Monday, December 30, 2013

WWF Wildfinder - See the Ranges of 26,000+ Animals

One of my favorite free iPad apps of 2013 is the World Wildlife Fund's Together app. That app features interactive stories about endangered species around the world. The stories show you where the animals live and the threats facing them. If you and or your students don't have iPads, you can access similar information through WWF Wildfinder.

WWF Wildfinder is an interactive map through which you can see the distribution of more than 26,000 animals around the world. You can browse the map, search by region and ecosystem, or search for a specific animal. When you find an animal on the map you can open a tab of information about its habitat, whether or not its population is threatened, and view pictures of the animal.

Applications for Education
WWF Wildfinder could be a great resource for students to explore to learn about the species native to various eco-regions of the world. I would have students attempt to make correlations between maps of the distribution of a threatened species to maps about pollution and or population density.

How to Create Simple Comic Strips With Storyboard That

Storyboard That is a service that you and your students can use to create simple comic strips. I've reviewed it in the past and today I would like to share a demonstration of how to use it. The video below demonstrates how to use the basic functions of Storyboard That.

Storyboard That has free and paid plans. The free plan allows you to create three and six frame stories. The free plan also limits you to three storyboards per week. A paid classroom account offers options for managing student accounts, limiting sharing to classroom members only, and a classroom account offers more frames per storyboard.

Apply Today for a National Geographic Teaching Adventure

National Geographic Education is currently accepting applications for what looks like an awesome opportunity for twenty-five K-12 teachers in the U.S. and Canada. The 2014 Grosvenor Teacher Fellow Program will take teachers on field work expeditions to interesting places around the world. Some of the places teachers could go through the program include Holland and Belgium, the British and Irish Isles, Arctic Svalbard, the High Arctic, Iceland, the Canadian Maritimes, the Atlantic Islands, and Antarctica.

Applications are due by January 5th. You can get the complete details of the program and see a sample application here.

After Kelly Wade Hines tipped me off to this opportunity, I shared this on the Free Technology for Teachers Facebook page last night, but I'm posting it here because I want to make sure that everyone who may be interested sees it.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

An Animated Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States

The Digital Scholarship Lab at the University of Richmond recently released a new feature called the Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States. This new atlas contains more than 700 historical maps of the United States. The maps within the atlas are arranged into eighteen sections. As a student and teacher of history I was drawn to the sections devoted to population, territorial expansion, political parties and elections, and military history.

Many of the maps within the Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States can be animated to show changes over time. For example, in the section on States, Territories, and Cities you can view individual maps for each decade from 1790 to 1930 or you can click the "animate" button to see the maps put together in a time lapse animation. All of the historical maps in the Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States are displayed on top of a contemporary outline of the United States.

Many of the maps have interactive elements. For example, in the section on Political Parties and Opinions you can click on a county or state to see how people voted in that area.

To help students understand what they are seeing on each map, the Atlas of  the Historical Geography of the United States includes a text option that can be selected while viewing a map. Clicking the "text" box will display relevant information in the sidebar of the map.

Applications for Education
The Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States is a treasure trove of resources for teachers and students of U.S. History. In looking through the maps I could see a number of activities in which students compare maps from two categories and try to develop correlations between them. For example, I might ask students to compare maps from the section on Transportation with maps from the section on Boundaries.

H/T to Google Maps Mania

The Week in Review - The One Where I Get My Truck Stuck

Stuck in my own driveway
Good morning from the Free Technology for Teachers world headquarters in icy and snowy Woodstock, Maine. How icy is it? On Thursday I got my truck stuck in my own driveway while going out to get sand and salt. That incident put a damper on my plan to meet friends for skiing.

I hope that everyone is enjoying a little holiday vacation time. Judging by the record numbers of "likes" on the Free Technology for Teachers Facebook page, many of you are using some vacation time to explore resources to use in your classroom in 2014. And if you've ignored school-related things during vacation week, that's great too. We all need some downtime.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. Some Handy Gmail Options You Might Be Missing
2. 11 Free Online Typing Practice Activities for Students
3. 5 Free Tools for Creating & Sharing Audio Recordings Online
4. 5 Ways for Students to Create Audio Slideshows
5. Interactive History Animation - Daily Life in the Iron Age
6. Turn-O-Phrase Helps Students Learn About Colloquial Phrases
7. MindMup - Create Mind Maps and Save Them In Google Drive

In January I am again offering my series How To Use Google Drive In SchoolClick here for registration details and a discount code. 

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

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
Remind 101 offers a free tool for sending text message reminders to students.
IXL offers a huge assortment of mathematics lesson activities.
Typing Club offers free typing lessons for students.
MathDisk provides a great platform for creating interactive math lessons.
Discovery Education & Wilkes University offer online courses for earning Master's degrees in Instructional Media.
MasteryConnect provides a network for teachers to share and discover Common Core assessments. is a provider of free educational games for K-5.
The University of Maryland Baltimore County offers graduate programs for teachers.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.
EdTechTeacher is organizing two iPad summits this school year.
Classmint offers a nice multimedia flashcard service.

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