Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Video - How to Create Tours With Google Earth Tour Builder

Earlier this week Google released a great new tool for creating Google Earth tours. Tour Builder makes it easier than ever to create Google Earth tours in your browser. In the video below I offer a demonstration of how to use Tour Builder.


Applications for Education
As I mentioned on Monday, Tour Builder could prove to be a great tool for students to use to create geo-located book reviews, to tell stories from their own lives, or to develop geo-located research projects. One of the US History projects that I've done with Google Earth is to have students create a series of placemarks about battles of the Revolutionary and Civil Wars.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Create a Wall of Thanks on Padlet

This afternoon on a webinar sponsored by Pearson I spoke about using backchannels in the classroom. Padlet was one of the tools that I featured in the webinar. Padlet is a great little tool for quickly gathering comments from students in response to prompts that you give to them. As I thought about (American) Thanksgiving this evening I developed a few ideas for incorporating Padlet into a Thanksgiving activity for elementary school students.

1. Create a Padlet wall for your students on which they can share what they are thankful for this year.

2. Let students create drawings of what Thanksgiving means to them then take pictures of those drawings to post on your Padlet wall.

3. Use Padlet as a KWL chart on which students share what they know about the origins of Thanksgiving and what they would like to know more about.

In the video below I demonstrate how to create a Padlet wall to use in your classroom.

Create Assignment Portfolios in eduClipper

eduClipper, the popular bookmarking tool for teachers and students, has another feature for teachers. Teachers can now use eduClipper to create assignment portfolios. Assignment portfolios allow you to assign projects or tasks to students. You can assign a start and end date for each project. Within the assignment portfolio you can include a project / task description, links to materials, and project files such as rubrics that you either upload as PDFs or insert from Google Drive. Students submit their completed assignments through the portfolio where you can then offer feedback in the forms of text, audio, or video comments. The video below provides an overview of all of the options in eduClipper assignment portfolios.


eduClipper - Getting Started with Assignment Portfolios from AdamBellow on Vimeo.

Applications for Education
Through eduClipper assignment portfolios you might be able to accomplish two goals at once; distributing assignments and creating portfolios of your students' best work. The audio and video feedback options could also be a time-saver for you when you're assessing a lot of assignments at once.

Disclosure: I have a very very small equity stake in eduClipper. 

A Crash Course On The Cold War

John Green is back with another installment of his Crash Course in US History. Episode 37 covers one of my favorite topics to teach, the Cold War. In thirteen minutes the video covers the origins of the Cold War, how the Cold War contributed to US involvement in Korea and Vietnam, and the Red Scare. Green concludes the video with a statement about how the Cold War shaped our thinking about the meaning of freedom. The statement is short and so could be the start of a good classroom conversation or the beginning of an essay assignment in which students explore how the Cold War influenced how we think about about freedom.


Monday, November 11, 2013

Tour Builder Makes It Easier Than Ever to Create Google Earth Tours

Google Earth is a great tool for students to use to explore the world. Building tours in Google Earth and Google Maps is one of my favorite activities for students to do to tell a story. It can take a while to understand all of the nuances of creating tours in Google Earth. Fortunately, Google recently introduced Tour Builder which makes it easier than ever to create tours in Google Earth.

To create a tour with Tour Builder you need to install the Google Earth Browser Plug-in and you need to have a Google Account. Once you have those two things and you're signed into Tour Builder just follow the clear Tour Builder directions to build your tour. The first step is naming your tour and adding a cover image. Next you will search for your first location then click "add to tour" to add the location to your tour. You'll then be prompted to add images, videos, and text to your placemark. Each placemark can have up to 25 images and videos. The images and videos will be displayed as a gallery rather than as a linear stack of images as is the case if you edit placemarks in Google Maps or Earth. Repeat the process of adding locations and placemarks until you finish telling your story.



Tours created through Tour Builder are private until you decide to share them. You can see my sample tour here.

Applications for Education
Tour Builder could prove to be a great tool for students to use to create geo-located book reviews, to tell stories from their own lives, or to develop geo-located research projects. One of the US History projects that I've done with Google Earth is to have students create a series of placemarks about battles of the Revolutionary and Civil Wars.