweets

There is no denying that Twitter has changed the way that news is reported. In fact, the last time I was in a hotel I turned on CNN and noticed that a couple of Twitter hashtags were included in the ticker at the bottom of the screen. As proof that Twitter is changing the way news gets reported just take a  look at some of the Tweets and the Tweeters included in the video 2011 Told Through Twitter.



Thanks to Adam Bellow for sharing this on Twitter.


Applications for Education
This video could be used on its own as a review of the year's news stories. Take it a step further and ask your students to sum up their year at school, as a person, or as they viewed the news in a series of twelve 140 character messages. That could be a good way to get students to reflect and practice writing succinctly.

Three Ways to Mark-up Webpages and Share Them

There are a lot of excellent tools on the web for clipping, annotating, and sharing bookmarks with your friends and colleagues. For a long time I used Google Bookmarks for that purpose. Recently, I became a converted and dedicated user of Evernote. But sometimes you might want to actually capture and draw on a webpage to point out to others specific elements of that webpage. Here are three free tools for doing just that.

Awesome Screenshot is a great Chrome and Safari browser extension for capturing, annotating, and sharing screenshots. Once you've installed Awesome Screenshot you can simply activate it from your browser to capture a page or region on a page, draw boxes, draw lines, blur out information, and add text to your screenshot. When you're satisfied with your screenshot you can save it locally or share it via the url provided by Awesome Screenshot. Watch the short video below to see Awesome Screenshot in action.



Bounce is a neat application that not only allows you to make annotated screen captures of websites but also allows you to instantly share those screen captures with others. To use Bounce, type in the url of any website then click "Bounce." Bounce will then create an image of that website on which you can draw boxes and annotate those boxes. You can create as many boxes and notes as you like. When you're done creating notes, Bounce will provide you with a unique url for your screen captures that you can share with others. If you create a Bounce account (optional) you and other Bounce users can annotate the same screen capture.


Markup.io is a free service that enables you to quickly draw and write on any webpage. Markup.io operates as a bookmarklet in your browser's bookmarks bar or toolbar. Once you have Markup.io installed just click it anytime you're viewing a webpage to start drawing and commenting on that page. When you're done marking a page you can share it with others by clicking publish. Publishing creates a screen capture of the page with your drawings and comments. That screen capture is assigned its own unique url that you can direct others to.

NOAA Games for Learning About Oceans, Weather, and Wildlife

NOAA's Games Planet Arcade offers twenty-five educational games for young students. The games are intended to help students learn about oceans, wildlife, and weather. About half of the games are hosted on NOAA's website and the others are linked to PBS's, National Geographic's or the Environmental Protection Agency's websites.

I played a couple of the games and found that while they are not complex or fancy, they do offer some solid information for young students. For example, the Humpback Whale Migration game isn't much more than a board game that provides students with information about Humpback whales. As students move across the board they are stopped at spaces offering facts about the annual migrations of Humpback whales.

Applications for Education
If you're looking for some simple games to supplement a lesson on oceans, ocean wildlife, or weather, take a look at NOAA's Games Planet Arcade.

itv Wild - Video Clips About Wildlife

Update April 2014: This site appears to have gone offline. 

itv Wild is a great website for finding video clips and longer feature programs  about wildlife found all over the world. itv Wild is designed for elementary school age students to learn about the challenges facing wildlife around the world today. Visitors to itv Wild can browse the selection of clips and features or search by keyword. itv Wild offers a game for students to test their knowledge of the wildlife and habitats they learned about in the various videos and features they have watched.

Applications for Education
The videos on itv Wild could be useful for supporting an elementary school lesson about endangered wildlife and habitats. itv Wild does include a simple rating system to advise you as to whether or not a particular set of clips might be upsetting to young students (the set of Polar Bear videos has this warning). That could be very helpful in selecting appropriate clips for your students to watch.