Friday, June 21, 2013

Using Images as Research Prompts to Teach Google Search Strategies

Over the last month I've shown the picture that you see to the left during a number of presentations and workshops. I've used the picture to model using pictures to spark students' minds at the beginning of lessons on search strategies. This is a strategy that I've developed by borrowing ideas from Daniel Russell's Search ReSearch activities and Dan Meyer's strategy of using videos and pictures to prompt students to ask math questions.

When I show the picture to the left during my workshops (click it to enlarge it and feel to use it yourself) I simply ask people to share the questions that come to mind when they see it. Then I give people time to try to use various Google search strategies to find the answers to their questions. Sometimes people find the answers and other times they don't. It's okay if they don't find the answers because the point is to try a variety of search strategies.

Some of the questions that are frequently asked about the picture are:
Where was this picture taken?
How big is the truck?
How much fuel does the truck consume?
How big are the tires?

All four of the questions above can be answered by using various search strategies and tools. Using the "similar images search" in Google Images will help you answer these questions. Google Maps Street View will help you answer the questions too. And while not essential to answering the questions, refining your search to a specific top-level domain could help too.

Create your own image-based search lessons.
Besides taking your own pictures and putting them online, a good strategy is to use Creative Commons-licensed images from Flickr. I recommend Flickr because many of the images are tagged with locations and some have captions that can give your students a few clues to work with.

For pre-made search lesson activities, take a look at the Google Search Education page

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Two Fun Ways to Learn About Cows

I like to end my Best of the Web presentations with fun sites. Lately, I've been ending my Best of the Web presentations with Who Pooped? Who Pooped? is an interactive site in which students learn about various animals by guessing which animal created which pile of poop. Believe it or not, there is actually some good information about the animals that follows each round of guessing who created which poop. Cows are one of the that animals you can learn about on Who Pooped?

This week Larry Ferlazzo shared a neat video about the digestive tract of cows. In the video below a Rube Goldberg machine is used to show how a cow's digestive tract works.

Cow from Nova Jiang on Vimeo.

18 Google Earth & Maps Lessons for K-12

This afternoon in Kettering, Ohio I gave a short presentation on using Google Maps and Google Earth across multiple grades and content areas. One of the things that I shared during that presentation is the following collection of resources.

- Climate Change, Flooding, Volcanoes
- Google Earth Outreach
- Projects by Subject
- Shark Tracking
- Wildlife Tracking
- KQED Science Maps
- U.S. Watersheds (complete directions for working with watersheds)

English/ Language Arts
- Google Lit Trips
- Projects by subject

- Maths Maps
- Real World Math
- Google Earth Walks

Social Studies
- Social Studies Central
- Projects by subject
- Great Explorers and more
- 10 US History Tours
- Culture and History
- GE Teach

Places We Can Connect

Over the last two weeks I've given four presentations about building personal learning networks online. In all of those presentations I've encouraged people to give Google+ a try. I have come to believe that Google+ has a number of advantages over Twitter. Perhaps most important to folks just starting to develop online PLNs is that it is easier to follow conversations in Google+ than it is in Twitter. If you want to connect with me on Google+, you can do so right here.

While I'm putting more time into Google+ than anywhere else, I am still active on other networks and we can connect on those too.
You can find me here on Twitter at @rmbyrne
You can find me on Facebook here.
You can find me on Pinterest here.

65+ Ways to Use ThingLink In Your Classroom

Last year Donna Baumbach created a Google Slides presentation titled 26+ Ways to Use ThingLink In the Classroom. Yesterday, I received an email from Donna in which she shared the updated version of that presentation. The presentation now contains more than 65 tips and ideas for using ThingLink in the classroom. The presentation is open to contributions from others. If you have ideas to add to the presentation, you can do so here. Big thanks to Donna for creating and sharing this excellent resource about one of my favorite web tools. By the way, ThingLink is now available as an iPad app too.