Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Identify Animals of the Serengeti on Snapshot Serengeti

Snapshot Serengeti is a new project from Zooniverse. The purpose of Snapshot Serengeti is to help researchers count and locate animals living in Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. More than 200 remote camera traps have been placed in the park. The cameras are triggered by movement. Snapshot Serengeti hosts these pictures in the hope that people around the world will help to identify what has been captured in the images.

If you want to help identify animals on Snapshot Serengeti there is an excellent tutorial that walks you through the identification process. Even if you're not sure of the name of the animals that you're seeing you can identify them through the classification system that Snapshot Serengeti has in place. The classification system asks you to identify the type of skin, the pattern of the fur or skin of an animal, and the style of horns (if present) that an animal has. Based on those classifications Snapshot Serengeti will suggest a few animals that match what you're seeing.

Applications for Education
Having students try to identify animals on Snapshot Serengeti could be a great way for them to learn about the various animals that they see. Along the way students will also learn about the ways that these animals have adapted to their environments.

One thing to note about Snapshot Serengeti before you turn your students loose on it is that they may end up going through a lot of blank pictures that don't have any animals in them before they get to ones that do have animals in them. This is because remote cameras can sometimes be triggered by strong gusts of wind blowing something in front of them.

Google Maps at Night

Earth at Night 2012 is a neat use of Google Maps to display what the world looks like after the sun goes down. The Earth at Night map allows you to specify a location and see how much artificial light is emitted from it at night. You can't zoom-in as far as you would in normal Google Map, but you still can center a location on the map.  

This isn't an official new aspect of Google Maps. It was developed through a collaboration of Google, NOAA, and NASA.

Applications for Education
As I navigated around Earth at Night 2012 I had two thoughts about using this in a classroom. First, it could be interesting to have students try to identify places without the benefit of the usual features of a map. Just don't let them use the search box until they're ready to check their answers. Second, browsing Earth at Night reminded me of The World At Night image galleries that put famous and not so famous places into a different perspective.

H/T to TechCrunch and Google Maps Mania.

We The Jury - A Game About Being a Juror

iCivics has just released its seventeenth educational game for students. The new game is called We The Jury. We The Jury puts students in the role of a juror for two trials.

In We The Jury students choose to be one of six jurors at a trial. Students then hear the facts of the case, hear closing arguments from the plaintiff and the defendant, and then go off to deliberate in the jury room. Students can deliberate for up to five days before handing down the verdict. During deliberations students examine evidence, listen to the opinions of other jurors, and try to reach a unanimous decision. Throughout the process students are reminded of the roles of jurors and to stick to only the evidence and arguments permitted by the judge.

Students who register for a free iCivics account can pause the game and come back to it at a later time. Click here for a list of all of the games offered by iCivics. 

Applications for Education
Playing We The Jury could be a great way for students to learn about what happens behind closed doors when a jury goes out to deliberate. All of the other iCivics games have curriculum units connected to them. We The Jury does not have a curriculum unit connected to it yet, but I bet that it will in the near future. 

Is There an Organization App Better Than Evernote?

This morning I was interviewed by some high school students who are researching uses for iPads in high school education. Their school is considering buying iPads for all students for the next school year. They interviewed me as one of their "expert" interviews.

In the course of the interview this morning one of the students asked, "is there a better organization app than Evernote." My answer was, "no, but there be one that is better that I just haven't tried yet." For the last 30 minutes I've been going through my archives and although I like Wunderlist and Any.do for task management, I haven't come up with one that is better than Evernote for all around bookmarking, note-taking, and media storage. So I'm putting the question to you, is there an organization app that is better than Evernote for iPad?

In the interest of full disclosure last week I was so frustrated with Evernote not syncing correctly on my iPad that I did uninstall it for a day. But I found that I had come to rely on it so heavily that I had to re-install it. 

Professional Learning in the Digital Age - A Free Webinar

Last month I wrote a review of Dr. Kristen Swanson's fantastic new book Professional Learning in the Digital Age. It's a practical guide to using the web to become a better educator. I tend to be a slow reader and I still devoured the book in one afternoon.

Tomorrow, at 4:30pm ET Kristen will be hosting a free webinar about the ideas that she shares in the book. Knowing Kristen it will be a great hour full of practical ideas and inspiring conversation.

Click here to register for the Professional Learning in the Digital Age webinar.