Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Short Explanation of Party Conventions

If you're discussing the Republican National Convention with your students this week, they might be wondering why conventions are held and what happens at the convention. CNN has an "explain it to me" video that addresses those points. As always, you may want to talk with your students about the role of bias in news media when you use current events clips in your classroom.

Thanks to Larry Ferlazzo and Glen Wiebe for sharing this video early this week.

Three Good, Free iPad Timeline Apps for History Students

As a student I loved looking at timelines in my social studies textbooks. As a history teacher I still love timelines. Timelines in a web browser or as a stand-alone app can offer students more information than a paper-based timeline. Recently, I spent a little time looking for free timeline apps to use on my iPad. While there are a lot of paid apps I didn't find too many free ones that I liked, but I did find three. Here are the three that I like.

American Revolution Interactive Timeline for iPad sports the best visuals of the three apps on this list. The timeline features images of artifacts related to the American Revolution. Students can click on the artifacts in the timeline to read a bit about each artifact's relevance to the American Revolution.

Timeline Eons is a freemium app that displays major events throughout the history of the world. The app's search function allows you to search for a date, an event, or a place. The free version of the app allows access to all the timelines for the first ten days that you use it. After the first ten days you're limited to 1950 to the present.

LineTime Presidents Edition is a timeline of all the U.S. Presidents. As students scroll through the app they can click on a president's image to open pop-up box containing the biography of that president. It should be noted that the biographies are pulled from Wikipedia entries.

Make Videos On Animoto for Android

I'm not sure how I missed the news earlier, but today I discovered that Animoto now has an Android app. The Android app, like the iOS app, allows you to create simple yet beautiful videos on the go. I installed the app this evening and quickly put together a short video using the images from my Instagram account. You don't have to use Instagram images you can also import from your phone's image gallery and a number of image hosting sites. The limitations that you experience with free Animoto accounts online apply to the Android app too.

My sample video (truly just a random selection of images and music for the purpose testing the app) is embedded below.


Make a video of your own at Animoto.

Applications for Education
If you're looking for an Android app that your students can use to quickly create videos, give Animoto for Android a try. You could use Animoto for Android to do what I had some teachers in St. Clair, Minnesota do today. They created short videos to introduce themselves to their new students. Of course, your students could do the same to introduce themselves to their new classmates.

Monday, August 27, 2012

MyHistro - A Timeline and Mapping Tool in One

myHistro is a timeline builder and map creation tool rolled into one nice package. On myHistro you can build a personal timeline or build a timeline about a theme or event in history. Each event that you place on your timeline can be geolocated using Google Maps. myHistro timelines can be created online or you can use the free iPad app to create events on your timeline.

I gave myHistro a try this afternoon and found it rather easy to use after initially spending ten minutes fumbling around and learning the language of myHistro. When you first sign into myHistro you will be shown a screen for creating your first event. An event is a stand-alone item. If you want to create a timeline you need to click on your account dashboard then select "stories" to create a story. "Story" is myHistro's name for timelines. Create a story then add events to your story. Each event can include videos, images, text and be geolocated on a map.

Applications for Education
myHistro does have a collaborative aspect as you can invite people to work with you on events or entire stories. To work with you your collaborators will need to register on myHistro. For students over age 13 myHistro has great potential for create digital historical stories.

H/T to Google Maps Mania

I Like Wili the Word Wizard's Math Dictionary

Last night I spent a little time on Adam Bellow's new social bookmarking site EduClipper. While on there I found Wili the Word Wizard's Math Dictionary. The Math Dictionary is a glossary of important terms that elementary school and middle school students need to know to be successful in their mathematics classes. The dictionary includes diagrams when appropriate.

Applications for Education
For students who struggle with the vocabulary of mathematics, Wili the Word Wizard's Math Dictionary could be a handy resource to have bookmarked. It could also be useful for parents who need a refresher when they are trying to help their children with their mathematics homework.

Disclosure: I am currently an unpaid advisor to Educlipper, but I could have a financial interest in the future.