Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The U.S. Electoral Compass

The U.S. Electoral Compass is an interactive infographic from The Guardian. The infographic breaks down which political policy issues are most important to the people of each state. Select a state from the list and the compass will show you a list of which issues are discussed most frequently in news articles and in social media in that state. You can get data for every week from July 2 through November 12, 2012.

Applications for Education
The U.S. Electoral Compass could be a good source of conversation and research starters in a social studies class. You could have students discuss and research why some issues are more important in their state than they are in another.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Aesop's Fables on the Web, iPad, and Android

One of the neat resources that I just plucked from Open Culture's new collection of K-12 resources is the Aesop's Fables interactive book from the Library of Congress. The book is available to read on the Web, on an iPad, and on an Android device. The book contains more than 140 of Aesop's Fables for children. The level of interactivity varies widely depending upon which story you're reading. Some of the stories have truly interactive animations while other simply have a small moving picture accompanying the fable.

Applications for Education
Installing the iPad app or Android app could be great ways to put these classic tales on your students' mobile devices. The iPad app installs quickly just like any other iPad app does. The Android app does not install from the Google Play store. Instead of downloading it from Google Play you have to install it directly from the Library of Congress website.

200+ Free Video Lessons, Apps, and eBooks for K-12

One of my favorite blogs, Open Culture, has long cataloged free and open resources for post-secondary education. Today, they launched a new collection of more than 200 free video lessons, apps, ebooks, and websites for K-12 students and teachers. The collection includes some of the usual suspects like Khan Academy, the Library of Congress, and NASA. The collection also includes some items that were new to me like this Shakespeare app and this Google Earth for science teachers resource.

Applications for Education
Open Culture's collection of K-12 resources is sure to continue to grow. The collection is arranged according to content area which should make it easy to find something that is new and applicable to your classroom.

Create Trading Cards for Historical and Fictional People, Places, and Events

Through one of Tony Vincent's Tweets I learned about a wonderful free iPad app from Read Write Think. Read Write Think Trading Cards allows students to create trading cards about people, places, and events both real and fictional. I used the app to create a trading card about Winston Churchill. To create my Winston Churchill trading card I simply selected "real person" from the list of trading card options, uploaded a picture of Winston Churchill that I found on the web, and then filled in the details that the trading card template asked for. My completed trading card can be shared via email, printed, or saved to my iPad's camera roll.

Applications for Education
Some of the ways that the Read Write Think Trading Card app could be used by students is to create a set of trading cards about characters in a novel, to create a set of cards about people of historical significance, or to create cards about places that they're studying in their geography lessons. 

Wunderlist - To-do Lists Synced Across All Devices

Wunderlist is a free task management service that syncs across all of the devices that you use. If you're like me and you use an iPad, an Android phone, and the web throughout your day you'll appreciate that Wunderlist works the same way on all platforms.

Creating task lists in Wunderlist is an intuitive process. Just click the "new list" button and start typing out your list of things to do. You can create as many lists as you like within your account. You could create a list of things to do at home and things to do at school. Or you could create lists for the week, the month, and the year. You can set a due date for each task in all of your lists. All lists can be shared if you would like others to access them.

Applications for Education
As I've said in the past about task management tools, they're only good if you actually use them. Wunderlist has a clean, intuitive interface that makes it easy to use. If it's easy to use students could be more likely to make a habit of using Wunderlist to keep track of their assignments.