Monday, November 11, 2013

Search for Data Tables Within Google Documents and Slides

Earlier today on Google+ Google announced the addition of data tables to the research menu in Google Documents. You can search for data tables by selecting "research" from the Tools drop-down menu in Google Documents and in Google Slides. To put the data into your document or slides you will have to copy and paste it. Citing the data and inserting a link to the data requires just one click. The screenshots below show you how to access the new data tables search option.

Click the image to view full size. 
Click the image to view full size.

Applications for Education
This afternoon I had a short Google+ exchange with Peter Vogel about the new data tables option. I shared that I could use the data tables search option when teaching students about data interpretation and analysis in current events. Peter, who teaches physics, mentioned that he is developing an assignment for students in which they'll use the data tables search option too.

10 Online Activities and Resources for Geography Awareness Week

Next week is Geography Awareness Week. National Geographic Education has highlighted some of their activities for the week. I've put together a collection of other online activities to use during Geography Awareness Week. Those resources are summarized below.

Playing Geosense is a fun way to use and improve your knowledge of world geography. Players can play against the computer or challenge another player. Geosense can be played anonymously or you can register and have your scores recorded for you. There are four Geosense maps (US, World, Europe, or advanced) that players can select from. Geosense is also available as an iOS app.

Mission Map Quest, developed by Russel Tarr, is a map-based tool for creating virtual treasure hunts. The concept is simple, you create a series of clues that your students need to follow to identify places around the world. You can add as few or as many clues to your Map Quest as you like. When you're ready to have students try your Quest just give them the web address of the challenge or have them scan the QR code assigned to your Quest.

GeoGuessr is an addictive geography game that has become quite popular since its launch earlier this year. You can create your own GeoGuessr games by using GeoSettr. When you visit GeoSettr you'll see two screens. A map with a Pegman on your left and the Street View imagery for the Pegman's current location on your right. Move the Pegman around, zoom-in if you like, until you find the location that you want people to guess. When you've found the right location click "set round" to save the location. When you've set five rounds (locations) your game is assigned a URL that you can distribute. Just like any other GeoGuessr game when someone plays your GeoSettr game he or she will try to use the visual clues in the Street View imagery to guess the location. After making a guess GeoGuessr shows you the correct location and how far away from the correct location your guess was.

Overlap Maps is a free service that can be used to quickly compare the size of countries, states, provinces, and some bodies of water. To create a visual comparison of two countries select one country from the "overlap this" menu and select one country from the "onto this" menu. The comparisons you make are displayed on a map. You can make comparisons from different categories. For example, you can overlap Lake Erie onto New Hampshire.

Place Spotting is a website of geographic riddles. Place Spotting is based on the Google Earth platform. Place Spotting users can create their own geographic riddles or try to solve riddles created by others. The search feature on Place Spotting lets users search for riddles based on level of difficulty, language, region, or creation date.

Math Trail provides a nice blend of geography questions and math questions appropriate for 5th to 7th grade students. Math Trail from HeyMath! is a series of map based math trivia challenges. Math Trail offers six thematic games. Each game follows a trail of locations that students have to find by using the clues provided. If they get stumped they can click "show location" but they lose the point value for the question. When they arrive at the correction location students have to answer the multiple choice math question presented to them before moving on to the next question in the trail.

Fotopedia Reporter, available for use online and as an iPad app, lets you upload pictures and geo-locate them to create digital stories. When you use Fotopedia Reporter you create digital booklets of your images. When you upload an image you can add a description to it, center it on a map, and link to a Wikipedia entry about the place or thing featured in your picture. All stories must have at least six images plus a cover image. Fotopedia Reporter could be a fantastic tool to have your students use to create digital booklets about places that they study in a geography lesson.

Capital Toss is a free geography game from ABCya. The game has a state capitals mode and a country capitals mode. In both modes of the game works the same way. The name of a state or country appears at the bottom of the screen and three rows of capital names scroll across the top. When the correct capital name appears players virtually toss a ball at it. After ten correct answers players can choose a new ball. Three consecutive incorrect answers ends the game.

World Geography Games is a free site that features twenty-five geography games. The games are simple identification games in which students are shown the name of a country, state, city, or geographic feature and then have to click on the correct locations. Students earn points for each correct answer. World Geography Games tracks how many attempts students make at correctly answering each question.

The USGS offers free topographic maps for most of the United States. The maps can be downloaded as PDFs through the USGS store. The maps can be used in the 27 suggested topographic maps lessons found in the USGS education site. All of the lessons are rated by grade level and time required for completing the activity. In the list of lesson ideas you will find suggestions for lessons about typical geography topics like coordinates, scale, and map projections as well as lesson suggestions for less common things like analysis of stereo aerial photographs and analysis of humans and hydrography.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Why We Crave Sugar - And How Much Do We Consume?

Halloween just passed and we're quickly approaching the season of holiday parties filled with sweets. Why do so many of us crave sugar and sweet things? Untamed Science offers a short explanation in the video below.


Applications for Education
After watching the video to learn why we crave sugar, have students take a look at their personal sugar consumption habits. Sugar Stacks is a good website for understanding how much sugar is in the food and beverages that we consume. Sugar Stacks lists popular food and beverage items in ten categories. Every item is pictured with a stack of sugar cubes. Each sugar cube represents four grams of sugar. This is a great way to see just how much sugar you really consume in your favorite snack or beverage.

H/T to the Pearson OLE blog

Another Ashton Kutcher Video That Students Should See

Back in August Ashton Kutcher delivered an important message to teens at the Teen Choice Awards. His message, "opportunity looks a lot like hard work" is one that teenagers should here. This week he was on the Ellen DeGeneres show talking about his speech at the Teen Choice Awards when he delivered another important message for teens, "the only thing (job) that is below you, is to not have a job." Both videos are embedded below.

Thanks to Jeff Whipple for sharing the Ellen DeGeneres video on Facebook.


Week in Review - The Snow Is Here!

Good morning from the Free Technology for Teachers world headquarters in Woodstock, Maine. This week we had our first snow flurries and the local ski resort has been making snow all week. And if that wasn't a strong enough sign of winter, there is ice forming on the pond near my house. All of these signs of winter also mean that we're well past the midpoint of the semester. I hope that all of you are having  a great fall semester (or spring semester for my friends in the Southern Hemisphere).

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. Kahoot - Create Quizzes and Surveys Your Students Can Answer on Any Device
2. Five Short Lessons About Daylight Saving Time and Time Zones
3. How to Quickly Create PDFs in Google Drive
4. Webinar Recording - Backchannels in the Classroom
5. QuickCast - Quickly Create Screencasts
6. 30 Images of Cyber Safety Reminders
7. How to Privately Share Media from Your iPad via Google Drive

This week I opened registration for a new section of my PracticalEdTech.com webinar series, How To Use Google Drive In School. The series will be held in December.

Would you like to have me visit your school this year?
Click here to learn more about my professional development services.

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Vocabulary Spelling City offers spelling practice activities that you can customize.
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EdTechTeacher is organizing two iPad summits this school year.
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