Thursday, November 1, 2012

College Students Can Learn to Code for Free

Treehouse is a service that offers online service that offers web design and coding lessons on a subscription basis. Right now they're accepting applications from college students for free lessons. Treehouse plans to give away subscriptions to 5,000 randomly selected college students. To enter to win a subscription students do need to complete the short form at the end of Treehouse's announcement. Entries are being accepted through November 9, 2012.

Applications for Education
College students that want to learn to code while also maintaining their current programs in other areas, may want to give Treehouse's program a try.

The Digital Comic Museum - Public Domain Comics

The Digital Comic Museum is a crowd-sourced collection of hundreds of classic comic books that are now in the public domain. Register users can download these comics from the site. You can browse the galleries to find comics to download. If know the name of a comic or comic publisher you can search for it by name.

Applications for Education
I learned about The Digital Comic Museum a week in a post by Alan Levine. Alan mentioned it in the context of using The Digital Comic Museum as a place to find comic artwork to remix magazine covers. Taking the idea another step I might have students create posters or news magazine covers about historical events, about key elements in a fiction work they're reading, or use the artwork in political cartoons they create.

The First Thanksgiving Fact or Myth? - An Interactive Historical Investigation

U.S. Thanksgiving is just around the corner. If you're teaching lessons about The First Thanksgiving, the Plimoth Plantation website has some resources that you will want to check out.

You Are the Historian: Investigating the First Thanksgiving is an interactive exploration of the facts and myths associated with the story of the First Thanksgiving. Students can explore the facts and myths through the eyes of a Native American child or through the eyes of a female Pilgrim. Through the eyes of each character students discover the culture of giving thanks in the Native American and English cultures. My favorite part of the investigation is "The Path to 1621" in which students hear the perspectives of Native Americans and Pligrims about events prior to 1621.

Applications for Education
Plimoth Plantation has an extensive teaching guide that accompanies You Are the Historian: Investigating the First Thanksgiving. The teaching guide includes the use primary source documents in addition to the text in the interactive investigation. To make the activity accessible to as many classrooms as possible Plimoth Plantation allows you to download the files to run the activity locally. You can download the activity here (the link will start a zip file download).

I learned about this great interactive exploration from a pre-service teacher participating in one of my workshops in Missoula, Montana last month.

A Tour Guide for Exploring the World On Your Desktop

Back in June Google added a 3D Tour Guide feature to Google Earth for Android. This week Google added that feature to Google Earth 7 for your desktop.

If you install Google Earth 7, by default the Tour Guide will appear at the bottom of your screen. Click on any tour to get started. The tour will fly you over places of note and show you some quick facts about each place in the tour. The tour you play will suggest tours of related places. To find a tours for another location just type that location into the search box. There are more than 11,000 tour locations available in Google Earth 7.

Applications for Education
When I was a kid I loved looking at maps. As an adult I still love looking at maps. Looking at maps raises all kinds of questions in my head about the places that I look at. I know I'm not alone in this practice because I have spoken with numerous students and adults who do the same thing. The new 3D Tour Guide is perfect for folks like us who look at maps and have questions about the places we see. The 3D Tour Guide answers some of those questions for us. And if you're planning to have students create Google Earth tours, the 3D Tour Guide provides a good model for your students to follow.

A Simple Google Earth Learning Activity

The picture that you see to the left is the one that I included in yesterday's month in review post. The picture was taken in Rugby, North Dakota which is the geographical center of North America.

As I was driving yesterday I thought about the picture of Morrison in Rugby, ND and how I might work it into a geography lesson. The idea that eventually came to me was to use the picture at the beginning of an introduction to navigating Google Earth and or Google Maps. I might obscure the "Rugby, ND" part of the picture and ask students to use Google Earth to find the center of North America. Of course, I could use the same activity for all seven continents.

If you want to use the picture above for a simple geography lesson, you may do so. Click it to open it in full-size before downloading.