Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Create, Organize, and Share Lessons In Alchemy SmartBinder

Alchemy SmartBinder is a free service for creating, organizing, and sharing lessons. With an Alchemy SmartBinder account teachers can create lessons that include text, images, videos, audio files, and web links. Each lesson can be aligned to Common Standards and or any other standards system that you use. Each lesson can be shared with students. All lessons are organized in courses in your Alchemy SmartBinder. Watch the short video below for an overview of Alchemy SmartBinder's features.


Applications for Education
I created a sample course and lesson in Alchemy SmartBinder just to see if it is as easy to use as it appears to be. It took me just a minute or two to create my course and my first lesson. Alchemy SmartBinder could be a good tool for organizing your lesson plans and sharing the lessons online with your students, their parents, and other teachers.

Explore 5,400 New Artifacts In the Google Cultural Institute

The Google Cultural Institute is one of my favorite sites for students in history, geography, and art courses. The online exhibitions in the Google Cultural Institute feature images, videos, audio, and text about significant historical and cultural people, places, and events. Some of the exhibitions like the Eiffel Tower Exhibition incorporate the use of Google Maps Street View imagery too.

Last week Google announced the addition of 5,400 new artifacts to the Cultural Institute. There is a strong emphasis on art and fashion in the new content added to the Cultural Institute. Some of the new content includes quilts from the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg, kimonos from Japan, children's art from Norway, and interior tours of art museums in China.

Applications for Education
The Google Cultural Institute is a great site to have students explore to view artwork, find answers to questions, and have new questions and curiosities sparked in their minds.

Mashpedia - A Real-time Encyclopedia

Mashpedia is an interesting service that matches reference articles from Wikipedia to materials from YouTube and news websites. The purpose of drawing materials from multiple sources is to provide users with a comprehensive view of news stories and reference topics. Mashpedia also presents Amazon lists of books related to your chosen topic.

Applications for Education
Mashpedia could be a great resource for a current events class. By offering video and image results, Mashpedia provides materials that can be accessed by almost all students regardless of reading level. By listing links from multiple sources students can quickly compare news stories to what real people are saying about a story.

The Science of Autumn Colors in Google Earth

In September I shared two lists (here and here) of resources for teaching and learning about the causes of leaves changing colors in autumn. Today, through the Google Earth Blog I learned about another excellent resource for learning about the changing leaves of autumn. ExploreAsheville.com has produced a great set of videos, slides, and a Google Earth file that show leaves changing colors over time. The Google Earth files shows the correlation between elevation and the timing of leaves changing colors. A video of the Google Earth tour and a time-lapse video are embedded below.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Classroom 2.0 - A Good Place to Get Opinions

Earlier today I received an email from a reader who was looking for information about learning management systems (LMS) in particular Haiku compared to Schoology. I don't have much hands-on experience with Haiku. My recommendation was to take a look at Classroom 2.0 to see if other teachers and administrators have opinions to share. I did a quick search on Classroom 2.0 and discovered an entire discussion group dedicated to Haiku users.

Applications for Education
One of the things that I often stress about online personal learning networks is that they don't have to be limited to the fast pace of Twitter. Networks that use discussion boards like Classroom 2.0 can be a great for people who prefer longer form interactions.