Saturday, December 1, 2012

A Short Guide to Google Maps for Educators

In the last month or so I have had a lot of requests to share my short guide to Google Maps for Educators. Since I originally published the guide a couple of things have changed in Google Maps. Therefore, I have updated the guide and I'm republishing it now.

In this guide you'll find directions for using the measurement tools in Google Maps, directions for creating your own maps, directions for sharing maps, and links to additional resources about using Google Maps in education.

Poverty in America - The Living Wage Calculator

The Living Wage Calculator is a website developed and maintained by Dr. Amy K. Glasmeier at MIT. The purpose of the Living Wage Calculator is to provide a snapshot of what it actually costs to survive in counties and cities in the United States. The Living Wage Calculator shows the differences between minimum wages and minimum living wages for each county and some cities in the U.S. The calculator accounts for eight different household scenarios from single adult to two adults and three children living in the same household.

Applications for Education
The Living Wage Calculator only accounts for the basic monthly expenses in each scenario. After looking at the Living Wage Calculator's data for your county, ask your students to try to account for other expenses that a typical family has. After they look at the data for their county ask your students to try to locate help wanted postings that provide a minimum living wage in their county. Then have them determine what type of education and training those jobs require.

Thanks to my friend Josh White for sharing this with me on Facebook. Josh is not a teacher. He is my old college roommate and the person who exemplifies life-long learning better than anyone I know. 

Smithsonian and ePals Spark!Lab Invent It Contest

Here’s a great opportunity to engage your students in innovation and inspire their creativity.  ePals and the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation are holding the second annual Spark!Lab Invent It Contest, where students create their own unique inventions and compete with others around the world to win prizes from LEGO, Smithsonian, ePals and Camp Invention, a program of Invent Now, Inc. During the process, students can learn about the history and process of invention from creative idea to successful marketing and may even have a patent application filed in their name.

The contest is open now and entries are due January 4, 2013. Finalists will be announced on January 17, Kid Inventor Day, after which nominees may campaign for the rest of the month to garner votes. Winners in each age category will be announced on February 4.

Learn more about the contest rules, deadlines and prizes here and check out other resources and projects from Smithsonian on ePals here.

Disclosure: ePals is an advertiser on Free Technology for Teachers.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Cargo Bot - An iPad Game About Logic

Cargo Bot is a fun and challenging game that students can play to learn some principles of logic and programming. The object of the game is to program a robot to complete increasingly complex sequences of tasks. Students start out by programming the robot to move one box from point A to point B. After successfully programming the robot students are advanced to programming more complex tasks like a repeating loop of movements and staggered movements.
A program gone wrong!

Applications for Education 
Cargo Bot is a free iPad game that could be used by students in elementary school and middle school. Playing Cargo Bot could be a good way for students to develop their skills in logical thinking. Students who get stuck on a level can click the "hints" button to get a little bit of help programming the robot.


November's Most Popular Posts on Free Technology for Teachers

Morrison and his toy duck.
Good evening from the Free Technology for Teachers world headquarters in Greenwood, Maine. The days are shorter and colder, but the blog posts just keep on coming. Typing keeps me warm. It's the end of November and as I do every month I have put together a list of the most frequently read posts of the month.

Here are this month's most popular posts:
1. Google+ Added to Google Apps for Education
2. Handy New Ways to Organize Files in Google Drive
3. Teenage Life in Ancient Rome
4. Google Documents and Common Core Standards
5. 10 Google Search Tips All Students Can Use
6. 26 iBooks Author How-to Videos
7. Create Your iPad Games on Tiny Tap
8. Discover Great Apps on Apps Gone Free
9. Read & Write - An Accessibility App for Google Docs
10. 6 Apps Students Can Use to Quickly Create Audio Recordings

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