Monday, April 29, 2013

Climate Commons - An Interactive Map of Climate Change Stories

Climate Commons is an interactive map developed by the Earth Journalism Network. The map features weather data and emissions data related to climate. The map allows you to compare baseline weather data with anomalies and extreme weather events. The map also features articles about climate change. The articles are displayed on the map according to location.

Applications for Education
Climate Commons could be a good place to find stories about how climate change could be impacted various parts of the United States. You could have your students compare the effects of climate change in their neighborhoods with other parts of the country.

Explore 20th Century World History Declassified

The Wilson Center Digital Archive recently published a new set of 73 collections of declassified historical documents. The documents contain memos and transcripts of communications between diplomats and country leaders. The collections are arranged into topics and themes. You'll find collections of documents related to the construction of the Berlin Wall, the origins of the Cold War, and Sino-Soviet relations.

Applications for Education
My first thought when looking at these collections of documents was to have students use these documents to fill-in the gaps in their history textbooks.

You could also give students some of the communications without the names of countries or diplomats showing. Then ask them to use their knowledge of the situation to determine which country or diplomat would have sent that communication.

H/T to Open Culture.

Wonderville - Collections of Digital Materials for K-5, not to be confused with, is a new site that is organizing educational videos, ebooks, pictures, and quiz sets into pre-packaged lessons for K-5 students. Teachers can register on the site for free to find these materials arranged by grade level and content area.

The TechCrunch article that I read about Wonderville made it sound like it was packed with features, but when I created my account and signed into it I couldn't get some of those features to work. The marketing for Wonderville mentions that materials in the galleries are aligned to Common Core standards, but I didn't see standards mentioned when I registered and signed into my Wonderville account. The service also has a "schedule" for teachers' classes but I couldn't get the schedule in my account to do anything other than show me the materials that Wonderville suggested. Finally, Wonderville allows you to send messages to your class. The problem with that is that students have to request to join your class which seems like a lot of extra work that could be saved by simply creating accounts for your students.

There appears to be an option to award badges to students in Wonderville. I couldn't figure out how to actually award those badges.

Applications for Education
Until all of the features of Wonderville are working (perhaps I missed a few things, but I spent nearly an hour trying to make them work which should be adequate to understand how a service's features work) it's just another place to find videos and related web resources aligned to subject areas.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

New Webinar Course - Blogging for Teachers and School Leaders

Blogging isn’t new and it isn’t as flashy as say iPads in the classroom, but it is a very valuable activity for students, teachers, and school leaders. In fact, I think that too often it is under-utilized by teachers and school leaders. One cause of that under-utilization is due in part to not having a clear strategy for implementation. Another reason for under-utilization of blogs is a lack of understanding of just how many ways blogs can be used by students, teachers, and school leaders. Of all the presentations that I give and workshops that I run every year blogging is my favorite topic. Blogging is also the topic that I receive the most questions about in emails every week. To help teachers and school leaders develop an understanding of the many ways they can use blogs and to help them develop a strategy for implementation, I’ve developed a new Practical Ed Tech webinar series.

Blogging for Teachers and School Leaders is a three hour, two 90 minute parts, webinar series in which you will discover the many ways that blogs can be used in school and through which you will develop a strategy for using blogs in your school. Blogging for Teachers and School Leaders will also cover the nuts and bolts of how to create, develop, and maintain a blog on Blogger and on WordPress-based platforms like Kidblog and Edublogs. And because we’re talking about blogging in the context of schools, we’ll take a look at common questions about privacy and digital footprints.

Blogging for Teachers and School Leaders is a three hour course divided into two 90 minute sessions. Enrollment in the course is limited to twenty-five people. The course does cost $87 per person. Downloadable recordings of each webinar will be available to all participants. Between each meeting participants will be able to participant in a discussion forum to ask questions and exchange ideas. Click here to register today. The course meets May 6 and May 13 at 7pm to 8:30pm EST.

FAQs About Practical Ed Tech Webinars
Q1. What type of computer and or software do I need in order to participate?
    • A1. You will need a Windows or Mac computer. GoToTraining is Java based. GoToTraining currently supports Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8. GoToTraining currently supports Mac OSX

Q2. If I miss a webinar or I am late to a webinar can I watch a recording of it?
  • A2. Yes, all webinars are recorded and those recordings are available within 18 hours of the completion of each live webinar.

Q3. Can I pay for a webinar using a check or purchase order from my school?
  • A3. Yes, but there is an additional $15 fee for invoicing and purchase order processing.

Q4. I have a bunch of teachers from my school that I want to enroll, how can I do that?

  • A4. If you have ten or more teachers from your school or district that you want to enroll there are a few benefits made available to you. First, we can schedule a webinar series just for you at a time that works best for you. Second, rather than registering each person individually you can just send me a list of those people and their email address and I’ll enroll them for you which will save you an hour or more of time. Third, if you are registering ten or more from the same school or district and you’re paying with a check or purchase order I’ll waive the purchase order processing fee which saves you a minimum of $150.  

A Nice Cheat Sheet for Gmail Shortcuts

If you rely on Gmail for personal or professional use (including Google Apps for Education email messages) take a look at this nice little guide to Gmail shortcuts. These shortcuts, highlighted on one page, could save a few minutes or more the next time that you face a backlog of email messages.

Applications for Education
Download this guide, print it, and display in your classroom, computer lab, or library as a quick reference for you and your student.

H/T to Life Hacker.