Thursday, January 16, 2014

A Good Google Earth Tour Builder Tutorial

Google Earth Tour Builder is a slick tool that Google introduced a couple of months ago. Tour Builder is a browser-based tool for creating Google Earth tours. Placemarks in your Tour Builder tours can include up to 25 images and videos, that's one of my favorite aspects of the tool. I published a video about using the new Google Earth Tour Builder shortly after it was made available to the public. My tutorial did not include using the tilt and planned locations aspects of the tool (aspects that I would introduce after students get the basics of tour building). Rich Treves who writes the Google Earth Design blog has published a tutorial covering those aspects that I left out. Rich's video is embedded below.

H/T to The Google Earth Blog.

Using Pizza to Explain Politics

Lee LeFever recently shared a great example of how to stay neutral while explaining concepts in political science. Lee shared why he used triangles, squares, and circles in his explanation of the Electoral College. He went on to share a recent BuzzFeed video in which pizza slices were used to explain Congressional redistricting.

Applications for Education
Two thoughts came to me while reading Lee's post and watching the BuzzFeed video. First, what a great way to remove politics from explaining important concepts in political science. Second, I've seen lots of high school students struggle to demonstrate their understandings of current events because they allow their personal feelings to cloud their explanations. Having students use pizza slices, candies, or simple shapes to explain current events without their feelings clouding their explanations.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Webinar Recording - Digital Storytelling With Comics

On Monday I published a short guide to digital storytelling with comics. This evening I gave a free webinar presentation based on that free guide. More than 200 people registered for the webinar in less than 48 hours. If you wanted to join and missed it, the recording of the webinar, sponsored by Storyboard That, is now available here and as embedded below.

Click here to get a copy of the PDF that I released on Monday and mentioned in the webinar.

Compare the Size of Countries and States With These Map Mash-ups

This morning through Google Maps Mania I found a neat little site called MapFight. MapFight lets you select two U.S. states or two countries to quickly see which one is bigger and by how much. The select states or countries are put into overlays to help you see the size difference. MapFight reminded me of a similar, but more robust tool called OverlapMaps.

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.

Applications for Education
MapFight and Overlap Maps could be a good littles tool to help students can perspective of the relative size of places that they study in their geography lessons.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The European Word Translator Puts Language Into Geographic Context

The European Word Translator is a map and translation tool created by UK Data Explorer. Type a word or phrase into the map's search tool and the translations appear over the countries in their respective official languages.

Applications for Education
Before you  use the European Word Translator in your classroom you should be aware that it does rely on the Google Translate API. Google Translate is known to have some errors (some of my favorite errors occur when translating Icelandic into English).  That said, the map offers a neat way to get some geographic context for languages.

H/T to Google Maps Mania