Monday, July 16, 2012

Steve Jobs and Apps for Autism

Last night's episode of 60 Minutes re-ran two stories that may be of interest to educators. The first story featured Steve Jobs' biographer talking about what made Jobs tick as well as a little history of Apple. You can read and watch the story here.

The second story featured Lesley Stahl reporting on how iPads are being used by teachers, parents, and therapists to assist students who have Autism. If you're really interested in learning about iOS apps for students with special needs I recommend reading iPodsibilities and Teaching Learners With Multiple Special Needs. The video from 60 Minutes is embedded below.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Listen and Read - Non-fiction Read Along Activities

Listen and Read is a set of 54 non-fiction stories from Scholastic for K-2 students. The stories are feature pictures and short passages of text that students can read on their own or have read to them by each story's narrator. The collection of stories is divided into eight categories: social studies, science, plants and flowers, environmental stories, civics and government, animals, American history, and community.  I discovered Listen and Read when I Stumbled Upon What Does the President Do? 

Applications for Education
Listen and Read looks to be a great resource for social studies lessons and reading practice in general. At the end of each book there is a short review of the new words that students were introduced to in the book. Students can hear these words pronounced as many times as they like.

Listen and Read books worked on my computer and on my Android tablet. Scholastic implies that the books also work on iPads and IWBs. My iPad is broken at the moment (that's two this year) so I wasn't able to test the books on it.

Video - The Complexities of Gold

CNN's Explain It To Me video series attempts to take complex topics and break them down into clear explanations. One of the videos that I recently watched is Gold. Explain It To Me: Gold explains why gold is a prized metal, why investors like it, and offers some advice for those considering investing in gold.

Applications for Education
Explain It To Me: Gold could be a good video to use as part of an introductory lesson on the value of currency or as part of an introductory lesson on investment.

Faster, Higher, Stronger - History of Olympic Records

The Evolving Olympic Athlete is a set of interactive images depicting the changes in Olympic athletic records from 1896 to 2008. Visitors to the site can click through each image to see the decline in race times for running and swimming events. Visitors can also click through to see increases in distances for jumping and throwing events.

Applications for Education
The Evolving Olympic Athlete could be a nice little resource for prompting students to think about why race times have consistently decreased over time and throwing distances have increased.

I learned about The Evolving Olympic Athlete from Larry Ferlazzo who has a great list of resources for teaching and learning about the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.

Google Maps in Science Lessons

Google Maps is an obvious fit in social studies lessons. But it's not always an obvious fit in science lessons. Last week during one of the New Hampshire Google Apps Bootcamps Alice Barr shared a good collection of Google Maps uses in science.

KQED Quest has a collection of six examples of science based Google Maps. The collection includes examples of use in environmental science and geology lessons. One of my former colleagues also used Google Maps in geology lessons.

Applications for Education
KQED Quest's science-based Google Maps are good models of what is possible with Google Maps. For directions on creating your own Google Maps, please see Google Maps for Educators.